38 stages, two route variants, over 410 miles (660 kilometers) and almost 60,000 feet (18,000 meters) of ascent – the Goldsteig is a long-distance hike of superlatives. The hike has much more to offer than just facts, because nowhere else do you immerse yourself so deeply in the unspoiled Bavarian nature as on the Goldsteig. Away from picturesque old towns, traditional beer breweries, overcrowded castles and traditional folk festivals, the Goldsteig takes you to some of the most remote and pristine areas of Eastern Bavaria. Vast hills in the Upper Palatinate await you, along with rocky peaks in the Upper Palatinate Forest, enchanted primeval woods and the famous one-thousand-year-old trees in the Bavarian Forest National Park. In between, you will find ancient, long-abandoned castles, tiny villages and cozy little towns.
The Goldsteig consists of 38 stages, which lead in two route variants from Marktredwitz in the Upper Palatinate to Passau. The first seven stages run over the gentle hills of the Upper Palatinate and take you as far as Oberviechtach. At this point, the Goldsteig divides into a north route and a south route. The northern route runs near the Czech border over the highest mountains of the Bavarian Forest – long distances, vigorous ascents, and overnight stays in rustic huts make this option a dream route for experienced long-distance hikers. The stages of the southern route, on the other hand, are somewhat shorter and lead over the western mountains of the Bavarian Forest. They are lower and therefore less strenuous climbs await you here. This makes the southern route perfect for ambitious pleasure hikers. No matter which option you choose you can be sure all 38 stages are excellently signposted and spoil you with natural hiking trails across vast fields, picturesque shafts and through thick primeval forests.
You'll find comfortable accommodation at all the Goldsteig stages. Sometimes there are individual guesthouses, sometimes cozy holiday apartments and even elegant hotels. In any case, you should plan and reserve your overnight stays in advance, because the towns and villages along the Goldsteig are small and the accommodations have few rooms – and who would like to stand in front of closed doors after a long mountain tour with no accommodation? Since the individual stages lead through the secluded nature of Eastern Bavaria, you will only find places to dine along a few routes. Therefore, it is best to pack your own provisions and water in your backpack and use the numerous benches and shelters for your breaks. In the larger stage towns, you should have no problems replenishing your provisions, because you will find bakeries, cafés, and supermarkets.
Almost all destinations are served directly by various bus lines. Note that some are tiny villages and that some buses only run sporadically and not at all on weekends. However, the starting point Marktredwitz, the final destination Passau, Furth im Wald on the northern route and Bodenwöhr on the southern route even have their own railway station. This makes these towns perfect as a starting point if you only want to hike parts of the Goldsteig. It is best to check the possible bus and train connections in advance at bayern-fahrplan.de.
But now we have told you enough: just browse through the 38 tours and let yourself be captivated by the untouched nature of the Goldsteig.
The first leg of the Goldsteig is the perfect start. From the train station Marktredwitz, which is approached from Munich, Regensburg and Nuremberg, it goes through the cozy old town out into the wide hilly landscape of the Upper Palatinate. With a wonderful view, you first wander across open pastures and then through rustic forests up to the castle ruin Weißenstein. After enjoying the view from the restored watchtower, the Goldsteig leads you downhill to the stage destination Friedenfels. Once you have arrived, you can move into one of the guesthouses or one of the guesthouses.
After the hilly first stage, the flat and relatively short second stage is a real pleasure trip. From the contemplative Friedenfels the Goldsteig leads you through the picturesque landscape of the 1,000 ponds. In the Middle Ages, carp were bred here in countless ponds for Lent. At some point, fish farming lost its importance, but you can still admire the idyllic ponds today. From the special water landscape of the 1,000 ponds, it goes over fields to the stage destination Falkenberg. In Falkenberg there is a wide selection of cozy accommodation.
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The third stage of the Goldsteig leads you to one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the Upper Palatinate. Just a few minutes walk from the starting point Falkenberg away it goes into the picturesque Waldnaabtal. In the densely wooded, narrow river valley, you can admire spectacular and exciting rock formations that bear names such as anvil, butter barrel or chamber car. From March to October you can also stop halfway in the log cabin Waldnaabtal. From there it goes on and on along the lively babbling river along to the stage destination Windischeschenbach. In the small town, the Waldnaabtalmuseum in the Burg Neuhaus, numerous inns and cozy accommodation await you.
Also on the fourth stage you will be accompanied by the Waldnaab. From Windischeschenbach, the starting point of the stage, the river valley is no longer quite so dramatic, with its meadows and sparse forests but no less romantic. Only in Neustadt an der Waldnaab, where you will also find many inns and supermarkets, you leave the river. About fields and through small forest it is leisurely, but steadily uphill to 633 meters high Fischerberg. Here is the Vierlingsturm, from whose viewing platform you can enjoy a great view of the Oberpfälzer Wald. From the tower it is only a short distance to the stage destination Letzau-Oberhöll. In the tiny hamlet, you can then rest in the inn Hölltäler Hof for the next day. In addition, you will find just less than a kilometer away Letzau more accommodations.
