On its journey to the Rhine, the Neckar flows through the southern foothills of the mountainous Odenwald. Here, between the densely wooded mountain slopes, trillions of liters of passing water has forged out a romantic valley over time. And this is exactly what you're going to explore over these nine stages of the Neckarsteig. The varied hiking trail not only runs along the steep slopes of the Neckar Valley, it also leads you through enchanted forests, to impressive castle ruins, to unspoilt streams and small half-timbered towns.
The Neckarsteig runs in nine stages from the winding old town of Heidelberg through the wooded mountain ranges of the Odenwald to Bad Wimpfen. It follows the meandering course of the Neckar river, but also leads through small side valleys and over extensive high plateaus. If you are interested in old castles and medieval town centers, you will have a lot of fun on the Neckarsteig. Along the Neckar valley, there are fantastic knight's castles and the small villages and towns along the river look back on centuries of history. Your special Highlights will be the Heidelberg Castle, the Hirschhorn Castle, the old town of Bad Wimpfen and the perfectly preserved Guttenberg Castle.
No single stage exceeds 12 miles (20 kilometers) and, due to the moderate differences in altitude, even comfortable hikers and families with sporty children can easily master the Neckarsteig. If you don't have nine days in a row, or if you're just interested in a single stage, that's no problem either: all stage locations can be reached quickly and easily by bus and train from Heidelberg. As there are hardly any inns or restaurants along the individual stages, however, it is best to take provisions and plenty of water with you on your hikes.
The first stage from the Neckarsteig leads you from the magical old town of Heidelberg up to the Königsstuhl, one of the city's two local mountains. From here the hiking trail meanders leisurely through the forest downhill to the stage destination Neckargemünd, where you stand on the banks of the Neckar again.The starting point of the first stage is the Old Bridge in Heidelberg, which spans the Neckar here. From here, the Neckarsteig meanders a little through the alleys of the old town and then leads you up to the world-famous castle. Since the castle already opens its gates at eight in the morning, you could even pay a visit to the old walls before you continue your tour.From the castle you follow the road of the Molkenkurweg for a short distance until the Himmelsleiter branches off from the road. It has truly earned its name: over countless stone steps it goes dead straight and steadily uphill to the Königsstuhl. But the ascent is worth it, because when you reach the top you can expect a fantastic view over Heidelberg, the Neckar Valley and out onto the wide Rhine plain - a sublime sight.Especially nice: At the Königsstuhl you reached the highest point of today's tour and thus also the highest peak of the entire Neckarsteig. From here you follow natural, comfortable hiking trails over the wooded mountain ridge. The path meanders leisurely downhill and away from the hustle and bustle of the Königsstuhl you can enjoy a wonderful peace here.Soon the hiking trail becomes a little steeper and you can see the Neckar in the valley below you between the trees. After you have crossed the narrow Kümmelbach, another small ascent to the wooded summit of the Neckarriedkopf awaits you. From here it goes down in a few bends to the stage destination Neckargemünd.If you have only planned the hike as a day tour, you can take the S-Bahn lines S1 and S2 back to Heidelberg from Neckargemünd Altstadt station. You can find the timetables at s-bahn-rheinneckar.de/s_rheinneckar/view/fahrplan/uebersicht.shtml.
The second stage is a real pleasure hike, because you don't even expect a nine kilometer route and only a moderate 300 meters in ascent and descent. That works out well, because on today's tour you have enough time to explore the well-preserved festivals and the picturesque old town of Dilsberg. From Dilsberg it goes comfortably downhill to the stage destination Neckarsteinach.At the beginning of your today's hike you leave Neckargemünd and climb up in a few hairpin bends on the wooded slopes of the Neckar Valley. Although you hike through dense forest most of the time, beautiful viewpoints have also been prepared for you here. A first great view awaits you on the ascent at the Bockfelsenhütte.The Neckarsteig leads you from here uphill and over a wooded ridge. The descent also takes place in a few long hairpin bends. Soon you have reached the edge of the forest and a beautiful view of the Dilsberg festivals opens up in front of you.The Neckarsteig also leads you here. The festival is on a ridge and so you hike a bit uphill again. The festival is well preserved and the adjoining medieval old town is really worth a detour. After you have strolled through the alleys, it goes downhill from Dilsberg to the stage destination.Here you cross the Neckar on one of the numerous barrages and you are already standing in Neckarsteinach.Neckarsteinach is also connected to Heidelberg train station via the S1 and S2 S-Bahn lines. You can find all timetables at s-bahn-rheinneckar.de/s_rheinneckar/view/fahrplan/uebersicht.shtml.
