The Kocher-Jagst cycle path is a wonderful route along the Kocher and Jagst Rivers in Baden-Württemberg. It takes you along charming paths, far away from crowds, through the beautiful countryside of the Ostalb, Hohenlohe, and Heilbronn. The ADFC (German Cyclists’ Federation) awarded the route 4 out of 5 stars in 2014, and deservedly so.
The Kocher and Jagst rivers both spring in the Ostalb, only a few kilometres apart, near the town of Aalen. They flow in the Neckar near Bad Friedrichshall at almost the same point. This unique geography means you can ride a loop through natural river valleys and to impressive historic sites, with just a few climbs.
On the way, you can stop at medieval towns to take a well-earned rest and wander streets lined with charming half-timbered houses. The nature and history are wonderful in this region. Picturesque meadows extend from the banks of the rivers to thick forests below rolling hills. Magnificent palaces and castles tower high above, backdropped by this wonderful scenery, and waiting to be explored by you.
In this Collection, I’ve divided the 330-kilometre (205-mile) route into six pleasant stages. If you are short on time or if the route is too long for you, there are numerous possibilities to shorten it. The larger towns en route have rail connections so you can, for example, only cycle along one of the rivers from Aalen to Bad Friedrichshall and the return by train. Alternatively, you can use the 13 cross-country cycle paths between Kocher and Jagst to explore the landscapes in less time.
You will find plenty of accommodation along the route in both larger towns and villages. Numerous guesthouses and inns can be found close to nature, offering a particularly idyllic overnight stay. You also don’t need to carry much food in your panniers as you will be spoiled by the regional cuisine and home-cooked delicacies everywhere you go. In the Heilbronner Land, Germany’s first red wine region, dinner is served with a full glass.
If you want to extend your adventure, you can combine the Kocher-Jagst cycle path with the Neckar cycle path (komoot.de/collection/522) or a detour into the lovely Tauber valley (komoot.de/collection/804).
The circular route on the Kocher-Jagst cycle path starts in the former free imperial city of Aalen. Thanks to the good connection to public transport, you can easily take the train to the starting point. From there it goes 46 kilometers mostly downhill to Gaildorf.From Aalen you cycle north to Hüttlingen, where you turn west and drive through the picturesque Kochertal. The cycle path meanders through the valley following the course of the river. In many places you roll right next to the bank of the Kocher, on other sections you drive through a beautiful landscape with a lot of forest, lush meadows and above all a lot of pure nature.On the way on the bike path, one or the other unusual highlight awaits you, such as the "quiet room", in which you can take time to switch off, enjoy nature or simply take a break. When running at the Kocher you have the opportunity to switch to a bicycle trolley or at least take a look at the extraordinary vehicle.After you passed the Kocher after Sulzbach-Laufen, you head straight for the Gaildorf. Many charming restaurants and the old castle tempt you to take another break here.Immediately after Gaildorf you can look forward to two small climbs, which then end in a rapid, last descent to Schwäbisch Hall. As soon as you drive into the city following the stove, you have a picture book view of the old town. The market square is one of the most beautiful in Germany and the church of St. Michael impresses with the staircase on which the open-air plays take place every year. Nice street cafes and restaurants make the beautiful medieval Schwäbisch Hall a perfect stage destination.
Freshly rested, you continue your journey the next morning at the stove and follow its loops, which it pulls through the beautiful valley. Shortly before Braunsbach, one of the most impressive structures in Germany opens up in front of you: the Kochertal Bridge. It is the largest bridge of its kind in all of Germany and impresses with its enormous height. As a cyclist, you suddenly feel tiny when you drive under it.In Braunsbach you then have the opportunity to switch to a canoe and continue your journey on the water. As a special service, your bike will be brought to the exit point. The bike path itself is also beautiful, so you can just continue cycling as usual until you arrive in Künzelsau. Here you can take a break and spend, for example, in the free outdoor stove with pool directly on the river.The Kocher-Jagst cycle path winds its way from Künzelsau to the wine village of Forchtenberg. A stay in the pretty town of course also includes a glass or two of wine before you sink comfortably into the pillows.
