Hike Germany’s first long-distance trail through the Black Forest – Westweg
© Erich Spiegelhalter | Schwarzwald Tourismus
The Westweg is one of the great classics of long-distance hiking trails in Germany. Established in 1900 by the Black Forest Association, the route is also the first long-distance trail to be created in Germany. For over 120 years, the trail has guided hikers 285 kilometres (177 miles) from the city of Pforzheim in the north to Basel in the south. As the name suggests, the Westweg runs mostly through the western side of the mountains, leading through the entire Black Forest.
The Westweg reveals the diverse landscapes of Germany’s largest low mountain range: the dense fir and spruce forests that give the Black Forest its name, the treeless ridges in the northern Black Forest, quiet mountain lakes, rocky peaks with great views, and glacial valleys and mountains in the southern Black Forest. In between, you climb many of the region’s highest peaks. You hike across the Hornisgrinde plateau, experience the Belchen and Hochblauen peaks, admire the view from the Schliffkopf, and roam the high moor around the Hohloh. A highlight is the ascent of the Feldberg, the highest mountain in the Black Forest.
We have divided the Westweg into twelve stages for you. The 285-kilometre (177 mile) route take you up almost 8,000 metres (26,246 feet) in altitude – quite a lot for a hike outside the Alps. Due to the elevation gain and long distances, the Westweg is not a beginner hike. Experienced hikers, however, will lvoe the remoteness of the forests and mountains. The Westweg leads away from tourist hotspots through quiet forests and across lonely high plateaus. The Way is signposted by the red rhombus, the symbol of the Black Forest Association. We planned each stage to end in a place where you can easily find a hotel or a guest house. It’s still worth reserving in advance, however, as sometimes there are only a few rooms available. With your accommodation booked and komoot in your pocket, you are will be ready for your adventure on the Westweg.
From Titisee lake onwards, the Westweg splits into two variants: West and East. In this Collection, we show you the western route. Both variants end in Basel. If you prefer to take the eastern route, you need one more day. You can find the individual stages, here:
Stage 9 (east): komoot.de/tour/161040978,
Stage 10 (east): komoot.de/tour/161041479,
Stage 11 (east): komoot.de/tour/161041794,
Stage 12 (east): komoot.de/tour/161042251,
Stage 13 (east): komoot.de/tour/161042468.
If you don't have time to walk the Westweg in one go, then you can hike the entire route bit by bit. It’s easy to reach the starting and finishing points of the stages with public transport. This way, you can plan your hiking adventure how you like.
If you want to hike even more comfortably, you can arrange a luggage service. Your suitcase (up to 20 kilograms per person) will then be delivered to your destination. You can book additional luggage if you would like too. Whilst you enjoy the beauty of the Black Forest, your luggage is dropped off at your accommodation by 6pm. There are also various packages that include accommodation and detail Tour description for the Westweg – whether you choose the East of West variant or just plan a short trip. If your dog enjoys hiking as much as you do, then you can also book a dog Tour that is specially adapted to hikers and their four-legged friends.
Along the Westweg, you’ll spot 12 gates where you can collect stamps and also take a great photo. You can pick up a stamp card in the tourist information in Pforzheim before you set off. Once you’ve collected nine stamps, you can pick up a small gift. Although your journey through the wonderful Black Forest is a gift in itself.
The Top Trails of Germany are a collection of 12 unique trails that lead more than 3,700 kilometres (2,299 miles) through some of Germany’s most spectacular landscapes. Each trail has its own ecxting story and special character. No matter which trail you choose, you can expect a great adventure. Take a look at the trails here: komoot.de/user/toptrailsofgermany/collections
The first stage of the Westweg leads you steadily from Pforzheim on the northern edge of the Black Forest to the climatic health resort of Dobel. The north of the Black Forest is still relatively densely populated - that's why the Westweg leads you today not only through quiet, dense forests, but also through Neubürg and past Schwann.The starting point of your hike is the Golden Gate in Pforzheim. This stands at the confluence of the Würm and Nagold and marks the first stage of the Ostweg and the Westweg. From here, the west path marked with a red rhombus leads you over a forested, gentle mountain range past the Hoheneck ruins.After crossing the Nagold, the hiking trail winds for a while through the city and then into the Pforzheim Arboretum. Over 40 different tree species from all over the world grow here - including California sequoias.Shortly afterwards you stand on the banks of the Enz, a tributary of the Nagold. The Westweg runs directly along the forested bank and follows the river valley to the Neuenbürger castle. The castle stands on a mountain spur on the edge of Neuenbürg, which is surrounded by the river Enz on three sides.From the castle it goes gently downhill and over the Enz. The hiking path rises on the other bank and leads you through the streets of Neuenbürg. After a few minutes, however, you leave the city behind and you continue on forest trails. At Schwann it goes close to the edge of the forest and you can enjoy the view over the wide meadows and fields to the Rhine valley at the Schwanner Warte observation tower.From this point you follow the west path through dense forest steadily uphill to the stage destination Dobel. Here you will find various hotels, guest houses and holiday apartments where you can stay.
