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Hike and bike the Black Forest with a Cicerone guidebook - Introduction

Cover of Hiking and Biking in the Black Forest
20 Jan 2014
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.9cm
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Hiking and Biking in the Black Forest

by Kat Morgenstern
Book published by Cicerone Press

Hiking and Biking in the Black Forest describes day walks, multi-stage treks and 5 cycle routes covering the north, central and southern regions of Germany's Black Forest. Easy routes for families and multi-day journeys to explore the many forests, villages, castles and hills near Strasbourg, Baden-Baden, Freiburg and Basle.

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The Black Forest is a destination for romantics. Charming villages offer comfortable accommodation, exquisite local cuisine and excellent wines. For walkers and cyclists, it also boasts an extensive trail system, exploring not just the peaks but the rolling dales, deep gorges and rocky outcrops, easily accessed by an excellent public transport network.

This area of southern Germany is a perfect blend of rich cultural heritage and beautiful ancient landscapes. Days spent in these mountains, forests, gorges and dales offer fairy-tale adventures among castles and medieval villages. From the Panorama Path above Baden-Baden to the 240km Southern Black Forest Bicycle Trail, this guide explores the very best of this popular region.

The Black Forest is a hillwalker's dream. The terrain is so varied that walkers and hikers of all ages and abilities can find a suitable walk to enjoy. The walks described in this book range from easy to hard, some routes are quite long and require stamina, for others sure-footedness is required.

The sparsely populated southern region is often thought of as the most beautiful part of the Black Forest. It has the highest mountains, deepest gorges and biggest lakes. It is perfect hillwalking terrain, with trails varying from forestry roads to field tracks and little paths far off the beaten track. The geography of the central Black Forest is surprisingly diverse, the western edges are draped in vineyards and orchards, while the eastern plateau forms an expanse of rolling hills that makes for easy walking and thanks to its height, offers fabulous long-distance views. The northern Black Forest is dominated by narrow valleys and dark, tall firs. Yet even here there is surprising variation and many wonderful walks.

Germany has a huge cycle trail network that covers the entire country. The routes described in this book are suitable for regular touring bikes. Most cycle paths are paved and in good condition. If you don't want to bother taking your bike over to the Black Forest, there are many places where you can rent bikes for a day or more.

  • includes 15 day walks, 3 multi-stage treks, 4 day-long cycle routes and the Southern Black Forest Cycle Route
  • illustrated with original, detailed, contour mapping
  • packed with practical information on local facilities and transport options
  • Activities
    walking, trekking, biking, cycle touring
  • Seasons
    The best times to do these routes are spring, when the fruit trees and wildflowers are in bloom and autumn, when the hillsides are aglow with autumn colours (April/May through October). Vineyard trails or walks in the Kaiserstuhl can be done year round.
  • Centres
    Northern Black Forest: Baiersbronn, Bad Wildbad, Enztal, Gernsbach, Baden-Baden; Central Black Forest: Ortenau, Ottenhöfen, Bühlertal, Kinzigtal, Elztal, Waldkirch, Schwarzwald-Baar, Kaiserstuhl; Southern Black Forest: Freiburg, Margkgräfler Land (Margraves' Land), Hochschwarzwald, Hinterzarten, Titisee, Schluchsee, Todtnau
  • Difficulty
    Ideal terrain for beginning and intermediate hill walkers. Some routes are long and require good stamina, but almost all trails can be shortened if need be, as buses and trains are never far away. No technical difficulties, although many sections are on narrow forest paths and some may slope steeply on one side. Walkers should be sure-footed and vertigo free.
  • Must See
    Schluchtensteig, Westway, Zweitälersteig, Murgleiter, Wutachschschlucht, Feldberg, Belchen, Mummelsee, Titsee, Schluchsee, Kaltenbronner Hochmoor, Triberg waterfalls, Zweribachfalls, Battert Felsen, Karlsruher Grat, Kaiserstuhl, Allerheiligen waterfalls and Abbey ruins, Staufen castle, Sauschwänzlebahn, source of the Danube

Oct 2017

Page 87

There has been quite a big landslide last year, between Bad Boll and Dietfurt (stage 2), just after Tannegger Waterfall. Due to the fact that the hillside is still unstable it has been decided to re-route the trail to the other side of the river:

After passing Tannegger Waterfall cross the 'Fritz-Hockenjos bridge’ and continue to Schattenmühle on the other side of the river.


