From the lowest natural landmark to the highest – when I heard about this idea, I was keen to test it out in Germany’s 16 states. Of course, the Tours in Germany are not quite as tough as the Badwater Ultramarathon in the USA, which leads from Death Valley to Mount Whitney and is based on the Lowest to Highest principle. However, that depends on how you plan them.
I've laid out the 16 routes as walking itineraries. They can be completed on consecutive days or in several small adventures. Except for the Zugspitze, all destinations are also accessible by bike. I’m curious how you interpret this idea for yourself.
To help you to plan your route individually, you can find the landmarks separately in this Collection.
If you don't see the landmarks in the overview map at the top of the Collection, scroll down once and then up again, then they should load and appear.
Whenever you complete one of the L2H routes and upload it to komoot, you can tag me as a participant in the Tour. This way, I can collect the Tours in a separate Collection and we can all find more ways to connect the dots as well as the highlights on each route.
Determining the highest points was quite easy, but the lowest ones were sometimes a real challenge. Even the state surveying offices often couldn't always help as some of the lowest natural landmarks were not accessible such as open-pit mines or the bottom of lakes and rivers. Nonetheless, I have researched and chosen, to the best of my knowledge, the lowest points. If you find a lower point – please let me know! Don’t get hung up if the elevations listed on komoot vary slightly from the official ones. I also have a few question marks, but I checked everything several times.
Many thanks to Verena Wessel and the komoot team who supported me with my research and preparation!
If you fancy it, feel free to share the idea of L2H routes in Germany with others. I think they might be able to find some inspiration in the idea too.
Best regards and I wish you unforgettable moments out there,
I’d also be happy if you listen to my podcast FREI RAUS or check out my website: christofoerster.com.
The starting point of this L2H hike in Brandenburg is in the Lower Oder Valley National Park, right on the border with Poland, near Gartz on the Oder. Halfway through the route leads through the east of Berlin, before you reach the highest point in Brandenburg after 281 kilometers - the Kutschenberg at 201 meters. The route is characterized by a lot of untouched nature and numerous lakes, also because it partly follows the “66 lakes hiking trail”.
The lowest point in Berlin and thus the starting point of this L2H hike is in the east of Berlin, in Spandau on the Großer Spektesee. The route then continues through Charlottenburg, the Tiergarten, to the Victory Column, as it should be in Berlin, through the Brandenburg Gate, through Kreuzberg, along the Landwehr Canal, through Treptower Park, Volkspark Wuhlheide and through Köpenick, until you reach the Müggelsee Müggelberg hiking. At 114.4 meters, it is the highest natural elevation in Berlin. With a route length of 45.6 kilometers, this route can also be mastered in one day.
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The starting point of this hike is at the lowest point in Baden-Württemberg in the Rheinufer nature reserve near Ballauf-Wilhelmswörth, north of Mannheim (85 meters high). The route then leads through Karlsruhe and past Freiburg and ends at the highest point in the state: on the Feldberg with its 1,493 meters above sea level (only 1,480 meters are displayed in the elevation profile on Komoot, don't let that confuse you). Since the route is quite long at 259 kilometers, it makes sense to divide it into several daily stages. There are a few shelters along the way.
The starting point of this L2H tour is in Bremerhaven and leads over 38.7 kilometers to the highest natural elevation in Bremen in Friedehorstpark (32.5 meters high). You can do this tour in one or two days. It offers a great opportunity to get to know the state of Bremen better and to explore new paths.
This L2H hike begins at the lowest point in Hamburg in the Neuenfelde district and ends just 15.8 kilometers further on the Hasselbrack in the Rosengarten state forest. The Hasselbrack is the highest natural elevation in Hamburg at 116.2 meters. The hike leads through the Fischbeker Heide, which shines purple in splendid bloom, especially in August.
This L2H hike begins near Emden, right on the border with Holland, where the Ems merges into the North Sea. The destination is the Wurmberg in the Harz Mountains. At 971.2 meters, the Wurmberg is the highest natural land point in Lower Saxony. With a length of 416 kilometers, this hike leads through the entire state. Various shelters are right on the route.
