The Schluchtensteig trail in the south of the Black Forest leads you into some of the most untouched river valleys in Germany. On exciting trails, you hike through the narrow Wutach Gorge, visit the Wehraschlucht gorge and explore the Windbergschlucht gorge. While you're on the trails, you'll leave civilization completely behind, before catching back up to a more charming form of it in the numerous small towns and villages that make up the stage destinations of this trek.
The Schluchtensteig trail runs in six stages from Stühlingen on the Swiss border across the Schluchsee to Wehr. It will take you 73 miles (119 kilometers) and force you to conquer over 9,800 feet (3,000 meters) in elevation gain. Therefore, especially during the first three stages that lead you through the Wutach Gorge, solid hiking boots and sure-footedness are a must. And, while, the trail is doable in winter, it can become pretty uncomfortable with unexpected weather changes and unannounced hazards impeding your way during the colder months of the year. Therefore, we recommend hiking these routes between May and September.
Almost all the valleys of the Schluchtensteig trail are protected and some of the forests were declared banished forests several years ago. Here, nature thrives without human influence. Although the paths are checked at regular intervals, it can happen however that fallen trees render parts of the trail unpassable, so pay attention to any officially published route changes.
Regarding accommodation in this region, due to the Black Forest being one of the visited areas in Germany, you shouldn't have a problem finding somewhere to stay. Nevertheless, it is worth reserving all nights in advance — nothing is more annoying than not finding a comfortable bed after a long day of hiking.
All the stages of the canyon trail are connected all year round by public buses and by the hiking bus in summer. You can find the bus timetables at wtv-online.de/fahrplaene/nach-linie and schluchtensteig.de/de/prospekte/index.php.
The first stage on the Schluchtensteig starts right at the Swiss border in the tranquil town of Stühlingen. From there, the Schluchtensteig meanders through the ever-narrower valley of the Wutach to Blumberg. The special highlight of the first stage is the Wutachflühen. Flowering is Swabian for rocks and at this point especially steep stone walls rise up on both sides of the Wutach. Along the entire route you will be accompanied today by the tracks of the famous Sauschwänzelebahn. The tracks meander in countless bends along the slopes of the Wutachschlucht and cross the river on bridges in dizzying heights. There is a train on the stretch of track - if you're lucky, you can also experience the whistling and pounding of the old steam locomotives.From the center in Stühlingen you follow a road along the tracks of the Wutachtalbahn. You cross the tracks and you are then right on the banks of the Wutach, which still flows here peacefully through an open meadow landscape. On the tree-lined shore, it continues without any significant difference in height further upstream. If you reach the museum station wheat, the valley flanks have already moved together considerably.The path leads you gently uphill and through dense forest. On comfortable forest paths you hike on to the inn Wutachschlucht. Now it gets exciting: You cross a country road and then enter the narrower Wutachschlucht. The path leads you close to the water and under the iron bridge of the Sauschwänzelebahn. Then you cross the Wutach and climb through rustic bann forests up to the viewpoint Wutachflühen.From up here you have a unique view down to the Wutach, which bubbles through the deep, pristine valley. Here you leave today the Wutachschlucht and wander across open meadows on to Buchberg. It goes again a bit uphill on forest trails, but your climb is then rewarded with a magnificent view of the southern Black Forest. Now there is only a short descent in front of you until you reach your final destination Blumberg.In Blumberg there is a hotel as well as small guesthouses and guest rooms. Here you will find a selection: stadt-blumberg.de/tourismus/gastgeber/pensionen.htmlStühlingen, the starting point of your hike, can be reached both by car and by public transport. From Singen take the train 730 to Waldesruh. There you change to the bus line 7338, which brings you directly to Stühlingen. Since the journey to the Schluchtensteig takes a little time, you should think about arriving the day before. So you can start refreshed to the first stage.Timetables can be found at wtv-online.de/fahrplaene/nach-linie.
The second stage takes you along the entire length directly through the Wutachtal. At the beginning it is still a vast valley landscape, but soon the gorge gets narrower and narrower. The Schluchtensteig leads you right along the bank of the Wutach and you can fully absorb the special atmosphere. The aim of the second stage is the Gasthaus Schattenmühle. The traditional inn is located in a slightly wider valley in the middle of the Wutachschlucht.The starting point of your second stage on the Schluchtensteig is Blumberg. From here you hike through the Schleifenbachtal down to the Wutach. Over steps and ladders, it goes along the stream, which plunges here in three cascades over more than 20 meters in depth. Arrived on the bank of the Wutach, welcomes you an open, idyllic valley landscape. You cross the village Achdorf and cross the Wutach a little later. On a beautiful forest road it goes on to the kiosk Wutachmühle. On this section, there is a narrow road on the opposite bank. From the Wutachmühle, however, the valley becomes so narrow and unspoiled that it can only be explored on foot.After a short stop at the kiosk, you finally follow the trail into the densely wooded Wutachschlucht. Along the shore you walk through an impressive jungle landscape. It goes over narrow rock paths, along vertical rock faces, over narrow bridges and through dense woodland. On the roadside stand isolated hiking huts, which can provide shelter in bad weather.After passing through the dilapidated chapel of the former spa town of Bad Boll, the Schluchtensteig leads you over a bridge to the north shore of the Wutach. Originally the Schluchtensteig continued along the southern shore, but a huge landslide made the section impassable a few years ago. From the detour you can admire the impressive remains of the landslide very well.After a few more river bends, you will reach the destination Schattenmühle.
