Four days in the Odenwald means four days of picturesque orchard meadows, vast forests, cozy half-timbered towns, fairytale castles and a wealth of legends and stories about the land of the Nibelungs. And you can enjoy a double dose of adventure as my ‘Trans-Odenwald’ route is a round trip that takes you from west to east and from east to west via an alternative route.
Trans Odenwald times two, so to speak, or in other words, mountain bike fun doubled!
The Odenwald is a low mountain range located in central Germany in the middle of the Darmstadt-Heidelberg-Würzburg city triangle. It stands out in the west compared to the flat Upper Rhine Plain as the Odenwald’s steep mountain slopes emerge suddenly from the lowlands. This is where the mountain biking fun begins.
Your adventure begins close to the train station in Lorsch. At the start, the track profile is slippery, but it changes after a few kilometers. Next, challenging ups and downs and a wonderfully varied landscape await – some leg power will be required in the Odenwald.
The Odenwald is a true paradise for mountain bikers. There is an excellent network of routes with many marked trails, making it easy for you to vary the stages in this Collection. Do you feel like pushing yourself on a long ride? Then add a small trail loop here and there. This Collection is designed to be ridden in four days. If you have less time, you could of course just ride longer stages if you are fit enough or if you prefer to take it easy, you could leave out the second and third stages. This way, you can enjoy a short loop that makes a perfect weekend ride.
I’ve started the ride from the station at Bensheim so you don’t have to rely on your car. Bensheim has direct and fast rail links from Frankfurt. As this ride is a multi-stage adventure, you should come prepared with a change of clothes and rain gear as well as some spare parts and tools. You should also book your accommodation in good time. This is especially important for the end of the second stage which is beautiful, but also a bit lonely – there is only one guesthouse here.
The first stage of my Trans Odenwald tour begins at the train station in Bensheim, where you can rest and head off into the Odenwald without the stress of traffic jams and parking. The route begins at a leisurely pace along the railway line: to Heppenheim it is quasi flat and therefore perfectly suitable for slowly warming up. Then you are ready for the demanding rest of the tour, at the end of which you have earned a whopping 1,100 vertical meters!Directly after Heppenheim the first crisp climb is waiting for you, which leads you up to the Starkenburg. Up here you have a wonderful view of the Rhine valley and the Odenwald - that makes you want more! If you only started at midday and would like to plan a short lunch break at the start of the tour, you can stop at the Burgschenke.It continues with anticipation. A few vineyards, a lot of forest and every now and then a wonderful view of the Rhine valley make for an entertaining trip, even if it goes uphill for a while now. You partially drive over the Nibelungensteig - the fabulous atmosphere is literally free.A narrow trail spits you out in Schlierbach, then it goes steeply uphill to Lindenfels. But you have a great goal in mind: delicious cakes are waiting for you in the Altstadt Café and if you want, you can treat yourself to a visit to the Lindenfels castle ruins, which are well worth seeing.Now it is extremely varied up and down. From the Walburgis chapel you have another wonderful view - in good weather it extends to Frankfurt. Then you roll leisurely to the goal of the first stage in Grasellenbach. In the cozy place in the middle of the UNESCO Geopark Bergstraße-Odenwald you can treat yourself to a bit of culture before going to bed by rolling past the legendary Siegfriedbrunnen.
The second stage through the Odenwald attracts with 1,230 meters of altitude, which are spread over 55 kilometers. In other words: Today there is no ride waiting for you, but real mountain biking. It goes up and down, it is seldom flat and today you leave the streets to the left whenever possible. Look forward to pure mountain bike fun in the middle of the UNESCO Geopark Bergstrasse-Odenwald.Even today, the tour is accompanied by a mystical atmosphere, because you are still driving through the land of the Nibelungs. At the Siegfriedsbrunnen there is fresh water for the water bottle and the dreadful memory that Siegfried the dragon slayer was said to have been killed here with a spear. Do you want to move on quickly? Then get on your bike!Narrow paths, impressive viaducts, a picturesque little reservoir and wildly romantic valleys ensure variety and a wonderful experience of nature. And physical well-being is also taken care of. In the Waldgasthof Reussenkreuz you can treat yourself to an extensive break.The imposing Haintal Viaduct marks the end of a brisk descent through the valley of the same name - simply to enjoy. Then the longest climb of the day is waiting for you. If the telecommunication tower appears within your grasp, it's done. You can roll out the last kilometers to the stage goal in Reisenbacher Grund in a relaxed manner. In the middle of the green, a heavenly quiet night awaits you.
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On the third stage of my Trans Odenwald it goes high: Today you climb the highest elevation of the Odenwald with the Katzenbuckel. And that is by no means the only highlight.Luckily, you start from the relatively high-lying Reifenbacher Grund, so that no hours of climbing are waiting for you, but a few really tough climbs. At 626 meters, the question of the meaning of the effort is unnecessary: The panoramic view is magnificent and can only be topped by climbing the lookout tower.The descent that follows is simply terrific. Beautiful trails with a demanding serpentine passage take you with a broad grin to Eberbach on the banks of the Neckar. A short detour to the old town or the banks of the Neckar is worthwhile. In any case, there are enough beautiful places for a short break here.Now there is a relaxed flat passage along the Neckar. You can easily pedal the next ten kilometers or so and enjoy the beautiful river landscape before the route in Hirschborn has the next climb ready for you. This leads you through dense forest on a wonderful mountain trail and ultimately to Michelbach forest. On the way the forest clears from time to time so that you can catch wonderful views of the Odenwald.In Wald-Michelbach you can take a last rest. If you still have time, various sights invite you to be admired. In summer you could also refresh yourself with a flying visit to the small outdoor pool. The last kilometers to the stage goal in Wahlen lead along a fairly flat train path bike path, so that you can roll out easily here. There are a few restaurants and accommodations in the small resort town of Wahlen, so you can relax and end the day here.
Stage 4 begins as the third ended: completely relaxed on a well-paved railway bike path. You already know the first kilometers of today's stage, because you drove here yesterday. But that doesn't matter: the bike path is nice and pleasantly flat, perfect for warming up.But soon, typically Odenwald, things will go uphill. You drive up to the Tromm where a beautiful high path runs, from which there are always wonderful panoramic views. And there's something else here too: True to the motto "milk makes men tired," you can fortify yourself with fresh, milk-free milk at the milk filling station of a farm. Incidentally, this also works for tired girls. Delicious!On the Kreidacher Höhe you can treat yourself to a break in the café or simply enjoy the silent works of art on the side of the path before you climb steeply one last time. At the top, a small shelter offers a nice opportunity to take a deep breath and a wonderful view of the Rhine plain.Now a varied up and down with many trails is waiting for you. It gets particularly flowy just before Weinheim, where there are so many trails that it would be worthwhile to add a few small detours to the tour. If you still have time and desire, there are numerous opportunities after the Rose restaurant in Oberflockenbach to extend the tour a bit. Once in Weinheim, the last few kilometers are flat back to the starting point of the stage trip in Bensheim.