The first half of the fifth stage is characterized by magnificent views. Here you walk along colorful fields, over lush pastures and gentle hills. Behind Roggenstein the landscape changes. Now it goes into the enchanted and legendary forests of the Elms. The Elm is a hilly, densely wooded ridge. You wander here on natural forest paths and can admire the sometimes ancient trees. After you have crossed the Elm, it's a bit over meadows and then through the picturesque Lerau valley. A little later you reach your today's destination Leuchtenberg. Here you have a small selection of pensions and apartments. Castle fans should also visit the castle ruins.
On the sixth stage, the Goldsteig becomes quite mountainous - the hills of the Upper Palatinate slowly lift towards Oberpfälzer Wald and Bayerischer Wald. From Leuchtenberg you hike through a picturesque forest first downhill and then leisurely uphill to neighboring Wittschau. Here you cross the A6 motorway and follow the Goldsteig then over fields in the romantic Pfreimdtal. The river here ripples in some loops through a narrow, wooded valley and along its shore it goes to Trausnitz, where the Pfreimd was dammed to an impressive lake. After a rest in the inns of Trausnitz you hike through the forest uphill to the stage destination Tännesberg. In the tranquil village you have a rich choice of accommodation.
The seventh stage also forms the conclusion of the Oberpfälzer section. But the sparsely populated landscape shows off its best side again. On untreated hiking trails the Goldsteig leads you over the wooded slopes of the Schwangbühl. The highlight of today's stage is the castle ruin Wildstein. Although only a few remnants of the wall are preserved from the castle, the view from the summit of the same name is all the more impressive. Afterwards you will hike across wide fields and pastures to the final destination Oberviechtach. Here you can not only choose between several accommodations, but also refresh your supplies in the supermarkets.On the next stage, the Goldsteig finally divides into the adventurous northern route over the highest peaks of the Bavarian Forest and into the picturesque southern route with its great views and leisurely hiking trails.
This stage forms the prelude to the northern route. Today's tour shows you just what the northern route has come up for you. After a detour to the well-preserved castle ruins Obermurach and an interesting walk through the Prackendorfer moss it is quite adventurous. Shortly after Tannstein the Goldsteig rises through the forest and leads you up to the Steinernen Wand. The narrow, partly rocky summit ridge has almost alpine qualities. If this is too exciting for you, then take the signposted alternative route parallel to the ridge. The highlight is the renovated watchtower of the Schwarzenburg. On the platform of the tower you have a unique view of the surrounding landscape. From the castle, it finally goes on a good trail down to the stage destination Rötz-Bauhof. The only accommodation of the tiny village is the Hotel Bergfried.
On the ninth stage you leave the rolling hills completely behind you and head into the mountainous foothills of the Upper Palatinate Forest. After the exciting tour over the Steinerne Wand on the day before, the Goldsteig will start off comfortably. In the gentle up and down you wander through the wide, characterized by meadows valley of the Schwarzach and pass through tiny, sleepy villages. Only at Thurau you leave the valley, cross the mountain range of Engberg and climb to the end steeply to the stage goal Herzogau. In the mountain village there is a good selection of hotels and apartments where you can spend the night.If you want to complete your hike with this stage, it is advisable to finish your hike today in nearby Waldmünchen. From here you can take the Oberpfälzerbahn to Cham, where there are good connections to the regional train network.
The tenth stage on the northern route takes you over the Gibacht massif. The peaks Kreuzfelsen, Tannenriegel and Reißeck are the highest mountains in the Oberpfälzer Wald and at the same time form the transition to the even higher Bavarian Forest. However, as the starting point Herzogau is already quite high, you come over a gentle climb up to the mountain peaks. From Herzogau you wander without any noteworthy height differences past the Berghof Gibacht and then make a dangling to the Czech border. Even today, three years after three hundred years, three coats of arms stamped in the rock mark the historical borderline. Afterwards, you will ascend to the summits of Kreuzfelsens and Reißecks, before slowly descending to the finish in Furth in the forest. Compared to previous destinations, there is a huge selection of restaurants, inns, pensions, hotels and supermarkets.Furth in the forest has its own train station and is therefore perfect as a destination if you only want to hike part of the gold climb.
