Jesko von Werthern

Sleeping Beauty to Nibelungs – Hessian Long-distance Cycle Route R4

"Sollingschreck"

Sleeping Beauty to Nibelungs – Hessian Long-distance Cycle Route R4

Bike Touring Collection by Jesko von Werthern

4-9

days

3-6 h

/ day

249 mi

10,575 ft

10,425 ft

The Hessian Long-distance Cycle Route R4 runs from the River Weser to the Neckar – crossing the German state of Hesse from north to south. At first, you ride through the land of the Brothers Grimm, encountering traces of their fairytale stories such as Sleeping Beauty and Frau Holle. You roam through diverse nature such as the North Hessian Mountains, the Vogelsberg volcanic mountain range, and the fertile plains of the Wetterau. You visit countless typical Hessian old towns, such as Fritzlar and Asfeld, that boast authentic half-timbered buildings. Your adventure concludes in the heart of the Odenwald, the hunting ground of the mythical Nibelungs. There are several Siegfried fountains here, where the famous legendary hero is said to have died.

The Hessian Long-distance Cycle Route R4 runs mainly along tarmac cycle paths and roads, but there are also stretches along bumpy surfaces. A classic touring bike or even a gravel bike would be best; a racing bike is only suitable for some parts at most. The trail follows river valleys such as the Schwalm, Nidda, and Mümling, but there are also many metres of altitude to conquer. After all, you cross low mountain ranges such as the Vogelsberg and Odenwald. Your climbing efforts are always rewarded with unforgettable views, however. En route, you visit Ulrichstein, the highest town in Hesse, too.

Hesse has an extensive network of cycle paths, including nine different official long-distance cycle routes, including the R4. These numbered paths link together at various points and sometimes overlap. You can easily combine the R4 with almost all other Hessian long-distance cycle routes, as it links up with R1, R2, R3, R5, R6, R7, and R9.

I have divided the route of the Hessian Long-distance Cycle Route R4 into six daily stages for you, each of which ends in a place with overnight accommodation. Both your starting point in Bad Karlshafen on the Weser and your destination in Hirschhorn on the Neckar are easy to reach with the Deutsche Bahn. Getting there and back by train is the easiest option. In addition, the route intersects with other Hessian cycle paths and various train stations, so you can flexibly cycle only parts of the route.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    04:34
    40.0 mi
    8.8 mph
    2,550 ft
    2,000 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The journey begins in Bad Karlshafen. The city on the Weser lies in the border triangle with Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. You can easily reach them by train from …

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  • Difficult
    04:32
    42.3 mi
    9.3 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,350 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Today's stage is divided into two parts. In the first half there is still some altitude to collect, from Fritzlar it becomes flat. Overall, there are far fewer meters of …

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  • Difficult
    05:14
    44.3 mi
    8.5 mph
    2,300 ft
    950 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today's stage goes from the wooded Vogelsberg down to the fertile Wetterau. The contrast between these two landscapes could hardly be greater. There are three short climbs waiting for the …

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  • Intermediate
    03:45
    40.6 mi
    10.8 mph
    1,025 ft
    2,650 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today's stage goes from the wooded Vogelsberg down to the fertile Wetterau. The contrast between these two landscapes could hardly be greater. There are three short climbs waiting for the …

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  • Intermediate
    04:09
    39.8 mi
    9.6 mph
    900 ft
    725 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Today's stage is again pretty flat before you reach the Odenwald tomorrow. You cycle through the Rhine-Main area and cross the Main. To Gronau you continue to follow the Nidda, then it goes on a small ridge. The Hohe Straße runs up here, an old trade route between Frankfurt and Leipzig, which was already used by the Romans. You cross it and drive down to the Main. In Rumpenheim the ferry is waiting to take you to the southern bank of the Main.After crossing the ferry, follow the Main Cycle Path for a short time and then turn south. You will pass several small lakes and drive through large forest areas as well as villages over and over again. Even though you are out in nature so much, shopping opportunities are never far; So you don't have to worry about your food.

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  • Difficult
    05:02
    42.4 mi
    8.4 mph
    2,750 ft
    2,800 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The last stage of your tour on the Hessian long-distance cycle path R4 takes you into the Odenwald. The terrain will be challenging again at the end, but it will be worthwhile to conquer the mountains. After just five kilometers, an ascent awaits you that you will not forget anytime soon. The ramp to Veste Otzberg in Hering is not particularly long, but it is all the steeper. A visit to the fortress is worthwhile, you can also stop there.You are touching Höchst in the Odenwald and are now slowly diving deeper into the low mountain range. First you follow the valley of the Mümling, so the gradient percentages are still limited. Left and right of you slowly but surely the mountains rise. Michelstadt and Erbach are touched before it slowly climbs up and the slope noticeably increases. From Beerfelden you have finally reached the heights of the Odenwald and will be rewarded with the corresponding views.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    6
  • Distance
    249 mi
  • Duration
    27:15 h
  • Elevation
    10,575 ft10,425 ft

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Jesko von Werthern

Sleeping Beauty to Nibelungs – Hessian Long-distance Cycle Route R4