The best of the Goldsteig in Eastern Bavaria – 6 scenic hikes
© Tourismusverband Ostbayern / Marco Felgenhauer
If you long to take some time out in the largest continuous forest in Central Europe then hiking the Goldsteig Trail is just right for you. On the German side, you explore 660 kilometres (410 miles) of charming mountain ranges, spectacular views, fascinating forests, and river landscapes from the Upper Palatinate Forest to the Bavarian Forest. To give you a taste of the Goldsteig region, we’ve put together six circular Tours which showcase the area’s spectacular diversity, even on a one day hike.
The Goldsteig is the longest and most versatile quality hiking trail in Germany. With the 289-kilometre (179 mile) long Bruderweg (Brother’s Way) in the Czech Republic and many feeder routes, alternative trails and intersecting paths, you can indulge your wanderlust on a total trail network of about 2,000 kilometres (1,242 miles). Five nature parks, the Bavarian Forest National Park and the Šumava National Park are waiting to be discovered.
We have selected six circular Tours for you, each with a different character and varying in distance. From the 5-kilometre (3 mile) casual walk to the challenging 20-kilometre (12.4 mile) hike, there is something for everyone. The pretty landscapes and sights are truly fascinating. The hikes lead through the shaded and green Waldnaab valley and the enchanting Pfreimd valley to mountain ranges with great views and through the heart of pond landscapes that are typical to the region. It goes without saying that our Tours take you past inns and huts where you can tuck into local specialities too.
To help you enjoy the beautiful paths worry-free, we recommend wearing sturdy hiking shoes and bringing waterproof clothing, sufficient drinks and a small snack in your rucksack.
Of course, you can drive to every starting point with your car as parking is available everywhere along the circular Tours. Where possible, we’ve included a link to public transport links in the Tour descriptions too.
So let’s get started! Lace up your shoes and pack your rucksack – the Goldsteig is waiting for you.
This round about nine kilometers long starts at the beautiful market square of Falkenberg. The impressive church of St. Pankratius and the imposing castle enthroned on a huge rock spur give you a picture of Falkenberg's long tradition as a market town.
The uniquely beautiful path takes you a few kilometers along the Waldnaab and you will hardly be able to get enough of the overflowing nature. You will pass impressive and bizarre rock formations that have names such as chamber car, anvil or butter churn. They are the visible results of the erosion activity of the Waldnaab on the Falkenberg granite plateau running here. There is also a fountain that promises eternal youth along the way. However, the water of the Sauerbrunnen is not drinkable and therefore eternal youth remains just a legend.
About halfway through this delightful hike you come to the Waldnaabtal log cabin. The beautiful beer garden is a perfect place for a short break and the guests spoil you with good, down-to-earth cuisine. You are now leaving the Waldnaab and switching to the Main-Mies-Weg. It first leads you to the idyllic Mühlnicklweiher, where you can take a break or take a swim in the lake. It then goes back to Falkenberg through a rustic ravine.
Back in Falkenberg, it is worth visiting one of the three Zoigl rooms. A beer specialty is served there, the production of which goes back to a brewing license from 1476. As a result, the mash is made in an open brewing pan, then distributed to those authorized to brew, who in turn produce individual beers. If you are interested in tasting one of these bottom-fermented and unfiltered beers, you can find out when the opening times are in the bar calendar (oberpfaelzerwald.de/zoigl). Because after a nice hike, a Zoigl tastes particularly good.
If you want to travel by public transport, drive to Wiesau train station, which is on the Regensburg - Hof route, and then take the bus to Falkenberg (fahrmit-tirschenreuth.de/oepnv).
This almost 14-kilometer hiking tour takes you through the magical Pfreimdtal north of Trausnitz. Today the sturdy hiking shoes are a must, because it goes over hill and dale and some provisions should not be missing in your backpack, because there are only places to stop for refreshments in Trausnitz.
You start in Trausnitz with a view of the picturesque castle at the other end of the village, cross the Pfreimd at the reservoir that begins here and enter one of the most beautiful sections of the Goldsteig. The path leads you first past fields and then through an unspoilt landscape formed by the Pfreimd. Narrow paths, only suitable for hikers, accompany the natural bank and you suddenly hear the twittering of birds and the babbling of the small river. An environment to breathe a sigh of relief and relax.
