Wendelstein Cave

Useful Information

Location: 100 m below the summit of the Wendelstein, on the southern side. 5 minutes from the top station of the rack railway.
A8 exit Irschenberg, B472 10 km to Miesbach, B307 to Osterhofen near Bayrischzell, take Seilbahn (cable car).
A93 exit Brannenburg, take Wendelstein-Zahnradbahn (rack railway) from Flintsbach am Inn.
Bayerische Alpen (Bavarian Alps) or Schlierseer Alpen (Schliersee Alps). (Kat.-nr.1279/1) (86,Mf62)
Open: Depends on snow, normally MAY-OCT daily 10-17. [2011]
Fee: Adults EUR 2. Automatically revolving door, bring coin!
Zahnradbahn: Adults EUR 27.50, Children (6-15) EUR 13.50, Families (2+n) EUR 59.50.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 26, Children (6-15) EUR 10.
Groups (40+): Adults EUR 22.50.
Seilbahn: Adults EUR 17.50, Children (6-15) EUR 12.30, Families (2+n) EUR 40.20.
Groups (15+): Adults EUR 17, Children (6-15) EUR 9.50.
Groups (40+): Adults EUR 15.50.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave horizontal cave, Trias (Wettersteinkalk)
Light: LightLED Lighting
Dimension: L=523 m, VR=97 m, A=1,711 m asl
Entrance Hall: H=17 m, T=3 °C.
Guided tours: D=45 min, L=440 m, St=164, V=20,000/a [2005].
Bibliography: Peter Hofmann (2005): Mensch & Höhle - Wege im Inntal, Ein anthropospeläologischer Exkursionsführer zu den Höhlen des unteren Inntales zwischen Rosenheim und Kufstein. BOD-Verlag, Norderstedt, Mai 2005 ISBN 3-8334-2811-2. (Deutsch - German)
Address: Wendelsteinbahn GmbH, Kerschelweg 30, 83098 Brannenburg, Tel: +49-8034-3080, Fax: +49-8034-308106. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1864 discovered by a mountaineer from Bayrischzell.
1882 explored by Prof. Dr. Max Kleiber.
1883 report published by Baumann.
1886 report published by Ratzel.
1921 opened to the public, electric light.
1922 first survey by the newly founded Gesellschaft für Höhlenkunde from München (Munich).
1962 renovation of paths and electric light, artificial entrance tunnel.
1994 new cave passages discovered by the Verein für Höhlenkunde München (Caving Club Munich).
2010 installation of new LED light system and several multimedia stations.


The Wendelsteinhöhle (Wendelstein Cave) is probably the most extraordinary show cave of Germany, just because of its exposed location. It is located inside the summit on a mountain, at a height of more than 1,700 m, and thus an alpine cave. It is a so-called fissure cave, a narrow gorge formed along a vertical fissure in the rock, with impressive erosional forms, but no big chambers and no speleothems. Located in the fossil-rich Triassic Wettersteinkalk, the cave walls show fossils at various locations, which were uncovered by erosion.

The Wendelstein summit may be reached in three different ways: by cable car, by rack railroad or by foot. The cave is exceptionally good to reach if one takes one of the inclines, only two minutes walk to the cave entrance. The entrance fee is payed by throwing a coin into the automatically revolving door, then the visitor is free to enter the cave self-guided. The natural cave is reached by an entrance tunnel, 82 steps lead down to the level of the main passage. In 2010 the tour was redesigned, the electric light was replaced by a modern LED light system, and the cave was equipped with four multimedia kiosks. The offer information on the topics geology, biology, psychology, and philosophy. This project was aided by the European Community.

The natural entrance of the cave is located at the foot of southeastern wall of the summit, but it is not safe due to rockfall. But it is easy to reach the entrance from inside the cave, turning right at the end of the tunnel the path ends after 30 m in the entrance hall. With a 17 m high ceiling, this chamber is rather impressive, the eye looks up the steep slope to the east looking entrance portal. This place is the deepest point of the cave, cold air flowing into the cave during winter is trapped here. The air keeps cols all the year, even on the hottest days it does not rise above the freezing point. Melting water in spring, which reaches this place, freezes and forms all kind of fantastic sculptures, which stay during most of the summer.

Even more interesting is the other end of the main passage. At first it is wide and about three meters high. This part shows a heavy air circulation and is thus almost as cold as the entrance hall. But the character changes, th passage becomes narrow and up to 15 m high. After 170 m the path ends in the dome. Despite its name, this is not a chamber, but the crossing between different passages. The temperature in this part of the cave is 3 °C.

The main question in this exceptional karst cave is: how could it be formed on top of a mountain? The answer is simple: it was not, it was formed millions of years ago before this became a mountain. When this area looked like a hill country, at the beginning of the Alpine orogeny, the cave was formed by water from an catchment area to the west and south. It drained to the east, about 1,200 m above the Inn valley of today. The northern rim of the Alps was uplifted continually for millions of years. At the same time the erosion and the rivers cut into the rocks. The surface was lifted too, mountain ridges formed, but the valleys more or less stayed at the altitude they were before. However, soon after this process had started the cave became dry and cave formation ended.