Last updated on October 11, 2022 by Wandering our World
The dense forests of Germany’s Black Forest region are the inspiration behind stories and legends and are a big draw for hikers from all around the world.
But it’s not just the history of the region that inspires. The trails on offer in the Black Forest are routinely voted as some of the most awe-inspiring hikes out there.
Whilst the number of routes means that anyone can enjoy a holiday hiking in the Black Forest regardless of skill or fitness level.
As we know this region of Germany so well, we’ve decided to share with you some of our favourite short distance Black Forest hiking trails, and then after those, a few of the best long distance trails as well.
We also share some tips for hiking in the Black Forest too, amongst other information. But first, here’s a few fun facts about the Black Forest to get you excited for your upcoming hiking adventure!
Some Black Forest Facts:
- The Black Forest extends northeast for 160 km from Säckingen, Upper Rhine River (on the Swiss border) to Durlach (near Karlsruhe).
- The Kinzig valley divides the Black Forest into two parts, and the highest mountain is Feldberg which sits at 4,897 feet tall!
- The forests are mainly made up of fir trees and the dark shadows that these trees create give the Black Forest its name!
- The main cities in the area are Freiburg im Breisgau, Offenburg, Lahr, and Rastatt.
Hiking In The Black Forest: Where To Stay
Before we share with you the best hiking trails in the Black Forest, you may be wondering where’s the best option to stay when visiting the region.
Luckily, whether you are looking to engage in a hike of epic proportions or opting for a more sedate and leisurely trip, the Black Forest offers visitors an array of beautiful locations to base yourself.
From our own experience, the city of Freiburg im Breisgau, which is known as the gateway city, is perfectly poised on the forest’s edge and is a great place to be based for any Black Forest hiking stay. Particularly if you’re only planning short hikes. There’s plenty of accommodation options in the city, spanning from budget friendly to five star hotels.
For a more immersive experience, and if you’re planning longer hikes, then camping in the Black Forest is a fantastic option.
There are numerous campsites, spaces for RVs, and if you follow a few guidelines to be a considerate camper it is also possible to wild camp. We cover all you need to know about camping in the Black Forest in a previous article.
The Six Best Short Distance Hiking Trails In The Black Forest For Fun, Views & Adventure!
The Black Forest trails we’ve listed below will bring you some of the best views and lots of fun and adventure.
And if you like the idea of hiking one of the trails below, we provide a link to find the trail map and more information for each as well. Happy hiking!
1. Allerheilig Wasserfälle (All Saints’ Waterfalls)
Some of the tallest and most spectacular waterfalls in the Black Forest are found at the Allerheilig Wasserfälle or All Saints’ Falls.
In the Schliffkopf, Hundskopf, and Schwabenkopf mountains, over seven cascades drop about 90 metres from cliffs. The waterfalls are the main draw of All Saints, along with some monastery ruins there, and they are a well-liked spot for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly in the summer.
To see them, take the 0.6-kilometre out-and-back trail in the Baden-Württemberg town of Oppenau. The hike usually takes just 15 minutes to finish and is regarded as easy, so it’s highly recommended for beginners.
Despite that, there tends to not be many other hikers or walkers along this trail, making it a fantastic place to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.
The months of March through September are the best for hiking this trail. The trail itself will have you hiking past gorges and stunning rock formations while traversing natural paths and footbridges (see photo below).
Check out the trail map and detailed information on All Saints’ Waterfalls here.
2. Ruhestein to Lake Wildsee
In Baden-Württemberg you’ll find a beautiful, picturesque circular trail from Ruhestein to Lake Wildsee.
Discover this 8.2 km circular track in the Baden-Württemberg town of Seebach. It typically takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes from start to finish and is suitable for beginners.
This lovely circular path will take you to numerous breathtaking viewpoints of the surrounding area, all while you get to enjoy the untamed and almost romantic woodland that’s so typical of the Black Forest.
You will hike the forest trails from Ruhestein to Wildsee, around the Kapellenbuckel, and then back through Seekopf. The incredible view over Lake Wildsee, and the stunning scenery along the trail, are just a few of the hike’s highlights.
The route is one of the best short Black Forest hiking trails and can be enjoyed all year. Check out the hiking map and more information here.
3. Wutachschlucht (Wutach Gorge)
If you’re a true nature lover you’re going to love Wutach Gorge, with its pretty tributaries, roaring waterfalls, untouched forests, and diverse flora and fauna.
Enjoy this 10.6-kilometre trail in the Baden-Württemberg region near Bonndorf am Schwarzwald. It typically takes around 3-4 hours to walk, but should be possible for anyone with a good level of fitness, regardless of age.
Prepare for a unique, tranquil, and exciting trek down the lovely Wutach amid towering rocks and green meadows. This trail occasionally traverses uphill and downhill on rocky, narrow paths, so make sure you have good footwear. You will also cross the river on small bridges several times during the trek.