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
The third stage begins in the “city of four castles” Neckarsteinach. Here not only does the Steinach flow into the Neckar, but around the city you can also admire four imposing castles. Of these, the middle castle is still inhabited today and the front castle is the seat of the forest administration. The Schadeck Castle and the Hinterburg, on the other hand, are well-preserved ruins and can be visited today. The Neckarsteig leads you directly past the Hinterburg - if you are interested you can also take a detour to the Schadeck ruins. From the castles it goes up to the Darsberg and past the place of the same name. Afterwards you hike on quiet forest paths to the stage destination.You start your hike at the train station in Neckarsteinach. From here you stroll past the promenade and cross the Steinach at its confluence with the Neckar. The impressive central castle rises above the promenade. Soon the path climbs a little and leads you to the rear castle. It is freely accessible at all times and, above all, a climb to the keep is worthwhile. From the roofed spire you have a spectacular view of the Neckar valley and the Dilsberg fortress on the other bank.
The Neckarsteig then leads you in a loop through a residential area of Neckarsteinach and then in numerous bends up to the Darsberg. Under tall trees you hike on to the Goetheblick, where you can enjoy a fantastic view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. From here, the Neckarsteig continues through the forest. Without major differences in altitude, it leads you over the plateau until it goes downhill in a few bends to the stage destination Hirschhorn.Hirschhorn has a train station from which you can take the S-Bahn lines S1 and S2 back to Neckarsteinach or Heidelberg. You can get timetable information at s-bahn-rheinneckar.de/s_rheinneckar/view/fahrplan/uebersicht.shtml.
The castle of the same name towers above Hirschhorn. This has been spared major destruction over the centuries and is now considered one of the most beautiful and best preserved castles in the Neckar Valley. After a visit to the castle, you hike on comfortable paths over a wooded ridge to the stage destination Eberbach.From the old town of Hirschhorn it is only a ten-minute walk to the impressive castle complex. The courtyard and the keep are freely accessible and a must for lovers of old walls. From the castle a romantic, but quite steep forest path leads uphill to the Stöckberg. Here, hikers in front of you used their breaks to build small stone pyramids along the way.The Neckarsteig leads just past the wooded summit of the Stöckberg and on to the Hoppe hut. From the benches in front of the small refuge you have a great view down to the Neckar and to Ersheim, which is here on a headland in the middle of a picturesque river bend, thanks to a wide forest aisle.After a short rest at the hut, you continue hiking through the dense forest. The Neckarsteig runs here on a comfortable, gently downhill hiking trail. You calmly follow the signposted path, which leads in a long loop down to the Neckar. From the confluence of the Gammelsbach into the Neckar, it is only a short distance to the stage destination Eberbach.Just like the previous stage locations, Eberbach is also located on the tracks of the S-Bahn lines S1 and S2. From here you can comfortably drive back to the starting point or even back to Heidelberg. You can find more information at s-bahn-rheinneckar.de/s_rheinneckar/view/fahrplan/uebersicht.shtml.