Plants and wildlife
Getting there
Getting around
Food and drink
When to go
What to take
Dangers and annoyances
Navigation and signage
Using this guide
Southern Black Forest
The walks
Walk 1 Feldbergsteig – Black Forest’s highest peak
Walk 2 Belchen – Sacred mountain of the Celts
Walk 3 High above Münstertal
Walk 4 Panorama trail around Schönberg
Walk 5 In the heart of Margrave’s Land – Wiiwegli and Bettlerpfad
Walk 6 Schluchtensteig
Stage 1 Stühlingen to Blumberg
Stage 2 Blumberg to Schattenmühle
Stage 3 Schattenmühle to Aha
Stage 4 Aha to St Blasien
Stage 5 St Blasien to Todtmoos
Stage 6 Todtmoos to Wehr
The ride
Ride 1 Southern Black Forest Cycle Trail
Stage 1 Hinterzarten to Bonndorf
Stage 2 Bonndorf to Waldshut
Stage 3 Waldshut to Rheinfelden
Stage 4A Rheinfelden to Bad Bellingen via Basle
Stage 4B Rheinfelden to Bad Bellingen via Kandern
Stage 5 Bad Bellingen to Hinterzarten
Central Black Forest
The walks
Walk 7 Kaiserstuhl rim route
Walk 8 Edelfrauengrab and Karlsruher Grat
Walk 9 Above Renchtal
Walk 10 To the source of the Danube
Walk 11 Zweribachfalls and Vosges chapel
Walk 12 Zweitälersteig
Stage 1 Waldkirch to Kandel (or St Peter)
Stage 2 Kandel to Simonswald
Stage 3 Simonswald to Oberprechtal
Stage 4 Oberprechtal to Höhenhäuser
Stage 5 Höhenhäuser to Waldkirch
The rides
Ride 2 Kaiserstuhl Radweg
Ride 3 Kinzigtal Radweg – Alpirsbach to Offenburg
Northern Black Forest
The walks
Walk 13 Romantic circuit above Baden-Baden
Walk 14 Sasbachwalden idyll
Walk 15 Upland moors (Hornisgrinde)
Walk 16 Kaltenbronn Moor
Walk 17 Großes Loch and Teufelsmühle
Walk 18 Seensteig
Stage 1 Baiersbronn to Mitteltal
Stage 2 Mitteltal to Schliffkopf
Stage 3 Schliffkopf to Mummelsee
Stage 4 Mummelsee to Schönmünzach
The rides
Ride 4 Enztal Radweg – Gompelscheuer to Pforzheim
Ride 5 Nagold Radweg – Nagold to Pforzheim
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Glossary of useful terms
Appendix C Further information


A flower-strewn Black Forest meadow in spring

The Black Forest could well be described as the epitome of picture-book Germany: ancient castles perched high above small towns with quaint old timber-frame buildings, ancient wooden farmhouses sat on the side of forest-clad hills, flower-strewn mountain meadows that make cows happy and fat, tiny wayfarer’s chapels inviting the weary traveller to linger for a while and take in the views, hidden gorges and impressive waterfalls, serene forests with raspberries and blueberries galore, and bald, sub-alpine mountain tops with panoramic views stretching as far as the Alps and the Vosges. An extensive trail network covers 24,000km of well-marked routes providing endless possibilities for exploring this beautiful region.

As a medium-sized mountain range, or Mittelgebirge as Germans call it, the Black Forest is not a destination for peak-baggers, but the perfect place for romantics. Instead of trying to impress with superlative landscapes it seduces the visitor with its unpretentious charm and authenticity rooted in age-old traditions and colourful heritage.

There are few places that manage to blend so well an old-world charm, which lets you forget the troubles of the modern world, with a superb and well-maintained infrastructure providing all the conveniences to which we have grown accustomed.

And yet, the Black Forest has a lot more to offer than just pastoral peace and quiet. Blessed with an abundance of curative hot springs it has been an oasis for ‘wellness’ seekers since pre-Roman times. Spa tourism culminated during the 18th and 19th century. Back then only the rich could afford such luxuries, but today they are affordable for anyone. What could be more restorative than to relax in a pool of hot soothing waters after a long day’s walk?

If you like walking for pleasure, enjoy the harmonious interplay between nature and culture, appreciate fresh produce and regional specialities, and value a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed, you will love the Black Forest.

Last, but not least, the Black Forest is a budget-friendly destination. Contrary to popular belief, Germany is one of the least expensive countries in Western Europe, yet offers some of the highest standards of infrastructure, quality and service.

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