Enchanting, mystical and shrouded in legend on the one hand and defying constant change on the other – that's how I would describe the wonderful landscape on the 260-kilometre (162-mi) Sauerland Forest Route. Between Iserlohn and Marsberg, you walk through three stunning nature parks: the Arnsberg Forest Nature Park, the Diemelsee Nature Park and the Sauerland Rothaargebirge Nature Park. Over mountains and through valleys, you pass idyllic streams and shimmering lakes. Dense spruce, mixed and old beech forests alternate. In between, you walk through fields and meadows with narrow paths lined with hedges. These beautiful places along the way invite you to explore or rest awhile. Exciting sights such as accessible caves, a beautiful wildlife park or the Warsteiner brewery are also worth a visit.
Nature parks are a stroke of luck for us hikers: they belong to a category of protected areas that combine conservation with visitor and economic use. You’ll find beautiful, secluded and unspoilt nature or themed sections where certain aspects of the forest can be experienced.
On other sections of the route, you’ll see the changes in the forests due to management and drought. Sometimes, you may not be able to walk along a path because timber is being harvested or the paths are churned up by heavy machinery. But even in these areas you’ll find bright spots everywhere: flowering plants, mosses and tree fungi or the first pioneer trees that are spreading between the old tree stumps. Last but not least, you can see the forests that are being allowed to develop undisturbed in some of the areas damaged by the 2007 storm ‘Kyrill’.
I have divided this adventure into eleven stages between 16 and 28 kilometres (10–17 mi). At each destination, you’ll find comfortable accommodation and a connection to public transport. Of course, you can shorten or lengthen any stage to suit your time. To be on the safe side, it's best to book accommodation well in advance, because sometimes capacities are limited and may already be fully booked if you just drop by.
I also recommend that you always have a packed lunch and a drink in your rucksack, as you will be hiking mainly through sparsely populated areas with few places to stop for refreshments. Sturdy, high-top hiking boots are also an advantage because the paths can be boggy in places and every now and then smaller bodies of water are crossed via fords or over narrow wooden planks.
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Last updated: January 26, 2022
You start the first stage of the Sauerland forest route at the city train station in Iserlohn. From there you can reach the Alexanderhöhe after a short distance, where the official hiking trail begins. And you're already in the middle of the green! Walk along the Rupenteich in the direction of the Danzturm…
Along the Hönne it goes via the small town of Volkringhausen to Sanssouci. There you leave the charming and picturesque valley of the Hönne with its numerous caves. If you like, you can follow the Hönne for a short distance to the Luisenhütte, one of the few completely preserved blast furnaces in Germany…
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When you start in the small pedestrian zone of Sundern, you first cross the Röhr and then follow the Way of the Cross up to the chapel on the Kreuzberg. From up here you have one last beautiful view of Sundern before it goes up to the Hubertushöhe - sometimes on narrow paths, sometimes on wide paths…
This stage begins in the art garden of the Torhaus Hotel at Hevesee. After admiring the works of art and the beautiful grounds, pass the Sankt Meinolf hunting lodge and into the forest. For the first few kilometers you follow the sound path, the installations of which are intended to make the sounds…
Just under five kilometers separate the picturesque half-timbered village of Hirschberg from the Bilstein Valley with its wildlife park, forestry and impressive Bilstein Cave. Here you can really spend a lot of time in the beautifully designed enclosures and the exciting Bilstein cave. If you need more…
At a good 28 kilometers, this stage is a real challenge, especially since it goes up and down all the time. A great opportunity to check your physical condition! And you will be rewarded with a magnificent landscape and wonderful views. Here we go.
You leave the small half-timbered village of Kallenhardt…
You can also prove your condition and mountain qualities on today's stage with a good 28 kilometers and a few meters in altitude. You start at the idyllic Almequelle with its crystal-clear water and then hike steadily up and down through forests and fields to the limestone quarry of Bleiabsch. If you…
Have a good breakfast? Perfect. Because the stage starts with the steep ascent to Obermarsberg. Once at the top you will be rewarded with several exciting highlights. From the Buttenturm, an old fortification of the former city wall, you have a magnificent view of the Diemeltal. A little below the tower…
From Heringhausen, it first goes back to the dam and thus to the official forest route. After a flat passage along the shore, you hike up a fairly steep stretch to the Buttenberg. The views when climbing up this beautiful spot with the mountains, fields and the reservoir are simply wonderful.
For me, this is the king's stage of the forest route: deep forests, wonderful views, idyllic forest paths and the occasional steep climb. Wonderful! In between you always come through one of the beautiful Sauerland villages with cozy rest stops.
You start at the Schinkenwirt above Olsberg and walk around…
The last and shortest stage on the Sauerland forest route takes you straight north into the Arnsberg Forest and to the Plackweghöhe with the elegant Lörmecke Tower, which towers about 35 meters high. The view from up here of the nature park and on to the Soester Börde is fantastic.
It continues - always…
Hiking Collection by komoot
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