Between the Saar and Rhine rivers in western Germany, one of the oldest mountain ranges in Germany rises – the Hunsrück. Still today, people are puzzled by the origin of its name. However, one thing is clear: the ridge, which is visible from afar and the highest point in Germany to the left of the role, has played a decisive role.
Opened in 2011, the Hunsrück Cycle Route allows riders to experience the impressive landscapes by bike. The route from west to east directly over the mountain ridge, crossing the Erbeskopf, the highest point at 816 metres (2,677 feet). You can ride the route in either direction as you prefer. Other highlights include the town of Saarburg, the Keller Reservoir, Kirchberg, the oldest town in Hunsrück, and the town of Bacharach, the final stop.
The Hunsrück Cycle Path is suited to both easy going and ambitious cyclists. As the inclines can reach up to 10% in places, we divided the 160 kilometre (99.4 mile) cycle path into four stages which makes the route very manageable in terms of difficulty and distance. In addition, the first and last stages are somewhat shorter so you have enough time to arrive and depart.
The bike path is best suited to touring cyclists, but mountain bikers and road cyclists will also have fun. For mountain bikers, for example, there is an extensive trail park on the Erbeskopf with many trails ranging in difficulty rating. Road cyclists will appreciate the mostly paved surfaces, although on stages 2 and 3, the route would have to be adjusted slightly to avoid the longer sections on loose ground.
At all stage destinations, you will find plenty of places to stay overnight and there is also no shortage of tasty, home-cooked refreshments. If you want to extend your adventure, you can pick up the Rhine Cycle Path or follow the cycle paths along the banks of the Saar and Moselle rivers. These meet in Koblenz, allowing you to make a circular trip out of your adventure.
Your tour on the Hunsrück cycle path begins in the middle of Saarburg an der Saar. If you arrive by train, it is definitely worth making a short detour to the city center. The small town is really pretty to look at. The river Leuk flows through it in a picturesque way, which plunges into a unique waterfall at the horse market - perfect to sit down for a coffee in a neat alley on the river before setting off.The tour leads directly past Saarburg train station on the east bank of the Saar. This can be reached with the Regional Express from the south-east of Karlsruhe via Saarbrücken and Neustadt an der Weinstrasse. And from the northeast of Frankfurt am Main via Koblenz.For a while you drive directly along the Saar, enjoy a wonderful view of the Saarburg on the opposite bank and after just under two kilometers turn east towards the Hunsrück. From now on it's slowly but surely uphill. So that you don't sweat too much on the first day and also have enough time for the journey, the first stage is still quite moderate at almost 30 kilometers.From Irsch it becomes increasingly steeper and you follow the Büsterbach, which babbles down the mountain here. After the most strenuous part of the climb has been completed, a fountain with cool, clear water awaits you to refresh yourself. On particularly hot days, just dip your head in the water - that works wonders and makes you fit for the onward journey.Now that you have reached the top, a pleasant descent down to Oberzerf awaits you. Shortly afterwards, the idyllic Ruwer-Hochwald cycle path, a former railway line, climbs comfortably and gently to your destination, Kell am See. First of all, the bike path leads through dense forest, then it clears and you have a broad view over the fields.In Kell am See you will find a good handful of places to stay. The isosceles triangular bungalows on the basement reservoir are particularly unusual. The lake is also perfect for a leisurely evening tour on foot and a few restaurants around the lake invite you to linger. At the end of the day, be sure to watch the sunset over the lake.
