[well]Zugspitze Quick Facts
- Tallest mountain in Germany
- Reaches a summit of 9,718 feet (2,962 m)
- Comprised of Wetterstein limeston
- First climbed on August 27, 1820 by Josef Naus and Johann Georg Tauschi
Zugspitze is the tallest mountain in Germany. The mountain climbs to a peak of 9,718 feet (2,962 m). Prominence readings account for 5,728 feet (1,746 m). Although not particularly tall, Zugspitze stands out as a magnificent mountain.
In addition to being the largest mountain in Germany, it is also home to the two largest glaciers as well. Northern Schneeferner is the largest glacier extending across an area of 30.7 hectares, with Hollentalferner as the second biggest covering 24.7 hectares. Southern Schneeferner is a third glacier also found on the mountain.
Alpine birds, which include the golden eagle, rock ptarmigan, and the alpine accentor, are commonly seen. There is an abundance of chamois, mountain hare, and marmots found on the mountain, which of course attracts the birds of prey. Red deer can be seen in the lower treed areas around the mountain along with other small wildlife like the red squirrel, weasel, and different grouse.
Josef Naus and Johann Georg Tauschi were the first to summit the mountain in August 1820.
Where is Zugspitze
Zugspitze is located near the border of Germany and Austria, with the border of the countries actually crossing the western summit of the mountain. It is part of the Wetterstein mountain range. The mountain is found just south of the German town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
The mountain belongs to the German state of Bavaria and the Austrian state of Tyrol. The Austrian town of Ehrwald is actually closer to the mountain than its German sister town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
The coordinates of Zugspitze are: 47°25′16″ N and 10°59′07″ E
Best Ways to See and Experience Zugspitze
The majority of people would probably say the best way to see and experience Zugspitze is through trekking and climbing the mountain. This is the most intimate encounter with the mountain. This providers travelers with an opportunity to see out across Germany and Austria landscapes.
The mountain has three traditional routes for ascending to the top. The three routes include 1) Reintal valley to the southeast, 2) Hollental valley to the northeast, and 3) a western route over the Austrian Cirque. Although the longest route, the Reintal valley route is the easiest. It takes trekkers 8 to 10 hours. It is a rewarding route as it takes visitors through the scenic gorge, Partnackklamm, as they make their way to the top.
Hollental is the more popular but physically challenging route. It traverses through the gorge, Hollentalangerhutte, as climbers work towards the top. It crosses one of the glaciers as well as going up a wall which uses iron ladders to ascend. This path usually takes about 7 to 8 hours.
For the more adventuresome trekkers, there is a ridge route, Jubilee Ridge, that travels along a knife-edge trail connecting Zugspitze, Hochblassen and the Alpspitze.
For those not wishing to climb the mountain, but wanting to experience the summit and accompanying views, there are cable cars to ascend the mountain. The collective system of railway and cable cars carry approximately 500,000 visitors to the summit every year.
There are 9 ski lifts which allow locals and travels to experience Zugspitze during the winter months. Skiing and snowboarding are popular activities on the mountain. There are ski trails to the top of the mountain as well. This is Germany’s highest ski resort as well.
Whether during the summer or winter months, a relaxing beverage from the cafe called “2962,” named after the height of the mountain, is a special treat.
For those that like the underground, the Zugspitzplatt area features around 300 caves. One of the larger caves extends 131 meters deep, 260 meters long and features a watercourse inside.
Best Times to Explore Zugspitze
The summer months of June through August are the best months to trek and climb on the mountains. The upper elevations still allow for colder temperatures, but the weather of the summer months makes for more comfortable activities in the outdoors.
The mountain is located in temperate zone with Westerlies serving as the majority of winds. Serving as a northern border to the Alps, the mountain receives an abundance of moisture. The mountain historically was snow-capped, however warmer temperatures today usually sees all of the snow melting off the mountain.
Zugspitze Travel Tips
There are more travel tips on the mountain coming soon. If you represent a travel service in the area or the German or Austrian Tourism Board or travel professional, we welcome your insights and suggestions.