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The third stage on the Schluchtensteig leads you through the gorge to the confluence of the Gutach and Haslach. At this point arises from the two quiet rivers the Wutach. For you it goes on through the no less dramatic Haslachschlucht. Here you can admire exciting rock formations before the gorge opens and you reach Lenzkirch. Over the Fischbacher height it goes on to the stage destination Fischbach.After a restful night in the Gasthaus Schattenmühle you start your third hiking day. Via almost level hiking trails you follow the Schluchtensteig always along the banks of the Wutach. Soon, coming from the north Rötenbach flows into the Wutach. Only a little later you come to the confluence of Haslach and Gutach. Two narrow metal bridges lead here over the rivers and a rest area invites you to enjoy the wild and romantic place in peace.For you it goes further into the Haslachschlucht. Two famous rock formations are located along the way: the Rechenfelsen and the Hölllochfelsen. From the Hölllochfelsen, the valley slowly becomes a bit more, until it opens to an open meadow landscape. Here lies the health resort Lenzkirch, which offers itself with its restaurants and cafés perfect for a rest.The last section of the second stage leads through mountain forests and past alpine meadows up to the Fischbacher Höhe. After a short descent you reach the stage destination Fischbach.Fischbach has a good selection of hotels, guesthouses and guest rooms.
On the fourth stage of the Schluchtensteig you will find a small gorge, wide views, unspoilt forests, sleepy mountain villages and the largest lake in the Black Forest. From Fischbach you hike up to the viewpoint on the picture stone and then down to the Schluchsee. There it goes once around the western shore and over a sprawling, wooded ridge to St. Blasien.At the beginning of your fourth stage, there is a short but steep ascent. From Fischbach it goes through a wooded mountainside up to the Bildstein. Its rocky summit is completely bare and accordingly you have a fantastic view of the Schluchsee, the surrounding landscape and the Feldberg.In some hairpin bends it goes down to the shore of the Schluchsee. When it is warm, you should pack your bathing suits because there are numerous small pebble beaches and bays on the shore. On the western shore, it's time to walk around the lake. The Schluchtensteig leads you on a beautiful view along the shore to the Vesperstube Unterkrummenhof.After a well-deserved break, you will ascend on forest trails to the Krummenkreuz, the highest point of the Schluchtensteig. From here you follow the Schluchtensteig through sparse forests and over open alpine meadows. You pass a few romantic mountain villages and Black Forest farms before descending on comfortable forest trails to St. Blaise. Shortly before your arrival at the final destination there is still a gorge on the program: In Windbergschlucht the small Windbergbächle flows steeply downhill over its rocky stream bed to the Alb. At the end of Windbergschlucht you follow the path into St. Blasien and up to the impressive cathedral.On the banks of the Alb you will find many cafes, restaurants and hotels where you can indulge yourself after your hiking day.
The varied fifth stage once again offers particularly beautiful panoramic views for you. On your way from St. Blasien over the Hotzenwald to Todtmoos you can enjoy views up to the Swiss Alps. After you have finally crossed the ridge Hotzenwald, it goes past the Wehraquelle through a narrow ravine down to the final destination.From St. Blasien, you climb directly up to the head of the lodge at the beginning of the stage in some bends. At the top there is a wooden, freely accessible observation tower, which gives you a fantastic view of St. Blaise and the huge cathedral. Towards the south you can even see the Alps in good weather.From Lehenkopf you walk without major differences in height to Klosterweiher. The pond of the same name is framed by forests and meadows and on its shore you will find a cozy inn for a lunch break.Strengthened it goes on forest trails in the direction of Todtmoos. Soon, the forest gives way to vast alpine meadows. For a while now, you will hike along the vast mountain pastures and enjoy the view of the picturesque landscape. Towards the source of the Wehra, the Schluchtensteig finally rises again for a while, then on forest paths and in zigzags through the Wehraschlucht down to Todtmoos.Also in Todtmoos you should have no problems finding a cozy place to stay for the night.
The last stage on the Schluchtensteig will spoil you once again with unspoilt bann forests, untouched streams and a fantastic Black Forest gorge. From Todtmoos you follow the Wehra through its narrow valley down to the reservoir near the city of Wehr. Although the Wehra flows steadily downhill, the Schluchtensteig winds its way constantly up and down the valley slopes. Most of the time you walk today on narrow paths through dense, untouched spell forest. At some vantage points you can expect incomparable views into the wild and romantic gorge.From Todtmoos the Schluchtensteig leads you gently uphill to the hamlet of Schwarzenbach at the beginning of the stage. Here are several traditional Black Forest houses and an inn provides hungry hikers with delicious specialties. From here you follow the path down to the Wehratal. You walk to the shore and cross the narrow river here.After you have passed the village of Au, the trail meanders only a few meters above the course of the river along the valley flanks. At a lookout point you can admire the beauty of the gorge, before crossing the weirs one last time. On the other bank you walk on narrow paths a little uphill. Quick are several meters between you and the river. When the trees clear the valley, you enjoy a dramatic view.From the small hiking hut Mettlerhütte the Schluchtensteig leads leisurely downhill. Soon you can take a first look at the Wehrastausee between the trees. On the trail it goes directly over the small dam wall and on the banks of the Wehra along you walk to the last milestone weir.After you have strengthened yourself in Wehr in one of the restaurants or inns, you can start your journey home by bus. The bus lines 7314 and 7335 connect the city with the station Wehr-Brennet. Here you get on the train 730, which either brings you back to Waldesruh or straight away home. The train goes to Singen, where you have connections to regional and long-distance trains.Bus schedules can be found at wtv-online.de/fahrplaene/nach-linie.