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A ramble through the countryside – Germany’s Gäurandweg

Tobias Schmidt

A ramble through the countryside – Germany’s Gäurandweg

Hiking Collection by Michi1001

5-11

days

3-6 h

/ day

75.7 mi

9,025 ft

7,425 ft

"I'm hiking through the Gäu for five days!"

The local Swabian who loves to hike may find this announcement a little unspectacular at first, as the Black Forest or the Swabian Alb are the usual go-tos. If not these, then surely the Alps! Those unfamiliar with the area may not know what to make of the term ‘Gäu’. I would like to show you here that the Gäurandweg offers a special kind of experience.

The Gäu landscape runs almost completely through Baden-Württemberg from north to south. The Black Forest lies to the west, while the Neckar Valley usually forms the border to the east. Open, hilly landscapes interspersed with forests characterise the landscape. Hedges of blackthorn bushes and rose hips line the paths. Small, rural villages nestle in the valleys. Pure idyll!

The Gäurandweg is the easternmost of the trails marked by the Black Forest Association. It continuously follows the border between the Heckengäu and the Black Forest. It’s this that makes this particular long-distance hike so incredibly varied. Sometimes you walk across sunny meadows or patches of woodland, other times you cross heath-like nature reserves and amble through small villages.

The openness of the landscape rewards with beautiful, wide-ranging views. While the sun in the neighbouring Black Forest struggles to generate pleasant warmth in spring and autumn, here you can get a bit of a tan, especially when taking a breather on one of the numerous benches along the way.

You’ll hardly pass through any larger towns on this hike, so it’s not easy to shorten a stage using public transport. However, the start and finish points are easily accessible. It’s best to buy food for the day in the villages you encounter en route and then enjoy a cosy picnic on the trails. As accommodation is plentiful, I recommend where to stay overnight in the stage descriptions.

The lovely landscape should not hide the fact that these are relatively long stages with a fair amount of elevation change. Therefore, a decent level of fitness and hiking experience is a prerequisite.

So let's get going! Enjoy the heart of Swabia and my old home!

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Gäurandweg

75.5 mi

9,075 ft

7,450 ft

Last updated: October 27, 2022

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Mühlacker to Tiefenbronn – Gäurandweg

    Difficult
    05:36
    12.4 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,500 ft
    875 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You start your long-distance hike on the Gäurandweg at the train station in Mühlacker. Located on the railway line between Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, it is easy to reach. Look out for the trail marker with the rosehip on a green background, which will accompany you for the next five days.

    

    After crossing

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  • Difficult
    07:20
    16.3 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,750 ft
    1,650 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    On this stage you will discover the entire scenic diversity of the Heckengäu. From Tiefenbronn it goes downhill into the densely forested lower Würmtal. After you have crossed the Würm, you immediately climb up the hill again on the other side. You will pass the small, graceful Steinegg Castle. The G

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  • Difficult
    07:11
    15.7 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,750 ft
    1,925 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Today the path leads you mainly along the eastern edge of the deeply incised Nagoldtal, into which you also descend at the end of the day. The highlights of this stage are in the truest sense of the word the various vantage points across the valley to the plateaus of the northern Black Forest.

    

    The first

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  • Difficult
    08:28
    18.1 mi
    2.1 mph
    2,700 ft
    1,875 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    It's getting tough today: This stage is not only the longest of the Gäurandweg, but also the one with the most vertical meters uphill.

    

    Don't have too much breakfast, because the morning exercise begins almost immediately after leaving the hotel with the ascent to the Hohennagold castle ruins. You will

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  • Difficult
    05:54
    13.2 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,350 ft
    1,100 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Final spurt! On the last stage of the Gäurandweg, you pass through several valleys and finally reach the gateway to the Black Forest in Freudenstadt.

    

    Hopefully recovered from the previous stage, the path will first take you from Salzstetten over the heights of the Heckengäu. Passing the town of Tumlingen

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    75.7 mi
  • Duration
    34:28 h
  • Elevation
    9,025 ft7,425 ft

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