The Westweg is one of Germany's oldest and greatest long distance treks, set up by the ambitious Schwarzwaldverein, or Black Forest Association. Their plans to entice walkers to Germany came to fruition at the turn of the last century and in 1900 the Westweg was completed. Here is everything you need to know about this ideal first time trek.
Where is it and how far is it?
The Westweg, or Westway, runs for 285km from Pforzheim to Basel through the Black Forest of southwest Germany. This scenic trek passes through the new Schwarzwald National Park, the source of the Danube and Feldburg, the highest peak in the Black Forest. There is also a choice of a western route or an eastern route once you get to Lake Titisee.
Apart from the ever-changing blend of forest, farmland and pretty villages, the Black Forest is an incredibly welcoming destination for trekkers. The Black Forest Association aimed to provide tourists with a trek through as many of the regions highlights as possible - great news for us. There are around 23,000km of well maintained paths, a very efficient public transport system and ideally placed benches huts and inns, as well as many options for luggage-free walking. All in all it makes an excellent infrastructure for Westweg trekkers.
Why should you walk it?
When should you go?
The best time to trek the Westweg is between April and October. It is likely that much of the route would be passable in March or November but the choice of hotels and restaurants along the route would be very limited during the off-season. The weather and daylight are also more forgiving in the spring and summer months.
Where should you stay?
There are a good number of places to stay along the route and hotels that are further away from the Westweg itself may offer shuttle services. However, this is a busy area and pre-booking is strongly advisable. Basic shelter huts can be used if you are 'in need' but these are similar to bothies and should not be relied upon. Kat Morgenstern's guidebook contains an accommodation listing, although it is not exhaustive.
The 360° views around Schliffkopf are fabulous and, because it is a strictly protected area, you may spot wood grouse, grass snakes and European adders if you can draw your eyes away from the horizon.
Oh, and the cake.
More Information about the Westweg:
The guidebook to trekking the Westweg by Kat Morgenstern
Hiking and Biking in the Black Forest, also by Kat Morgenstern
Have you walked the Westweg?
Let us know your favourite part of the walk, or send us your best Westweg photo, and receive a discount on your next purchase.
Feature · 4 Jun 2015
Jonathan Williams, Cicerone’s Publisher, and Lesley Williams, Cicerone’s Marketing Director, open the lid on some of their secrets for trekking with a light rucksack but still taking everything you need to be comfortable. You can download their checklist here. Why not share your own top tips with the Cicerone Extra readership?