The Harzer Försterstieg trail - in 4 stages through the western Harz

Hiking Collection by
komoot

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.

We 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.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Intermediate
    04:02
    8.82 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,000 ft
    1,075 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The first day's stage on the Harz Försterstieg leads you from the venerable imperial city of Goslar over some wooded ridges and past the Granetalsperre to the climatic health resort of Wolfshagen. Although you spend most of your time wandering through untouched, dense forests, beautiful views of the mountainous landscape of the Harz await you along the way.The starting point of the Harzer Försterstieg is the impressive Kaiserpfalz in Goslar. Since the 14-kilometer hike is not too long, you can still visit the venerable building before take-off. But if you do not have much interest in old castles and palaces, then you can start right away. You leave the city to the west and then walk up to the flank of the Steinberg.After a steep but short climb you will reach a small hiking hut. If you like, you can turn left here and make a detour to the stone lookout tower on the Steinberg. Alternatively, you hike directly and follow the signposted Försterstieg. At the edge of the forest, it goes around the Steinberg and into the source meadow biotope Reinbachtal.After you have crossed the idyllic meadow valley, you wander on quiet forest trails towards Granetalsperre. Soon you will be able to take a first look at the blue water between the trees. A short descent leads you directly over the dam. Here you can enjoy a fantastic view over the wooded dam.On the other bank, it goes gently uphill on forest trails. In the shade of the trees you cross the ridge. The former spruce monocultures have been cut down piece by piece for over 30 years and gradually replaced by original mixed forest. Above Wolfshagen, you leave the forest and wander across a few meadows to your waypoint.In Wolfshagen there are several accommodations in different price ranges. A selection can be found at wolfshagen.de/html/ihre-gastgeber.php.If you only want to do the tour as a day hike, then you can take the 832 bus back to Goslar from Wolfshagen. Timetable information can be found at fahrplaner.vsninfo.de.

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  • Difficult
    05:49
    12.5 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,700 ft
    1,550 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    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 today the devastation of Hurricane Kyrill, which in 2007 destroyed vast areas of forest in the Harz Mountains. But even that had its good: The old spruce forests were reforested with different hardwoods in retrospect and thus could create a natural mixed forest.From Wolfshagen you hike across meadows back to the course of the Försterstieg. After about five kilometers you will reach the Innerstetalsperre. On the dam wall you walk with a beautiful view directly along the water. On the other bank it goes steeply uphill to Lageswarte.During the ascent, you will hike through dense forests and pass through vast areas, which were destroyed by the storm Kyrill. At the summit of the Lageswarte this damage benefits you, because no tree obstructs you the view on the mountains of the resin.During a break you can enjoy the view and then you continue towards Lautenthal. Without significant height difference, the Harz Försterstieg leads you over a long ridge. Only at the lynx stone below the Great Trogtaler mountain begins your descent to Lautenthal. In a loop, it goes slowly down to your milestone.In the health resort Lautenthal you should have no problems finding a suitable accommodation for you. Under lautenthal-harz.de/gastgeber/gastgeber-suche you will find a first selection.Lautenthal is connected to Wolfshagen via bus line 832. If you want to go back to Goslar after the second leg, you can take the bus lines 831 and 832. Timetable information is available at fahrplaner.vsninfo.de.

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  • Intermediate
    04:54
    10.5 mi
    2.1 mph
    1,450 ft
    1,425 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the third stage you hike up to the highest point of the Försterstieg - to the Brombergshöhe. The long ridge is completely forested, but at some glades you can expect great views of the Harz foothills and in good visibility even to the chunks.In some hairpin bends it goes from Lautenthal up to Bromberg. The Försterstieg meanders along the broad ridge and leads you to the most beautiful vantage points. From Bromberg it goes in a leisurely descent down into the cellar. The cellar is a medieval ravine that leads over the mountains as an artificial pass crossing between Wildemann and Münchehof. Since the oxcart in the Middle Ages could not drive over the ridge, here the mountain had to be flattened.A little later you meet roast pork at the rest area on a kitten. In such a hut, typical for the West Harz, the charcoal burners have lived for many centuries. The charcoal from Köhler was of central importance for the further processing of ores, which were mined in the Harz. The kitten at the rest area is a faithful replica and protects you in bad weather from the rain.From the rest area, it goes downhill to the stage destination Bad Grund. In the old mining town there are several guesthouses, guest rooms and hotels. Under pensionen-im-harz.de/Pensionen-in-Bad+Grund.html you can get a first overview.If you would like to travel home after the third leg, you can take bus 460 to the Gittelde train station. From there it goes by train home. To get back to Lautenthal, take bus 460 to Clausthal-Zellerfeld. From there the bus 831 takes you to Lautenthal. Timetables can be found at fahrplaner.vsninfo.de.

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  • Difficult
    06:19
    13.9 mi
    2.2 mph
    1,625 ft
    1,400 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On your last day of hiking, you go up again. From the starting point in Bad Grund it goes up 250 meters. But the way to this first ascent is almost level. Through dense forests, you cross a hilly plateau until you are rewarded with a fantastic view at the lookout tower on the cuckoo cliff. Afterwards it goes past the Sösetalstausee to the stage destination in Kamschlacken.From Bad Grund a narrow forest path leads you up to the Eichelberg. From now on the Harzer Försterstieg meanders on forest paths and comfortable forest roads over the wooded ridge. It goes past some stamp areas of the Harzer hiking nobility and several hiking huts offer you a dry shelter in the rain.After crossing a quiet country road, you will reach the lookout tower on the cuckoo cliff. The ascent to the observation deck is worthwhile in any case, because here you can expect a magnificent view of the southern Harz foreland and the surrounding mountains.Along the edge of the village of Buntenbock you now walk in a wide loop down to the Sösetalsperre. The view of the reservoir with the tree-lined mountain slopes on its banks gives rise to a little Canada charm. Then you hike upstream on the Söse to Kamschlacken, your last destination.Even from the tiny village of Kamschlacken you can start the journey home by bus. The bus line 462 will take you directly to the station Osterode - but only from Monday to Friday. So if you finish your hike at the weekend, you should just treat yourself to a night in the cozy village and stay overnight in one of the guesthouses. Here you can already select a pension: harz-paradies.de/unterkuenfte-riefensbeek-kamschlacken.php.Timetable information for your trip home can be found at fahrplaner.vsninfo.de.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    4
  • Distance
    45.7 mi
  • Duration
    21:04 h
  • Elevation
    5,775 ft
    5,425 ft

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