Furth im Wald, the starting point of the eleventh Goldsteig stage, is located directly on the Chamb River. The river valley separates the mountains of the Upper Palatinate Forest from the Bavarian Forest. For you it is therefore today up to the famous mountains of the Bavarian Forest. From Furth in the forest you first wander across the flat foothills of the low mountain range and through the rustic Trettinger forest. But right after it gets really steep. Almost 400 meters difference you from the castle stables. The summit is the northernmost point of the Bavarian Forest and with some pride you can throw a last glance northwards towards the Oberpfälzer Wald from its summit cross. About the summit ridge, it goes to the neighboring Kohlriegel and then evenly downhill to the stage goal Schönbuchen. In the tiny village you will find a guesthouse right on the Goldsteig. Alternatively you can finish your stage in the nearby Grafenwiesen. There you will find several accommodations in different price ranges.Since Furth is well connected to the Bavarian regional railway network in the forest, this stage is perfect as an entry point, if you only want to hike a part of the gold climb.
The twelfth stage on the north route of the Goldsteig leads you over the ridge of the Gaitberg. It is a narrow, densely wooded ridge. Through the forest you hike from Schönbuchen steadily uphill, until you can enjoy the first impressive panorama on Kreuzfelsen. From there you continue over the ridge to Kötzinger Hütte - a perfect place for a lunch break with a wonderful view. Afterwards you walk past the smoke tubes. The narrow rock crevices bear this name because ascending fog and low-hanging clouds rise from the tubes through air currents such as smoke. Over the Great Riedelstein, the Goldsteig leads you gently downhill to the finish line Eck. Although the place is tiny, there is a cozy place to stay: the Burggasthof Eck.
The 13th stage is the queen stage of the Goldsteig. And that is literally meant, because today it goes up to the Great Arber, its highest mountain and thus also the king of the Bavarian Forest. A proud climb over 900 meters separates the starting point from the summit. Fortunately, the climb is evenly distributed over the entire route and the Goldsteig leads on well-maintained trails on the mountain. First, you will hike through dense forest, but after half of the route, the trees will be lighter and you follow the path with a magnificent view of open mountain meadows. It goes through the side peaks Enzian and Kleiner Arber, before you arrive on the barren plateau of the Great Arber. Satisfied, you can enjoy the scenic view over the Bavarian Forest and all the way to the Alps. Especially practical: the summit is also your stage destination. In the Arberschutzhaus, next to the cable car, you will find your accommodation today.
After going uphill the day before, on the 14th stage the leisurely descent from the Großer Arber is on the program. After enjoying the charming panorama again at breakfast, you're ready to start. On quiet forest trails the Goldsteig snakes through the forest downhill and past the picturesque Arbersee. Here you can take a break in the newly renovated Arberseehaus and dine overlooking the sparkling water. From here you follow the violin creek to its mouth in the Great Rain. Once there, you will hike upriver on the banks of the Great Rain to the stage destination Bayerisch Eisenstein. The small town not only has a rich selection of accommodation, but also a connection to the regional train network.
Bayerisch Eisenstein, the starting point of the 15th stage of the northern route, is located directly on the edge of the Bavarian Forest National Park. Accordingly, today you can prepare yourself for particularly unspoilt nature. From Bayerisch Eisenstein the Goldsteig leads you on natural paths through the dense forests around the Hochberg. The paths are still quite flat and this section is a real pleasure hike. After you have passed the edge of the village Zwieslerwaldhaus and crossed the Waldhausstraße, it becomes steadily steeper. Through the jungle area Mittelsteighütte you climb evenly up to Ruckowitzschachten. As a shaft called used since the Middle Ages high pastures on the mountains of the Bavarian Forest. Once here, you have almost made the entire ascent of the day. On flat paths and with a great view, you hike on to the summit of the Großer Falkenstein. The Falkenstein shelter is thus also your today's milestone.
The 16th Goldsteig stage on the northern route takes you up and down the National Park area. You will hike on natural forest paths and quiet forest roads. The highlights of today's tour are in any case the quiet, spacious shafts that spread over the mountain landscape. Many of the mountain pastures were not used for a long time, but now graze in the summer over robust sheep and cattle in the meadows to preserve this unique cultural landscape. After only minor differences in altitude had to be mastered on almost the entire route, it is again high in the end: Almost 400 meters of altitude await you on the ascent to Rachel. Once there, you can take a break in the rustic Waldschmidthaus. At the moment there are no overnight stays possible at the Waldschmidthaus, so it is a good idea to stop at the Hotel Bayernstern in Klingenbrunn, about six kilometers away, after your break.With 28 kilometers and the following descent to Klingenbrunn, this stage is one of the longest on the Goldsteig. If the track is too long for you, then you can descend halfway from Lindbergschachten to Buchenau. There you will find several accommodations and can split the stage over two days.