The second stage follows an elongated mountain range and leads you up to the Hohloh. On the 988 meter high mountain there is a lookout tower that offers you a fabulous view of the northern Black Forest. But already on the way there you always have great panoramas.You start your tour full of energy in the health resort Dobel. From here it goes gently uphill on comfortable forest paths. The first panoramic view awaits you at the Schweizererkopfhütte, which is located slightly below the actual summit. From the small hiking hut you have a great view of the Gasibach and Albtal.The trail meanders over the forested mountain ridge. On the way you will pass several hiking huts and rest areas, which often have a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape. After a good 15 kilometers you can stop at the Kaltenbronn in the Hotel Sarbach.Around the Hohloh, the highest point of today's stage, you hike on wooden footbridges through an extensive, untouched raised bog. The summit itself is densely forested, but thanks to the stone and almost 30 meter high observation tower, you can still enjoy a fantastic panorama.From the Hohloh you walk steadily downhill until you reach the stage goal Forbach.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
The third tour on the Westweg runs over a long summit chain and leads you up to the Unterstmatt pass. It is located on the famous Black Forest High Road, the oldest holiday road in Germany. On the way there you hike through dense forests and past idyllic lakes.From the starting point in Forbach it goes straight uphill. In some hairpin bends and serpentine sections you climb up the slopes of the Murgtal until you stand on the banks of the Schwarzenbach reservoir. This offers a sublime sight, especially in winter and spring, when the water rises and the trees are reflected in it.After a short breather it continues: You leave the reservoir and hike along a rocky hiking trail along the narrow Seebach. It is partly fed from the Herrenwieser See, the banks of which you pass on the way up to the Seekopf.When you get to the Seekopf, there is no prospect, but a monument steeped in history: on a large rock there is a memorial plaque for Philipp Bussemer, who is considered the "father of the Westweg".At the Seekopf you have almost completed the entire ascent of today's stage and from here you can hike on without major differences in altitude. The next stop is the Friedrichsturm on the Badener Höhe. On the observation deck of the tower you are clearly above the treetops and are spoiled accordingly with a great view.It is only a few minutes' walk from the tower to the Naturfreundehaus Badener Höhe, which is perfect for a cozy break and a delicious meal. Freshly strengthened, you then hike through the forest to the Unterstmatt finish. Here you will find two different hotels where you can stay.
The fourth stage has a very special highlight for you - in the truest sense of the word. With a height of 1,163 meters, the Hornisgrinde is the highest peak in the Northern Black Forest. From the summit, you then hike roughly parallel to the Black Forest high road via comfortable forest paths to the refuge pass, your today's destination.From Unterstmatt you hike right up to the Hornisgrinde - but since the starting point is already quite high, you only have a 200m climb ahead of you. A barren meadow and moor landscape awaits you at the top of the extensive Hornisgrinde plateau. You can enjoy the already magnificent view even better on the two towers Bismarck and Hornisgrindenturm.From the summit you hike down a wide bend to the picturesque Mummelsee. However, it is located directly on the Black Forest High Road and it can get quite crowded here on weekends. If you are too busy at the lake, you can continue your hike straight away.The hiking trail now runs parallel, but a few meters away from the Black Forest high road through the forest. You hike here on easy forest paths to the Seibelseckle, where you can take a break at the small rest hut.You continue your tour on natural hiking trails. The Westweg follows the natural course of a mountain range and between the conifers you can enjoy the view of the Black Forest in various places.If you haven't needed a break at Seibelseckle yet, you can also stop at the Darmstadt hut or in the Ruhesteinschänke. From the Ruhesteinschänke it goes uphill again to the Schliffkopf, at the top of which you can enjoy a great panorama.Then you hike gently downhill to the refuge stage. The only accommodation on site is the Natur- und Sporthotel Zuflucht, where you can spend the night comfortably.
