Hiking the Westweg in the Black Forest – Germany’s first long-distance trail
© Chris Keller / Schwarzwald Tourismus
Created in 1900 by the Black Forest Association, the Westweg trail through the Black Forest was Germany’s very first long-distance hiking trail. The 177-mile (285 km) route crosses the entire Black Forest from Pforzheim in the north to Basel in the south. As the name suggests, the path runs through the stunning scenery to the west of the mountains. The Westweg has become a great classic among Germany’s long-distance hiking trails, and it’s easy to see why.
The Westweg reveals the diverse nature of Germany’s largest low mountain range. You will roam through pine and spruce forests, discover mountain lakes and rocky outcrops, wander through glacial valleys and over lofty peaks. The Hornisgrinde plateau, Belchen, Gochblueuen, Schliffkopf and Hohloh mountains all lie en route, as well as the Feldberg, the highest mountain in the Black Forest.
In this Collection, we’ve divided the Westweg into twelve stages totalling 177 miles (285 km) and 26,250 feet (8,000 m) ascent. With long distances and quite some climbing, the hikes are challenging and not best suited to beginner hikers. However, if you come with enough experience, the paths are stunning. Following the red diamond markers, the symbol of the Black Forest Association, you will hike through secluded forests and over lonely mountains and plateaus far away from any tourist hotspots. At the end of each hike, you can find a hotel or guest house to spend the night. Make sure you book in advance as space is often limited.
From Lake Titisee, the Westweg splits into two variants: west and east. In this Collection, we guide you along the western route. Both of the routes end in Basel, but the eastern route takes an extra day. You can find the stages for the eastern option, here: stage 9 (East): komoot.de/tour/161040978, stage 10 (East): komoot.de/tour/161041479, stage 11 ( East): komoot.de/tour/161041794, stage 12 (East): komoot.de/tour/161042251, stage 13 (East): https: //www.komoot .de / tour / 161042468.
If you don’t have time to complete the entire Westweg in one go, you can walk the route bit by bit. The start and end points of each hike are easy to reach with public transport so you can split up the adventure to suit you.
Along the Westway, you will find 12 gates which are great photo opportunities. You can also collect stamps here. Before setting off on your hike, pick up a card from the tourist information in Pforzheim. You can pick up a small gift in Basel if you collect nine stamps, although the hike through the Black Forest is the greatest gift of all.
If you are in the mood for even more long-distance hiking trails in the Black Forest, you should definitely take a look at our other collections: komoot.com/user/schwarzwaldtourismus/collections
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The fourth stage has a very special highlight for you - in the truest sense of the word. With a height of 1,163 meters, the Hornisgrinde is the highest peak in the Northern Black Forest. From the summit, you then hike roughly parallel to the Black Forest high road via comfortable forest paths to the refuge pass, your today's destination.
On the fifth stage you hike from the Naturhotel Zuflucht to the Vesperhof Hark, which lies in the middle of wide alpine meadows. You hike most of the time at a constant height over densely forested ridges and finally evenly downhill to the stage goal. Overall, there are more vertical meters in the descent than in the ascent - a welcome change after the mountain stages of the past two days.
With a distance of just 16 kilometers, only 300 vertical meters in the ascent and almost 800 meters in the descent, the sixth stage is one of the gourmet tours of the Westweg. The hiking trail winds gently downhill over a long mountain range to Hausach. Your milestone is in the broad Kinzig valley, which is the border from the northern to the southern Black Forest.
The seventh stage leads you up to the southern Black Forest, where the highest elevations of the entire Black Forest are located. You will notice this immediately on today's tour, because on your way to the stage destination Wilhelmshöhe it is a total of 1,100 meters uphill. As a reward for this challenge, you will be spoiled with wonderful views of the mountains and valleys formed by glaciers.
On the eighth stage, the Westweg winds its way up and down over the mountains of the southern Black Forest. The highest point of today's stage is the bald summit of Brends with 1,150 meters. From up here you have a fantastic view of the highest peaks in the Black Forest: Feldberg, Belchen, Hochfirst and Kandel are lined up to the south.
On the ninth day stage, too, you will be pampered with easy hiking trails across almost endless mountain pastures. As you stroll along, you are accompanied by a fantastic view of the mountains of the southern Black Forest.The Gasthof Kalte Herberge, the starting point of your stage today, is located directly on the southern section of the Black Forest High Road. The Westweg runs close to the road for a few kilometers.
On the tenth stage it goes very high, because today you climb the highest mountain in the Black Forest. At 1,493 meters, the famous Feldberg is not only the king of the Black Forest, but also the highest German mountain outside the Alps. After your summit storm, the Westweg leads you through dense forests and past beautiful viewpoints to the stage destination Wiedener Eck.
The eleventh stage takes you down 33 kilometers and over 1,500 meters in altitude, descending from the highest peaks in the southern Black Forest. Before that, however, you will visit the Belchen, which is the fourth highest mountain in the Black Forest with a height of 1,414 meters. Take enough time for today's stage and give yourself regular breaks, then you will get to your destination well.