Der Mittelweg führt von Pforzheim auf die Höhen zwischen Enz- und Nagoldtal. Durch weite Wälder und vorbei an den Hochmooren des Buntsandsteinschwarzwaldes geht es nach Freudenstadt. Im Mittleren Schwarzwald erschließt der Mittelweg die bäuerliche Kulturlandschaft. Von den Bergen des Hochschwarzwaldes wird der östlichste, der Hochfirst, berührt. Im Südschwarzwald taucht der Mittelweg in die Felsentäler von Schwarza und Schlücht (westliche Variante) und Mettma (östliche Variante) und erreicht den Hochrhein bei Waldshut.
The first stage leads us from Nagoldtal to Bad Wildbad, an important bathing and health resort in the Enztal, from the gold city of Pforzheim, the common starting point of the West, Middle and East routes. Our sign is the red diamond on a white background with a white center line.The stage begins in the jewelry and gold town of Pforzheim at the confluence of the Nagold, Enz and Würm. Pforzheim is home to a worth seeing jewelry museum right on the hiking trail. From Dillweißenstein we hike past the Herrmannsee and the connected game reserve up to the plateau to Büchenbronn (both today part of Pforzheim). We have an impressive all-round view from the Büchenbronn lookout tower, an airy steel structure, the ascent of which requires a minimum degree of vertigo.The settlement of the Northern Black Forest is closely linked to the timber industry. The wood was used as a building material, for rafting, for glass blowing and for the coal industry. The towns of Engelsbrand and Langenbrand, which we pass through, were created as clearing islands through the regular clearing of forest areas. We get to know the settlement form of the Waldhufendorf, characterized by regular floor plans of the farmsteads (hooves), which were created by clearing along a road. Past the Charlottenhöhe, an earlier folk sanctuary for tuberculosis sufferers, we descend to Calmbach in the Enz Valley. At the entrance to Calmbach, a detour to the SWV hiking home can be made. From Calmbach it goes up to Bad Wildbad, a seaside resort that has been important since the 15th century. If you want to take a day off after the stage, a visit to the worth seeing Palais Thermal, the well-tended spa facilities or the tree top path on the summer mountain is recommended.With a length of around 23 kilometers from Gasthaus Kupferhammer, the stage is one of the shorter sections, has a longer climb from Dillweißenstein up to Büchelbronner Höhe, but otherwise has a rather pleasant profile.(Text Peter Grotz)
The path leads us from the spa town of Bad Wildbad up to the highest moor areas in Germany on Kaltenbronn and on through partly untouched landscapes to Besenfeld.Bad Wildbad, spa and recreational resort in the Enztal in the Black Forest, is the starting point of our stage. In addition to thermal baths and well-tended spa facilities, the place also has a lot to offer for those interested in culture and sports: The Royal Kurtheater, for example, is the venue for the Rossini Festival every year. The treetop path on the Sommerberg and the Bikepark Wildbad, one of the largest of its kind in Germany, are offers for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts.From Bad Wildbad there are 300 vertical meters to climb to the summer mountain before we can make our way to the Grünhütte. If you want to spare your energy in view of the long stage, you can also reach the high plateau of the Sommerberg from the center of Bad Wildbad with the summer mountain railway. From here it goes on well-kept paths to the green hut, which is well attended in summer and winter, especially on weekends.The middle path leads us to the Wildsee, the first of the two moor areas that we pass on today's stage. Wildsee and Hohlohsee, which we will reach later, are considered the largest natural raised bog areas in Germany. They originated at the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago. Steering of visitors was necessary to protect and preserve this unique landscape. Therefore, the hikers are led around the Wildsee in a wide arc.In Kaltenbronn, a pass between Enz and Murgtal, there is a lot of interesting information about nature on the Kaltenbronn in the specially set up information center, which is a valued destination for skiers and cross-country skiers in winter.From Kaltenbronn we have to