The second stage of the Hunsrück Cycle Path is a lot more challenging after the “comfortable” warm-up training from yesterday. All in all, it hits the thumb with a 50-kilometer route and almost 600 meters of elevation gain. But after all, today we are heading straight to the Hunsrück-Hochwald National Park.For the first 14 kilometers it is still quite easy on the former railway line to Hermeskeil. Shortly after the start in Kell am See, you can take out some provisions for the first section of the route in the locally set up snack machine or you can charge your e-bike battery with a quick charge. Through a dense forest area and the village of Reinsfeld you will soon reach Hermeskeil, where the museum in the former train station invites you to learn a little more about the past of the leisurely cycle path.You can now take a long break here, because afterwards it goes up into the high forest. You reach the first, smaller summit at 755 meters with the Ruppelstein. In the middle of the whole forest it is not so much noticeable, and the view cannot be seen for the trees. The second highlight of your tour is not long in coming - just five kilometers later you are standing on the Erbeskopf - the highest mountain in the Hunsrück at 816 meters. Bravo! Now it's time to park your bike and enjoy the view.Since it goes downhill almost continuously from here to your destination in Morbach, you can take your time. The viewing platform "Windklang" is almost more impressive than the landscape and is really a great photo opportunity. If you are out on a mountain bike, you can also visit the trail park, which with its various lines and three levels of difficulty is not stingy with challenges.At the end of the day, the journey goes down to Morbach over pleasant forest paths, which are sometimes a bit more idyllic - that is, narrower -. In the state-approved climatic health resort you will find a couple of nice places to stay in different price ranges and after today's stage you can really take a deep breath. If you still have the desire, energy and some time left for a little excursion in the evening, you can follow the drone west for almost ten kilometers to Hunolstein. There you will find an old castle ruin from the 12th century, from which you can also enjoy a beautiful view over the river valley.
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Stage 3 takes you from Morbach for almost 48 kilometers to Simmern. The 450 vertical meters that have to be mastered along the way arise from a rather hilly terrain. You can reach the highest point of the stage at 567 meters after just ten kilometers at the Belginum Archaeological Park. If you can plan the necessary time for this, it is worth taking a closer look at the museum. But the Baldenau castle ruins just five kilometers earlier are definitely worth a visit on the first section of the stage.After the first 18 kilometers of the day, it is worth stopping at Scherer's Landgasthof. Even if your hunger or thirst is not so pronounced at this point, the beer selection from Braumanufaktur Engel is definitely worth the stop - the practical bottles with screw caps can also end up in your luggage and be useful for the next break.From Horbruch the journey continues on the Hunsrück cycle path. You drive via Hirschfeld, Wahlenau and the picturesque village of Büchenbeuren, where you can still see some buildings from the early days of the village on the roadside. For a little while, the cycle path joins the main road, before shortly afterwards reaching Kirchberg, whose striking water tower can be seen from afar. Another pit stop is recommended here. In the center of the village you will also find a few restaurants that invite you to refresh yourself.By reaching Kirchberg, you have now successfully brought the roughest hump of the day behind you. Then you cross the main road again, then wide fields spread out along the way. Maybe you are lucky and at the sports airport in Nannhausen a small propeller plane is just starting when you drive by. Then you will already reach your destination Simmern for the day.In addition to a handful of guest houses and hotels for overnight stays, you will find a rich city-historical heritage in Simmern, which also makes an evening stroll through the streets and alleys very attractive.
On the fourth stage of the Hunsrück Cycle Path you can take it easy again today. Most of the vertical meters have been achieved and the stage destination is almost within reach of 35 kilometers. Nonetheless, we are still aiming high today. Because shortly before the Rhine plain you reach the Binger Forest, which is also part of the Hunsrück low mountain range.Past the Schinderhannesturm you drive out of the district town Simmern and roughly follow the course of the main road via Riesweiler and Argenthal - fortunately at a sufficient distance. If you feel like having a little rest, it is worth buying some grilled food in Argenthal, because just behind the next village you will find a nice, well-equipped grill hut, which offers a comfortable shelter even in bad weather.After you have passed Rheinböllen, the landscape becomes increasingly wooded and you penetrate closer and closer to the Binger Forest, the last large elevation before reaching the Rhine Valley. But you don't have to expect demanding climbs, because you meander skillfully through the wooded area while the trees tower over you to the left and right.After a lively descent you finally reach the big goal in Nierheimbach, the Rhine. For a while you follow it north while stately castles and idyllic villages open up between the vineyards on both banks. In Bacharach you finally reach the destination of the Hunsrück Cycle Path. The name of the village is derived from Bacchus - the god of wine. If that is not a reason to toast the eventful tour with a good drink.From the train station in Bacharach, trains go back to Saarburg via Koblenz. You can also easily get to Mainz and Frankfurt am Main from here. Via Mainz you can continue to Karlsruhe. You will also find various train connections to Saarbrücken.