In the east of the magical world of the Harz Mountains in northern Germany, the Selke River meanders through a picturesque valley. The Selketalstieg hiking trail runs along the water's edge and accompanies it from its source near Stiege village to Quedlinburg, a town on the edge of the Harz Mountains. The 75-kilometre (46 mile) trail leads you through wide meadow landscapes, steep valleys with scenic cliffs, and natural deciduous forests.
There are many sights worth seeing along the way – old castles and palaces are waiting for you to visit and traces of the region’s mining legacy are begging to be discovered. You cross the tracks of the Selke Valley Railway again and again where you might catch a glimpse of one of the old steam trains chugging through the valley. The Selketalstieg is suitable for both nature lovers looking for peace and quiet and hikers who are interested in history and culture – you find both here in abundance.
The start in the village of Stiege is easily accessible by car. If you travel by train, it is best to first go to Quedlinburg and then take the Selke Valley Railway to Stiege. The stages are planned so that you usually have several accommodation options at the end of the day. As the Selke Valley Railway connects the towns en route, you can easily shorten or skip stages. You can find information about the timetables on the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen (HSB) website.
The Selketalstieg can be walked comfortably in both directions and is well waymarked. Occasionally a little surefootedness is required, but the route is perfectly suited to beginners on the whole.
Now you are at the starting point: At the small station of the Selketalbahn in Stiege. The weight of the backpack may feel a bit strange at first, but you get used to it quickly. You leave the place along the bank of the Oberteich and set off on your way. Through a meadow landscape you first follow the Hassel stream upstream. After just two kilometers you will cross the highest point of your hike at a little more than 500 meters above sea level. Shortly below there is one of the Selke springs, which is inconspicuously a bit off the road. From here on, the course of the hiking trail is dictated by the Selke, which quickly develops from a small stream to a river. A few kilometers later - shortly before Friedrichshöhe - your paths meet for the first time.After a short detour to the village, the Selketalstieg soon returns to Selke and now runs alongside the rails of the Selketalbahn through the Obere Selke nature reserve. With a little luck you can see one of the historic steam locomotives passing by, which run on this route several times a day. The Selke now flows into the mountain lake and along the shore you reach the village of Güntersberge. In addition to some historic buildings that are well worth seeing, you will also find several restaurants and a museum for mousetraps and other curiosities.On the other side of the river you leave the place and follow the Selke towards Straßberg. If you are interested in the history of mining in the region, you can make a stop at the visitor mine in town. The Selke meanders through an open valley between Straßberg and Silberhütte. Your path runs a little above along the slope and offers you beautiful views and resting places here and there. After a final ascent behind Silberhütte, you finally reach your destination for the day, Alexisbad. Here you will find several options for accommodation and refreshments ..
Today's stage could hardly be more varied. After you have shouldered your rucksack and mastered the first few meters of altitude, you can quickly reach the engagement urn and pass the Habichtstein and the Birkenhäuschen refuge. Here you already have the first foresight into the Selketal. Along the slope you finally come to the Pionierweg, which even leads through a short, narrow tunnel. This is not for hikers with claustrophobia! The exciting climb and the view from the pioneer cliff will quickly reward you for the inconvenience.Four kilometers after the start, the hiking trail leads you past the Köthener Hut, which, with its small bell tower, is the most beautiful refuge in the Harz for me. It's worth taking a break here and enjoying the view. On the next kilometer, too, there is one lookout point after the other until the path finally descends steeply into the Selketal and you reach the former Mägdesprung hut. If you want, you can visit the Carlswerk industrial museum here.Directly behind the museum you can cross a bridge to the other side of the river and now follow the Selke again. Here the valley becomes very narrow and the narrow path leads you through a dense mixed forest between the cliffs and even through a short tunnel - an absolute highlight on this stage. Shortly afterwards the valley widens and the trees give way to a meadow landscape. Here and there you pass cattle pastures and can get to know one or the other cow. Falkenstein Castle, which can be seen from afar up on the hillside, is not directly on the Selketalstieg, but is definitely worth a detour. It is the best preserved medieval castle complex in the Harz Mountains and offers a number of sights with a museum and falconry.Almost four kilometers later you finally reach Meisdorf. You can stay here either in the Parkhotel Schloss Meisdorf, in the Gasthaus zum Falken at the foot of Falkenstein Castle or in various holiday apartments in the village. You can also find dining options in the Parkhotel, the Gasthaus zum Falken or in the center of Meisdorf.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
Today is the day of castles and palaces. In front of the gates of Meisdorf Castle, where a hotel can now be found, the Selketalstieg leads you east into a dense deciduous forest. After a leisurely climb over the first few kilometers, you will soon reach Ballenstedt. The Selketalstieg leads you directly past Ballenstadt Castle with its magnificent park - the perfect place for an extended break.We continue through an avenue of old trees towards Gernrode. Where narrow valleys and cliffs shaped the landscape on the last stage, today you always have wide views of the Harz foreland. At this point I have included a detour to the Roseburg, which is really worth seeing. Here, too, numerous sculptures, water basins and fountains are waiting to be viewed.You now stroll along the edge of the forest to Gernrode. Here you meet the rails of the Selketalbahn again. However, your path does not lead you into the village, but in an arc above the village through the forest. From up here you always have small views of Gernrode and the 1000-year-old collegiate church of St. Cyriakus. It is worth making a detour to see the church. Shortly afterwards you will reach Bad Suderode. Here you have a small selection of restaurants, hotels and holiday apartments.
The last stage of the Selketalstieg is short and you can therefore take it easy today. You walk through the village - past the old church and the listed train station at the end of the village. The historic Bückemühle on the side of the road is now a restaurant and guesthouse and is widely known for its delicious fish dishes.Over open fields you now follow the Quarmbach northwards to Quarmbeck. Shortly afterwards you will meet the rails of the Harz narrow-gauge railway again, which will now accompany you to the outskirts of Quedlinburg. On this section you can also see the impressive sandstone formations of the Devil's Wall in the west.Now you're almost there. After a short break on the Bode, you will reach the center of Quedlinburg through the Brühlpark. The UNESCO World Heritage city has a lot to offer in terms of cultural and historical attractions and you can reward yourself for the efforts of the last few days with a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants. If you want to return to the starting point Stiege from here, the Selketalbahn is again an option.