Are you keen to take your new hiking boots out into nature, but a simple day hike is not enough for you? No problem – Saxon Switzerland is the perfect place for short and long multi-day hikes. A highlight of visiting the region is spending a night under the stars, whether in a small hiking tent or in simply in a sleeping bag during the summer. In the National Park and surrounding woods, you are allowed to legally sleep outside in nature in many areas. Right on your doorstep, a great outdoor adventure awaits.
We have put together three small weekend hikes for you to experience the unique beauty of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. And, while the day tourists only stay at the Bastei and the Königsstein fortress, our routes take you deep into the enchanted forests and exciting rock pinnacles of Saxon Switzerland on rarely trodden paths. The three hikes have something to offer every outdoor enthusiast: Purists can take the tour "Boofen between sandstone rocks" and spend the night under rock overhangs in the National Park. With tents and equipment packed in their backpacks, trekking fans can explore the lonely forests on the left bank of the Elbe on the "3-day trekking tour". And, for those who like it a little more comfortable, take a look at the "2-day tour to the Schrammsteine" and spend the night in the lovingly maintained Hotel Forsthaus. All routes can be easily reached by S-Bahn from Dresden.
However, because we also know that two or three days are not enough to capture the beauty of Saxon Switzerland, we have come up with a special solution. All three routes start or end in Schmilka so you can combine two or even all three hikes and spend up to one week in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.
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Boofen is the most original form of free night in Saxon Switzerland: simply spread out a sleeping pad, put on a sleeping bag and the night's bed is ready. Boiling is part of the long tradition of Saxon climbers and is now allowed at 58 official locations in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Especially nice is the free night for multi-day tours through the National Park core zone, because off the day tourists at the bastion and the Schrammsteinen it is much more original. To ensure that the boating in the future for hikers and climbers in the national park, it is essential to observe the following rules: Overnight is only at official places, there is a total smoke and fire ban, garbage must be completely taken back and to protect the rare animals it is important to prevent noise. If you follow these rules, a night in Saxon Switzerland will be an unforgettable experience. You can read all the rules for booing here: nationalpark-saechsische-schweiz.de/besucherinformation/sonstiges/freiuebernachten.On our two-day tour we take you from Schmilka in a wide loop through the national park and past the monkey stones back to the starting point. For boating in the national park you need nothing more than a mattress, a sleeping bag and enough provisions for both days.From the train station Schmilka, which is approached by the S1 from Dresden, it goes first by ferry across the Elbe. Here you stroll through the small town for a short while and then climb up the mountain to the summit of the Großer Winterberg. Above you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Elbe and the surrounding rock and forest landscape. Afterwards it goes gently downhill and on rustic, natural paths through the national park. On your way to Boofe on the Small Lorenzstein are still several vantage points to choose from, you can climb. Arrived at Lorenzstein you can prepare your dinner and look forward to the night in nature.
Even the morning sunrise on the Boofe is simply spectacular: slowly the first rays crawl over the rocks and treetops of the National Park, while you are still lying in a warm sleeping bag. After a small breakfast we continue in the direction of Himmelsleiter. This is a narrow iron staircase on which you can ascend through a cleft of rocks to a magnificent viewpoint.From here you hike downhill on comfortable trails, make a small loop through the Kirnitzschtal and then reach the monkey stones. The numerous rock towers rising out of the forest can be explored partly on quite adventurous paths, but we will walk you on a loop below the rocks - the view is no less spectacular. At the small cathedral, it is still high and above you will be spoiled with beautiful panoramic views. Via the steps of the "Heiligen Stiege" you finally walk downhill and up to the Schmilka destination.
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On the left side of the Elbe, the sandstone formations are not quite as distinctive and numerous as on the opposite bank - we will take advantage of this 3-day tour. Because in the vast forests and river valleys outside the national park are few other hikers on the way. Since no roads lead through the natural forest landscapes, this part is particularly suitable for multi-day tours. The Saxon Forestry Administration also finds this and therefore several bivouacs and trekking huts have been set up in recent years, which are open from the beginning of April to the end of October.On our three-day trekking tour we will take you from Schmilka with two tent nights through the vast forests to the left of the Elbe. A few sandstone rocks and Tafelbeggipfel on the go, of course, not be missing, before you finish in Königsstein the tour. You need a tent for this hike (maximum for two people), a trekking sleeping bag, a mattress, provisions and above all drinking water, as at the bivouacs only hot water is in stock. Alternatively, you take along accessories for water treatment. At both bivouacs, there are also small cabins with few beds, if you want to be on the road without a tent. For the night you have to buy in advance Trekkingtickets. The tickets cost 5 euros per night at a bivouac and are filled in place in a letterbox provided. More information about the trekking tickets can be found at forststeig.sachsen.de/tickets-4123.html.The first day of the trekking tour begins at the Schmilka station, which is served by the S-Bahn line S1 directly from Dresden. Here you leave the Elbe Valley. Afterwards you ascend to the two table mountains Kaiserkrone and Zirkelstein, which offer you marvelous panoramas on the Elbsandsteingebirge. Immediately afterwards our route takes you into the wild and romantic forested valley of the Gelobtbach. You walk upstream along the brook to the confluence of the narrow Hertelsgrund brook. Here you leave the valley and hike uphill in the direction of Zschirnstein. After the detour to the summit, the bivouac Zschirnstein awaits you, where you can set up your overnight stay.
