In the south of the North German Plain, there rises a densely forested, legendary mountain range: the Harz Mountains. Here, it's said that witches once danced on the Rosstrappe and ghosts prowled the Brocken; dwarves dug for ore in the mines and the devil erected a wall of stone to keep out God. Today, however, this beautiful region is not as scary as the legends would like to have you believe: lush forests, beautiful, rolling hills and a rustic sense of charm await you.
A particularly beautiful Tour is the Harzer Försterstieg trail in the western Harz. This hike, which keeps you away from the mostly overcrowded Brocken, Bodetal and Teufelsmauer, reveals a different history of this magical area, one dominated by medieval trade routes and narrow forest paths. As you go, you'll encounter age-old mountain hamlets built during the Harz Erzrausch. Today, serving as cozy health resorts and local museums, their historic village centers invite you in on a journey of discovery and offer the perfect place to rest your head after a say on the trails.
The officially signposted Harzer Försterstieg trail leads you in four stages from the old imperial town of Goslar in a large loop through the Westharz to the Sösetal dam. On your 45-mile (73-kilometer) hike, you will overcome an altitude difference of just under 6,000 feet (1,800 meters), making the Försterstieg trail perfect for a crisp multi-day hike or as a leisurely adventure over a weekend. During your hike, you'll spend most of your time hiking through quiet spruce and mixed forests, you'll visit three romantically situated reservoirs and discover traces of the Harz's mining past. And despite the densely wooded mountains, dreamlike views await you: From bare peaks and lookout towers you can enjoy wide views of the Brocken, the Harz mountains and the hilly Harz foreland.
I have divided the Harzer Försterstieg in such a way that you will be able to find comfortable overnight accommodation in each stage destination. You can also top up your provisions there as you won't find anywhere else to stock up en route.
To get to your starting point, you can take the train from pretty much anywhere in Germany. Thanks to good bus connections between the stage destinations, you can also plan a single stage as a day hike or just hike two or three days on the Harzer Försterstieg trail.
Timetables and timetable information can be found at vsninfo.de/de/home.
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Last updated: December 14, 2022
Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.
The first stage of the day on the Harzer Försterstieg takes you from the venerable imperial city of Goslar over some wooded mountain ranges and past the Granetalsperre to the climatic health resort of Wolfshagen. Although you hike most of the time through untouched, dense forests, beautiful views of…
The second stage takes you on the Innerste-Rennstieg, a medieval trade route past the reservoir of the same name and up to the bare summit of the Lageswarte. Along the way you can still see the devastation caused by hurricane Kyrill, which destroyed large areas of forest in the Harz Mountains in 2007…
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On the third stage you hike up to the highest point of the Försterstieg - to the Brombergshöhe. The long ridge is completely forested, but in some clearings you can expect great views of the Harz foothills and, if visibility is good, even as far as the Brocken.
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On your last day of hiking, you go up again. From the starting point in Bad Grund, you first go to the Taternplatz. On the other hand, after this first ascent, the path is almost flat. Through dense forests you cross a hilly plateau here until you are rewarded with a fantastic view at the lookout tower…
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