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Explore Germany’s mining history — explore the Harz Mountains

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Explore Germany’s mining history — explore the Harz Mountains

Hiking Collection by Renée

9

Tours

38:46 h

79.4 mi

8,800 ft

Tranquil moats, picturesque forest lakes, idyllic little mountain villages – if you look closely, you’ll find traces of mining everywhere in the Harz Mountains. The remnants blend into the landscape as if they’ve always been there. Yet mining has strongly shaped and changed the Harz landscapes over the centuries. Especially the Western Harz, which is considered the largest and oldest mining region in Europe. Some places, such as the Rammelsberg, look back on more than 3,000 years of mining history.

In this Collection, I present you with nine varied Tours so you can explore the history of mining here. Follow the pretty moats of the Lower Harz and Upper Harz Water Regale (a system of dams) or walk along the banks of the numerous man-made reservoirs and ponds, which were originally used for water supply and today offer wildlife spotting and recreation. At many of the stations you’ll find information boards providing background and context.

In addition to the Tours, you’ll find 10 highlights with the most fascinating mines and mining museums in this Collection. Here, you can travel into the depths with the cable cars and mining railroads and get to know life underground. You'll experience first-hand how silver, copper, lead and zinc were mined for centuries under the toughest working conditions as well as what life was like for the workers.

You don't need much for your mining adventure. Sturdy shoes and warm waterproof clothing are practical – above and below ground. I also recommend packing a tasty picnic for your hikes, because you'll pass many scenic rest stops along the way. On some of the Tours, there are also places to stop for refreshments.

A journey back in time to the mining art of the Harz is waiting for you. Have fun!

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Das Oberharzer Wasserregal bei Clausthal-Zellerfeld – Bergbauspuren im Harz

    Intermediate
    04:06
    9.22 mi
    2.2 mph
    825 ft
    850 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Upper Harz Water Shelf is considered to be the world's most important pre-industrial mining water management system and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010. You can still admire the ditch systems and reservoirs in many places today. This tour takes you past several stations on a varied

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  • Intermediate
    03:44
    7.86 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,175 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    You should actually plan two days for this tour, because the Rammelsberg Mining Museum alone is worth a long visit. You can also discover all kinds of traces of mining in the area. And on top of that, there is a wonderful view over Goslar and the Vorharz from Ramseck.

    

    The starting point of this hike is

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  • Intermediate
    04:36
    9.46 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,625 ft
    1,625 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    More variety is hardly possible. On this tour you can expect lush alpine meadows with a picturesque view of the Harz "Little Tyrol", a small trip around the world in the world forest, breezy views from the Iberger Albert Tower and Harz mining history in the 19-Lachter-Stollen.

    

    You start directly at the

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  • Difficult
    05:27
    9.55 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,300 ft
    1,300 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Not far from the mountain town of Altenau you will come across all sorts of traces of mining. If you like to get off the beaten track, then this tour might be something for you. And the ascent to the Hammersteinklippe is even a bit impassable - so sturdy shoes are recommended.

    

    The easiest way to get to

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  • Difficult
    05:07
    9.21 mi
    1.8 mph
    1,150 ft
    1,150 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Like many of the small towns in the Harz Mountains, Lautenthal originally grew out of a miners' settlement. Rich finds of silver ore allowed the small town to grow rapidly. The beautiful circular hike takes you up to the Maassener Gaipel just above the town and from there to the picturesque Grumbacher

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  • Intermediate
    04:44
    9.10 mi
    1.9 mph
    625 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    This round tour takes you along two important moats of the Upper Harz water shelf. There are therefore not many meters of altitude to overcome and yet you always get beautiful views of the Oder Valley below you.

    

    You start at the hiking car park at the Oderteich. There is space for a few cars here, but

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  • Intermediate
    04:10
    9.23 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,000 ft
    1,000 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Mining has also always played a role in the karst landscape of the southern Harz. Copper was mined in the Mansfelder Mulde region as early as the Bronze Age. The Röhrig shaft in Wettelrode is one of the few existing industrial monuments in the region and the steel hoisting frame is the oldest operational

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  • Intermediate
    03:54
    8.96 mi
    2.3 mph
    625 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Mining, especially when it goes deep, is very energy-intensive. And during their heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Harz mines were among the deepest in the world. The numerous wheels had to be driven somehow. Dam ponds and lakes were created in many corners in order to be able to pump independently

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  • Intermediate
    02:58
    6.82 mi
    2.3 mph
    500 ft
    500 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On this leisurely tour through the picturesque Selketal you will learn a lot about the history of mining in the Straßberg area. It dates back to around 1400. In the small show mine, mining from the 17th to 19th centuries is shown underground, above ground you can visit facilities from the GDR era. I

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  • © OSM

    A charcoal burner museum, an inn and a stamping point for the Harz hiking nobility await you here. If you have been wondering how the charcoal is made that grills your steak, this is where you will find out. In addition to real charcoal, there is also liquid charcoal in the shop. Does it burn as well as the real one? There is a parking lot on site.

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    Tip by Harzer-Bergwald de

  • © OSM

    The Rammelsberg mine is a World Heritage Site and can be visited as part of a registered or spontaneous tour. You will also find the stamp box for the Harzer hiking pin number 91, which is part of the Harzer Steiger themed booklet.

    Opening hours:
    Winter (November through March inclusive)
    daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last tour at 3:30 p.m.)

    Summer (April through October inclusive)
    daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last tour at 4.30 p.m.)

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    Tip by Carola K.

  • © OSM

    Grube Samson

    Hiking Highlight

    In the Samson mine in Sankt Andreasberg, mainly silver ore was mined from 1521 to 1910. For a long time, the Samson was one of the deepest mines in the world. Here is the world's only still operational "driving art", which is now a recognized international machine monument. The two water wheels are also impressive, the nine-metre-high sweeping wheel from 1820 and the twelve-metre-high artificial wheel, which is powered by water during the tour, just as it was centuries ago.

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    Tip by Peter geologus I.

  • © OSM

    Silver was once mined here, and today Lautenthal's luck is one of the last navigable mines in the region. You can enter the tunnel here with the mine train and learn more about the life of the people and their working methods underground. The highlight of the underground tour is definitely the ore shipping, where you can travel along a 150 meter long waterway.

    The visitor mine is always open on Saturdays and Sundays. Registration can be useful.

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    Tip by Renée

  • © OSM

    19-Lachter-Stollen

    Hiking Highlight

    The 19-Lachter-Stollen is a so-called water solution tunnel and was one of the most important facilities of the Upper Harz silver mining. In the gallery very interesting tours take place.

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    Tip by Harzer-Bergwald de

  • © OSM

    Schaubergwerk Glasebach

    Hiking Highlight

    A visitor mine that is not gigantic, but rather exudes its very own charm. The many exhibits on the surface show the time of more modern mining methods. Underground you can experience the old mining on two levels. Claustrophobia should be left at home. ;-)

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    Tip by Harzer-Bergwald de

  • © OSM

    A highly recommended show mine. It goes down in a rope ride and if you catch the right leader, there is a lot to laugh about. The mine also offers special guides for the thicker wallet, which sometimes require waders. It smells like adventure and eventually we realize it.

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    Tip by Harzer-Bergwald de

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    9
  • Highlights
    9
  • Distance
    79.4 mi
  • Duration
    38:46 h
  • Elevation
    8,800 ft

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Explore Germany’s mining history — explore the Harz Mountains

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