On the fifth stage you hike from the Naturhotel Zuflucht to the Vesperhof Hark, which lies in the middle of wide alpine meadows. You hike most of the time at a constant height over densely forested ridges and finally evenly downhill to the stage goal. Overall, there are more vertical meters in the descent than in the ascent - a welcome change after the mountain stages of the past two days.At the beginning of today's stage, you hike again parallel to the Black Forest high road to the Alexander hill pass. There used to be an important fortification here, after which the pass height is still named. There is also an old mountain hotel here, but it has been abandoned for several years.At the Alexander ski jump, the Black Forest high road bifurcates and for a while the Westweg runs parallel to one of the two streets. Fortunately, dense forest separates you from the road, so you hardly notice the passing cars. After about three kilometers, the road bends towards the valley and you can fully enjoy nature again for yourself. From a small clearing on a mountain slope you can see the road as it winds through the valley to Griesbach.Then you hike on a rustic hiking trail through a magical spell forest. Here the forest has not been managed by humans for many years and the landscape is slowly transforming back into a primeval forest. Dead trees lie on the edge of the path and offer an excellent habitat for insects, reptiles and plants.The path winds through thick and sometimes young forests, over small mountain meadows and along the enchanted Glaswaldsee. On your way you can stop at numerous unmanaged huts and admire the secluded landscape.Only shortly before your milestone does the forest finally open completely and give you a view of the Vesperhof Hark, the cozy but also the only accommodation in Hark.For today's stage, you should get food and water in advance, as there are no places to stop for refreshments between the nature hotel and the Vesperhof. It's best to ask for a packed lunch at the hotel in the morning.
With a distance of just 16 kilometers, only 300 vertical meters in the ascent and almost 800 meters in the descent, the sixth stage is one of the gourmet tours of the Westweg. The hiking trail winds gently downhill over a long mountain range to Hausach. Your milestone is in the broad Kinzig valley, which is the border from the northern to the southern Black Forest.Your starting point is the Vesperhof Hark, which lies on a spacious mountain meadow below the Regeleskopf. The trail meanders through the dense forest with no significant differences in altitude. Slowly the path descends into the valley and you literally float there.On this stage, the Black Forest lives up to its name: Most of the time you hike on easy forest paths and on quiet forest paths through dense fir and spruce forest. The shady forest is a real treat, especially on warm summer days.After almost ten kilometers, you have two options to stop for a bite to eat: The Hohenlochhütte is located on a hill in the dense forest and the Käppelehof lies on a picturesque alpine meadow. Since the stage is not too long today, you can take your time during your break.Then it goes in a wide loop down to Hausach in the Kinzigtal. On your way there, the forest slowly becomes lighter and you can always enjoy beautiful, wide views.
The seventh stage leads you up to the southern Black Forest, where the highest elevations of the entire Black Forest are located. You will notice this immediately on today's tour, because on your way to the stage destination Wilhelmshöhe it is a total of 1,100 meters uphill. As a reward for this challenge, you will be spoiled with wonderful views of the mountains and valleys formed by glaciers.At the beginning of your tour, the Westweg takes you up to Husen Castle. From the weir wall you can take a look at Hausach and it goes uphill. The first "highlight" of the day is the Farrenkopf. Here, a small hiking hut invites you to take a break and admire the picturesque view of the forested mountains of the Black Forest.The west path winds from here through the dense forest and leads you past open, lush mountain meadows. Spectacular panoramas await you on the Hubert rock and on the Karlstein. From the bare granite rocks, your gaze wanders down into deep valleys and over the densely forested mountain slopes.At Karlstein you finally managed almost the entire ascent of today's stage. From here the path runs almost flat to the stage destination Wilhelmshöhe. The only accommodation at the destination is the Gasthof Wilhelmshöhe.This stage leads through secluded forests almost all of the time - accordingly, you will not find any refreshments on the edge of the path. You can only take a break at Gasthaus Reschbe after almost 18 kilometers. If you get hungry beforehand, it is worth packing provisions in your backpack in the morning.
On the eighth stage, the Westweg winds its way up and down over the mountains of the southern Black Forest. The highest point of today's stage is the bald summit of Brends with 1,150 meters. From up here you have a fantastic view of the highest peaks in the Black Forest: Feldberg, Belchen, Hochfirst and Kandel are lined up to the south.The starting point of the eighth stage is the Gasthof Wilhelmshöhe. Here you walk through one of the numerous artistic gates that have been set up on the Westweg for the hikers. For a while, the hiking trail takes you along meadows, through light forests and past forest edges. Around the tiny Blindensee, an enchanted moor landscape awaits you, which you can explore on wooden walkways.We continue across alpine meadows and past large, venerable Black Forest farms. Again and again you enjoy wonderful views over the peaceful landscape. Before going up to Brend, you can take a rest in the Hofcafé Näbbe Duss. Freshly strengthened, you literally dash up the hiking trail to the summit. If you only want to take a break here, you can stop at either the Naturfreundehaus or the Berggasthof Brend.Most of the time, the Westweg leads downhill from Brend across wide mountain meadows. You soon find that the landscape here is a little more densely populated. There are many villages and farms around the Bregtal, which are easily accessible by an elevated road. The last part of today's stage roughly follows the course of this elevated road to the stage goal Kaltenherberg. As on other previous stages, you will only find one hotel here: the Gasthof Kalte Herberge.
