Hiking to Eagle’s Nest

Eagle's Nest

If you’ve already found this page, it is very likely that you are very well aware of what the Eagle’s Nest or in german: Kehlsteinhaus, is. This post is about how you can hike to the Eagle’s Nest!

So, I won’t spend any time giving you a long intro other than 3 interesting facts, one old picture, and one link 😀

  1. It is one of the few places that still stand after the Nazi regime, that wasn’t bombed or torned down during or after the war
  2. Hitler himself only visited the Eagle’s Nest 14 times (at least that’s what offical records state)
  3. When the Americans found the tunnel (the one with the elevator) leading up to the Eagle’s Nest it was apparently stacked with wine bottles!

If you want to learn more about the Eagle’s Nest I recommend clicking here.

Below is an old drawing (you can see this at the restaurant) of the whole area. As you can see the Eagle’s Nest was a part of a much bigger area, Obersalzberg.

Eagle's Nest area
Eagle’s Nest area

Up at the Eagle’s Nest, there is a little bit of information about the construction, how it was used during the Nazi reign, and the time after the war. However, if you want to learn more you should visit the documentation center at Obersalzberg where the main parking lot for the buses is.

Don’t want to hike?

This post is about the hike to Eagle’s Nest. It is possible to go by bus, and then either walk the last 20 min (about 120 altitude meters) or take the polished brass elevator inside the mountain. Check out the official Kehlsteinhaus webiste, Salzburg website, or Berchtesgaden website for more info.

Where to start

We went by car making us pretty flexible with regards to the starting point. We started at Ofnerboden. We have a Ford Transit campervan which is right under 6m long. Parking a car this large can be a challenge, but at Ofnerboden it was plenty of space.

You can also take the bus to the main parking lot, Obersalzberg, and hike from there, this hike is estimated a bit longer than the one we did (estimated 4hrs). If you want to do that hike check out Free Walking Tours Salzburgs website, they have a great guide for that trip.

Our hike started at Ofnerboden, and we parked at parking P11. In order to get there you have to pay a toll fee of about 8€, then you park for free and can also drive all the way up to the viewpoint at Rossfeld which I really recommend.

We were happy to pay the 8€ fee, which is a pretty decent toll fee when you take into consideration the free parking and well-kept and safe roads.

You will see a sign for the P11 parking on the left side of the road and an old farmhouse/storage space on the right. Parking is on the left side, the same as the parking sign. There are also a few parking possibilities a bit further up if this space is crowded. It could be a good idea either to be early or a bit later in the afternoon. We came at about 14.00 and there were 1-2 free spots, we drove past about an hour before and it was completely full.

The hike to Eagle’s Nest

The hike is estimated (on the signs) to take 2hrs and 45 min, it took is 1hr and 30 min, with a couple of small breaks for water, to get from the parking to the Eagle’s Nest. So, you should have plenty of time. The restaurant at the summit closes at 16.30, check out their website just to be sure. Also, if the busses aren’t running, the restaurant probably isn’t open. If the bus isn’t running that could also mean the weather is poor, and maybe you shouldn’t do the hike.

First off, this hike itself is a non-technical hike that most people should be able to do. That being said the hike is only uphill (and then of course only downhill), so it can be pretty strenuous and therefore challenging to some. However, there are plenty of beautiful places to take a break and relax. Bring some great snacks, warm clothes, and something to drink and you should probably be fine.

It took is 1 hr 30 min to get from the parking to the summit. I have to admit that we are not in great shape. That being said we are very much used to hike in the mountains in Norway, so we’re used to walking and maybe most importantly walking uphill. Therefore our speed was perhaps a bit faster than most.

Start of the hike

When you start your hike to Eagle’s Nest look for the single track on the left side of the house. There’s also a sign to Kehlsteinhaus, this is the sign you want to follow all the way to the top!

The hike starts on a nice single track, but this isn’t for long. You quickly reach a crossroad. Here you can either continue (for a short time) on the single track or you can go right on the gravel road.

If you continue on the single track you will in 5-10 min reach the same gravel road but just a bit higher up.

The walk

After the single track, you’ll walk on a gravel road, follow the signs to Kehlsteinhaus. There are only a few crossroads but just look for the sign to Kehlsteinhaus. Most of the time you should go left or straight.

After some time, when it really starts to go uphill you’ll reach a paved road. The rest of the road will be paved all the way to the top. At the beginning of the paved road you can look up between the trees and you can actually see the summit and Eagle’s Nest.

Now finding the way is really easy, just follow the road all the way up to the bus stop. When you have reached the bus stop you only have about 120 altitude meters left!

If you don’t want to walk down or have the option to take the bus you should probably hike from Obersalzberg since that is where the busses come down. If you want to take the bus down you should buy the ticket when you reach the bus stop by the brass elevator. I believe you have to purchase your ticket 1 hour in advance. Remember to check the times for when the last bus leaves.

When you’ve reached the bus continue walking past the busses and parking and take the first oath to the left. This will lead you to the Eagle’s Nest!! This part took us 10 min, it is estimated 20 min, so this is a small part of the hike, however, it is the most beautiful part! The view that unveils itself is spectacular!!

When you’ve reached the top. After you’ve had a great lunch and your well-deserved Weissbier, take the time to walk to the summit. This only takes a couple of minutes but it’s well worth it! You also get to see the Eagle’s Nest from another angle.

The day we did the hike it was quite foggy, but give it some time, the fog will disappear for some moments and the most amazing view will unveil itself!!

Eagle's Nest
Eagle’s Nest in the fog

What should I wear?

In my opinion, the best footwear for this hike is a pair of good sneakers or running shoes. Bear in mind that almost the entire path is paved, meaning that it can wear on your knees. I have issues with my knees so I wore my running shoes and also brought my hiking sticks. This really helped me since the asphalt is really hard to walk on.

Remember that it can be cold on the summit and that you will probably get sweaty on the hike up. If you have a pair of hiking pants or shorts I would have worn those or a pair of running shorts or tights. I would try to avoid jeans or similar material.

Personally, I always bring an extra t-shirt or sweater when I hike so I can change when I reach the summit. I did the same this time and it was really great for when we sat down to eat.

Usually I also always bring a light down jacket, fleece, and/ or a windproof jacket (depends on weather). For this hike I brought a light down jacket (wasn’t too windy, no rain in the forecast, but cold on the summit) and it was a great choice!! It was really quite cold at the summit and the hike down was pretty cold as well.

In hindsight, I should have brought some small gloves and a warm headband.

What should I bring?

It is a pretty steep hike, the entire hike is uphill so bring water or whatever you like. You can buy drinks at the restaurant but it’s always nice to have something for the hike up, but also the hike down. We drank about 0,5 liter to share on the way up. This depends on your fitness level, hiking experience etc. If you don’t bring that much fluids remember to drink plenty after!

A small snack is of course also nice to bring just in case you need it.

We did bring a headlamp as we always do, but it wasn’t needed.

Sunglasses, a cap or similar is always nice when you hike and especially when you reach the summit 🙂

Don’t forget to enjoy your hike, the view is really beautiful and the higher up you get the higher is the reward.