After almost seven kilometers you will reach the imposing Tanzmühle pumped storage plant, one of the three power plants from the Pfreimd power plant group. It was put into operation in 1959 and is mainly used to pump up the influx of the Pfreimd that has collected in the Kainzmühlspeicher to the north.Here you change to the other side of the Pfreimd and hike back again. In the vicinity of Döllnitz you can see the ruins of a bridge through the green wall of leaves that used to connect the villages of Döllnitz and Weinrieth. As far as Trausnitz you hike a wonderful path over hill and dale along the natural river bank. At the right time, you can see the dragonflies that are native here dancing in the air or you can hear the frogs that reside in the water croaking. Finally you reach the Kalvarienberg with its picnic area and from there you have a wonderful view over Trausnitz.
Back in Trausnitz you will find a place to stop for refreshments directly on the hiking trail at the Seehotel Anzer or, a few steps further in the middle of the village, at the “Das Landhaus” inn.
It is possible to take a public bus and it is best to start from Nabburg train station. You can use the BAXI line 8401 (baxi-schwandorf.de/daheim-erleben) on-call buses. But remember to book the on-call bus in advance.
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Today's hike is about 20 kilometers long and perfectly suited to discover the Goldsteig for you. There are inns in Wildstein and Lukahammer on this tour. Take enough drinks and a snack with you anyway, because you will find an endless number of beautiful places along the way that are suitable for an idyllic picnic.
From Lukahammer you first hike on the old Sautreiberweg towards Wildstein. You come through wonderful forest, field and meadow corridors and small pretty places like Wildeppenried, where a visit to the church is not only worthwhile because of the insights into the past. Finally, you will reach the Wildstein summit with the remains of the Burgstall, which are still quite recognizable. At 744 meters, it is the highest point of your today's hike and the view over the sea of forests of the Upper Palatinate Forest is fantastic.
The descent from the Wildstein also offers you wonderful views of the surroundings and you will always find beautiful places to linger, to let the landscape and nature affect you. You continue through an agricultural area to the pretty pilgrimage church of St. Jakob near Fuchsberg, a beautiful little building that is open to visitors every day. And since the Camino de Santiago also passes here, pilgrims can have their stamp entered in the exercise book.
The further path now leads more often through forest areas and the Oberviechtacher Hochholz until you finally arrive back in Lukahammer. If you like, you can have a look at the exhibition in the Hammer Museum and then end the beautiful hike in the nearby Hammerschänke.
It is possible to take a public bus and it is best to start from Nabburg train station. With the on-call bus of the BAXI line 8403 (baxi-schwandorf.de/daheim-erleben) you can then reach the Pirkhof bus stop (bus shelter) in Lukahammer. But remember to book the on-call bus in advance.
The hike around the Brandmoos nature reserve is about eleven kilometers long, has few gradients and is very varied. This round is suitable for all age groups and offers a very special attraction with the nature observation footbridge in Wiesenfelden.
You start at the Waldgasthof Schiederhof and walk past the western end of the Brandmoos nature reserve to Höhenberg. At first it goes mainly through forest and later through agriculturally used, open land.
In Höhenberg you change direction and walk through small hamlets, fields and meadows until you reach Wiesenfelden with its beautiful pond landscape after a few kilometers. The pool pond, which is located directly on site, with its covered wooden bridge is a special attraction for many visitors, as it is a wonderful place to observe nature. If you like, you can deviate from the route here, hike a complete loop around the lake and maybe even stop in one of the restaurants in town.
After you have left Wiesenfelden, you have another nice view of this charming place and the interesting pond landscape. A little later you will see the little church of St. Rupert, which was formerly used for the Stations of the Cross and Passion devotions.
Soon you will have reached the southern boundary of the Brandmoos nature reserve. It is a spring and low moor in a high valley location with large areas of peat moss. The plant community in this nutrient-poor environment differs significantly from the fertile neighborhood, with spreads full of cotton grass or lice and fatty herbs. And again and again you will have wide and wonderful views as far as the Danube valley.
You are now back at the starting point and if you like it, you can indulge yourself in the Waldgasthof Schiederhof with local specialties. Just the right way to round off a beautiful hike.
