For some reason, I suddenly felt like hiking 😁. So I quickly opened komoot, looked for long-distance hiking trails in the south of Germany, planned my stages, packed my rucksack and, the very next morning, I was on the train heading to the Black Forest 🥳.
In the very south, close to the border with Switzerland, the Albsteig begins (not to be confused with its counterpart of the same name in the Swabian Jura). The trail runs 83.3 kilometres (51.7 miles) and 2,722 metres (8,930 feet) in altitude along the Alb River from Albbruck municipality in the Rhine Valley to the Feldberg, the highest peak in the Black Forest. On the way, you pass rocky gorges with numerous waterfalls, many beautiful vantage points over the sea of firs and small, idyllic Black Forest villages.
I walked almost the whole way, but skipped the last bit from Bernau back to Sankt Blasien, especially as there is a diversion there at the moment. I also skipped the small detour via the hydroelectric power station and past the community of Häusern on the second stage. This way, a large part of the Tour can be hiked with challenging, but doable stages in three days. If you prefer to walk at a more leisurely pace, you can walk the route the classic way in five days.
All in all, I found the trail quite scenic and the routing is also very good in many places. You often follow small paths and trails rather than forest roads (although these are still used by the route). Aside from one or two steep climbs, there are no difficult sections on the Albsteig. I had the first stage from Albbruck to Immeneich almost completely to myself. Around Menzenschwand and Feldberg, there were a few more people but still not many (especially as I hiked the trail during the week in low season).
Day 1 of 3 on the Black Forest Albsteig! This first day was undoubtedly my highlight in terms of landscape, especially since the route led a lot over small hiking trails and paths and I met next to no human being on the way.After the morning fog cleared, I was able to walk happily in front of me in wonderful autumn weather. Sometimes amazed at the great views into the Alb valley and then again over the Alb itself, and how it makes its way through the wild valley - sometimes splashing, sometimes rustling, sometimes bubbling and sometimes falling.Otherwise, I was somehow particularly taken with the numerous mushrooms along the way on this stage 🥰 🍄. And the dipper, which I was able to observe for a while searching for food in the Alb. An all-round successful day!
On the second day, the longest stage of my tour was waiting for me, which I shortened by a few kilometers at one point so as not to arrive at my accommodation in Menzenschwand in the dark. Even today, the Albsteig held many aah and ooh moments in store - the view from the Bildstein rock, for example, the Albstausee surrounded by autumn trees or, of course, the Windberg Gorge near Sankt Blasien 😍.However, the density of forest roads was a little higher than the day before, which is why I liked this stage a little less overall (that's already complaining at a fairly high level 😉).Incidentally, I was only right to complain at the very beginning of the tour during the steep ascent from Immeneich up to the ridges around the Albtal. Not because of the altitude difference, but because the ascent could be done in places in the deep furrows of some monster forest machine 🥴.All in all, this section of the Albsteig is definitely recommended and I really enjoyed the day (and my feet too ... at least up to the 25-kilometer mark or so 😃).
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I really liked the Menzenschwander Valley the day before (which was perhaps also due to the golden autumn evening sun that shone on it). Behind Menzenschwand it got even nicer, even if the fog was getting thicker and the first drizzle soon set in. So I couldn't see the Feldberg, which is otherwise a great view from there.On the steep ascent to Feldberg (the place) the drizzle turned to snow - my first snow of the season, yay !!! Nothing was left lying around, but the weather gave the barren forest, moor and meadow landscape a very special atmosphere up there. It didn't matter that I really didn't see anything from the 1,415 meter high summit of the Herzogenhorn (= second highest peak in the Black Forest).From there it went slowly but steadily downhill to Bernau in the Black Forest, where I got on the bus. The Albsteig would actually lead back to Sankt Blasien from here, but I didn't have enough time for this last section (although this part of the trail is currently being rerouted anyway and I would not have been able to follow the original).My conclusion on the tour and a few more information about the hiking trail can be found in the description of my Albsteig Black Forest Collection 👉 komoot.de/collection/1050754/-herbsttour-auf-dem-schwarzwaelder-albsteig