Medieval castle ruins, imposing Roman forts, dreamy half-timbered villages and some steep climbs – all this and much more awaits you in the Taunus, a mountain range in Hesse. This region, in the heart of Germany, is made for an exciting bikepacking adventure.
At 333 kilometres (207 miles), the ‘Taunus Teaser’ is, so to speak, the little brother of the annual self-supported event ‘Taunus Bikepacking’. The route is based on parts of previous event editions and is shorter, but no less challenging than the original.
This route avoids car traffic for the most part and leads over asphalted field and forest paths as well as gravel roads. It is ideally suited for gravel or cross bikes, but can also be ridden on a mountain bike.
For this Collection, I have divided the total route into five stages. All stages start and end in places where there are catering facilities as well as hotels, guesthouses or campsites. This makes it equally interesting for cycling newbies and experienced bikepackers alike. However, it’s rarely flat – you climb a total of almost 6,000 metres (19,685 feet). So get ready for lots of steep climbs or shorten the stages as necessary.
The circular route starts and ends in the town of Hofheim am Taunus, just a stone's throw from Frankfurt am Main, which is easy to reach both by train or car.
I hope you enjoy the route. I would be very happy if you share your experiences with the world under the hashtag #taunusteaser. And if, like me, you can't get enough of the Taunus, then maybe we'll see you soon at the start of Taunus Bikepacking.
You can find all the information about the event at taunus-bikepacking.com
This tour through the Taunus begins in front of the historic old town hall in Hofheim, right in the picturesque pedestrian zone between cafes and small shops.You leave the place and the first ascent begins, past the Bonifatius chapel and through the orchards near Kriftel. With a panoramic view of the Frankfurt skyline and the airport, you can reach the speedway in Diedenbergen, the start location of the second edition of Taunus Bikepacking. It now goes steadily uphill through the forest. In Langenhain, shortly before the first summit of the route, the Judenkopf, is the impressive Bahai Temple, the only one of its kind in Europe.While you slowly get used to the constant ups and downs, you roam the forests north of the Hessian capital Wiesbaden. In the Goldstein Valley there is not only a source of drinking water, but also the Hubertushütte as a good opportunity for a first stop.Soon after, you will climb the first pass over the Taunus main ridge, the Platte. There is not only a historic hunting lodge here, but also an inviting beer garden. Now you follow the Herzogsweg along the ridge in a westerly direction and you will soon reach the next pass, the Iron Hand. There is also a restaurant here.You leave the ridge in a northerly direction and dive into the Aar valley, which you will encounter again and again on your journey. The first stage ends in the heart of Bad Schwalbach am Kurhaus. The health resort is definitely worth a longer break, as there are several options for catering and overnight stays.
Are you ready for the longest stage with the most vertical meters? The second section takes you from the spa town of Bad Schwalbach over even more hills and through some romantic valleys further north to the banks of the Lahn in Obernhof. A look at the height profile makes it clear that it is a real climbing game. Certainly not an easy stage, but peppered with all sorts of highlights.Climbing begins in the Bad Schwalbacher Kurpark. It goes steadily up, past some noteworthy shelters and the moor pits, in the direction of the Wispertal, one of the most beautiful and quietest Taunus valleys. Here you roll along the babbling Wisper, where you rarely meet other people, on gravel paths to the Wispersee.After a very long ascent you will later be at the source of the Wisper, which is only a small trickle up here. Shortly afterwards you will reach Kemel, where various shopping opportunities invite you to refresh yourself. That is sorely needed, because soon the notorious ascent to Hohenstein Castle is on the program, where pushing is truly no shame. At Taunus Bikepacking there are some people here every year, because it is a real challenge to drive down this long, relentless ramp with an incline of over 20 percent.Behind Steckenroth you will be rewarded for all the torture with a real piece to enjoy. The iron road was previously used to transport iron ore from the Aartal to the Iron Hand, which is what gave its name to this pass that you learned about on the first stage. The graveled old road runs for a long time on top of the ridge, with impressive views in all directions.Behind the historically significant Katzenelnbogen with its castle, the next delicacy is just waiting, the well-hidden and always peaceful Dörsbach Valley is waiting to be crossed. Can you find out why it is popularly known as the valley of tears? A tip: the name has historical reasons. At least for cyclists, there is nothing to complain about here, except perhaps the challenging climb that leads back out of the valley, up to Singhofen. There is again a supermarket directly on the route, ideal for a final snack. In a rapid descent you will then reach the Lahn and shortly afterwards the daily destination Obernhof with the idyllic campsite right on the shore. After all the hardships of this stage, it is a real relief to sit here on the bank.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
After yesterday's queen's stage with the most kilometers and meters in altitude, you take it a little more comfortably today, but of course there are some challenges on this stage so that it doesn't get boring.First you follow the extremely popular Lahn cycle path, these are the only flat sections of the entire tour. There are plenty of campsites, cafes and beer gardens here. Behind Laurenburg and the ancestral castle of the reigning Dutch royal family, you leave the river for a detour into the hills, where you can see the spectacular Schaumburg. Like a fairytale castle, it sits enthroned on its hill that stands in your way.After this worthwhile detour, it goes back down to the Lahn and leisurely through the towns of Diez and Limburg, both of which are worth a longer stay. The old town of Limburg with its cathedral is particularly attractive.Less known and a little quieter, but no less interesting, is Runkel with its well-preserved castle. The ice cream parlor there is a real tip for connoisseurs. Shortly afterwards you will reach Villmar over the marble bridge and the climbing will slowly start again.Soon you will reach the Rote Küppel near Wolfenhausen. Through dreamy villages such as Elkerhausen and Weinbach we now go to Freienfels to the castle there, which is known throughout Germany for the annual jousting games. Now you follow the Weil up to its confluence with the Lahn for a short last section on the Lahn cycle path.Passing the ship tunnel, it goes up to the rock on which Weilburg towers over its loop in the Lahn and the next stage destination has been reached. You have already crossed some beautiful old towns on this tour, but Weilburg is a real highlight, so take your time.