This path is enjoyable all year round because of the stunning scenery, whether in autumn, winter or during a sunny summer day when the trees offer plenty of shade.
Check out the trail map and find more information here.
4. Ravennaschlucht (Ravenna Gorge)
The Ravenna Gorge is a wonderful Black Forest hiking trail that has lots to discover and endless fantastic photo opportunities.
The trail takes you down the Ravenna Gorge, where the pretty Ravenna stream flows. This 4-kilometre-long valley connects the Höllental with the higher-lying hamlet of Breitnau and is part of the Gemarkung.
The canyon’s ascent is a lovely and manageable stroll which should take around 2 hours. Since mountain biking and hiking are popular activities here, you may meet others on this popular hike. That includes families as children often enjoy this hike because it has areas where they can play in the stream!
The gorge and river also have many small waterfalls that you can enjoy, and you’ll also come across The Ravenna Bridge, which is a 58m tall viaduct that spans the valley in its lower section – it’s very picturesque. The fir trees you’ll be surrounded by during this hike provide lovely shade in the summer, and wonderful colours during Autumn.
Check out the map and additional information on the Ravenna Gorge here.
5. Mummelsee- Hornisgrindepfad
This 6.6-kilometre circular track is well-liked by locals and can be found close to Baiersbronn, Baden-Württemberg. It takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete and is typically considered a moderately challenging hike.
This somewhat challenging hike begins at the Seibelseckle hiking parking lot, and passes through deep woodlands, heathland, and a protected high moorland before arriving at the untamed and picturesque Mummelsee.
This path has some really breathtaking views, especially from the Hornisgrinde, where on a clear day you can see far across the Rhine Plain. There are also fantastic views of the Black Forest, Seebach and the Rhine Valley.
Other highlights include the Mummelseeblick, Skihütte am Ochsenstall, Bismarck Tower, and Dreifürstenstein. Check out the map and additional information here.
6. Herrenwiesersee, Badenerhöhe and Seekopf Rundweg
Explore this famous and very rewarding 8.4-kilometre circular track in the Baden-Württemberg town of Forbach. This trek is considered relatively easy and should take around 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete.
This hike traverses part of the Black Forest National Park’s central region, and follows the Black Forest High Road.
It passes through dense spruce forest before reaching the Herrenwieser See Natural Reserve and then the Badenerhöhe and the Seekopf summits at a height of 1002 metres. With such a diverse landscape in a short hike, you can expect beautiful views of the Black Forest, waterfalls, and lots of wildlife-spotting opportunities.
The path is excellent for hiking and walking and is frequently busy, but you can still enjoy peace and quiet on this gorgeous Black Forest trail if you get up early to tackle it. Check out the entire map and find more information here.
The Six Best Long Distance Hiking Trails In The Black Forest For Fun, Views & Adventure!
If you’re wanting a real hiking adventure then the six long distance trails below will be perfect.
Don’t be put off by the length of them. Almost all of these trails are actually split up into several stages, with each stage being much shorter in length. So you can choose which stage to tackle, rather than do the whole hike.
1. Baden-Baden Panoramaweg
An easy day trip from Freiburg is the gorgeous spa town of Baden-Baden, home to the Baden-Baden Panoramaweg.
The circular route is 45km in length with an ascent of 1420m, but it’s divided into four smaller sections with entry and exit points along the way. So you don’t need to do the whole route. If you do decide to do the whole route, it should take around 12 hours.
You can also opt to take the mountain railway to Merkur, the mountain beside Baden-Baden.
It’s a breath-taking route that hikers can navigate all year round and is suitable for all technical levels.
As you will guess by the name, the ‘Panoramaweg’ will bring spectacular panoramic views out and across the Black Forest.
See a map of the trail and more information here.
Another gorgeous Black Forest hiking trail to try is the Belchensteig, a 15km circular route through the south of the Black Forest to the summit of Belchen Mountain.
This is the third highest peak (1414m) in the Black Forest, but it’s often described as the most beautiful climb in the region. From the top you’ll get more fantastic panoramic views.
Rare fauna and species can be found along the trail too. The best starting point is from Wiedener Eck.
There is also a cable car (Belchenbahn) to help with the ascent or descent if required. So you can choose to only walk half the route if you wish.
See the trail map and more information here.
3. The Ortenau Wine Trail
The Ortenau Wine Trail is an alternative hike for wine lovers that is a part of the Baden Wine Route – a gorgeous countryside trail that winds through wine country for 200km.
The first section starts in Baden-Baden, taking you through Offenburg and Lahr until reaching Ringsheim and is roughly 70km.
Time your trip with special Wine Hiking Days in September in Offenburg or the Wine Show in May.
