Up here, on the trail, you'll have nothing more than your sleeping bag and your tent for company. Your kitchen is your camp stove, while the nocturnal forest noises will provide the soundtrack to the best night's sleep you've ever had. You're on the Hunsrück hiking trail — and you won't see a soul for miles. Opened in 2009, this extraordinary hiking trail takes you from Kirn ad the Nahe over the lonely mountain ranges of the Soonwald to Bingen at the Rhine in six short days. Away from villages and inns, you'll spend the night on suitable trekking trails in the middle of the forest, in small clearings and even in the castle courtyard of the Schmidtburg ruins.
The six daily stages of the Soonwald take you along quiet woodland trails, unspoilt and narrow paths and rarely used forest tracks through the dense beech and spruce forests on the Soonwald mountains. As you go, lonely lookout towers await you, offering magnificent views high above the treetops. The special Highlights of your hike are the overnight stays on the four trekking sites between Kirn and Lauschhütte. Apart from a simple compost toilet, there are no other amenities here — exactly how a night in the great outdoors should be. At the end of the fifth stage, you'll spend the night on the tent meadow of the Outdoor Park Lauschhütte. All overnight stays in tents must be booked in advance. Our hikes only take you close to the individual trekking sites, because you will only receive the exact GPS coordinates after successful reservation and payment. You can book your campsite directly under soonwaldsteig.de/trekkingcamps/buchung
Since the first four stages are completely away from villages and towns, you should pack enough supplies and above all water. As you go, you can take water from the large streams Hahnenbach, Simmerbach and Gräfenbach, but the streams do not have drinking water quality. Before consumption, the water must be filtered and boiled, simple filtering is not enough. A network of open water taps is also currently being developed to provide hikers with direct access to drinking water. The current status of open taps can be found at soonwaldsteig.de/service/netz-offener-wasserhaehne.
Both the starting point Kirn and the destination Bingen can easily be reached by train from Frankfurt, Mainz, Saarbrücken, Koblenz and Cologne - so you can get to your hiking adventure in the Soonwald comfortably and environmentally friendly. Alternatively, you can arrive with your own car and park at the Kiesel permanent car park in Kirn at a reasonable price.
Once you have planned your provisions, packed your trekking tent and rolled up your sleeping bag, you can start your trekking adventure in the Soonwald.
The first stage of the Soonwaldsteig begins in the small town of Kirn in the Nahe valley. Here you cross the city center, where you can once again supplement your supplies for your trekking tour. Then it goes through a quiet residential area out into the Hahnenbachtal.Above the road, the Soonwaldsteig leads you to the picturesque Wartenstein Castle, which today houses the information center of the Soonwald-Nahe Nature Park. On narrow forest paths, the trail leads you above the creek into the valley.Soon, the Soonwaldsteig meanders in some hairpin bends down into the valley, where you cross the road and then continue along the Hahnenbach along. To the left of the hiking trail, exciting schist rocks rise up in the forest, where you can discover smaller and larger caves.In the constant ups and downs of the trail winds further through the valley. At a vantage point, you can already take a first look at the Schmidtburg, which represents your destination today. But before you get there, it's worth making a detour to the Herrenberg visitor mine. In the old tunnels, which you can visit here, slate was mined earlier.After your visit to the museum, you finally arrive at the Schmidtburg. After you have registered with the Burg Vogog Hans-Georg Gerlach, you can pitch your tent and prepare your dinner.The Kirn station is approached from Saarbrücken, Mainz and Frankfurt am Main by the regional express RE3. The timetable can be found at rnn.info.
At the Schmidtburg begins your second day's stage. In the morning, take your tent in peace, stretch your limbs and enjoy a steaming cup of coffee and the view of the surrounding forest. Then it can start again with a packed backpack. From the Schmidtburg you follow the Soonwaldsteig for a while through the Hahnenbachtal until the signposted hiking trail branches off to the right.Here he leads you over an open meadow and field landscape at some distance past Schneppenbach. Slowly the trail climbs and in front of you you can already see the striking ridge of the Lützelsoons.The Lützelsoon is a narrow and quite steep mountain ridge that is almost completely wooded. If you've wandered up its northern flank, you can immediately discover another peculiarity. Distributed over the ridge, you will find numerous larger and smaller quartzite formations - exciting rocks and smaller rocks sticking out of the forest floor. The biggest of them, the Teufelsfels, awaits you right at the edge of the Lützelsoons. In addition to the huge rock there is also a lookout tower, which offers you a wonderful panorama over the Soonwald.From Teufelsfels you follow the Soonwaldsteig over the ridge to Womrather Höhe, the highest point of the Lützelsoons. Now you hike on natural forest paths down into the picturesque Kellenbachtal. Here a wooden bridge leads over the river, which was created especially for the Soonwaldsteig.After crossing the hardly busy country road, it goes through the forest steeply uphill to the ruins Koppenstein. There is hardly anything left of the castle except the keep. But you can climb up to the tower and enjoy another great view over the surrounding mountains.From the castle ruins, the Soonwaldsteig winds its way to the summit of the Alteburg. The second trekking camp of your hike is only a few meters away on an old Köhlerplatz. The exact location you will receive as GPS data, as soon as you have booked an overnight stay via the online portal. All information can be found at soonwaldsteig.de/trekkingcamps/die-camps/trekkingcamp-alteburg.
