Hiking to Lake Schrecksee in Germany’s Allgäu Alps

How to get to Lake Schrecksee, one of Germany's highest and most beautiful alpine lakes – the ideal destination for a day hike.

6th March 2020 | Words by Tom @ WildBounds HQ | Photos by André Alexander

Located in a high mountain valley and surrounded by stunning peaks a mere 300 metres from the Austrian border, Lake Schrecksee is Germany’s highest alpine lake with an island, at an impressive altitude of just under 6,000ft.

Lake Schrecksee hike, Hinterstein
View from the village of Hinterstein, where the hike begins.

Type: Out-and-back hike on a well-marked mountain trail
Length and total ascent: 10.6 mile return trip, with 4,160 ft of ascent
Difficulty: Strenuous
Time: 7 to 8 hours in total, based on a moderate hiking pace
When to go: Late spring, summer and early autumn

To reach the start of the hike, get yourself to the village of Hinterstein in the Allgäu region, and park up in the parking area at the end of the village. Follow signs for Hinterbachhof. After fifteen minutes you will reach a bridge crossing with a small power station on your left. The trailhead is about 35 metres after the power station building on the left. From there it is an uphill hike along the well-signposted trail to Lake Schrecksee.

Lake Schrecksee hike, path
The path through the valley leading to Lake Schrecksee.
Lake Schrecksee hike, private cabin
Private cabin near the lake, in the middle of rolling hills.
Lake Schrecksee hike, with island
Lake Schrecksee - Germany’s highest alpine lake with an island.
Lake Schrecksee hike
A nice spot sit down, relax, and enjoy the view.

It is well worth hiking over to the saddle for breathtaking views over the lake and the high valley. This saddle also marks the German-Austrian border. On one side of the border is the German state of Bavaria, on the other lies the Tyrol region of Austria.

Lake Schrecksee hike, view towards high valley
View from the saddle over Lake Schrecksee and towards the high valley.

There is no shortage of hiking trails in the area. Don't forget to take an invigorating swim in the alpine lake too. If your dip leaves you feeling suitably refreshed and re-energised, consider taking the long way down via Rauhhorn (you will find signposts close to the lake). Although this route will add 3 hours to your hike, the stunning views make it more than worth it.

Lake Schrecksee hike, view towards Rauhhorn
On the saddle looking out towards Rauhhorn.

Kit list: Hiking boots or trail shoes, trekking poles, a warm layer, waterproof jacket, plenty of food (there are no cabins or lodges along the way), water bottle and/or water filter, swimsuit and travel towel.

Lake Schrecksee hike, view from path to Rauhhorn
View from the Rauhhorn path overlooking Lake Schrecksee.

André is a restless wanderer out to explore and discover.

André Alexander on Instagram

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