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The winding path through the Partnach Gorge, in Garmisch, Germany, February, in 2019.

The winding path through the Partnach Gorge, in Garmisch, Germany, February, in 2019. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

The winding path through the Partnach Gorge, in Garmisch, Germany, February, in 2019.

The winding path through the Partnach Gorge, in Garmisch, Germany, February, in 2019. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

A frozen waterfall at the Partnach Gorge, in Garmisch, Germany, February, 2019.

A frozen waterfall at the Partnach Gorge, in Garmisch, Germany, February, 2019. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

A group of tourists make their way down the Partnach Gorge, in Garmisch, Germany, in February, 2019.

A group of tourists make their way down the Partnach Gorge, in Garmisch, Germany, in February, 2019. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

A wall of icicles at Partnach Gorge, in Garmisch, Germany, in February, 2019.

A wall of icicles at Partnach Gorge, in Garmisch, Germany, in February, 2019. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

The entrance to the Partnach Gorge, in Garmisch, Germany, in February, 2019.

The entrance to the Partnach Gorge, in Garmisch, Germany, in February, 2019. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

Tucked in between steep cliffs, meandering along a bright, blue river, there is a mysterious wonderland at the beginning of the Bavarian Alps.

The Partnach Gorge (Partnachklamm in German) is just a few minutes away from the U.S. facilities in Garmisch, or the Armed Forces Recreation Center Edelweiss Lodge and Resort. The gorge is a deep crack through the mountains where you can explore and find a semi-frozen world melting back into springtime.

The path through the gorge follows the winding Partnach river through dozens of waterfalls, rapids and tranquil water basins.

There is a chairlift near the entrance if you’d like to lounge as you’re brought to the top of one of the nearby mountains. However, most visitors go there for the excellent hiking.

There are safe trails to hike through and explore the river, parts of which are cut right into the mountain.

As you make your way into the dark, rock-hewn paths, grasping the metal rails so as to not stumble into jagged granite, have no fear. The builders have not dug too deep nor too greedily. The dark tunnels explode into amazing views behind waterfalls and under canyons.

During late spring and summer, there are two paths available — the rock-hewn journey through the river, as well as an epic climb to the top of the gorge that gives you great views of the trees and river from above.

But if you visit soon, you can still see the gorge during its most beautiful season. During the winter and early spring, the gorge is a semi-frozen jungle of icicles spiking out of the cliffs, and frozen waterfalls melting into movement.

At the end of the gorge, the path opens into a veritable shire of rolling hills between Germany’s highest mountains. There you can continue to hike the now-open trails along the river, or head back through the long caves to see the waterfalls and cliffs from a different vantage point.

egnash.martin@stripes.com Twitter: @Marty_Stripes

Directions: The Partnach Gorge is located just 10 minutes away from the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Garmisch bases.Times: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. November to April; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. May to June and October; 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. July to SeptemberCosts: Five euros ($5.68)Online:gapa.de


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