Like a Grimm Brothers' fairytale – Bikepacking in the High Meißner

Mountain Biking Collection by Martin Donat
2-3 days
3-5 h / day
77.6 mi
7,975 ft
8,075 ft

In the middle of Germany lies a small but beautiful piece of nature which is just right for a long weekend bike trip. You cycle through picturesque landscapes, through cozy chocolate-box towns, past castles and palaces and along streams and rivers. This area is also known as 'Frau Holle' (Mother Hulda) Land, because this is where the Grimm Brothers collected inspiration for their fairy tales. In this Collection, I have put together three beautiful routes for you in the middle of the geo-nature park "Frau Holle" Land, which includes the low mountain range Hoher Meißner and the Kaufunger Forest. Come for a bikepacking adventure in the land of fairy tales!

The route takes you 77 miles (125 km) from Kaufungen to Eschwege in three stages. Stage 1 is a round trip through the Kaufunger forest which starts and finishes in Kaufungen. If you only have two days, you can leave this route out. But, if you have three days at your disposal, however, it is well worth including this loop. At the end of stages 1 and 2, you will arrive at a Friends of Nature House (Naturefreundehaus) which are both great accommodation options. Just pack a change of clothes and you're ready to go. On the way you will have the opportunity to buy provisions if you don't want to carry them with you.

The routes are not very long, but are quite hilly, especially the first one. So you will definitely work up a sweat. But the relatively short distances allow you to catch your breath and enjoy the beautiful landscape. The terrain is mostly easy to ride, so a simple mountain bike or gravel bike are suitable.

You can easily catch the train to and from your adventure. You can get to Kaufungen via Kessel and return via Eschwege. From the end destination, you can head straight back home or return to Kassel – whatever suits you. When you are sitting on the train on your way home, you can reflect on your wonderful journey through Frau Holle’s fairy tale home.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    32.8 mi
    6.4 mph
    3,525 ft
    3,325 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    The Hohe Meißner and the Hessian part of the Kaufung forest belong to the Geo-Naturpark Frau Holle Land. And this is exactly where this first stage takes you, because the Kaufung forest has a lot to offer. Today you drive through fairytale forests, fresh valleys and promising plateaus. One of the highlights of the Kaufung forest is the Bilstein tower on the top of the 641-meter-high Bilstein, on which, in addition to the tower, a cozy hut invites you to stop.Today, there are more than 1,000 vertical meters in around 50 kilometers - that's a bit of a challenge. But you are in no hurry throughout the day. All sorts of small and big highlights always invite you to take short breaks. You will pass cozy, managed huts, cool your legs in cold water and enjoy wonderful views. With the Rote Niestequelle you can even expect a very special natural spectacle: Here rust-colored water gushes out of the ground, colored by a particularly high iron content.This tour is one thing above all: wonderfully close to nature, quiet and idyllic. That is why the accommodation that you reach at the stage destination also fits perfectly: The Naturfreunde Lossetalhaus is located on the edge of Kaufungen with its really tranquil town center. You can get there quickly if you want to replenish your supplies or go out to eat. Afterwards you can dream of Mrs. Holle and her friends in the Naturfreundehaus.

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  • Difficult
    25.7 mi
    6.3 mph
    3,425 ft
    2,075 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    If you've ever driven a car along the main road that goes past shopping, you will most likely not have noticed the beautiful area at all. How good that you are on the bike! It starts with the great place: There are a lot of romantic little half-timbered houses here - not to have seen them would be a shame. So right at the start you do the right thing: You just cross the main road for a short time and disappear into the forests of the Frau-Holle-Land geo-nature park.This stage leads from Kaufungen in the direction of Hoher Meißner and even today you collect a few vertical meters. Right at the beginning it is a very steep climb to the Michelskopfsee, where it is worthwhile to pause and take a deep breath. Then you head for Hessisch Lichtenau, the "gateway to Frau Holle Land" - this place is also a good example of the fantastic prospects that mountain bikes offer you. While the federal road only reveals ugly small town charm, you drive through the middle of an old town that is really impressive. If you fancy a longer break, you can dive even deeper into the world of Frau Holle here in the Holleum.A little later you cross the newly built motorway and then prefer to rattle along a flat path that follows the course of the historic Sälzer Weg, which once served as a widely used trade route. Here you have an incredibly good view of the Hohe Meißner hills.Shortly after the Exbergsee you will pass the Exberghütte. If the time is right, you have the opportunity to stop here. How about a rustic dinner? Alternatively, you can also drive a little further to today's accommodation: The Naturfreundehaus "Meißnerhaus" is catered for, so that you don't have to cook or shop and can immediately go to the cozy part of the evening as soon as you arrive.

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  • Intermediate
    19.2 mi
    9.4 mph
    1,025 ft
    2,650 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Stage 3 is the reward for the two demanding days that lie behind you: the route is significantly shorter, but above all it is mostly downhill. You can let the bike roll easily from the start, but don't forget to take a look back now and then. The view of the Hohe Meißner is always beautiful.When the route becomes flatter, the forest slowly clears and you soon reach the small town of Reichensachsen. From now on you drive across an open landscape with meadows and fields and enjoy the wonderful country idyll again until you finally reach the banks of the Werra.Perhaps you still have a little time and desire to end the wonderful tour on the banks of Lake Werra? It is not far from here to the Eschwege train station. You can now take the train back home or travel back to Kassel in around 1.5 hours.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    77.6 mi
  • Duration
    11:15 h
  • Elevation
    7,975 ft8,075 ft

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