Between Hanover, Bielefeld and Göttingen lie two mountain ranges that few people have ever heard of: Ith and Hils. You wouldn’t expect to find so much untouched nature here, but there are countless impressive rock formations, ancient beech forests and picturesque meadows are waiting to be explored.
The Ith Hils Trail connects these two mountain ranges’ ridge paths to form a varied circular hike that has already been designated as a quality trail by the German Hiking Association. Across seven stages, you hike over narrow mountain ridges, past impressive rocks and popular climbing areas. You explore dense deciduous forests and gentle valleys flanked by natural mountain meadows and wooded hills. En route, you climb a few lookout towers, squeeze through narrow caves and relax in the Ith Sole Therme thermal bath.
What I like most about this long-distance hiking trail are the narrow, natural paths. The route is sometimes overgrown with roots or very rocky, so you need surefootedness and sturdy shoes. On the whole, it’s still doable for beginners. The hike is particularly impressive in autumn when the beech forests change colour and mist hangs between the rocks.
The official starting point is in Coppenbrügge municipality, which you can reach either by car or by train. You can start in any other of the towns along the way too. The official Ith Hils Trail is 82 kilometres (51 miles) long. However, as you have to leave the trail to find accommodation in nearby towns, the respective stages are somewhat longer. I’ve included the access route in this Collection, meaning you cover a total of 110 kilometres (68 miles) if you walk from accommodation to accommodation. I recommend booking your overnight stays in advance as there is very limited space. You can find all information on accommodation in the individual stage descriptions. As you will rarely have the opportunity to stop for refreshments along the way, you should remember to take enough water and food with you so that you have plenty of supplies throughout the day.
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Today's stage is not long, but there is a decent climb ahead of you. The many views over the surrounding area make up for the effort. After the first ascent over 100 meters in altitude, you are back on the Ith-Hils-Weg. In an arc you circle the last foothills of the Ith ridge and now hike towards Hils. The Roter Fuchs restaurant halfway on this stage offers a good place to stop for refreshments.