The starting point of this L2H hike is the banks of the Rhine near Lorchhausen, west of Wiesbaden. The route leads 206 kilometers through the Rheingau, partly along the Taunushöhenweg and the Rheinhöhenweg and offers wonderful views. The destination of the hike is the Wasserkuppe in the Fulda district - at 950 meters, the highest point in Hesse.
The lowest point of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and thus the starting point of this L2H route is located directly in the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park, a little bit outside the village of Zingst. The goal is the Helpter Mountains. The wooded hills in the eastern part of the Mecklenburg Lake District stretch up to a maximum height of 179.2 meters. The total length of the route is 170 kilometers.
The starting point of this L2H hike is at Zyfflich on the border with Holland. The route leads through some nature reserves, including Bislicher Insel, Rheinaue and Lippeaue, and runs along the water again and again. Past Recklinghausen and Dortmund it goes (in parts on the picturesque long-distance hiking trail Sauerland-Waldroute) towards the destination. This lies on the Langenberg with its height of 843.2 meters. In total, this tour is 243 kilometers long, so it's best to split it up individually into several stages.
This L2H hike starts at Rolandswerth on the banks of the Rhine, south of Bonn. The route then leads over a total of 146 kilometers up to the Erbeskopf - with a height of 816.3 meters, the highest point in Rhineland-Palatinate. In parts you hike on the long-distance hiking trail Osteifelweg, which leads from Bonn to the Moselkern, the Moselhöhenweg in the Eifel and the Moselsteig.
The route of this L2H hike begins on the Moselle, directly on the border with Luxembourg, on the Saarland circular route. It leads through the Bärenfels nature reserve, along the Saar steep slopes, past the Eisenkopf, through the Saarhölzbachtal, follows the Saar-Hunsrück climb and ends in the Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park on the Dollberg (695.4 meters). The tour is 71 kilometers long and offers many nature reserves and wild nature.
The starting point of this L2H hike is the lowest point in Germany 3.5 meters below sea level on the edge of the small village of Neuendorf-Sachsenbande. The route then leads through Neumünster and to Plöner See, where you hike along the entire northern shore edge. More lakes follow until you reach the highest point in Schleswig-Holstein on the Bungsberg in Schönwalde (167.4 meters). This is not an incredible height, but from here you have a beautiful view over the hills of Holstein Switzerland. The route is 122 kilometers long. You should therefore plan it individually as a multi-day tour.
The starting point of this L2H route is at Wiehe, on the Unstrut flood canal, between Erfurt and Halle an der Saale. The route leads through the wooded ridge, the Hohe Schrecke, and partly follows the Via Regia pilgrimage route, which is part of the German Way of St. James. You walk through Erfurt, then a bit on the hiking trail "From Bach to Goethe" and reach your destination on the Großer Beerberg - at 982.9 meters, the highest point in Thuringia. Incidentally, the Great Beerberg is a remnant of a volcano that was active over 250 million years ago. The route with a total length of 112 kilometers tells a lot of old history, offers varied nature and several meters in altitude.
This L2H route begins in Kahl am Main, on the border with Hesse and not far from Frankfurt am Main. The goal is the highest point in Bavaria, which is also the highest point in Germany: the Zugspitze at 2,962 meters. After climbing many meters of altitude, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Alps. This hike is quite long with a total of 458 kilometers. So you should allow a bit of time to do them in one piece, or break them up into several pieces. You should also keep in mind that the Zugspitze is an alpine peak and therefore cannot be reached on foot all year round. Good planning and self-assessment are necessary, especially for the last few kilometers.
The starting point of this L2H hike is opposite Wittenberge on the banks of the Elbe. This route leads past Wolfsburg into the Harz Mountains, up to the Brocken, the highest point in Saxony-Anhalt at 1141.2 meters. The route is a total of 206 kilometers, so it should be divided into several daily stages.
This L2H hike begins at the Elbe lowlands near the village of Wörblitz, northeast of Leipzig. It leads through the Presseler Heidewald and its moorland, through the Colditz Forest, through Chemnitz and the Ore Mountains to the Fichtelberg, at 1,214.8 meters the highest mountain in Saxony.
In Berlin a distinction is made between the highest natural point and the highest “man-made” point. This one, called Großer Müggelberg, is the highest natural elevation in Berlin. In the meantime, however, there are two other higher elevations, both of which were created in the form of landfills: The Arkenberg and the Teufelsberg.