In Habichtswald in Northern Hesse, you can hike through diverse, varied and green landscapes where hawks fly. The land here originates from volcanic activity and you mostly walk along gentle slopes, from which the hilltops and mountains rise. You see new perspectives and fantastic views again and again. On some hills, you find medieval castle ruins that give an insight into the exciting history here. In such places, you might spot the shy goshawk, a large hawk that gives its name to this unique landscape.
The slopes and high ground are mostly covered in overgrown forests whilst the hollows are agriculturally developed. You walk through the trees on soft forest paths and along plateaus that are no longer farmed. You wander through sparse landscapes characterised by rough grassland, bushes and basalt boulders. Every now and then, you reach one of the historic hute forests where the branches of old, gnarled tree giants reach far into the forest.
I divided this 86-kilometre (53-mile) multi-day Tour into four stages. Each stage is about 22 kilometres (13.6 miles) long and leads over blue stones and along an alpine path to a truly impressive statue of Hercules. You hike through deep valleys, to impressive castle ruins I mentioned at the beginning. You can also fly through the skies high above the landscape on a swing. Finally you reach the charming Edersee, one of Germany's largest reservoirs, which shimmers between the mountains.
As you mainly walk on natural and sometimes rocky paths that can become slippery after wet weather, I recommend wearing sturdy shoes. You should also pack waterproof clothes in your rucksack that can keep you dry in a downpour and protect from the wind on the hilltops. Bring along a drink and small picnic as there are countless beautiful spots along the way that will tempt you to take a break.
At the stage destinations in the small villages, you find cosy accommodation and refreshment stops. If you’d rather walk individual stages as a day trip, you can reach the starting points and destinations with Nordhessischer Verkehrsverbund (North Hessian Transport Association) buses – nvv.de. The nearest larger train stations are in Kassel, Korbach and Bad Wildungen.
The tour starts on the market square of the small town of Zierenberg. Here is the oldest half-timbered town hall in Hesse from 1450 and in the immediate vicinity the town church, the start of construction of which is dated to 1293. The small old town with some interesting buildings and remains of the city wall is also very worth seeing.
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