We drove (and what a drive it was! The views!!) to the bottom of the Hochriesbahn and parked, and then started our hike. The drive from Munich took about 55 minutes with no traffic. The beginning of the trail is rather steep and is paved, which was a little tricky because a few cars and a tractor drove past, and we had to be careful. This is just the first section though, and after we got out of the initial ascent there was no more traffic. We passed a thrilling mountain biking course and took a little break to watch the crazy bikers.
We continued on through a section of field, which was the hardest and hottest section, until we entered a forest, where we took a “shortcut” up the hillside over roots and stones – it was definitely challenging but we had Luke in the hiking pack and Charlie stopped his complaining because he was so focused on scrambling up the trail – so although it was harder, he moved better and faster because it was simply more interesting. At the top we scrambled over three cow gates – a bit of a challenge because of the barbed wire, but also exciting in its own way – and found ourselves at the Alm!
The Käser Alm itself is situated in the middle of a valley with spectacular views of the surrounding peaks and the Paragliders above. There were two horses grazing, some cows in the distance, and, of course, a beautiful Biergarten with a spectacular natural playground. We ate a Brotzeitplatte and Kaiserschmarrn and drank some beer and fresh buttermilk – the food was really excellent and the prices were good.
The Alm itself is cozy but quite picturesque and the kids loved playing on the really spectacularly designed playground – which managed to have interesting and challenging elements that completely fit in with the surrounding Alps – wooden bridges, interestingly shaped trees, stacked logs for climbing, and a shady sandbox.
We were pretty exhausted from the climb up – the signs told us it was a 20 minute walk, but we found the hike to be quite difficult and steep, and needed about an hour and a half to arrive – and weren’t particularly keen on hiking back down – so we took the chair lift! We paid 4.50/person and I will say – it was kind of the highlight of our hike, but it was also just a little bit terrifying. The chairs are single seats so we each had to have a kid on our lap – which was fine for Papa and Charlie but I had Luke and I was so worried he would squirm – which he didn’t, but if he had, I would have really had to hold on tight. If we did it again, I would definitely put Luke in our Mei Tai carrier for the ride down, for security. Nevertheless, we really enjoyed the ride down and the views, and we lived to tell the tale 🙂
I recommend this hike to families even with young kids especially because you have the option of taking the chair lift either up or down – and you don’t have to take the path through the woods like we did, instead you can just follow the road and (I assume) it will stay flat and actually even stroller accessible. The road is pretty steep though so it didn’t look like much fun to push a stroller all the way up – just FYI. We were happy we had brought our hiking carrier.
Both kids were exhausted when we got back to the car around 4pm so we just headed home but if you had more time, the Naturbad Samerberger Filze is only a few minutes drive away and is a free natural swimming pool with stunning Alpine views. Or you could try out the Bauerngolf Samerberg, which looks like great fun, with giant plastic clubs (actually a wooden shoe on a stick) and balls in the middle of a cow meadow, with miniature golf-like obstacles (but in giant versions).
I know we will be back to try out these other two options!