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From Forchtenberg, the Kocher-Jagst cycle path always brings you close to the river through the beautiful wine landscape of the Heilbronner Land. Lush forests on shallow hills and idyllic green meadows that extend next to the bike path are part of the landscape again on this stage.On the way to the stage destination, you will repeatedly come across tranquil places where you can comfortably rest and stop, such as the pretty Neustadt am Kocher with its charming half-timbered houses.In the stage destination Bad Friedrichshall you can use the rest of the day to go canoeing on one of the three rivers Kocher, Jagst or Neckar, which all converge here nearby. Alternatively, you can also make a detour to the Neckar Valley Cycle Path before following the Jagst upstream on the Kocher-Jagst Cycle Path the next day.
In Bad Friedrichshall you say goodbye to the Kocher, which flows into the Neckar here, and in Jagstfeld, a few hundred meters away, welcome the Jagst, which also unites with the Neckar there. From today you are on the way back to the starting point Aalen and follow the Jagst upstream, which means that on this stage from Bad Friedrichshall to Dörzbach it is easy and continuously uphill.Behind Jagstfeld, the cycle path meanders through the picturesque Jagsttal and passes beautiful places, including Möckmühl. In Möckmühl you have already cycled over half of the stage, which is why the beautiful city is ideal for resting. In a medieval ambience you can fortify yourself in one of the numerous cafés and restaurants.After you have cycled further sweeping loops through the tranquil Jagsttal, you have already reached Jagsthausen. Here you can not only follow in the footsteps of the Romans and admire the remains of a Roman bath in the open-air museum, but also marvel at the Götzenburg, which was the ancestral castle of the von Berlichingens.Immediately after Jagsthausen you cycle through Berlichingen, where you can learn more about the Berlichingens and especially the knight Götz von Berlichingen. Afterwards you drive past Schöntal Abbey, where you can take a break and visit the impressive facility. Then you continue through the pretty landscape in the Jagsttal and through tranquil places such as Westernhausen and Krautheim, before you reach the stage destination Dörzbach.
Starting from Dörzbach, the first thing you cycle through the nature reserve St. Wendel zum Stein. Beautiful nature with dense forests and steep rocks awaits you here. You will also pass one or the other pilgrimage chapel, which you can visit with a little rest.It continues in several turns through the valley, which is lined with lovely wooded hills, to Bächlingen, a district of Langenburg. A detour to the city is worthwhile, because in contrast to Bächlingen it is on the height and from there you have a wonderful view of the Jagsttal. Langenburg also attracts with many cozy cafes, restaurants and its beautiful castle.From Bächlingen, the Kocher-Jagst cycle path winds its way further south-east through the beautiful Jagst valley. For the next few kilometers to Crailsheim, the cycle path meanders through the dreamy, narrow valley. At the beginning you usually drive along the Jagst and cross the river on impressive old bridges. Later, the bike path deviates a little from the river and leads you over beautiful hills, which in many places offer you a beautiful view of the valley and the surrounding villages.In Crailsheim you have reached the destination of the stage and have earned a cozy evening in the beautiful city and one of the many cafés or restaurants.
From Crailsheim, today's start of the stage, the landscape of the Jagst Valley changes a little. The valley is more open and wider and it no longer goes uphill, but almost flat to Ellwangen. Here you can stroll through the pretty old town with a first break and discover the beautiful houses with their magnificent facades.From Ellwangen you drive on the fairly flat bike path along the Jagst until you come to the Bucher reservoir, where the river has been dammed into a lake with 27 hectares of water. The lake invites you to swim on the long sandy beach. If you are interested in birds, you will get your money's worth in the nearby bird sanctuary “Vorbecken Buch”.After you have thoroughly enjoyed the lake, your ride continues on the Kocher-Jagst cycle path. As soon as you discover the Kapfenburg on its hill, you can prepare yourself for the upcoming ascent, because shortly afterwards it goes quite steeply up to the height. Here you cycle for a few kilometers on a plateau through cool forests and wide meadows until you leave it with a rapid descent and then roll comfortably on the sloping bike path to the finish of the bike tour to Aalen.Here you can end the day in the beautiful city, for example by paying a visit to the market square and letting the ambience work on you in one of the cozy street cafes. Do not be confused by the Aalen spy, who comfortably smokes his pipe in the old town hall tower and watches over the city of Aalen. He only enjoys his fame there as a folk hero and is just a statue anyway.With great memories of the six-day tour and countless stories about folk heroes and legends in your luggage, you can then comfortably start your journey home from Aalen Central Station.