With a distance of over 18 kilometers, the fifth stage is also the longest on the Neckarsteig. After completing four days of hiking, you will have already run in properly and will master this beautiful stage without any problems. From Eberbach, the hiking trail leads you over a mountain ridge with great views and back down to the banks of the Neckar. After you have crossed the river, of course, a visit to a beautiful castle ruin is on the program. From the Stolzeneck ruins, it goes up to Neunkirchen, the only stage destination that is not on the banks of the Neckar.At the beginning of the tour you stroll along the riverside road until the Neckarsteig leads you from Eberbach in long hairpin bends and serpentines through the forest up to the Scheuerberg. There are only a few trees on its broad summit and you have a nice view of the surrounding landscape. The view is even more beautiful at the Ernst-Hohn-Hütte, which you will reach a little later. The refuge stands on the edge of wide meadows and you can enjoy a wonderful panorama here. Meadows and forests spread out below you all the way down to the Neckar.The view from the Teufelskanzel vantage point is also spectacular. It is located on a natural mountain spur on the valley slope and this gives you a great view of the Neckar valley. On its slopes you then hike downhill to the river bank. At the barrage and lock Rockenau you cross the river and climb up on the other bank to the Stolzeneck castle ruins.If you can't get enough of the views of the Neckar Valley, then you've come to the right place: You can climb the shield wall via steel stairs, which gives you a great view of the ruins and the picturesque river valley.After visiting the castle, the Neckarsteig leads you steadily uphill to the stage destination Neunkirchen.Neunkirchen does not have its own S-Bahn station, but a call taxi line will be used as seasonal traffic from 01.04. until October 31 offered. The route runs on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from Neckargerach via Neckarkatzenbach to Neunkirchen and back again.The Ruftaxi is a transport service which runs according to a fixed timetable at certain times upon reservation. This is done by telephone at least one hour before departure on the telephone number given in the timetable. Simply state the location of the bus stop, the departure time from the timetable and the destination and the taxi will come to pick you up.The fare is € 2.40 for an adult. Children up to the age of six travel for free when accompanied by a supervisor with a valid ticket. People with a MAXX ticket and the card over 60 as well as VRN annual tickets travel free of charge.Otherwise there are also two bus routes that can take you to Neunkirchen. Information at vrn.de/fahrplanauskunft or s-bahn-rheinneckar.de/s_rheinneckar/view/fahrplan/uebersicht.shtml.
On the edge of the Neckar Valley, the sixth stage takes you via the village of Neckarkatzenbach down to Neckargerach. On the way, the hiking trail runs around the Mittelberg. It bears its name rightly, because the flat and elongated mountain ridge rises in the middle of a wide valley. The Neckarsteig leads you almost completely around the mountain and so you can admire it from all sides.The starting point of today's stage is Neunkirchen. The signposted hiking trail leads you from here through the forest to the slopes of the Neckar valley. Above the valley, the Neckarsteig meanders through the forest to the picturesque Minneburg. The romantic castle ruin stands on a bare mountain spur above the Neckar valley and spoils you with fantastic views. Although you can already see your stage destination Neckargerach on the other bank from the castle wall, the Neckarsteig branches off from the bank at this point.It runs here at the edge of the forest around the Mittelberg. The Neckar river flowed around the mountain in the last Ice Age, which explains the special shape of the landscape. Soon you will reach the sleepy village of Neckarkatzbach. From here you continue your hike and continue hiking along the former course of the Neckar below the Mittelberg.On the banks of the Neckar, the hiking trail leads you around Guttenbach and finally on a bridge over the river to your stage destination Neckargerach.If you want to end your tour here, you can either take the 839 bus back to the starting point or the S1 and S2 S-Bahn lines to Heidelberg. You can find all timetables at www.
vrn.de and s-bahn-rheinneckar.de/s_rheinneckar/view/fahrplan/uebersicht.shtml.
At the beginning of the seventh stage, the Neckarsteig has an adventurous gem in store for you. South of Neckargerach, the Flursbach cut a wild and romantic gorge into the red sandstone of the Odenwald on its way down to the Neckar. Here you climb up through the valley on metal stairs and walkways. Afterwards you hike over a gently undulating plateau and on the edge of the Neckar valley to the stage destination Mosbach.From Neckargerach, the Neckarsteig leads you parallel to the railway tracks for a while until the hiking trail branches off into the Margarethenschlucht. You can explore these on narrow hiking trails, metal stairs and footbridges. At the top of the gorge, you stand on a wide plateau characterized by open fields and meadows. Dirt roads and forest paths now alternate and beautiful views await you in different places.The hiking trail slowly approaches the Neckar valley again. Below the Schreckberg, the path runs along the steep valley slopes and you can enjoy a wonderful panorama. In a loop it goes up to the Schreckhof residential area, where you will also find the country inn of the same name. Here you can take a well-deserved rest. However, since the inn has irregular opening times, you should check the times on the website schreckhof.de for your planning.From here you follow the Neckarsteig past the Schreckhof glider airfield to the stage destination Mosbach.This stage is also perfect as a day tour, as you can easily take the S-Bahn lines S1 and S2 back to Neckargerach from Mosbach. You can get timetable information at s-bahn-rheinneckar.de/s_rheinneckar/view/fahrplan/uebersicht.shtml.
The eighth stage takes you through the southern foothills of the Odenwald. The low mountain range is characterized by gentle hilly landscapes and extensive, open plateaus. Even the Neckar has not cut too deeply into the landscape and its banks are surrounded by wide meadows and fields. On this stage, the Neckarsteig runs over the gentle slopes of the valley and continues to spoil you with beautiful views.At the beginning, the Neckarsteig leads you for a short distance through the city of Mosbach and then up to an open plateau. Here you hike along the edge of the forest and enjoy a beautiful view. After you have crossed the wooded and narrow valley of the Luttenbach, it comes closer to the Neckar valley.Above Neckarzimmern you can enjoy the view of the valley and continue on a panoramic path to the Hornberg castle ruins. The castle complex was once the seat of the famous knight Götz von Berlichingen and is very well preserved today. You can visit the castle every day and also take a break in the panorama restaurant.The path then meanders through the Steinbachtal and then follows the course of the railway tracks below the valley slope. After about a kilometer, the hiking trail branches off to the left and leads you in serpentines up steeply to Michaelsberg. On the extensive ridge there is an organic farm of the same name, which is famous above all for its first-class products made from the meat of the farm's German Angus cattle. You can see for yourself in the farm restaurant and farm shop.From Michaelsberg, the Neckarsteig finally leads downhill to the stage destination Gundelsheim.If you plan this tour as a day hike, at the end of Gundelsheim you can take the S41 S-Bahn back to the starting point in Mosbach. From here there is a direct connection to Heidelberg with the S1 and S2 lines. You can find timetables at h3nv.de and s-bahn-rheinneckar.de/s_rheinneckar/view/fahrplan/uebersicht.shtml.
The ninth and last stage of the Neckarsteig is the culmination of your hike. The hiking trail leads you leisurely over gentle hills and wide meadows. You leisurely hike towards your destination and enjoy the picturesque views of the Neckar one last time. The valley opens up and wide meadows and small towns lie on the river. The last kilometers of your hike run directly on the shore and so you can say goodbye to your wet companion.At Gundelsheim, the starting point of the ninth stage, you cross the river on the barrage and climb on the other bank to the last castle ruin of your hike. The Neckarsteig leads you through a small piece of forest to Guttenberg Castle. The castle is in perfect condition and you can visit a castle museum, a courtyard tavern and the birds of prey show at the Deutsche Greifenwarte.From the castle you first walk through the forest and finally over open fields and meadows to Heinsheim. The place is located on a flat slope above the Neckar and the hiking trail leads you through the town center down to the shore.You follow the Neckarsteig directly along the shore - first on a quiet field path and then on a paved footpath and bike path. You comfortably cover the last stretch to the stage destination Bad Wimpfen.Before you finally start your journey home in Bad Wimpfen, it is worth visiting the medieval old town. Fantastic half-timbered houses, the perfectly preserved city wall and the old watchtowers invite you to take an extensive exploration tour at the end of your hike.From Bad Wimpfen you can take the S42 S-Bahn to Steinsfurt and from there the S5 to Heidelberg. If you want to get back to the starting point Gundelsheim, you take the S42 in the other direction to Bad Friedrichshall and from there the S41 to Gundelsheim. You can find all timetables at h3nv.de and s-bahn-rheinneckar.de/s_rheinneckar/view/fahrplan/uebersicht.shtml.