From lively to lonely – hiking the Uplandsteig in North Hesse


From lively to lonely – hiking the Uplandsteig in North Hesse

Hiking Collection by Anette

The Uplandsteig, a circular hiking trail in North Hesse, Germany, is a wonderful journey for all your senses. Located in the Hessian part of the Sauerland in the heart of Germany, the Upland is easily accessible. You hike over low mountain range landscapes, through spruce, beech and mixed forests, past fields and streams that wind through shaded valleys. Cows graze in the meadows and the high heathlands bloom in colour. The trail leads through valleys, over mountains, and through Upland villages, both small and large. You will be amazed time and time again by the wide views over the surrounding landscapes. Aside from a section around the lively municipality of Willingen, you hike through tiny towns and lonely landscapes where you’ll meet few other hikers.

This circular trail was established in 2005 as a Quality Hiking Trail. Totalling 66 kilometres (41 miles) in length, the route encircles Willingen. You can complete the easy to challenging route comfortably in three stages. You can also complete each stage individually, exploring the wonderful landscape in a day trip. For information about public transport, including timetables, visit (in German): The western and southern part of the route is not so accessible with public transport, so I recommend organising your own transport for these sections.

The Upland region is known for winter sports, biking and hiking and you find nice accommodation everywhere such as hotels, guesthouses, and holiday rentals. Accommodation is especially easy to find in Willingen and Usseln, which both lie on the rail network and federal road. Other Upland villages also offer charming places to stay.

After the first stage, there is overnight accommodation in nearby Usseln, since the Graf Stolberg Hütte inn does not offer lodging. You reach Usseln by hiking about 3 kilometres (1.8 miles) down the charming Diemel Valley. Usseln has plenty of places to stay and restaurant offerings. At the end of stage 2, you can spend the night at a nice holiday farm in Hemminghausen, but make sure you book in advance. You finish the third stage in Willingen, the main town of the Upland, which has great infrastructure for tourists.

Don't forget to take a drink and picnic for the road. There are places to stop for refreshments but they are few and far between and may not be open when you pass by.

Sounds like a great adventure? It is and it's worth it. The wonderful low mountain landscape is spectacular.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    13.7 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,525 ft
    1,175 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The hike starts near the Haus des Gastes in Willingen, because there is usually enough parking space there. The route also passes close to the train station a little later, so that you can alternatively travel comfortably by train or bus.Your first impression will be the wide range of leisure activities that Willingen has in store. As soon as you start your hike you will notice the lagoon pool, the ice rink and the cinema. Further above you can see the cable car and the striking Ettelsberg tower. The region can also score points with ski slopes, cross-country trails and a wide range of bikes.But hiking is one of the best ways to explore this beautiful region. On the right hand side is Willingen with its gray slate roofs, nestled tightly in the valley, and in front of you you can already see the Ritzhagen with the summer toboggan run. There you dive into the forest - and you will enjoy it: The Uplandsteig now leads you through a charming low mountain range with a lot of forest, heather and wonderful views. It goes up and down, sometimes quite steep and over tree roots, but the path is always easy to walk.In a wide arc you first hike south to Langenberg and then to the Neuer Hagen nature reserve, a beautiful heathland, which is very well visited during its heyday. There you will find the Hochheide Hütte, a small restaurant with a wide view of the surrounding landscape. It continues in an easterly direction and you can always enjoy the beautiful views or let the tranquility of the forests and mountains affect you.The destination of the stage is the Graf Stolberg hut. Unfortunately, an overnight stay is not possible here. But you can strengthen yourself in the restaurant and enjoy the wonderful view of the Medebacher Land.To get to your accommodation or the nearest train station, you hike about three kilometers through the beautiful Diemeltal to Usseln.

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    14.1 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,900 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Graf Stolberg Hütte has no public connection. However, you can hike up the Diemeltal from Usseln to the hut (about three kilometers) or organize a personal delivery service if you have set up your base camp in Willingen. It is worth it .. The following applies for this hike: pack enough drinks and a picnic.From the Graf Stolberg Hütte you hike to the Usseler Heide / Kahle Pön nature reserve with its unique heathland. Take the time to enjoy the view. Maybe even the blueberries are ripe or the heather is in full bloom. On the southern slope of the Pön you follow the easy paths to the Grotenberg nature reserve. In a southerly direction you can now see the flatter Waldecker Land with the striking mountain near Goldhausen.At the Bömighäuser pond you change direction and follow the Uplandsteig through commercial forests and fields to Neerdar. To get to the enclaves of Eimelrod and Hemmighausen, you now walk a little uphill again, over the railway line and back down towards Eimelrod. The place is generously bypassed, but if your picnic was not enough, you can make a detour to the inns Zur Zweere or Sauer. But find out beforehand whether they are open.The agriculturally structured Hemmighausen is your goal today. It is one of the smallest Upland villages with only about 100 inhabitants, but a lively club and village life. Here you can stay overnight at Ferienhof Schmiddes if you reserve in advance. If you have set up your base camp in Willingen, you can take the public bus that runs every hour or the shared taxi to Willingen.

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  • Difficult
    13.4 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,925 ft
    1,475 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On the third day of your hike, a little challenge awaits you again. It is partly steep uphill and downhill and it is best to walk with your sturdy hiking boots. Also pack enough drinks and a small picnic for this tour, because there aren't too many restaurants along the way. But maybe in Rattlar the Cafe Fernblick directly on the hiking trail or the Gasthaus Schäfer-Grebe, a little off the hiking trail, are open. It's best to find out beforehand.Hemmighausen, the starting point of your hike, is one of those small enclaves in the Upland that you don't just pass by by chance. The village character and the clearly recognizable agricultural character will beam you back a few decades. After only a few meters you have reached the edge of the village and hike from there through fields and forest to the great Dommel. Here a detour to the Dommelturm is worthwhile. Originally made of wood, it was rebuilt in 2008 and offers a wonderful view far into the Hochsauerland and Waldecker Land from its 14 meter high observation tower.From there it goes through the forest down into the valley to the Dommelbach and the Dommelmühle and then again over fields up to the height before Rattlar. And on again and again up and down over the Schwalenburg, through the Ittertal and past the slope of the high Eimberg to Willingen.At the end of the beautiful day of hiking you experienced the wonderful Upland nature intensively, enjoyed the views and achieved a lot. In Willingen you will now find enough places to stop for refreshments where you can end the day.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    41.2 mi
  • Duration
    18:44 h
  • Elevation
    4,550 ft

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From lively to lonely – hiking the Uplandsteig in North Hesse