tackle another climb to the Hohlohsee, at the edge of which we reach the summit of the Hohlohs and the Hohlohturm (formerly Kaiser-Wilhelm-Turm) on plank paths. The tower is maintained and maintained by the Gernsbach local group of the Black Forest Association. In good weather, the viewing platform at a height of 1,000 meters offers a splendid panoramic view of the surroundings to the Vosges and the Alps.From the Hohlohturm we hike through an untouched heath landscape to the Toten Mann and in the last part of the stage to Besenfeld through the forest of the Murgschiffschaft, the private forest of a cooperative timber trading company that has existed since the 15th century. In addition to the sale of wood, rafting once played an important role. We will encounter it even more frequently in the course of our journey. Besenfeld also developed on one of those grubbing islands that we encountered on the first stage of the middle walk.At over 30 kilometers, this stage is one of the longest in the middle. There are two longer climbs to be mastered from Bad Wildbad up to the Sommerberg (alternatively the Sommerbergbahn can be used) and from Kaltenbronn up to the Hohloh summit.(Text Peter Grotz)
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We walk on lonely forest paths from Besenfeld above the Murgtal to Freudenstadt and from there to an old wooden settlement on the Zwieselberg.We start in Besenfeld at the bus stop at the old town hall. Besenfeld, part of the municipality of Seewald, has long been an important hub for traffic routes from Freudenstadt to Pforzheim and from the Murgtal to Nagold. In the center of the village we pass the Church of St. Lawrence, which emerged from a former chapel dedicated to St. Lawrence. At the end of the village, the middle road leads us into the forest and soon to the ruins of Königswart, the remains of an early 13th century building dating back to the Count Palatine Rudolf of Tübingen. From here we can enjoy a beautiful view of the Murgtal.After an extensive forest hike, unfortunately without further vantage points in the Murgtal, we reach Freudenstadt with its mighty market place. Freudenstadt, a city with an eventful history, was founded in 1599 by Duke Friedrich I in the middle of the Northern Black Forest with the aim of having a residence here as a base and a link between his Swabian and French possessions. The duke also pursued economic interests, e.g. with the possible promotion of mining in the nearby Christhoph Valley, where ore was mined in the 16th century and silver and copper were extracted from it. The duke achieved a rapid increase in the population of the newly founded city through the settlement of Protestant religious refugees from the Catholic Habsburg Empire.The duke commissioned his builder Heinrich Schickardt to plan the new city on the drawing board based on a square floor plan. The result is a city center that is reminiscent of a Mühle game plan. A castle for the Duke was originally planned in the center, but was never built. That is how the large market place remained, which is now the largest market place in Germany. In a corner of the market place, Schickardt planned a church as an angular church and thus adapted it to the square layout of the market place.In the further course of the city's history, Freudenstadt was expanded into a fortress, became a garrison town until the steadily growing spa business helped to rebound towards the end of the 19th century. The city was badly destroyed towards the end of World War II, and the reconstruction was carried out in the style of the original city foundation. This also contributed to the fact that Freudenstadt is still an attractive tourist location today with well-tended spa facilities and a modern congress center.From Freudenstadt, the middle road continues on well-kept paths towards Zwieselberg, which we reach after crossing the valley of the Kleine Kinzig and end our stage there.The stage is mostly pleasant on forest trails in the forest, has three longer climbs, the last one shortly before the finish in Zwieselberg.(Text Peter Grotz)
