We cross the village square in Eschenlohe, and to our right is the St. Clemens Church. We follow the trail signs for “Oberau” and “Katzental”, pass the cemetery, walk through an underpass and follow the trail sign straight ahead in the direction of Oberau. Now we are walking through open terrain, and the trail leads us to a farmstead, past “Höllenstein”. We continue to follow the signage for “Oberau”, cross a little torrent and always walk straight ahead. A little waterfall cascades to our left, and the moss-covered trees offer a bizarre sight. At the next two forks in the trail we always keep to the left. We always stay on the forest road and follow the trail signs to Oberau, until shortly before the Oberau swimming pool a footpath branches off to the right across a little bridge. We pass the bridge, come across a narrow road and follow it downhill. In the valley we come past two farms and cross the Gießenbach stream after that. At the next crossroad we walk to the right along the footpath, and then pass a sawmill. Where the footpath stops, we continue walking on the side of the road and branch off to the right at the second street, Höfelestraße, by Gästehaus Mack. We follow Höfelestraße until it forks and walk to the right. Shortly after that we come to the Ettal Road (Ettaler Straße), which we cross (caution: traffic!) and now follow the trail sign for “Alte Ettaler Straße” (“Old Ettal Road”). At first we keep to the left and then to the right again. The trail winds as a path along the stream and eventually becomes narrower. Where the path stops, a footbridge leads across the stream, and on the other side we walk to the right again on a gravel path. A short time later we cross the stream once again, and now we are on the “Old Ettal Road”. At the next fork in the trail this leads to the right, but we follow the trail on the left. It leads us a stretch along the stream, and soon this oldest mule track and trail known as “Kienbergstraße” branches off to the right. A stele awaits us at the beginning of this oldest connection between Oberau and Ettal. In the event of fresh snow during the winter, it can be that Kienbergstraße is not groomed, and then it is better that we take the “Old Ettal Road”.
Stele 12: Old and Oldest Ettal Road Kienbergstraße leads uphill through the forest and indicates how arduous and dangerous the transport with pack animals and waggons was here long ago. The trail eventually leads to the “Old Ettal Road”. We follow the road and arrive at the new Ettal mountain road, which we must cross (caution: traffic!). We take the gravel path on the opposite side and follow it uphill. We come upon old Way of the Cross stations and a wayside shrine with Madonna and Child. Immediately after the first houses in Ettal we turn right onto the “Alte Bergstraße” (“Old Mountain Road”), which leads over a ridge trail as far as Oberammergau. We come upon an educational forest trail that we always follow. In the meantime, we repeatedly have charming views of Ettal and the monastery complex. We finally come upon Stele No. 12 of the Ammergau Alps Meditation Trail that leads from Oberammergau to Ettal. Now the circular route concludes here, and at long last the trails meet here. At the next fork in the trail we now have the choice as to whether we branch off to the left towards Ettal or stay on the ridge trail and continue hiking towards Oberammergau. Opportunity for refreshments and overnight accommodation: Klosterhotel Ludwig der Bayer (no closing day; tel. 0 88 22/91 50; www.ludwig-der-bayer.de).