On the ninth day stage, too, you will be pampered with easy hiking trails across almost endless mountain pastures. As you stroll along, you are accompanied by a fantastic view of the mountains of the southern Black Forest.The Gasthof Kalte Herberge, the starting point of your stage today, is located directly on the southern section of the Black Forest High Road. The Westweg runs close to the road for a few kilometers.After around seven kilometers, the hiking trail bends and calm quickly returns. Here the Westweg winds along the edge of wide meadows and only leads you through small forest areas for short sections. Accordingly, you enjoy wonderful distant views of the vast landscape with every step.Only around the summit of the Weißtannenhöhe is it back into the typical coniferous forest of the Black Forest. You hike in a gently rising loop past tall firs to the summit marking. The highest point is densely forested, but on a narrow forest aisle there is a view of the surrounding mountains.You then hike downhill over alpine meadows to the picturesque Lake Titisee and the town of the same name on its banks. Here you have several places to stop for a bite to eat and, if the weather is nice, a dip in the lake is also worthwhile.After a well-deserved break, the final destination is Hinterzarten.
On the tenth stage it goes very high, because today you climb the highest mountain in the Black Forest. At 1,493 meters, the famous Feldberg is not only the king of the Black Forest, but also the highest German mountain outside the Alps. After your summit storm, the Westweg leads you through dense forests and past beautiful viewpoints to the stage destination Wiedener Eck.From Hinterzarten you hike uphill on the slopes of the peaceful Zartenbach valley at the beginning of the tour. Soon you will enter a clearing and you can take a first look at the Feldberg massif. The Westweg leads you further and further uphill - first through forests and soon across open, wide mountain meadows.The Feldberg plateau is made up of the Feldberg and the slightly lower Seebuck. Hardly any trees grow up here and therefore you can enjoy a fantastic view that extends to the Alps in good weather. On the Feldberg, a visit to the St. Wilhelmer Hütte, the highest alpine hut in the Black Forest, is also worthwhile.After a rest in the alpine hut, the Westweg leads over mountain meadows for a while and finally into quiet forests. You leisurely hike down to the stage destination Wiedener Eck.
The eleventh stage takes you down 33 kilometers and over 1,500 meters in altitude, descending from the highest peaks in the southern Black Forest. Before that, however, you will visit the Belchen, which is the fourth highest mountain in the Black Forest with a height of 1,414 meters. Take enough time for today's stage and give yourself regular breaks, then you will get to your destination well.From Wiedener Eck you hike in a wide loop up forest paths to Belchen. In addition to the fantastic view, the Gasthof Belchenhaus awaits you here, which is suitable for a first break.Now the long but steady descent begins. The Westweg follows the course of a mountain range. You hike through coniferous forests most of the time, but the forest opens at various points and offers a view of the Alps or the Vosges.If you have covered around 13 kilometers, you can reward yourself with a break in the Haldenhof. Rested and fresh energies continue. The next seven kilometers are without any notable height differences and so you can take a little care of your knees.The last short ascent of the day begins from the small rest hut Egertenhütte. Here you hike up to the viewpoint on the high blue. If you still have reserves, you should go up to the viewing platform, because the view over the southern Black Forest is great.The west path finally runs down a long mountain ridge. Once at the bottom, your stage destination Kandern welcomes you.If the entire stage is too long for you, you can split it up over two days. It is best to spend the night at the Haldenhof.
The twelfth and last stage leads you through the last foothills of the southern Black Forest. In many places you have fantastic views of the Rhine valley, to France and of course to Switzerland. This is where your milestone lies: at the end of your tour you cross the German-Swiss border and end your hike in Basel.In Kandern you start your farewell tour through the Black Forest. You follow the course of the Kander to the south. Above the river there is an elongated rock formation known as the Wolfsschlucht. The path leads you right through and you can enjoy a unique landscape.The valley soon opens and the Westweg leads you over the Kander. On the other bank, the hiking trail runs just below the forested mountain slopes and so you hike across vast meadows and pass through small villages and towns.Behind Wollbach the Westweg winds over a forested mountain range. At its southern end you will find the well-preserved Rötteln castle ruins on a hill. In the impressive ruin there is also a café with a beer garden - the perfect place for a long rest.Then it goes downhill and under the A96 motorway. Here follows the last mountain range of your long-distance hike. The Tüllinger Berg lies directly between Lörrach, Basel and Weil am Rhein and promises fantastic views of all three cities.From Tullinger Berg you hike down to the banks of the meadow, which leads you leisurely to your destination in Basel. You can look back with satisfaction on your last twelve days: on your hike you got to know and love all facets, landscapes and the unique nature of the Black Forest up close.