The Waldgasthof is not directly connected to public transport, but of course there are enough parking spaces if you arrive by car. Alternatively, you can take bus 1005 from Straubing train station to the center of Wiesenfelden and start the hike from there.
Today's hike is about ten kilometers long and leads you through the sea of forest in the area of the Grandsberg near Schwarzach. Take a small picnic with you for this hike, because you will find many places with wonderful views and insights that invite you to take a relaxing break. The sturdy hiking shoes are also part of the equipment today, because some narrow paths sometimes go over hill and dale.
You start at the Grandsberg hiking center and you will soon reach a branch to the Schopf. The small detour to the summit and the 12-meter-high cross is definitely worth it and people still make pilgrimages here for worship at Pentecost.
After descending from the Schopf, you will come across the Mühlgrabenweg and follow it to the Grimmeisenweiher. On nice days the sky is reflected in the black water of this Bavarian Mirror Lake and the enchanted atmosphere invites you to linger. Perhaps the yellow irises or the splendid violet gouges are blooming and complement the picture with cheerful splashes of color.
Now the leisurely ascent to the Hirschenstein, which is only a little steeper in a few places, begins. At an altitude of 1,092 meters you have a magnificent view and you will hardly be able to see enough. On the summit you will find a refuge and several picnic areas, so that you can take the next break here and let this wonderful place affect you.
After the long descent from the Hirschenstein you will reach the Mühlgraben again. It is rightly called one of the most beautiful sections of the Goldsteig or even the Königswanderweg, because the path along the Mühlgraben, which was created in the 18th century for the water supply, is idyllic. Small waterfalls, rocks along the way and lush green ferns in the shady forest line the path and the babbling of the brook accompanies you.
At the Schuhfleck hiking junction, you switch to a forest path and hike back to Grandsberg. Shortly before the place you leave the forest and have a wonderful view of the Danube plain and, if the weather is nice, even as far as the Alps.
In Grandsberg you will find several inns that will pamper you with their specialties and where you can enjoy the beautiful hike again.
Unfortunately, Grandsberg cannot be reached by public transport. But at the hiking center in Grandsberg there are enough parking spaces for those arriving by car.
Today's tour, an approximately five-kilometer-long premium hiking trail with only minor differences in altitude, was originally initiated by Gibacht mountain host and glass artist Ralph Wenzel. Here the sights and wonderful viewpoints are lined up and offer you a small and intensive break in the beautiful Bavarian Forest. The name Gibacht, it is assumed, was developed from the location of the German-Bohemian border, as numerous old smugglers' routes cross the border line and the border crossers always had to expect guards on both sides.
The hike begins at the Gibacht inn and leads through gently sloping terrain to the Pfennig rock. There you will find a small movable door attached to the rock. According to legend, if you put a coin in there, you will always come back healthy to this beautiful place. Relieved by a cent and the concern for your health, you can enjoy the wonderful view of Waldmünchen and the surrounding area for a moment.
On an old smugglers' path, we continue to the state border and the Unterstellhütte at the Drei-Wappen-Felsen. The coats of arms of the Electorate of Bavaria (CB), the Kingdom of Bohemia (KB) and the Duchy of Palatinate (HP) as well as the engraved date 1766 remind of the demarcation of the border between Bavaria and Bohemia at that time.
Hiking on a ridge line, you reach the massive Kreuzfelsen (938 meters) with its summit cross built in 1952. From here you have a magnificent view of the Bavarian Forest and the Čerchov (1,042 meters) and its observation tower in the neighboring country of the Czech Republic.
The next wonderful view opens up from the Reiseck with its glass summit cross built in 2005 based on an idea by Ralph Wenzel. The view of the panorama of the Upper Bavarian Forest is overwhelming.
Before you reach your destination, you will discover the approximately 3.5 meter high lighthouse of humanity on the fir tree. Stones from all over the world were walled up here and dedicated to the reconciliation of peoples and religions. And here, too, you have a sensational view of the surrounding country again.
At the Berghof Gibacht, the guests will be happy to pamper you with local specialties. And if you like, you can take a look at the exhibition of glass works of art. The Berghof Gibacht cannot be reached by public transport. But there are enough parking spaces available for your arrival by car.