Of narrow valleys & scenic heights - the WesterwaldSteig
© Westerwald Gäste-Service e.V. | Foto: Dominik Ketz
150 miles (240 kilometers) through spectacular landscape: the WesterwaldSteig takes you through the low mountain range in 16 stages as it extends across Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse. In this Collection, we present you the sections that will take you over one of Germany's best hiking trails which was awarded the title of Quality Hiking Path. Why? You can expect fabulous views, picturesque rock landscapes, idyllic lakes, great hiking trails through the hills and pretty half-timbered villages. In short: it's pure hiking bliss!
The starting point of the WesterwaldSteigs is in Hesse Herborn. From here, the path leads you to the highest point in the Westerwald, the Fuchskaute. You will wander through the deep Holzbachschlucht gorge, discover the Westerwald Lake District and learn more about the time when the volcanic rock basalt was mined in the region. Several monasteries are also located along your way to the Rhine. On the last leg to Bad Hönningen, you will dive into Roman history, before reaching the banks of the Rhine where you can reflect on your two week hiking adventure. This is the most extensive way to experience the Westerwald.
You can easily reach the start and end of the long-distance hiking trail by train. On the way, you will find many railway stations in villages if you want to shorten your adventure. You can also choose to do just do one or a few of the sections if you don't want to hike the whole WesterwaldSteig in one go. Many of the sections are not very long, so you can combine them with each other. The region is well connected by bus and train, just bear in mind that not all of the stages have transport links. More information and tips for the right connections can be found here: westerwaldsteig.de.
At the end of each hike, you will always find some accommodation. However, you should plan and book where you want to sleep in advance as there is not always a large choice. This way, you don't have to worry about where you will rest and you can enjoy the hiking even more.
If you are a thrill-seeker, then pack your via ferrata equipment. At stage 13, you can choose whether to take the more relaxed or adventurous way to the Hölderstein.
Let yourself be enchanted by the Westerwald – a region that is wonderful for hiking in any season and which will surprise you with a lot of variety.
Hiking trails of more than 3,700 kilometers! The Top Trails are characteristic, unique and fascinating. And with all their similarities, yet all different. Each of the 12 trails has its own exciting story, each has its own special character. No one is like the other. No matter which path you choose, you will find your adventure! Take a look at our Collections: komoot.de/user/toptrailsofgermany/collections
Beautiful half-timbered houses, mysterious stone chambers and impressive landscapes - a lot of variety awaits you on the first stage of the WesterwaldSteig. You hike from Herborn to Breitscheid for almost 16 kilometers. With the train you will come relaxed to the starting point of your today's stage and the entrance to the 240 kilometer long WesterwaldSteig.After a round through the picturesque old town of Herborn, you leave the place and walk past the game reserve in a leisurely up and down manner. You run through forests and over dirt roads and soon pass Uckersdorf. In the tranquil village you can combine a break with a visit to the zoo.A little later you will enter the karst nature trail. Several stations with information boards tell you more about the nature and natural history of the region. Impressive rock formations and caves surrounded by dense forest - a wonderful landscape for hiking. Shortly before the end, it is worth visiting the Herbstlabyrinth show cave, Europe's first stalactite cave with a complete LED lighting concept.From the cave it's not far to Breitscheid, your destination for today. In Breitscheid you will find a small selection of accommodations. If you want to leave it with today's day tour, the 510 bus will bring you back to Herborn.
The second stage on the WesterwaldSteig will be promising. The destination of the eleven-kilometer route is the Fuchskaute, the highest point in the Westerwald. The tour starts in the Hessian town of Breitscheid. The first few kilometers you hike relaxed uphill, past the Breitscheid airfield to the 615 meter high Bartenstein. Time for a first break.The path leads you downhill to the Heisterberger Weiher. On a hot day you can cool off in the small lake. On the shore you will find a restaurant, a boat rental and a campsite. There are also several idyllic resting places on the bank.With renewed energy, continue hiking, the path leads you further and further up the mountain. Soon you will cross the state border to Rhineland-Palatinate and continue through picturesque spruce forests and along wildflower meadows. After a good eleven kilometers you are at an altitude of 657 meters. The Fuchskaute, an extinct volcano, is the highest mountain in the Westerwald and part of a basalt plateau.On the mountain you will find a restaurant with rooms to stay overnight. Treat yourself to a relaxed dinner and enjoy the landscape and foresight on the Fuchskaute. Since there is only one place to stay overnight on the mountain, it is worth making a reservation in advance.