After a restful night in the middle of the nature of Saxon Switzerland you warm yourself first with a steaming cup of coffee and a bowl of porridge, before you make your way again. The first half of today's stage always leads along the German-Czech border right through the middle of pristine mountain forests. At the peaceful pigeon pond you will find a cozy resting place and also another bivouac place. After a short break we continue. A little later you leave the border and wander through the Taubenbachtal. After the narrow stream has merged with the Fuchsbach stream, our route takes you uphill. The path climbs gently uphill and leads you past several sandstone rocks. Some of them can even be climbed to iron levels without any climbing skills, and so you can enjoy wonderful views at the end of the stage. From the Spitzstein, the last rock of the stage, you gently descend to the bivouac site of the same name.
With just under eleven kilometers, the third stage is a bit shorter - leaving enough time for the return trip or even a detour to the fortress Königsstein. First of all, you pack your tent, roll up the sleeping bag and return to the trail. After you have passed the Neuteich, the path rises a bit and leads you up to the view at Lampertsstein. From here you can already overlook the entire area of today's stage to the fortress Königsstein. Immediately afterwards, it goes downhill and in the valley of the Cunnersdorfer Bach you cross the Kirchleitenstraße, before going back up to the famous Pfaffenstein. Table Mountain spoils you not only with spectacular rocks and great views, but also with a stop at the mountain inn Pfaffenstein. Strengthened you climb through the "bottleneck" downhill, cross the community Pfaffendorf and finally reach the Elbe Valley. On a winding trail, it goes down to the station Königsstein, the destination of the stage. From here, the S1 takes you comfortably back to Dresden.
An overnight stay is a bit too Spartan for you and you feel like an evening shower? No problem, because there are numerous hotels, inns and pensions in the Saxon Switzerland. We have put together a nice two-day tour, where you can combine unspoilt forest trails, beautiful views and exciting ridge paths with a cozy hotel accommodation. The route takes you from the spa Rathen through the Polenztal and Kirnitzschtal to the Hotel Forsthaus, where you spend your night. The second day will take you up to the famous Schrammsteinen - if you wake up early, you can even experience the sunrise. Over the ridge path it finally goes down to the destination Schmilka.The S1 takes you from Dresden quite comfortably to the station Kurort Rathen. Here you take a short ferry ride to the other shore and you're ready to go. The trail meanders through the forest gently downhill into the picturesque Polenztal. Here you cross the river and then climb steeply through the Schulzengrund uphill. For the climb you will be rewarded with the magnificent view of the fire - and with a stop in Brandbaude. If it is too crowded here, no problem, because after crossing the valley of the Tiefen Grundbach, you will reach the Waitzendorfer Schänke just a short time later. From here you follow our route gently downhill to Sebnitztal. After crossing the river, you now wander across open meadows and enjoy a fantastic view. A last descent and you are standing in the Kirnitzschtal in front of the hotel Forsthaus, where you already expect a shower and a cozy bed.
On the second day, you will leave immediately after breakfast. On the exciting Flößersteig you walk along the bank of the Kirnitzsch for a while until you continue our route out of the valley. The trail climbs gently and then runs right through between the Schrammsteinen and the Falkenstein. At the Schrammsteintor you can already see the first climbers on the sandstone rocks. Shortly thereafter, it goes steeply up the impressive wild rock on the Wildschützensteig. Once there, spoil you one of the most spectacular views in the entire Saxon Switzerland: Directly opposite the observation deck, the Schrammsteine and the Falkenstein tower into the sky, around you spreads further forest and in the south you glimpse the Elbe Valley. On the narrow ridge path you now follow our route to the east and can always throw exciting views of the surrounding landscape. Between Breite-Kluft-Wand and Breite-Kluft-Turm our tour leaves the ridge path and you hike gently downhill in the direction of the Elbe. At the viewpoint Kleine Bastei you take a little break and finally you reach the destination of the tour in Schmilka. From here the S1 takes you back to Dresden.