Dense forests, ridges covered with heathland, and the sources of the Ruhr, Sieg, and Lahn rivers – the Rothaarsteig hiking trail leads from the small town of Brilon in the Hochsauerlandregion southwards to Dillenburg in Central Hesse.
The trail guides you 154 kilometres (95 miles) over a total of almost 4,000 metres (13,123 feet) in altitude across eight daily stages. Hiking along the main ridge of the Rothaar Mountains means you are also always moving along a border. The trail leads from the Sauerland over the Wittgensteiner Bergland and Siegerland to the Lahn-Dill-Bergland in Hesse.
You hike back and forth in the border region between North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse, following the Rhine-Weser watershed that runs across the Rothaar Mountains. Some areas along the Rothaarsteig are so remote and unspoiled that bison have been reintroduced and now roam freely through the forests.
However, even in the seemingly very remote regions along the Rothaarsteig, you come across traces of human activity from time to time. You pass ridges with railway tunnels cut into the rock and aqueducts built at the beginning of the 20th century. For a few kilometres, the Rothaarsteig runs along the historic Iron Road which was used to transport iron in the Middle Ages. On the way, cosy huts tempt you to take a break from the path and enjoy life to the full, especially around holiday regions such as Winterberg.
Well signposted, not far from the centre of Germany and with largely gentle ascents and descents, the Rothaarsteig is an ideal trail for anyone looking for unspoiled nature or simply wanting to try out whether they enjoy long-distance hiking.
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Last updated: November 17, 2021
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The Rothaarsteig starts at the historic town hall on the market square in the old town of Brilon. From there the official route first leads to Drübel with a beautiful view of the city and the provost church of St. Petrus and Andreas. The hike through the Drübel nature reserve can also be shortened by…
Today it goes high! After starting in Willingen, the path leads through wooded area up to the 843 meter high Langenberg, the highest point of the Rothaargebirge, the Sauerland and all of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The ascent to the summit always offers very beautiful views of the Hochsauerland, the summit…
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From the center of Winterberg the path leads past the St. Georgs ski jump and the ski mountains Poppenberg and Bremberg with their lifts up to the unwooded panoramic mountain Kahler Asten, which you reach after about six kilometers. With more than 840 meters and a wonderful panoramic view, it is the…
After spending the night in Schanze, you can choose between the ridge and valley variants of the Rothaarsteig. If you choose the valley variant, you walk in a south-westerly direction through the ravine-like Grubental and over the village of Latrop to the so-called million bank, where the two variants…
The fifth stage begins high up on the Rhein-Weser Tower. From here the path leads into the romantic and densely wooded Schwarzbachtal. After about six and a half kilometers you will hike through the landscape of the Heinsberger Hochheide. A sporty detour down to the Heinsberg aqueduct and a walled-up…
The stage from Lützel to Lahnhof takes you through the headwaters of the Eder, Sieg and Lahn rivers. The path is mainly determined by forests and heathland. From Lützel, it's about two kilometers to the southeast. Then the path follows the Eder for six kilometers to its headwaters in a moor. Then a gravel…
From the Lahnhof, the Rothaarsteig leads on the penultimate stage for around four kilometers in a southeast direction to the Ilsequelle. From there you continue on the Eisenstrasse, a medieval trade route, through forests, heathland and on ridges, always in a south-west direction. Much of the route follows…
If you start from the town center in Wilgersdorf, the last stage begins like the penultimate one ended: You walk around two kilometers back the way you came and then continue your tour on the Rothaarsteig in a southeastern direction. After a kilometer on new paths and through forest and heathland, you…
Hiking Collection by komoot
Hiking Collection by komoot
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Road Cycling Collection by Limburg Cycling