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Relaxed hiking fun awaits you on the third stage of the WesterwaldSteig. The 13-kilometer route begins on the Fuchskaute and takes you to the town of Rennerod. You only have to master 90 meters in altitude, so you hike mostly downhill.You leave the highest point of the Westerwald and hike along meadows and small pieces of forest downhill to Rehe. How about a little coffee break here? In Café Windlück you can try a delicious selection of cakes and tarts or fortify yourself with sandwiches. A detour to the town hall in Rehe is worthwhile before you leave the place again. At the half-timbered house from the early 18th century, you can discover carved foliage ornaments on the posts and on the wooden door.Not far from Rehe you come to the Krombachtalsperre. In addition to generating electricity, the reservoir is used for flood protection and recreation. Around the lake, the northern part of which is under nature protection, rare plants and threatened bird species have found their habitat. If you fancy a swim or a snack, you can take a break at one of the two campsites on the lake shore. Incidentally, the border between Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate runs right through the water.We continue through the forest and along the Alsberg barracks to your destination today, Rennerod. At the tourist information office "Hoher Westerwald" (Westernoher Straße 7) you can get more information about the place and tips for ending the day.
It continues on stage 4 of the WesterwaldSteig in the Hohen Westerwald. Today's hike takes you from Rennerod to Westerburg. The highlight of the 16-kilometer tour is the wild and romantic Holzbach Gorge.From Rennerod you hike relaxed downhill through the forest to the Großer Secker Weiher. It is worth pausing for a moment on the bank to enjoy nature and the tranquility. The path continues slightly downhill and past Gut Dapprich. Delicious cakes and pies as well as self-baked Belgian waffles await you in the courtyard café.Immediately after the Hofgut you will reach the Holzbach and get on the beautiful hiking trail through the one kilometer long and up to 30 meter deep gorge. Display boards along the way explain more about the local flora and fauna. Past steep rock faces and boulders and accompanied by the babbling of the brook you will experience this beautiful section of the path.It continues between the two villages of Winnen and Gemünden and a short stretch uphill. Along the edge of the forest, you continue to hike towards Westerburg, your destination for today. In Westerburg you will find a good selection of restaurants and accommodation for the night. There is also a train station in town.
The fifth stage of the WesterwaldSteig offers you great views and relaxation in idyllic waters. The 21-kilometer route takes you up and down from Westerburg to Freilingen.You leave Westerburg to the north and walk along the Schafbach to Hergenroth. Then you cross the train tracks and continue hiking through the picturesque forest - a particularly beautiful route when the leaves of the trees are already discolored. After a good ten kilometers you will reach a beautiful vantage point at Rothenbach, which offers you a clear view of the meadows and forests.You continue through the gentle hilly landscape and soon you will dive back into the forest. Not much longer, then you will reach the nature reserve Wölflinger Weiher. A great place to enjoy nature to the fullest. Around the pond you can watch rare birds and a rich variety of plants.You continue to hike slightly downhill and you will soon see your stage destination Freilingen in front of you. The path leads you through the small village to the post pond. On the bank of the water you will find the Freilingen campsite, where you can, for example, rent one of the cozy hikers' huts.
On stage 6 of the WesterwaldSteig you come high up: The observation tower on the Gräbersberg offers you a fantastic panorama of the western Westerwald. The starting point of the almost 19-kilometer tour is in Freilingen.You leave the bank of the Postweiher, but you will soon reach the next lake, the Dreifelder Weiher. With more than 120 hectares, it is the largest pond in the Westerwald lake district. Reason enough to take a break here and pay your full attention to the flora and fauna.Little by little you climb uphill until you can see the observation tower on the Gräbersberg in front of you. It is worth climbing the 197 steps and enjoying a fantastic all-round view from the viewing platform at a height of 33 meters - in good weather as far as the Eifel and Taunus. At the foot of the tower you will find the Alpenroder Hütte, where you can take a break.The path leads you past the legendary World Heritage stone and down to Nistertal, your destination for today. In the village you will find several restaurants and overnight accommodations as well as a train station.
Today you can really take your time: Stage 7 from Nistertal to Bad Marienberg is only six kilometers long, but no less beautiful. From Nistertal you hike along the Mühlgraben to the banks of the Great Nister. There you can discover the impressive bridge viaduct in the beech forest, over which the railway once puffed. The bridge is 300 meters long and almost 40 meters high. After the closure of the railway line from Erbach via Fehl to Ritzhausen in 1971, the Erbach bridge was preserved as a technical monument.You continue hiking through the forest and then follow a small tributary of the Great Nister to Bad Marienberg. You can spend the afternoon in the village, for example in the barefoot park, in the wildlife park or in the pharmacist's medicinal herb garden. A stroll through the town with its inviting cafés is also worthwhile. In Bad Marienberg you will find a small selection of accommodations.