The fourth stage of the Mittelweg leads along the former border between Baden and Württemberg through extensive forest areas. From the Teisenkopfturm there is a magnificent view of the Kinzigtal before reaching the destination in the Flößerstädtle Schiltach in the Kinzigtal.The starting point is Zwieselberg, once a timber-carving settlement in the service of the Rippoldsau monastery, today the smallest district of Freudenstadt with almost 100 inhabitants. Border stones with the Baden coat of arms and the three deer sticks of the Württembergers are on the way. An extensive forest area on the height between Wolftal and the valley of the Little Kinzig is crossed. Schmidsberger Platz and further across the Sulzerköpfle to the gate to the Emilshütte are large crossroads and pass heights that mark connections between the two valleys. From these large places, the logs were "ripped" on slides into the valley.At the end of our stage there is another special highlight on the Teisenkopf: the Teisenkopfturm, renovated and maintained by the local group Schiltach / Schenkenzell of the Black Forest Association, offers very nice views of the Kinzigtal before it then goes down quite steeply into the KInzigtal and to Schiltach.Schiltach is a town worth seeing, which has already achieved considerable prosperity in the Middle Ages through the rafting and tannery. Magnificent half-timbered houses around the town hall built in 1593 testify to the heyday of that time. But even today Schiltach is the location of globally active companies such as the Hansgrohe company, which sells sanitary products.Today's stage runs mostly in the forest, partly on rooted paths that require attention and ends with a partly steep descent to Schiltach.(Text Peter Grotz)
The 5th stage of the Mittelweg leads from Schiltach im Kinzigtal over the heights of the Fohrenbühl to St. Georgen im Brigachtal.The stage begins in Schiltach, a town well worth seeing, which in the Middle Ages achieved considerable prosperity through rafting and tanning. Due to the valley location, the stage begins with a sporty climb with over 500 vertical meters up to the Mooswaldkopf. There is the Fohrenbühl Memorial House, named after the Fohrenbühl, a pass south of the Mooswaldkopf. The house, which was built in 1923/24 by Paul Bonatz, the builder of Stuttgart Central Station, serves as the "Memorial House for the Fallen of the World War 1914-1918 by the Württemberg Black Forest Association". Today the hiking home of the Black Forest Association is a popular destination. From the platform of the observation tower there is a wonderful all-round view of the Middle Black Forest.At Fohrenbühl, we once again reach the former border between Baden and Württemberg on the Mittelweg, visible at striking boundary stones.The rest of the way mostly leads through the forest, only occasionally across open fields. At the Lindenbüble hiking home in the St.Georgen section of the Black Forest Association, there is an opportunity to end this long stage early.St.Georgen originated in the 11th century from the foundation of a Benedictine monastery at the source of the Brigach. Only a few remnants of the monastery wall are visible from the former monastery. At the former site of the monastery is the Robert Gerwig School, which houses a lapidarium in the school courtyard, which is also accessible from outside.Another remnant of the monastery is the monastery pond fed from the Brigach, which served the monastery as a fish pond and was used to operate the monastery mill. Today the monastery pond is used as a natural outdoor pool.With the construction of the Black Forest Railway with the significant participation of the engineer Robert Gerwig, who gave the name to the aforementioned commercial school, an economic upswing began in St. Georgen and the region. St. Georgen developed into a place with an important watch, precision engineering and electromechanical industry. Especially the products of the resulting phono industry had and still have a worldwide reputation. St. Georgen is home to the German Phonomuseum.Today's stage, with a length of over 30 kilometers and an elevation of over 800 meters, is one of the most demanding stages on the middle road. The climb from Schiltach up to the Mooswaldkopf is particularly strenuous.(Text Peter Grotz)
