When the weather lures you outside, your new hiking boots are waiting to be worn in and you can take a long weekend, we've got one simple suggestion for you: head to Northern Hesse and get on the Ederhöhenpfad! Here, on its way to Fulda, the Eder winds leisurely through the Rhenish-Westphalian slate mountains and through the wooded Ederbergland as one of the last unspoilt rivers of Germany. One of the most beautiful sections of the 176-kilometer-long (109-mile) river is the valley landscape before it flows into the Ederstausee. The river meanders peacefully for about 60 kilometers (37 miles) through wide meadows and along wooded mountain slopes.
In three daily stages, the officially signposted Ederhöhenpfad leads you along the course of the river and over the densely wooded mountain ranges. The starting point is the small village of Hatzfeld near the border between Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. In three days, you will conquer over 1,400 meters (4,500 feet) over a distance of 63 kilometers (39 miles). Thanks to well-developed hiking trails, the Tour is also perfectly suited for sporty casual hikers, although as the trail tracks through predominantly wild country, you're going to need to take your own provisions. To make it a little more practical, however, we have ensured that each of our routes starts and ends in a town or village where you'll find ample accommodation options.
The stage destinations Hatzfeld, Battenberg, Frankenberg and Schmittlotheim are all connected to the bus and train network. On weekdays, the buses run regularly, on weekends taxis replace most regular buses. If you arrive by car, it is best to park at the last stop in Schmittlotheim and then take the bus and train to the starting point of the Ederhöhenpfad.
Timetable information for your arrival and for local bus connections is available at nvv.de
If you fall in love with the idyllic landscape while you hike, then you can join the Ederhöhenpfad and the Urwaldsteig Edersee at the end of your hike. It starts at the National Park Centre in Kirchlotheim and runs once around Germany's second largest reservoir in three to six daily stages.
Here you can find the collection of the Urwaldsteig Edersee: komoot.de/collection/495/urwaldsteig-edersee-uralte-baeume-und-glitzerndes-wasser
Your first stage on the Ederhöhenpfad meanders from Hatzfeld over densely wooded ridges to the climatic spa Dodenau. Apart from the tiny village of Holzhausen, the trail leads you through quiet, secluded nature. On easy paths you walk through forests and along the meadows of the Eder.Your hike starts in the center of Hatzfeld. The castle path leads up to the old castle ruins, which have been uncovered and restored piece by piece for years. The project is only possible through donations and through the cooperation of the members of the Burgverein. From the castle you follow the Ederhöhenpfad down to the riverbank. Here you hike on a barely traveled gravel road until a forest path branches off to the left. Through the forest it goes over a ridge. Soon the path descends again towards the valley. You walk along the edge of the forest and enjoy the view over the water meadows.Shortly before Holzhausen you cross the Eder. After you have passed the village, the trail leads you steeply uphill. Now it goes up to the Holzhauser cliffs. Above the steep mountain slopes you can enjoy a fantastic view down to the valley. The trail meanders further over the wooded ridge. Since you can only find accommodation on this stage in the district of Dattenau in Battenberg, you must leave the Ederhöhenpfad path below the pit head. You descend into the valley and continue to Dodenau. At your stage destination you will find numerous, cozy pensions or hotels.Hatzfeld, the starting point of your hike, can be reached by car, bus or train. Weekdays runs from the station Frankenberg the bus line 540 every two hours to Hatzfeld center. In addition, runs between Battenberg and Hatzfeld throughout the week, the line 586.2 as call collection taxi. If you want to go by taxi, you have to register at (05631) - 5062088 at the latest 30 minutes before departure. For a taxi ride you pay the regular ticket price plus a Euro taxi surcharge.Timetables:
nvv.de/fileadmin/nvv/download/fahrplaene/586.2.pdfA detailed timetable information is available at nvv.de
After a restful night in the climatic health resort of Dodenau, you will hike through the idyllic meadows of the Eder. From Dodenau you first climb over the Eisenberg and down to Battenberg. After a detour to the Kellerburg you walk leisurely on the banks of the Eder along to the stage destination Frankenberg.Dodenau is the starting point of your stage today. Here you cross the Eder and wander across wide meadows and fields in the direction of Eisenberg. The trail leads you over the flat saddle between the Eisenberg and the Beerberg. At this point, a short detour to the hang gliding airfield is worthwhile. On the steep western slope of Eisenberg, there is a natural swath in the forest, where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the valley.Another view awaits you then on the old tower of the cellar castle in Battenberg. Over 88 steps up to the viewing platform. On a clear day you have a great view. If you like, you can refresh your supplies in Battenberg. Then it goes through the small town on to the Eder. Sometimes you walk directly along the tree-lined shore, sometimes the Ederhöhenpfad leads you over wide fields and meadows. Until the stage destination Frankenberg you will not get past any city or village today. It is therefore best to pack a packed lunch in the morning for a rest in nature.The goal of today's stage is the city of Frankenberg. At Röddenauer Straße at the end of the route there are two smaller guesthouses. But if you prefer a cozy hotel and you fancy a stroll through the old town, you can still walk around a kilometer. Alternatively, bus 596 will take you from the Röddenauer Straße stop directly to the Old Town.Timetable:
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On the third leg of your hike, it goes up again. On the last twenty kilometers of its way to the Edersee, the Eder flows through a narrow river valley. On both sides stretch wide, densely wooded slopes. The Ederhöhenpfad runs here most of the time above the river. High above the water you can enjoy great views of the Edertal in different places.In Frankenberg you cross the Eder and then hike to the Wildpark Frankenberg. Confident moufflons, red deer, sika deer and fallow deer frolic here in a large, fenced area - without individual enclosures. The trail leads right through and you can get close to the curious animals. After leaving the wildlife park, cross over the Nuhme, a tributary of the Eder. Now it goes over fields to Frankenberger district Viermünden. Here invite a bakery and an inn for a small break.You leave Viermünden and follow the Ederhöhenpfad through a vast forest area. At Ederbringhausen you change over a bridge the shore side and then climb steeply to the ruins of Keseburg. Only a few remnants of the wall are preserved from the castle, but a magnificent view awaits you here. Afterwards you hike down to Schmittlotheim. Here ends the official Ederhöhenpfad. On the other side of the river there is the station Vöhl-Schmittlotheim. From there you can take the regional train RB42 on the journey home. If you finish your third stage in Schmittlotheim, your current distance will be around 19.5 kilometers.If you still have reserves, you should definitely continue to Hagenstein. The viewpoint is located directly above a bend in the river Eder and offers you a particularly beautiful panorama. From there you can either hike back to Schmittloheim or you end your tour at the National Park Center Kellerwald-Edersee. There is not only a bus stop, but also a cozy café. From the National Park Center, you can take bus 521 to Vöhl-Schmittlotheim or the National Park Station.Timetable: