The Almbachklamm in Marktschellenberg

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A real MUST for anyone holidaying in Berchtesgaden is the hike through the wildly romantic Almbach gorge.

The gorge lies between Marktschellenberg and Berchtesgaden in the middle of the Berchtesgaden mountains. A very well secured path takes you over a total of 29 bridges about 210 meters in altitude, along the roaring Almbach with its cascading waterfalls, to Theresienklause.

There you have several options - return the same way (round trip approx. 2 hours), or a circular hiking trail via Ettenberg (approx. 3 ½ hours) or via the Gasthof Dürrlehen in the direction of Maria Gern (approx. 3 hours). In the next section we will describe the last 2 options in more detail.

Please remember: There is no place to stop for refreshments in the Almbachklamm itself. So take a snack and something to drink with you.

Duration: about 3,5 hours

Here you can find a detailed description of the tour.

This option for exploring the Almbachklamm is our recommendation.

The starting point of the circular hiking trail is the ball mill, which is, by the way, the only ball mill still in operation in the world. From there you cross a total of 3 bridges over a length of around 29km. A rocky but well-secured footbridge leads you along the crystal-clear water and numerous waterfalls to a dam - The Theresienklause. In the past, when the Almbachklamm was still used for timber drift, water was dammed there in order to transport the heavy logs down the valley through the gorge as needed. On the hike through the Almbachklamm you can view pictures on information boards. In the “Theresienklause” section we described everything in a little more detail.

From Thereseinklause the path branches off to the right towards Ettenberg; you can always follow the signs to Messnerwirt. A narrow forest path leads there and later a short stretch on an asphalt road to the pilgrimage church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary and the Messnerwirt on Ettenberg. Incidentally, the Messnerwirt is the first and only place to stop for refreshments on the circular hiking trail. The next place to rest is at the end of the hike at the “Zur Kugelmühle” inn.

After a short break, you should definitely take a look inside the pilgrimage church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary. It is built in the Baroque-Rococo style and decorated with elaborate, colorful frescoes. The path back to the starting point leads below the church along a field path, following the sign “Hammerstielsteig”.

The most beautiful backdrop with the Untersberg in the background and a crowning conclusion is about 150 meters from the church. So be sure to turn around again! 😊 From the field path you then go into a forest, where you quickly climb down to the ball mill via roots and steps.

Almbachklamm hike via Maria Gern

Duration: about 3 hours

Here too, the hike begins at the Kugelmühle and stays the same all the way to Theresienklause. From there you don't go to the right, but follow the path and the signs towards Maria Gern or the Gasthof Dürrlehen.

The inn with its beautiful, sunny terrace and breathtaking view of the Watzmann is a great place to stop for a break on this hike.

After you have recovered a bit and hopefully strengthened yourself, you can either take a forest path above the Almbachklamm, with some very steep downward sections, or you can take a detour to Berchtesgaden city center and later take the bus back from the Watzmanntherme (line 840). to the ball mill.
The journey is free with the guest card anyway.

Almbachklamm opening times

The Almbachklamm in Marktschellenberg is only open in the summer months open from May to October.

Visits are possible between 8 a.m. and 18 p.m.

However, changes to opening times are also possible due to weather conditions. Rain that lasts for a few days can cause the water level to rise significantly, meaning that a hike through the Almbachklamm is not possible for a few days. Storms and falling trees can also quickly throw a spanner in the works, but thank God they are very rare.

The best time to visit the Almbachklamm

After the winter, in which a lot of work is being done to make the Almbachklamm fit again for the influx of visitors during the summer, nature and the animal world in the gorge are slowly waking up from hibernation.

Spring is the best time to visit the Almbachklamm. Everything is slowly turning green and blooming. Of course, summer and especially autumn are also great times to visit the gorge.

So you can say that, except in winter, when walking is not possible, the Almbachklamm in Marktschellenberg is one of the most beautiful excursion destinations in Berchtesgadener Land and should definitely be on your TO-DO list!

Entrance fees for the Almbachklamm 2024

Committing the Almbachklamm is not free. The path that leads you safely through the Almbachklamm must be constantly renewed and maintained. The work is complex and has its price. That's why you have to pay when you enter the Almbachklamm.

Here are the current admission prices for 2024
Adults: 8 euros
Guests with guest card: 7 euros
Young people up to 18 years: 5 euros
Children under 6 years free

The ball mill

In front of the entrance to the Almbachklamm and right next to the cozy inn “Zur Kugelmühle” there is one of the last still operating ball mills in Germany. It has been in operation at this location since 1683 and was used to produce marble balls.

Until at least the middle of the last century, up to 40 ball mills were powered by the Almbach. An additional 90 were added in the surrounding area. The ball mills were operated by local mountain farmers, who thereby created an additional source of income.

Originally, the mills primarily produced gun and rifle bullets. But later they moved on to making marbles. These were exported in large quantities all over the world as children's toys.

The later mass production of marbles made of glass or clay ultimately meant the end of this profession.

Today the ball mill is still in operation throughout the summer. Marble balls are still made here from coarse chunks of Untersberg marble and you can admire and of course buy the beauty and variety of the marbles at the sales stand at the entrance to the Almbachklamm.


The Theresienklause, which is 14 meters high and almost 17 meters long, was built by the Royal Saltworks Administration in 1835.

Up to 15.000 cubic meters of water could be stored behind this massive dam. Due to these huge masses of water that suddenly rushed through the gorge when the dam wall was opened, the water level of the Almbach was raised and the tree trunks were given the necessary momentum to be transported into the valley.

Of course, the tree trunks, which were up to 4,5 meters long, repeatedly became wedged during this descent, so some lumberjacks had to use long poles to push the wedged logs back in the “direction of travel”.

Looking at the narrow gorge, it's hard to imagine how strenuous this work must have been.

Frequently asked questions

Where is the Almbachklamm parking lot?

The parking lot is located directly in front of the “Zur Kugelmühle” inn, i.e. directly at the entrance to the Almbachklamm.

Can I hike the Almbachklamm with children?

Yes, that is possible without any problems. Of course, you need to be careful and make sure you have the right hiking equipment!

Can you take a stroller into the Almbachklamm?

No, a stroller has no place in the Almbachklamm. We recommend a carrier for a hike through the Almbachklamm with a baby or toddler. 
We have put everything together again in our article about the right hiking equipment for families. 😊

With your dog in the Almbachklamm?

You can easily hike through the Almbachklamm with your dog. Please be sure to observe the leash requirement and keep your dog on a short leash! Due to the many steps, the Almbachklamm is only for experienced four-legged friends. If your dog is not used to climbing stairs, the dog and owner will not have fun on the 300 stairs.

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