If you’ve always wanted to get a taste of bikepacking, but you’re not sure if sleeping outside is your thing, then this is the right Collection for you. At the end of each stage, you have the option of staying at a natural campsite or in simple accommodation or a hiker’s cabin nearby. It’s an ideal adventure for bikepacking beginners.
The Black Forest Cycle Route takes you from Karlsruhe, across Germany’s highest low mountain range, to Lörrach in Baden-Württemberg in five stages. You explore lush meadows, deep forests and crystal-clear lakes, getting to know the region and its mountains in depth. As there is a good amount of climbing, you should be in good shape for this Tour. However, you don’t need to worry about your riding technique as you mostly ride along lonely farm roads that are paved or covered in fine gravel. Very occasionally you may come across a rougher gravel section. A light mountain bike with some suspension or a gravel bike would be a perfect steed.
Although the long-distance cycle route is very well signposted with a red rhombus and black bicycle symbol, I recommend downloading the route onto your navigation device or mobile phone anyway. Some signs are hard to see, especially on fast descents.
As you may have noticed, this Collection has a few more kilometres and metres of altitude than the officially stated 375 kilometres (233 miles) and 7,500 metres (24,600 feet) of altitude. That's because I've included a few detours to highlights that are well worth seeing. These include the Feldberg summit with its magnificent 360° panorama as well as the deep green Feldbergsee lake or the enchanted Nonnenmattweiher pond, to name just a few epic Black Forest classics. You can recognise these detours by the short ‘out-and-back’ lines on the route. If you're not in the mood for extra kilometres, you can simply leave them out.
Both the start in Karlsruhe and the finish in Lörrach are located at Deutsche Bahn stations, which makes your arrival and departure easier. So now nothing stands in the way of your first bikepacking adventure.
So what are you waiting for?
The Black Forest Cycle Path starts right at the south exit of Karlsruhe Central Station. It is advisable to refill drinks and snacks here, as there are not so many places to stop for refreshments directly on the route in the northern Black Forest - especially in the off-season.You pedal on rather unspectacular, level side streets to the northern edge of the Black Forest. From here it is the first real climb up to the health resort Dobel. This is followed by a scenic section with a view of Bad Herrenalb, before the first rapid descent via Loffenau to Gernsbach awaits you, which is peppered with counter-climbs again and again.We continue through the beautiful Murgtal, one of the largest and deepest valleys in the Black Forest. In the middle is the small town of Forbach, whose townscape is characterized by a historic wooden bridge. There are several places to stop and shop here. This is followed by a wildly romantic section along the Murg, which will enchant you on warm summer days with its many bathing spots and invite you to rest. After the Murgbrücke it is only a few minutes to your destination.You can find information about the campsite here: campingplatz-erbersbronn.de
You start the second stage with a long and steep ascent along the picturesque Raumünzach river. Later you change to a little-traveled road until you come to the Schwarzwaldhochstraße after about 450 meters in altitude in Hundseck.From here it goes car-free again above the main road on a gravel path with great views, but wavy to the Mummelsee. This place is a real tourist magnet. For those who prefer it a little quieter and more idyllic, I recommend a break at the Darmstädter Hütte. This is where you get a real mountain hut feeling at 1,030 meters before you whiz on a long descent to Obertal.This is followed by a wonderful driveway through the Black Forest National Park up to the Kniebis. Here it is worthwhile to briefly leave the original route of the Black Forest Cycle Path in order to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Ellbachsee.After the village of Zwieselberg, there is a long, winding gravel path on which you hardly lose any height. Pedal along lush green meadows through a lonely Black Forest valley down to Wolfach in the Kinzig valley.You can find information about the campsite here: trendcamping.de
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On the third stage, too, the Black Forest shows itself from its most beautiful side. You start the day in the beautiful Kinzig valley and get to know the beautiful old town of Wolfach. Since the shortest stage is waiting for you today, you can linger here and, for example, have an extensive breakfast or - if you happen to be here on a Wednesday or Saturday - fill up your provisions at the weekly market at the town hall.You roll further along the Kinzig to Haslach, where you turn off to Mühlenbach. The following driveway leads idyllically past lonely farms and at the end becomes really steep for a short time. When you arrive at the top of the Black Forest plateau, you will be enchanted by the moss-covered forests and endless flowering meadows in spring.What follows is a very secluded part on which you will not meet many other cyclists. Only on the Brend, Furtwangen's local mountain, does it get a little livelier again. The detour is worthwhile not only because of the striking tower and the great view, but also because of the delicious dishes that you can eat there on the sun terrace. From here it goes on wavy to your stage destination.You can find information about the campsite here: schwarzwald-pensions.de/dienstleistungen/campingplatz-michelhof-furtwangen-stellplaetze
The fourth stage begins with a beautiful passage through the quiet Wolfslochtal, which spits you out right at the Gasthaus Kalte Herberge. Here you will be mostly alone, but loneliness will soon be over.The touristic part of the Black Forest follows, which also offers its advantages. In Titisee-Neustadt you can get spare parts in the bike shop and eat Black Forest cake in one of the many cafés, which will provide you with enough calories for the next part of the stage.After the tourist hotspot it gets a little quieter again. If you are looking for refreshment in the cool water before the next ascent, a stop at Windgfallweiher, which has a beautiful bathing beach, is ideal.We continue to the almost circular Feldsee, where bathing is strictly forbidden due to a very rare underwater plant. But don't worry, the view from the shore is breathtaking.One more gravel climb and you are at the foot of the Feldberg. The highest peak in the Black Forest should of course not be missing when crossing the Black Forest. At 1,493 meters above sea level, you can enjoy a grandiose 360 ° panorama.The further route to Todtnauberg is no less spectacular. One last ascent for today and you will reach your overnight accommodation in Muggenbrunn.You can find information about the campsite here: camping-hochschwarzwald.de
On the fifth and last stage, the elevation profile looks very friendly at first glance, but don't underestimate the last few meters. It is not worthwhile to blast all the grains right at the beginning, because today we are going to the most beautiful summit that the Black Forest has to offer.As always, it is of course a matter of taste whether the Belchen, at 1,414 meters, is really the most beautiful peak. The best thing to do is to convince yourself. Since the Black Forest Cycle Path does not lead you directly up the mountain, you can expect almost 400 additional meters in altitude. I know that is a lot, but the phenomenal foresight will quickly make you forget all the hardships. In good weather you can even see Mont Blanc.If you'd rather save your energy, you can skip the Belchen and take the detour to the Nonnenmattweiher with you. This popular swimming lake in the middle of a nature reserve is not particularly large, but it is really beautiful. There is also a cozy fisherman's hut here, where you can try local delicacies.The last few kilometers to Lörrach are really mainly downhill. When you arrive in Lörrach, you can either cycle directly to the main train station or you can reward yourself with a delicious cake on the Rötteln castle ruins.The Black Forest cycle path and perhaps your first bikepacking trip ends at the main train station. If you've tasted some real blood, you're not only dreaming of lounging on the couch on the train back, but also of your next bikepacking adventure.