On the 6th stage of the Mittelweg, we first move in the source area of the Danube, which emerges from the confluence of Brigach and Breg near Donaueschingen. "Brigach and Breg make the Danube accessible" is the popular saying. From St. Georgen im Brigachtal it goes via Furtwangen in the Bregtal up to the Kalten Herberge.With the connection to the Black Forest Railway, which was completed in 1873 according to the plans of Robert Gerwig, St. Georgen im Brigachtal received a boost in industrialization. The logical consequence was the granting of city rights in 1891 by the Grand Duke of Baden. This is how an important location for the watch, precision mechanics and electromechanical industry was created in St.Georgen. Informative information boards of the Black Forest Association St. Georgen are located at central points in the city area and provide a good overview of interesting facts in and around St. Georgen.From St. Georgen it goes up to the Kesselberg and past the former location of the high court with the Triberg gallows to the parking lot of the Stöcklewaldturm.The European watershed North Sea / Black Sea is located here at an altitude of around 1,000 meters. After a short climb, we reach the Stöcklewald Tower with a great panoramic view and a place to stop. The Mittelweg with great views continues to Furtwangen in the Bregtal, another center of the watch and precision engineering industry in the Black Forest. Robert Gerwig also left its mark here as a former head of the watchmaking school from which today's Furtwangen University emerged.Furtwangen is home to the German Watch Museum, which is definitely worth a visit. Furtwangen is still an important industrial location today. Important companies from the fields of precision mechanics, electronics and apparatus engineering, such as the Siedle company, are based here. At the Furtwangen ski boarding school, winter sports enthusiasts receive schooling as well as sporting training.The stage ends at the Gasthaus Kalte Herberge, a common waypoint of the West and the Mittelweg.(Text Peter Grotz)
The 7th stage offers a promising route in the Black Forest and leads to the highest point of the middle way on the 1,192 meter high Hochfirst.From the Kalten Herberge the path leads up to the plateau and then again and again with great views and forest passages to the Max Engelmann hut on the Tennenberg. From there you can see Neustadt and the Hochfirstschanze, the largest natural ski jump in Germany, where World Cup competitions are also held. After the hut, the descent into the Gutach valley to Neustadt begins, where a visit to the cathedral is worthwhile and a welcome break before the strenuous ascent to the Hochfirst. The Hochfirst is the highest point of the middle way, on the observation deck of the tower we are at 1,217 meters. From the Hochfirst tower you have a great panoramic view over the Titisee, the Feldberg, the Baar and with good visibility to the Alps.From here it goes down forest paths to Lenzkirch. Lenzkirch, owned by the Fürstenbergs for many centuries, who still have large estates in the region today, was a leading location for watch production in the 19th and early 20th centuries, like St. Georgen, Furtwangen and other places in the Black Forest. Today Lenzkirch as a climatic health resort is a popular holiday destination and the starting point for numerous hikes, for example to the Wutach Gorge.A strenuous stage, especially due to the ascent from Neustadt to Hochfirst. For this, the hikers are compensated for on easy-to-walk paths through numerous viewpoints.(Text Peter Grotz)
The shortest stage of the middle walk leads from the climatic health resort of Lenzkirch over to the tranquil Rothaus with the headquarters of the Baden State Brewery of the same name.Although the stage is only 13 kilometers long, it takes a while to climb up to 1,100 meters at the forest farms. There the two variants of the middle path branch and only meet again at the common destination in Waldshut. The eastern variant of the Mittelweg continues on the Dürrenbühl with the St. Cyriak chapel, which was built after the end of the 30-year war by miners who were looking for ore here. The chapel is still used as a pilgrimage church today.Shortly afterwards we come across the Zäpfleweg of the Rothaus brewery, founded at the end of the 18th century by Prince Abbot Gerbert of the St. Blasien monastery. The Zäpfleweg offers a variety of information about the Baden State Brewery and its products at several stations.
