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Taunus Bikepacking No. 1 – the start of an adventure

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Taunus Bikepacking No. 1 – the start of an adventure

Bike Touring Collection by Jesko

9-19

days

3-6 h

/ day

407 mi

37,425 ft

37,425 ft

The Taunus, a low mountain range in Hesse, is perfect for an exciting bikepacking adventure: deep green forests alternate with open fields and the sparsely populated countryside is peppered with picturesque half-timbered villages. In between, you can stop off at a cosy refuge or romantic castles, explore historical traces of the Romans at the Limes UNESCO World Heritage Site, and conquer many short, steep climbs. This region, a stone’s throw from Frankfurt, is easy to reach from all corners of Germany. Every year, the self-supported Taunus Bikepacking event takes place here.

The story of Taunus Bikepacking began in 2017 when I put together a route in my home region, the Taunus, so that I could train anytime for long-distance races like the Transcontinental Race and the Transatlantic Way from my doorstep. The Rhine-Main area has a lot of traffic on the roads. I wanted to create a low-traffic route that is both challenging and beautiful to ride. With 40 millimetre wide tyres on my road bike, new possibilities away from busy roads opened up. The result was a route with a perfect mix of surface types for me that included a fair amount of elevation gain whilst staying entirely within the relatively small Taunus region. If I didn’t have enough time or energy to finish the route, I’d always be able to find a direct route home or a train station nearby.

Then, in summer 2018, I invited a small group of biking friends to ride the route self-supported. 24 brave bikepackers took up the challenge. James Juneyt Dennis was the fastest, completing the route in an incredible 58 hours and 45 minutes. The verdict was unanimous: it was very hard, very challenging and very beautiful. This is how a small event came to be that has taken place every summer since and continues to attract curious riders to the Taunus. The fourth edition will start in June 2021. I love scouting and discovering new paths, so to keep it exciting, the route changes every year.

With this Collection, you can now discover the original route of the first edition and follow in the footsteps of those 24 pioneers. However, I would strongly recommend that you take more time than JJ Dennis. I’ve divided the 655 kilometres (407 miles) 7 daily stages. With a daily average of almost 100 kilometres (62 miles) on difficult terrain, this is still extremely challenging. To complete the route in under a week, you should bring along a certain willingness to suffer, strong legs and, above all, be ready to take on many metres of climbing. If you aren’t sure whether you can do it, you can still start without worrying and just see how far you get or plan more time. After all, you’re never too far from a train station and you can always improvise. The seven stages are, of course, only a suggestion and you can adjust the length as you wish. To make planning a little easier, the routes start and end in places where you can be sure to find accommodation.

Whether you set off on a gravel bike, mountain bike or a classic touring bike, I recommend a tyre width of 40 millimetres and a gear ratio suitable for mountainous terrain. The Taunus is a low mountain range and, as such, the climbs are plentiful. They are rarely long, but often steep. Although you ride through untouched corners of the Taunus and despite the area being sparsely populated in parts, you won’t have to worry about food. You pass through towns and villages at regular intervals and ride by bakeries, supermarkets, inns and petrol stations. This allows you to concentrate on riding and means you don’t have to make any detours to find food and drinks.

The starting point, the city of Hofheim am Taunus, is located exactly between Wiesbaden and Frankfurt and has excellent transport connections. The S-Bahn or regional express from Frankfurt’s main station take you there in 20 minutes. Both the A3 and A66 motorways pass right by the town, and even Frankfurt Airport is only 16 kilometres (10 miles) away.

Check out taunus-bikepacking.com for photos, videos and exciting stories that have taken place on the route over the years.

On The Map

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Taunus Bikepacking No. 1

406 mi

37,475 ft

37,475 ft

Last updated: November 19, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Etappe 1: Von Hofheim nach Geisenheim – Taunus Bikepacking No. 1

    Difficult
    08:19
    59.5 mi
    7.2 mph
    4,375 ft
    4,475 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    For the sake of simplicity, the route begins directly at Hofheim train station. The first 20 kilometers are intended to be rolled up. You quickly leave the buildings behind you and dive into the orchards of the Vordertaunus on car-free farm roads. Through the Weilbacher gravel pits you reach the wine

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  • Difficult
    08:18
    58.1 mi
    7.0 mph
    5,325 ft
    5,400 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    The star on the second stage is clearly the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. It is not for nothing that the spectacular, deeply cut valley lined with countless castles has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You move parallel to this most beautiful section of the Rhine, but rarely drive directly

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  • Difficult
    05:40
    45.9 mi
    8.1 mph
    3,200 ft
    2,950 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    The flattest and shortest stage is still almost 1,000 meters in altitude. As far as Runkel you always move parallel to the Lahn, but not always directly on its bank. If we only followed the paved Lahn cycle path, it wouldn't be Taunus Bikepacking. Instead, you will discover some less traveled paths.

    

    The

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  • Difficult
    08:27
    58.9 mi
    7.0 mph
    5,675 ft
    5,225 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    After the relatively flat third stage, we are now climbing again properly. You will discover small places like Burgschwalbach and Katzenelnbogen, both centers of power in the Middle Ages. In the forest above Holzhausen you will find traces of a much older power. The ancient Romans secured the Limes Germanicus

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  • Difficult
    07:31
    54.5 mi
    7.3 mph
    4,925 ft
    5,325 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    On the fifth stage you drive northwards to the Lahn one last time and discover medieval old towns as well as many castles and palaces. The first old town worth seeing is that of Bad Camberg in the Goldenen Grund. From the Kreuzkapelle above the village you look back at the village one more time.

    

    It goes

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  • Difficult
    11:01
    70.7 mi
    6.4 mph
    8,350 ft
    7,850 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    From the northernmost point of the route, this stage takes you into the heart of the Hochtaunus. If you look at the numbers, it quickly becomes clear that this is the queen stage. It is best to take good care of yourself again in Wetzlar, because first you go back to the very sparsely populated Hintertaunus

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  • Difficult
    08:53
    59.8 mi
    6.7 mph
    5,600 ft
    6,275 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    On the last stage you drive in a small loop over the Winterstein massif before you finally make your way home. Even the last few kilometers await with plenty of highlights. One last time you visit the Usatal with the castles in Kransberg and Ziegenberg. The area is beautiful but has a dark history that

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Distance
    407 mi
  • Duration
    58:08 h
  • Elevation
    37,425 ft37,425 ft

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Taunus Bikepacking No. 1 – the start of an adventure

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