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After a peaceful, but also adventurous night in the forest on the Alteburg you prepare a hearty breakfast and build your tent. Take a little time, because the stage is quite short at seven kilometers.Then you follow beautiful forest trails and lonely forest roads over the mountain ridge between Alteburg and Ellerspring. Away from civilization, you can listen to the sounds of nature here. You will quickly realize that peace does not always mean silence. Above you the branches rustle in the wind, when listening carefully you can distinguish more and more bird sounds, the beech leaves rustle under your feet, branches crack in the bushes and again and again birds flutter from the ground into the trees - no question, the forest lives around you ,Only at the Ellerspring, the highest mountain in the Soonwald, you meet again on signs of human settlement: up on the wooded summit is an old television tower, which is now only used as a reserve and is no longer in use.Just a few meters from the tower is the trekking camp Ellerspring in a small, hidden clearing. As with all trekking camps in the Soonwald, you must also book here in advance to find out the exact location.The stages three and four of the Soonwaldsteig are quite short at about seven kilometers and enduring hikers can easily combine both stages. Trekking fans, however, should not miss another night in the forest. Instead, head to a cozy camp and enjoy this extraordinary experience for Germany to the fullest.
By now you've gotten used to the nocturnal sounds in the forest and freshly rested you crawl out of your sleeping bag on the fourth day. A bowl of warm porridge and a strong cup of instant coffee give you the last boost and your fourth stage can begin.Although the today's tour with nearly seven kilometers is rather short, you expect varied nature and an exciting route guidance. From Ellerspring you follow the Soonwaldsteig over the Ödesborner Höhe and then cross the two old forest roads Rennweg and Landrichtweg. On a meadow path, which still shines especially on spring mornings from the dew, you hike to Gräfenbach.The brook ripples naturally over a dense, tree-covered meadow. Instead of bridges, tree trunks were laid over the stream here - including an adventure feeling. After crossing the brook, you follow its course to the Glashütte meadows, a vast wetland landscape.Following the Soonwaldsteig runs on forest roads to the Ochsenbaumer height. Here, off the forest path, is the fourth and last trekking camp in the Soonwald. You can book an overnight stay on the Ochsenbaumer Höhe at soonwaldsteig.de/trekkingcamps/die-camps/trekkingcamp-ochsenbaumer-hoehe.
Rolling up your sleeping bag, packing your kitchen utensils and shouldering your backpack - you're ready for the fifth stage. From the Ochsenbaumer Höhe follows first a beautiful forest path the course of a long ridge. The broad, wooded ridge connects the mountains Schanzenkopf, Eichberg, Katzenkopf and Hochsteinchen.After a short time, you will reach the Schanzenkopf. On the north side there is a wide meadow area and so no tree blocks the beautiful view of the landscape. Afterwards we return to dense beech and spruce forests.You follow the natural trail over the also wooded peaks, until you expect a lookout tower at Hochsteinchen again. The iron construction has been standing here since 1893 and spoils you with a fantastic view of the Soonwald and the mountains of the Middle Rhine Valley.From Hochsteinchen it then goes quickly downhill in the Guldenbachtal. Here are the signs of human civilization unmistakable: You first circumnavigate a motorway service area and then under the highway A61. Luckily this section is very short and soon you will be back in the forest.On the other side of the motorway you are now in the Binger forest, a small ridge between Soonwald and the Middle Rhine Valley. No less idyllic than in Soonwald the trail leads you here to the Emmerichshütte, the first rest stop on Soonwaldsteig. After a well-deserved meal you can fill up your water bottles and then continue.Around the high plateau of the Kandrich you hike to the stage destination Lauschhütte. Here you can either spend the night in a tree house or you can set up your own tent on the camping meadow.
A night at the Lauschhütte also has its advantages: If you are at least six (or meet enough like-minded people on the tent meadow) you can treat yourself to a delicious breakfast in the morning. Otherwise, there is one last Spartan trekking breakfast and you start your day's journey.From the Lauschhütte, the Soonwaldsteig meanders through the wildly romantic Morgenbachtal evenly downhill in the direction of the Rhine. On the rocks in the stream you can observe tiny dippers, which fish for insects in the water or take a little break between their dives. If you're extra attentive, you might even spot a glittering kingfisher.After about six kilometers you reach the hunting lodge - if you like, you can take a break here. From the Hunter's Lodge you follow the path through the Morgenbachtal. From the refuge Morgenbach the trail through the valley due to weather damage since 2016 is officially blocked. There is a signposted detour that will take you directly to the Schweizerhaus. The status of the redirection and the renovation work can be viewed at this point: soonwaldsteig.de/aktuelles/d-sperrung-wegen-unwetter-2103971467. At the moment there is no exact planning, from when the section is reopened by the Morgenbachtal, therefore our route also follows the official diversion.From the Swiss hut the Soonwaldsteig follows the famous Rheinburgenweg. Here you can also turn left to visit the castle Rheinstein. Alternatively, follow the signs to the right in the direction of the destination.The trail runs high above the Rhine on the slopes of the Middle Rhine Valley and leads you past great vantage points down to Bingen. Here civilization welcomes you again with open arms. While you stroll through the streets of the city, but you get your adventure in the Soonwald not out of his head. And who knows: maybe you will come back again? The Soonwald changes its face every season and spoils you with its special charm.From Bingen you can easily take the regional train RB65 to Bad Kreuznach. There you change to the regional express RE3, which drives you directly to Kirn or to Mainz and Frankfurt. Timetable information is available at rnn.info.