Stage 8 of the WesterwaldSteig starts with an excursion into the rock world. At the basalt lake near Bad Marienberg, everything revolves around the volcanic rock basalt, which is formed when thin, low-silica magma emerges from the surface of the earth and cools there. The Westerwald basalts are around 25 million years old. You can find out more about the lake and its earlier dismantling.You continue uphill on your way to Hachenburg until you stand in front of the 18 meter high Hedwigsturm. From above you have a fabulous view over the Westerwald. Not far away you will come across mighty stone piles made of basalt, the large and small wolf stones - possibly an earlier Celtic place of worship.Through the forest you hike relaxed downhill, past the rod and basket and dive back into the forest. Soon you will reach the picturesque old town of Hachenburg with its half-timbered charm. How about a stroll through the beautiful streets before checking into one of the hotels or guest houses? If Hachenburg should be your general destination, you will also find a train station here.
You can tackle the new stage of the WesterwaldSteig in a relaxed manner - you have to master a good eleven kilometers and only 130 meters in altitude. This leaves you more time to explore the Marienstatt monastery extensively, for example. Your hike starts in the beautiful old town of Hachenburg.You leave the place through the castle garden and soon cross the Great Nister. The path leads you further around the place Nister, then you walk along the bank of the river to the monastery Marienstatt, which is located directly on the river bank. You can discover a lot on the grounds of the Cistercian monastery: In addition to the early Gothic basilica, there is a library, a brewery with a restaurant, a book and art shop and a guest house. In the monastery garden you can recharge your batteries for the rest of the way.You soon leave the Big Nister and meet her little sister shortly after Streithausen. From here it is not far to Limbach, today's stage destination. In the tranquil place you can stay in the Limbacher Mühle.
The tenth stage of the WesterwaldSteig takes you underground and then back up again - variety is guaranteed on the 20-kilometer route. You start the hike in Limbach and immediately climb into a beautiful section along the Kleine Nister.At the weather house you then leave the river and hike up to the Hohe Ley. From the vantage point you have a great view of the Nistertal. Not far away is the Assberg slate mine, probably the oldest and largest publicly accessible slate mine in the Westerwald. It was first mentioned in writing in 1548, but existed long before that.You hike back down into the Nistertal and hear the Great Nister rustle. For the next few kilometers you follow the river on its journey through Kroppacher Switzerland. On the way you will come across great rest areas that invite you to take a break.After about 15 kilometers you leave the river and hike a short but crisp piece uphill. The effort is rewarded: At the top there is a lookout point that offers you a fantastic panorama over the Nistertal and Kroppacher Switzerland. Just lovely!It's not far to your final destination. However, you still have a few vertical meters to get to Marienthal. In the Marienthaler Gasthof you will find accommodation for the night as well as a restaurant with regional dishes.
Today's section on the WesterwaldSteig, stage 11, takes you almost 16 kilometers from Marienthal to Weyerbusch. Before you leave the starting point, you visit the Marienthal monastery. It is definitely worth taking a look inside the Franciscan monastery.You hike uphill until you stand on the 388 meter high bump head. If you climb another 35 meters or 177 more steps, the Raiffeisenturm offers you a magnificent all-round view of the Westerwald and to the Siebengebirge on the Rhine.From the Beulskopf you hike downhill again through the forest until you reach Oberirsen. How about a little break at the cozy village pond? The last kilometers of this stage are on field and forest paths to Weyerbusch, the stage destination. In the Hotel Sonnenhof you will find a place to sleep for the night. On the way there, you can treat yourself to an aperitif at Niki's ice cream parlor.
Pure half-timbered romance awaits you on stage 12 of the WesterwaldSteig. You start the 15-kilometer tour in Weyerbusch and on your way to Flammersfeld you will hike through several idyllic places with the characteristic houses. Number one is the half-timbered village of Mehren after six kilometers.Mehren is one of the most beautiful places in the Westerwald. You can even discover half-timbered houses at the Romanesque church from the 12th century. It is not for nothing that Mehren was twice awarded the silver medal in the national competition "Our village should be more beautiful - our village has a future".You continue hiking and you will soon reach Ahlbach, the next pretty little town with half-timbered charm. It continues a bit through the forest until you reach Flammersfeld, the destination of the stage. There you will also discover numerous, pretty half-timbered houses, for example the house where Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen was born.Flammersfeld is a small place, so the choice of overnight accommodations is limited. It is best to look around in advance for a guest house or an inn in Flammersfeld or the surrounding towns.
