Lake Schliersee in a wheelchair
Are you in or near Munich and wish to be out and about in nature? How about a day trip to wheelchair-accessible Lake Schliersee in the Bavarian Alps? It is only a 50-min-drive away and, therefore, a perfect short-trip destination. Moreover, Schliersee is surrounded by scenic mountains at a low, respiratory-friendly altitude of 777 meters (2549 ft). And the best, the trail around the lake is fully wheelchair-accessible!
Getting to Schliersee
You can reach the village of Schliersee, in the Miesbach district, either by car or by regional train (Bayerische Regiobahn BRB), leaving from Munich Central Station. According to the BRB website, the train line from Munich to Schliersee is fully wheelchair-accessible.
However, we went there by car, so I can’t tell you if the train truly is accessible. There are several handicap parking spots close to the lakefront at Monte Mare Vitalwelt Schliersee. Other handicap parking spots are at the Schliersee train station. In addition, you find public, wheelchair-accessible restrooms at both locations.
Indeed the best time to visit Lake Schliersee is from April to late October, except July and August. In summer, it usually gets exceptionally crowded. Always trying to avoid the crowds, we went there on a mild, sunny day in late October.
Wheelchair-accessible trail around Lake Schliersee
The accessible, mostly paved trail leading around Lake Schliersee is 7.7 km long (4.8 mi), and it takes about 2 hours to complete. We decided to go clockwise upon arrival, leaving from Monte Mare Vitalwelt. Although looking back, it would have been better to go counterclockwise (see below why).
The first part of the trail follows the main street (“Seestrasse”) except for a few short stretches that run directly along the water. At the south shore, the trail finally leaves the road, and it gets much quieter.
Now, the path leads past small wooden boathouses, farms, and cute cows wearing cowbells around their necks. A bit further along comes Rixner Alm, a traditional Bavarian guesthouse from where you have a beautiful view of the small island in the lake.
Shortly after Rixner Alm, you see a sign pointing to the “Erlebnispfad/Barefoot trail.” DO NOT FOLLOW that trail, as it is NOT wheelchair accessible at all! Instead, just stay on the main course with the bike trail sign.
After a short incline crossing the train tracks, the trail continues along the west shore towards Schliersee Campground. So, now comes the part where I honestly wasn’t sure if my Permobil F5 Corpus VS would be powerful enough to climb the steep, 30 m long Freudenberg incline (26 % !). But, of course, it was – in full speed mode and without stopping! However, manual wheelchair users will definitely need help.
Because of that massive incline, I would recommend taking the round course counterclockwise for those confident enough in their wheelchair brakes. Once on top, the round path leads right back down. It continues through a forest for a short while, taking you back along the picturesque lake promenade to the starting point at Vitalwelt.
A wheelchair-friendly hiking trail at Lake Spitzingsee
As we arrived in Schliersee early, we still had time for another wheelchair-friendly hiking trail higher up in the mountains. Lake Spitzingsee is only a short 15-min drive away (11 km/6.8 mi). The beautiful alpine lake at an elevation of 1084 m (3556 ft) is one of the largest mountain lakes in Bavaria. You can park right at the lakeshore in the large parking area for a fee of 5 EUR per day. Note that there are no handicap parking spots and, unfortunately, no accessible restrooms either.
A 3.2 km (1.99 mi) long hiking trail takes you around Lake Spitzingsee in about an hour. The mainly graveled path is flat and easy to roll on. However, some parts are a bit rough, so it is undoubtedly a good idea for manual wheelchair users to bring someone to help. Being out in nature is one of my biggest joys, and it is a great pleasure to be able to “hike” on a trail accessible to everyone. Here are some impressions of the wheelchair-accessibility of Spitzingsee.
Summing up, the well-maintained trails leading around Lake Schliersee and Lake Spitzingsee are fully wheelchair-accessible. Whether you decide to see Schliersee or Spitzingsee, plenty of viewpoints and stunning landscapes are waiting for you. While most parts of the pathways are easy to drive on, some inclines are steep, so come with family or friends.