Hiking in Balderschwang

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When you find something that soothes your thoughts and increases your energy level, do it as often as you can.

As the trip to Völs am Schlern was giving me so much energy for the work week, I announced a series of upcoming micro adventures to my husband. Means short trips from Friday night to Saturday afternoon, so a max distance of 300 km to travel as we start Fridays after work.

First van micro adventure destination was Balderschwang to take a hike over the Siplingerkopf (route link). The alpine tour with some easy climbing section looked manageable for a 6 hours activity.

We started at around 6:30 PM with the van, and – without any traffic jam – landed in Balderschwang at 21:15. Unfortunately the population in Balderschwang seemed to having had issues with campers and parking and ALL public parking spaces where restricted to use between 7:00 – 22:00, well even the parking spaces of the empty closed ski lifts.

So we luckily were able to check in at the only camper spot at Schwabenhof, well the legal parking had a proud price of 25 EUR, without being in need of water, power or lavatories.

Next morning we had breakfast and prepared for the hike, checked out and drove to a parking space closer to the route. At least there are many parking options… between 7 and 22.

The hike was overall adventurous with crossing snow fields, secured climbing sections and summits. And even if described as somewhat a secret route there were quite some hikers around but it was never crowded.

At the end of the tour we had delicious organic ice cream at Biancas organic ice cream shop – much recommended!

Below I added the route description from the German website.

The mountains in the wide round of the Balderschwanger Tal have little in common with the main ridge of the Allgäu; they are rather green, meadow-covered knolls with gentle slopes, such as Hochschelpen, Riedbergerhorn and Piesenkopf. One of these peaks is the Siplingerkopf high above Balderschwang. And as with almost all the other peaks in the Balderschwang Valley, the mountain shape may be quite unimpressive, but the summit panorama is stunning.

This tour in Bavaria brings hikers through the most beautiful Allgäu alpine landscape up to its summit and gives a beautiful Nagelfluh ridge hike over to the Heidenkopf and Girenkopf. From the parking lot in Balderschwang, 1,044 m, opposite the church into the cul-de-sac and through a wooded stream incision to a transverse high-altitude trail. On this, turn right and across the meadow slopes to a tarred road, where you keep left and climb moderately steeply. On the way you pass the 2000-year-old yew tree, which scores more with its age than with particular beauty. Passing the Obere Socheralpe, 1,256 m, you climb further uphill, turn right shortly afterwards and finally reach – now on a gravel road that sometimes leads through forest, sometimes across meadows – the Obere Wilhelminealpe, 1,515 m, located on a meadow shoulder. From there, somewhat pathless up the slope to the ridge and left towards Siplingerkopf, 1,746 m. The ascent between partly vertical Nagelfluh walls is quite steep in places and unpleasant due to loose Nagelfluh scree, but not dangerous. At the end, the terrain becomes easier and more like a wide meadow ridge, which finally leads to the summit cross, where a fantastic panorama unfolds over the Nagelfluhkette and Balderschwanger valley far into the Bregenzerwald. A beautiful, but not entirely easy ridge trail awaits hikers. You descend from the summit in a westerly direction along the narrow path, which sometimes runs directly on, sometimes next to the ridge. At the lowest point, there is the possibility to shorten directly to Balderschwang. You hike gradually uphill again, have to master a small but somewhat tricky passage with rope safety and thus reach the Heidenkopf, 1,685 m. From there in a wide left turn with slight ups and downs – and a few exposed spots – over to Girenkopf (the actual summit is not climbed). Now head southwest, mostly downhill with some short counter ascents, until you come across a gravel road and reach the Stillbergalpe, 1,422 m, on it. The forest road soon turns into a hiking trail that leads steeply downhill in the forest. At the next junction keep to the left, hike across to the alpine meadows of the Klösterlealpe and on the again wide farm track in wide serpentines downhill. Above a farmstead, turn left onto the high trail that takes hikers eastward parallel to the valley road in the direction of Balderschwang. In between, you pass the hamlet of Gschwend, 1,090 m, and a larger hotel complex, then you have reached the starting point.

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