One of the wine towns on the 70km route is Lahr, which hosts a wine festival in May. It’s also home to colourful timber-framed houses, and a flower festival in autumn that lasts three weeks. So if you can tie in your hike with any of these events you’ll get to experience some culture too.
The wine trail is suitable for all levels as it’s mainly undulating terrain and paved. It’s a massive part of the history of this region, and well worth doing.
You can get a map and more detailed information of the wine route here.
4. The Two Valleys Trail
The Two Valleys Trail (Zweitälersteig Trail) starts near the sunny city of Freiburg. It takes in both the Simonswald and Elz Valleys. It is 108km and is a hike for the more experienced and physically fit.
Hikers will climb 4,120m, and it’s the only route in Germany to have an age restriction – no under 16s!
Along the way you’ll discover striking waterfalls, thick, dense forests, gorges, and various rock formations. The paths are often relatively narrow as they zig-zag at astonishing heights.
Look out for the pilgrimage chapel on the Hörnleberg mountain. You will deserve that slice of Black Forest Gateau at the end of this exceptional trail! In our opinion this is one of the best hiking routes in the world.
See the trail map and more information here.
5. Middleweg (Middle Route)
From Pforzheim to Waldshut is the Middleweg (Middle Route), a long-distance hiking trail through the Black Forest covering 230km.
This trail was established in 1903, and will allow you to discover magical Schwarzwaldian woodlands, medieval castles, and gorgeous lakes.
The trail starts from the Enz and Nagold Valleys. It goes over the Hochfirst mountain, which looks out over Titisee, before continuing to Lake Schluchsee.
In the south, you have the choice to go through the Schwarza and the Schlücht Valleys or the Mettma Valley. The hike goes through lots of small towns, but steep ascents require some level of fitness and take around nine days to complete.
As long distance Black Forest hiking routes go, this is one of the best. Camp along the way or stay in BnBs in the towns you visit to get the best experience.
See more info on this fantastic hike by clicking here.
6. Schluchtensteig Trail
A crossover with the Middleweg is the Schluchtensteig Trail which takes in the raw beauty of the southern part of the Black Forest close to the Swiss border.
The 119km route also takes in the iridescent Lake Schluchsee (see photo below) as well as the impressive Wutach, Gutach, Rötenbach, Haslach and Wehra gorges, and St Blaise’s Cathedral.
The trail opened in 2008 and has become popular with experienced hikers. You will come across ladders, and parts of the route have no footpaths, so proper hiking equipment and shoes are necessary. The views alone are worth the effort though.
See the trail map, different stages, and more info here.
Hiking In The Black Forest: Some Must Know Tips
Hikers are well catered for in the Black Forest with well maintained trails and lots of campsites near them.
The enchanting surroundings in this region are world-famous, but nevertheless, there are some essential tips to keep in mind when embarking on a hiking adventure in the Black Forest.
- If you need maps in English, it would be best to come prepared and print one out. You can buy maps at local tourist offices for a small fee, but they will most likely be written in German.
- Towns and cities will have hiking gear and clothing but remember that all stores are closed on Sundays.
- Trail markers are handy, but with so many trails in the Black Forest, make sure you’re following the right one as they often overlap.
- Bring food and water, especially if you are hiking off-season. In high season there are mountain huts which are great places to stop for food and drink and sometimes accommodation too.
- If planning to use a campsite or BnB while hiking, make sure to book well in advance during high season. The most popular places often get booked up fast.
- There are many different water sources in the Black Forest, but try and make sure you pinpoint a few on your route before leaving. Take plenty of water, but remember to top up at any streams you find. A collapsible water bottle like this one could be a very useful purchase.
- Take blister plasters! And put them on at any sign of a blister forming – don’t wait. Expect all different types of terrain.
- If you need to go to the toilet while hiking you should do it far from water sources, such as rivers and lakes. Make sure to use a trowel (such as this folding one) to bury any human waste, don’t just leave it out in the open.
Hiking In The Black Forest: Other Activities To Try Out When Visiting
You will never run out of things to do in the Black Forest region, with countless towns, cities, castles, museums, and outdoor activities to enjoy.
You can enjoy guided snow hikes near Titisee or stop off in Baden-Baden for a relaxing spa treat in the winter. Vineyards across the region are open to visitors, and it’s an absolute must that you try some Black Forest Gateau!
Meander the cities and quaint towns of the region, taking in weekend markets and old castle ruins. It’s also possible to take tours in cities such as Freiburg in English or seek out the area’s museums detailing the history of the Black Forest and its industries, such as cuckoo clock-making or glassblowing – both make our previous list of must-see places to visit and things to do in the Black Forest.
You may also want to detour from your hike to visit some of nature’s spectacles, such as the Triberg Waterfalls. Or go swimming and boating on lakes Titisee and Schluchsee.
And if you get the chance, do drive/bike along the Schwarzwald Hochstrasse. This 60-km panoramic road goes between Baden-Baden and Freudenstadt.