Today it's going high. You conquer the Hochtaunus and with the summit of the horse's head the roof of the tour is on the plan.But first you discover the lovely old town of Weilburg. The beautiful cafes around the market square and the castle are always worth a visit. At the northernmost point of the whole route you now leave the Lahn one last time and make your way south towards the Hochtaunus. Each hill is a little higher than the last.Kubach is known for its crystal cave and the museum, something you don't see very often. Soon you will reach Weilmünster with another beautiful old town. Can you resist the ice cream parlor? A refreshment is a good idea, because now it goes up, over the historic Rennweg and Hessenstraße, then through Rod an der Weil and to the Eichelbacher Hof. It is a very rural and peaceful area, but there are always opportunities to stop by.When you have worked your way past the Riedelbach glider airfield and over the Tenne Pass to the primitive village of Reinborn, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the heart of the Hochtaunus and the summit plateau of the Großer Feldberg. This peak is well known as Frankfurt's local mountain and is often overcrowded. If you don't know it yet, you can take a detour from the Kittelhütte, which you will soon reach after a long ascent from the Emstal. The Große Feldberg is signposted from here. The Taunus teaser, however, omits this and instead focuses on the quieter insider tips.Via Seelenberg it now goes to the summit of the Pferdskopf, 662 meters above sea level. There is no road up here and it is significantly quieter, and the view from its wooden tower can easily hold a candle to all other mountains in the Taunus. Leave your bike and climb the tower, it's worth it. The steps also represent the last vertical meters of the stage, because after a short descent you will reach the destination and perhaps the most idyllic village in the Taunus, Treisberg. From here you are only 53 kilometers from your destination in Hofheim.
The grand finale is coming up. The last stage takes you back to the starting point in Hofheim, of course not without a large portion of altitude, past some castles, traces of the Romans and cultural delicacies.So that you don't forget the hills of the Taunus so quickly, there are a few more serious climbs waiting, especially in the second half of this stage.But first you leave Treisberg on a rapid descent towards Hunoldstal. In Anspach at the latest, there will be a delicious breakfast at the bakery. Your path will also take you past the famous Hessenpark, which is definitely worth a visit for those interested in cultural history.One last crossing of the main ridge is due, this time over the Saalburg Pass. Like most of the Taunus crossings, this one has been used for thousands of years. The Romans also knew him of course and secured the passage with a large fort. The imposing structure was rebuilt and can be visited today. Hungry explorers will find fresh prey right next door.A long descent leads past the Forellengut to the Taunus information center on the Hohemark. We are now back in the more densely populated Vordertaunus. Nevertheless, the route avoids well-trodden paths with a lot of traffic and leads you through dense forest to the glamorous towns of Falkenstein and Königstein. In the shadow of the castle ruins you will find some chic cafés, in which the Frankfurt bankers who prefer to live here frolic when the weather is nice.We are slowly but surely approaching Hofheim, but there are still two challenging climbs to conquer. The Rosenweg in Ruppertshain is a real insider tip for lovers of high incline percentages. Past the summit of the Atzelberg, it is now fast and flowing down to the castle town of Eppstein. The castle towering over the wonderful old town can also be visited. High above you in the forest you can discover the emperor's temple, the destination of a final sweaty ascent. You won't get anything for free on this route. The view from above back to the castle is definitely worth it. Take another deep breath and review the past kilometers. When you turn into Albertsweg at Waldgasthof Gundelhard, you are already back in Hofheimer Stadtwald. The last few kilometers just fly by and before you know it, you are back in Hofheim's old town at the starting point of your journey through the Taunus. The only agony left now is the choice between the many inviting cafes and restaurants.