Stage 13 of the WesterwaldSteig will be adventurous - if you want it. You have the chance to climb the Hölderstein via ferrata. But if that doesn't matter to you or you don't have the right equipment with you, there is also a completely normal hiking variant. The 15-kilometer hike through the Grenzbachtal begins in Flammersfeld.Right at the beginning you will pass the small animal park in the village and you can visit the herd of fallow deer, donkeys, geese, chickens and rabbits, which are cared for by the residents on a voluntary basis. Then you hike a beautiful stretch along the Wied.The Grenzbach branches off from the Wied, which you now follow. In a major renaturation project, the Grenzbach valley was rebuilt as the original meadow valley. Robust cattle breeds help to keep the Bachaue open. A wonderful landscape for hiking!On the Grenzbach there is also the Hölderstein, a colossal rock formation overgrown with beech and oak trees with a great view. If you follow the signs for the WesterwaldSteig, you will come up to the mountain on a normal hiking trail. If you are looking for more thrills and would rather try the via ferrata, keep your eyes on the yellow marked access path.The via ferrata is the only one of its kind on the WesterwaldSteig. It is around 250 meters long, covers an altitude of 80 meters and leads you over stirrups, stirrups, pens, three ladders and a bridge. The right climbing equipment is important for use!Whichever path you choose after you have enjoyed the view from the Hölderstein, you continue hiking through the forest and soon along the banks of the Grenzbach again. In the destination Horhausen you will find a small selection of accommodations and several restaurants.
Stage 14 of the WesterwaldSteig shows you the Wiedtal and a little later the Asbach plateau. The starting point of the hike is the tranquil village of Horhausen. 17 kilometers have to be mastered to the stage destination Strauscheid.You leave Horhausen and walk through several small villages down into the Lahr glory. The place Peterslahr is located in the middle of this area, which is a popular destination thanks to its great landscape.You walk a bit along the banks of the Wied and then start your ascent. Trees offer you cool shade and on your way up you always have wonderful views of Mettelshahn Switzerland. So it is always worth stopping and enjoying the great view over the treetops.At the top, the path leads you past Lake Manrother, a crater lake that was formed after basalt was extracted. On the bank you will find some signs with information about the time. Then you hike downhill and through the village of Ammerich into the Langewiesetal. Now it is not far to your final destination oath of oath. Here you can stay in the Westerwälder Hof.
Stage 15 on the WesterwaldSteig leads you on a nearly 17-kilometer route from Strauscheid into the Waldbreitbacher Wiedtal in the center of the Rhine-Westerwald. You leave the place and walk above the Wied through the forest. After almost three kilometers you will reach the Weißenfelser Ley, from which you have a great view of the Wiedtal and the surrounding wooded hills.You continue hiking through the forest, down to Masbach and then up the crisp ascent to the Roßbacher Häubchen. The view from above is fantastic! A board shows you what you can discover in the distance. You walk downhill again and through Roßbach. How about a break here?Freshly strengthened, you can quickly leave the last ascent of today's stage behind you and soon reach the stage destination Waldbreitbach. Here you will find several hotels and you can end the evening relaxing on the banks of the Wied.
Final sprint! Stage 16, the last section of the WesterwaldSteig, takes you to ancient Roman territory. On the twelve-kilometer route from Waldbreitbach to Bad Hönningen you pass the Limes, the 550-kilometer-long protective wall that the Romans built to protect against the Teutons between the Rhine and the Danube.The first stop along the way is at the Hausen monastery church. How about a look into the nave? The path leads you uphill to the 373 meter high Malberg, where basalt was mined until 1932. Today the small Malbergsee is picturesquely located in the resulting crater.From Malberg it goes through the Rheinbrohler Wald towards Limes. Soon you will reach a replica Limes watchtower, from which you can enjoy a fantastic view of the Rhine valley today.The last few kilometers you hike relaxed downhill towards Bad Hönningen. A final highlight awaits you there: the RömerWelt adventure museum. At the beginning of the Limes World Heritage Site, you can visit the interactive exhibition on life on the Limes in the exciting museum - you are welcome to join in and try it out.You have reached your destination and can be proud of 240 kilometers covered. Reward yourself with a cozy stop or relax in the thermal baths on the banks of the Rhine. In Bad Hönningen you will find several hotels to stay overnight. You can also get to Bonn or Koblenz quickly by train.