Oh I do love Germany. An infinite number of wonderful walks, such an underrated holiday destination… The Black Forest is one of Germany’s best-known beauty spots, but I barely saw another soul on this wonderful walk between two towns in the middle of the forest. For a relatively quick snapshot of the forest and an opportunity to witness the beauty of some truly picturesque towns, this walk deserves recognition.
Since so many amazing, scenic walks exist in this beautiful area, I should really emphasise that this is just one, personal walk that I happened to enjoy across one day. There may be more challenging, more picturesque, and more varied walks in the area, but this one was mine and perhaps it might inspire other walks in the future.
This walk didn’t come out of thin air, however. It was recommended to me by my guesthouse – a lovely place in Schiltach with very friendly owners. I shall describe this in more detail later.
The recommendation on the note that was passed to me by my German host makes reference to this lovely route:
I was told to take the train up to Loßburg and to follow the Flösserweg / Flösserpfad south. The Flösserpfad, or the ‘raft path’, follows the River Kinzig south. The ‘Kinzigtal‘, or Kinzig Valley is a well-trodden route, and is signposted clearly all along the way.
Details: Approximately 22km.
Stops: I split this walk into two: Loßburg to Alpirsbach (around 11km) and Alpirsbach to Schiltach (a further 11km approximately). Alpirsbach is a lovely place to explore for a short while and there are many excellent cafes, making it a suitable place to refresh.
Both Loßburg and Schiltach (and many stops inbetween) are served by an efficient train line, the Kinzigtalbahn. A simple plan of the line can be found on their website:
We begin this walk in Loßburg, stepping off the train at Loßburg-Rodt station.
Getting lost is quite hard to do along the walk due to the excellent signposting and information boards; plus, many stages of the walk follow either the river or the train line. The linear nature of the walk means that even if you fancy straying off course to explore an area or to increase your mileage, you can usually depend on signposts or your surroundings to drift naturally back to your intended route.
Leaving the train station, head up the hill (Bahnhofstraße) until you reach the main road. Turn left, and head down said main road (Hauptstraße). At some point we will need to turn right in order to reach both the River Kinzig and the edge of the forest. The goal should be to reach Schömberger Straße and go down to the trees.
There are one or two interesting buildings in Loßburg, as well as shops or supermarkets if you have not stocked up on drinks or supplies for the stroll.
Eventually, you will turn left and begin walking down the path known as the ‘Breuningerweg’.
The path roughly follows the flow of the River Kinzig, so there are plenty of opportunities to photograph the beautiful surroundings provided by both the river, streams, and the surrounding forest. We are now heading south / south west in the direction of Alpirsbach.
As well as directions, there is an abundance of information boards and plaques, informing walkers about the area, the history and industry that once took place in this region, and reminding people of common etiquette: do not litter here, and respect the forest.
Heading deeper into the walk, the scenery transforms more and more into what I picture in my head when I imagine the Black Forest: lush, verdant hills and vegetation, traditional German farmhouses, and more flowers and animals than you can imagine.
The buildings vary from houses to farms to mills, and are often build on a ‘bach’ (stream/brook) that is connected to the Kinzig. All are beautiful and in keeping with the surroundings, giving you a glimpse into Schwarzwald tradition and the life there.
Around halfway between Loßburg and Alpirsbach is Ehlenbogen and the Vogtsmichelhof – there are information boards providing an insight into the history of these areas, but you may need a knowledge of German or a translator in order to get anything out of them.
As well as seeing cows, you’ll make friends with plenty of goats, sheep, and perhaps even a horse or two!
Once you pass Hänslesbauernhof and its water wheels, you are on the final stretch to Alpirsbach, where it may be time for a well-deserved break!
When Alpirsbach appears, one of the first things you can see is a park and the Kloster Alpirsbach, a monastery located at the heart of the town.
Heading into the town, you will notice a surprising number of breweries (Brauhäuser) and this might make more sense if you break down the meaning of the name Alpirsbach itself. I was told that it is related to the phrase (all mein Bier ist im Bach) – all bier’s bach – Alpirsbach – a phrase uttered as a monk drunkenly stumbled into a stream with his beer and spilled it all. I have failed to find a reliable source online to back this up, but it is a fun little story that explains the name well!
Although tempted to indulge in some of the local beer, there was only one snack I was interested in having in a well-earned break: Black Forest gateau (Schwarzwaldkuchen). It was glorious, of course, and a nice little boost for the second half of the walk.
Like the rest of the walk, the town is extremely well signposted, and getting back on the trail is easy, however much you might want to explore the town.
Heading back towards the river / train station, it is better to stay on the north side of the river for the next part of the walk. The ubiquitous blue signs helpfully point out the way, although it is largely obvious and the path continues south/south west in the direction of our final destination: Schiltach.
Before long, the scenery reverts to the traditional – beautiful hills and forest.
Following the ‘Eckhof’ path, following again the river and the train line, it pays to head up the hill via Reilinsberg and coming back down towards the river and train line via the Rinkenbach – it is more scenic and easy enough to follow.
It doesn’t take long from here to get to the next village, Schenkenzell. I explored this village briefly, but the interesting element to this area comes a little further along the way, where a small fort is located on top of a hill. The fort, known as Schenkenburg, is worth the climb, and is an interesting little addition to add to the walk.
At this point, Schiltach is not too far away, and is best reached by leaving the Schenkenburg by the street sharing the same name and crossing the river onto the Schloßhof. Passing the swimming pool, you will eventually descend back into Schiltach, where our walk ends and feet can finally be rested.
Staying in Schiltach
I first saw Schiltach in a Lonely Planet magazine – a town as photogenic as any in the region, its traditional architecture, cleanliness, and natural beauty all add up into a wonderfully pleasant place to stay.
I chose to stay at Zur Alten Brücke, a small, traditional guesthouse with friendly owners. Located on the ‘Schiltach’ itself (the small offshoot of the River Kinzig), you stay both in a central part of the town and near everything you could possibly need.
Regarding the rest of the town, I feel (as a lazy writer) that the photographs should do the talking. Therefore, I provide a small gallery of my Schiltach photos below.
https://infobaum.eu/ – Information on walking in the Black Forest and Alsace.
https://rad-und-wanderparadies.de/ – More information on walking in the Black Forest.
https://www.floesserpfad.de/de/Home – Information on the Flösserpfad and the Kinzigtal.
https://www.schwarzwald-tourismus.info/touren/floesserpfad-kinzigtal-a78cdf4949 – More info on this region.
https://www.ortenaulinie.de/Startseite/Fahrplan/Kinzigtalbahn+721.html – Information on the local train line.