Rothaus is part of the municipality Grafenhausen-Rothaus The local history museum Hüsli is housed in a typical Black Forest farmhouse. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century as a luxurious holiday home for a Berlin singer and has become known nationwide as the home of Prof. Brinkmann from the television series "Black Forest Clinic".(Text Peter Grotz)
Water, mills, rock paths: The last stage of the east variant of the Mittelweg leads through spectacular landscapes down to Waldshut on the Rhine.From the height in Rothau, the path leads through quiet valleys and rugged rock passages down into the Rhine Valley to Waldshut. The topic of water plays a special role here. And there are always references to formerly powerful monasteries in the region.The St. Blasien Monastery and his prince Abbot Gerbert founded the Rothaus Brewery at the end of the 18th century. On the descent from Rothaus and the subsequent hike through the Mettma Valley, we come across several mills that were used as grain and saw mills. In the thirties of the last century, the founding of the Schluchseewerk began using water to generate energy. The beautifully situated Mettmastausee, which is located directly on the hiking trail, is part of the Schluchseewerk's pumped storage network.After the confluence of the Mettma and the Schlucht, another scenic section of the stage begins along the rocks of the Schluchttal. At the end of this section we encounter the Gutenburg ruins. The castle that once stood there was important in its eventful history for both the St.Gallen and St. Blasien monasteries due to their location. The connection from St. Blasien to Waldshut and further in Switzerland is described in an informative way on a monastery trail created in 2001. At Gurtweil, the Mittelweg leads a bit along this monastery path.
Waldshut, the destination of the stage and the middle way, emerged from a fortress built here by Rudolf von Habsburg in the 13th century. With the municipal reform at the beginning of the 1970s, Waldshut together with neighboring Tiengen formed the twin city of Waldshut-Tiengen.(Text Peter Grotz)
From the climatic health resort of Lenzkirch, it goes past Schluchsee and on the traces of earlier glassblowers and glass carriers to houses.After the start of the stage in Lenzkirch, the path leads uphill for a while up to 1,100 meters at the forest farms. There the two variants of the middle path branch and only meet again at the common destination in Waldshut. From the height at the forest farms, the western variant slowly descends to Schluchsee. On the way, a detour to the Riesenbühl Tower is highly recommended because of the great panoramic view from there to the Schluchsee, the Feldberg, over to the Baar and, in good weather, to the Alps.The hiking trail leads along the Schluchsee for a while, the largest lake in the Black Forest and at the same time the highest located dam lake in Germany. The Schluchsee is the largest of several reservoirs of the Schluchseewerk and serves as a reservoir for the use of hydropower for the generation of electricity.From the mighty dam of the Schluchsee it goes down to Eisenbreche and from there up to Blasiwald. There used to be several glassworks in the area where glassware was made. In the Middle Ages, the operation of a glassworks was a monopoly of both the landlords of the region and of monasteries, here the St. Blasien monastery, which is only a few kilometers away. Interesting facts about glassblowers and glass carriers can be discovered on the glass carrier path. The trade was always legendary and supplied material for fairy tales.Houses emerged in the 11th century from the Wittlisberger Hof as the brother court of the Allerheiligen monastery in Schaffhausen. There are also connections to the St. Blasien Monastery. The Wittlisberger chapel was built on the site of the old Wittlisberger Hof in 1995. It is located directly on the Mittelweg and offers a wonderful view of the houses and their surroundings.(Text Peter Grotz)
The last stage of the Mittelweg leads promisingly from houses over Höchenschwand, the rose village Nöggenschwiel down to Waldshut in the Rhine valley.From houses, you first go to the spa town of Höchenschwand, a viewing island in the Southern Black Forest Nature Park, which is known for its extensive Alpine panorama, especially when the weather is blowing. As everywhere in the area, the history of the place is closely linked to that of the St. Blasien monastery.In the further course of the stage, the path leads along the edge of the Black Valley, on an approximately two-kilometer section along a demanding rock path. In addition to Mettma and Schlücht, which we encounter on the last stage of the east variant of the Mittelweg, the Schwarza is another river that is used by the Schluchseewerk to use hydropower.On the way down into the Rhine Valley, hikers can expect another sight in Nöggenschwiel. In 1965, the village was the national winner in the competition “Our village should become more beautiful” and since then has been a crowd puller, above all because of its rose gardens, which characterize the entire village.Waldshut, the destination of the stage and the middle way, emerged from a fortress built here by Rudolf von Habsburg in the 13th century. With the municipal reform at the beginning of the 1970s, Waldshut together with neighboring Tiengen formed the twin city of Waldshut-Tiengen.(Text Peter Grotz)