The 17th stage begins in lofty heights just below the summit of the Great Rachel. Around the Rachel you wander through an impressive landscape, because here a storm and a bark beetle plague a few years ago, the spruce and fir trees. The bare, fallen logs are still reminiscent of it, but in between countless small shrubs, plants and trees grow. On your way downhill you pass the Rachel Chapel, which towers high above the Rachelsee and gives off a beautiful picture. Shortly thereafter, it goes back into dense jungle and on flat roads further in the direction of milestone. At the very end, you will hike on a dead straight road up to the lint-strewn Lusen and the cozy Lusenschutzhaus, your present-day accommodation.
Twelve kilometers of route and almost exclusively downhill - the 18th stage is a small reward for the previous mountain stages of the northern route. The Goldsteig snakes along beautiful forest paths very leisurely from Lusen down and leads you over the Schachten Tummelplatz and the picturesque Steinbach along. After your days high up in the wilderness of the Bavarian Forest, the stage destination Mauth will seem like a metropolis to you. Apartments, guesthouses and guesthouses offer you accommodation for the night and you can also stock up in various shops.
The starting point of the 19th stage is the small town of Mauth on the southern edge of the national park. The primeval forests of the national park are thus behind you, but also on the further course of the Goldsteig leads you through the picturesque landscape of the Bavarian Forest. Today, it is relatively flat through the vast valley of the Saußwasser. After crossing the narrow river, you ascend to the winter sports resort of Almberg Alpe. In summer, it is particularly quiet and cozy - but still attracts a mountain inn to a break with a delicious snack. Freshly rested then it goes without major differences in altitude to the nearby stage destination Philippsreut. There you will find a pension popular with hikers.
From the small village of Philippsreut, the 20th Goldsteig stage takes you on the northern route through the forest up to the Haidel summit. On the way you will hike through Leopoldsreut, a village abandoned for over 60 years. Apart from the old schoolhouse - once the highest school in Germany - and the well-kept church, nothing is left of the village today. The path continues from here uphill to the observation tower on the Haidel. The wooden tower offers you a great view of the mountain landscape of the Bavarian Forest in the north and to the Alps in the south. After you have descended from the tower, you walk evenly through the forest downhill to the stage destination Haidmühle. In the cozy town you will find several apartments, guesthouses and even hotels.
At the 21st stage of the Goldsteig North Route, things go quite high again: At 1,322 meters altitude, the three-seater chair is one of the highest mountains in the Bavarian Forest. From Haidmühle you climb through the forest towards the summit. Around the summit you can still see the effects of a bark beetle plague today. Skeletonized tree trunks tower bare into the sky, but between the dead trees already thrives the next generation. Arriving at the summit of the Dreisessel, you are standing with one foot in Bavaria and with the other foot in the Czech Republic - because the border runs exactly over the mountain. On the German side, it then goes on through a sparse forest and then via an impressive scree sea. After a leisurely descent, you cross the border once more. Here it goes, however, over to Austria. You wander across meadows and fields downhill and change only shortly before the stage destination Breitenberg back to Germany. In the town near the border there is a small but fine selection of different accommodation.
On the 22nd stage of the northern route, you will leave the densely forested slopes of the Bavarian Forest behind you, instead wandering over its grassy, hilly foothills. On today's tour, you will walk through tiny villages and hamlets, wandering along forest edges and enjoying the magnificent views over fields and pastures. A nice stopover on today's stage is the cozy town Sonnen. The Goldsteig leads through the middle of the village, where several restaurants and inns invite to take a break. Just before the Hauzenberg stage destination, a refreshing highlight lures you: the Freudensee lake has an excellent water quality and is the perfect place for a dip in the cool water. In the spa town Hauzenberg you can choose between inns and hotels and also get in supermarkets your provisions for the last leg of the northern route.
On the 23rd day of your gold climb along the northern route, the grand finale will take place today. From the spa town of Hauzenberg you hike into the picturesque Staffelbachtal. The cheerful brook splashes through a narrow, natural valley and the Goldsteig follows the stream for several kilometers. At Kaindlmühle the brook flows into the larger Erlau and a little later you leave the river valley. Over fields and through small woodland you follow the trail in the direction of Passau. Directly opposite the old town you cross the Ilz and then you stand at the foot of the impressive Veste Oberhaus. You let your gaze wander over Inn, Ilz and Danube, which, from Passau, continue together as the Danube to the Black Sea. As a conclusion of your Goldsteigwanderung worth a visit to the baroque old town of Passau. Stroll through the streets for a while before you head home at the main station.
At the eighth stage, the Goldsteig splits into the north and south routes. This tour forms the beginning of the southern route and leads you from Oberviechtach past the castle ruins Obermurach into the Prackendorfer Moos. The idyllic moor is a habitat for numerous animals and plant species and can be explored on a beautiful hiking trail. Afterwards you will hike over a wooded ridge and through the wild and romantic Schwarzachtal to the stage destination Neunburg vorm Wald. The cozy town offers you at the end of the day a lush selection of accommodation and refreshments.