A Black Forest Hike

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Hiking in Germany

A Black Forest Hike

The Black Forest offers varied hiking trails to those going hiking in Germany. This is one of them. Laurel tells us about one she did.

"Laurel Robbins"A guest post by Laurel Robbins


This Black Forest hike is a circuit hike near Freiburg in the southern Black Forest that leads to a waterfall offering good views of the valleys and a glimpse into farm life in the Black Forest.

The Hike: Zweribach Forest – Zweribach Waterfall – Obersimonswald

I was almost jumping with excitement over my first hiking adventure in this Black Forest hike, of which I had heard stories about and was anxious to experience for myself.

This hike was carefully chosen for the forest scenery it had promised and because it offered not one but 2 “romantic” waterfalls. (I later learned that most waterfalls are “romantic” in Germany since they don’t have that many of them).

On top of that, it was an 11km circuit hike. I love circuit hikes since you get new scenery the entire length of it. At an elevation gain of only 500 meters, this was a hike with a lot to offer for a minimal amount of effort.

Have you read: Blackforest for Beginners

The trail starts from the Gasthof-Hotel Engel (an aspect of an easy hike is that it begins and ends where a restaurant/hotel is, perfect if you’re tired and hungry after hiking).

We started off on a farmhouse-lined flat road, giving us the chance to warm up our hiking legs while getting a glimpse of farm life in the Black Forest.

Forty five minutes on, the road disappeared and we were on a worn foot path that passed through a gated farmer’s field. We were uncertain whether it was the right way and wary about trespassing on private property, but then we saw the familiar yellow hiking trail markers found throughout the Black Forest.

"A valley on a Black Forest Hike"

Passing through the gate, we warmly greeted some cows that seemed rather uninterested in our presence. Maybe they didn’t understand English? Or perhaps they were just too busy admiring the view – overlooking a long valley, with lush green pastures, in contrast with the intense dark green that is the Black Forest – one of my all time favourite views of the Black Forest.

Soon, we were losing elevation and could hear a river. Had we made better time than expected? For surely where there was a river, there would be a waterfall?  Not in this case, and we continued on for some time until we passed yet another farm house, this one nestled idyllically in the valley.

"Farm house nestled on a valley on a Black Forest hike"

Just past the farm house was a shelter and some benches with a nice view of the valley. We decided this was a perfect place for a rest stop and a chance to enjoy another Black Forest valley view. In the hour and half we were hiking, it was at the rest stop that we encountered other hikers. It turns out there was another parking area near-by for hikers who want a shorter trip to the Zweribach Waterfall.

Have you read: Beer, Buzz and the Black Forest

With our bellies full, we continued our hike and soon found ourselves at a crossroads: we could either continue to the main Zweribach Waterfall or take a short 1.2 km detour to Hirschbach Waterfall. We decided to do the latter.

The moss covered path followed a small creek that led us to the first waterfall, which in fact was a rather generous term for the Hirschbach Waterfall.We did enjoy the trail, though.

We made our way back to the crossroads and headed for what we anticipated to be the highlight of the hike, Zweribach Waterfall. It turned out that this time, we would have to work for our waterfall.

Most of the 500 meters of elevation was to be gained in just over 1 km. But Zweribach Waterfall turned out to be a good motivator.  Upon arriving, we admired the waterfall and agreed it was worth the effort (minimal as it was).

"Zweribach Waterfall on a Black Forest hike"

We were now just past the halfway mark and continued up some slippery rocks before reaching a clearing for another view of the Black Forest, where we were at eye level with the trees across the next valley, the highest point of the hike.

Soon, we found ourselves on a road again, until the yellow trail marker pointed to another farmer’s field. There was no trail at this point, but we could see the road below where our hike had started. We slowly made our way down.

Have you read: The Black Forest Gateway

Minutes later, we were back at the Gasthof-Hotel Engel. And,(perhaps this is a first in the history of hiking) I wasn’t hungry. The hike had been enough to satiate my hunger. I enjoyed my first hiking adventure immensely and this hike was what has kept me coming back for more in the Black Forest. I would definitely recommend it as an easy hike.

How to get to Simonswald

Simonswald is the starting point for this hike, a small town located 31 km NW of Freiburg. You can take a 51 minute train ride from Freiburg to the Oberer Felsen Station in Simonswald.

From there, either walk the 4.5 km or take a regional bus to the Gasthof-Hotel Engel.  If you are staying at a guest house, you may be able to make arrangements for them to pick you up free of charge.

If you are driving, Simonswald is just over a 30 minute drive from Freiburg or a two hour drive from Stuttgart, where we came from.

For more information on the area see  ZweiTälerLand Region

Laurel is a Canadian expat living in Germany who documents her adventures in her blog, Monkeys and Mountains.  She is happiest when hiking or diving and grew up with the Canadian Rocky Mountains in her back yard.  She goes hiking every chance she gets and is enjoying hiking in Germany.

Read more hiking and travel tips for Black Forest hiking here.

22 comments to A Black Forest Hike

  • Haya


    Thanks for the great pic’s , how far this trail is from Titisee lake? i would like to end my hiking day trip resting in Titisee Lake, if not this one, which hiking trail might be closer to Titisee lake

    Thanks a million !

  • Kimberly Kusch

    How/where do you get a map? We would like to do The Hike: Zweribach Forest – Zweribach Waterfall – Obersimonswald in September of 2014, but I don’t know where to get a map. Thanks!

  • Waterfalls are always a great carrot at the end of a stick when hiking. The scenery here is outstanding. Great post and pictures.

  • Well Debbie, this is what easy hiking is all about. Not having to carry too much stuff, except water. Always essential.

  • This is an area I really want to hike in! I want to do one of those Wanderin ohne Gepacke trips for a few days. This just sounds like so much fun and then I can eat and drink as much as I want at night :)

    Great informative post!

  • The Black Forest is a favourite destination for hikers and we intend to do some more there soon, too. Thanks for your input, Andrea

  • Andrea

    That looks like an awesome hike. Thanks for the retelling! Not sure if the effort to get to the second waterfall can be deemed as minimal (500 mt of elevation gain in 1 km seems not like a totally easy hike to me), but I think I’ll try it myself (together with the Haus Der Natur-Bismarck Denkmal-Mt Feldberg-Haus Der Natur 8km loop that is enthusiastically described on my National Geographic Guide to Germany)

  • Turkey's For Life

    The Black Forest area just looks amazing. Can’t tell you how much we’d love to go hiking around that area – your photos are great but the writing takes us there, too! :)

  • Laurel

    @Karen – We drove from Stuttgart so it was easy to get to, but I think it would be easy to get to from Freiburg using public transport as well. There’s nothing like hiking to get you in shape quickly.

  • karen ho fatt

    Beautiful hiking path to say the least. Hope it was an easy hike to get there. I cannot wait for this summer to start on my own easy hikes albeit I will be out of shape after being inside most of the winter.

  • Laurel

    @Ilse – Thank you so much! I had low expectations of hiking in Germany and then I discovered the Black Forest.
    @Cathy and @Rease – Thanks for dropping by. It is a great hike and very doable for most people with a reasonable fitness level.

  • Rease

    Sounds like a pretty scenic and enjoyable hike.

  • Such a wonderful description of what sounds like a fun and interesting hike. Love the pics, too. Just how I think about the Black Forest.

  • Loved,loved,loved reading this article. Makes me even more proud to be German. It is such a beautiful country. Thank you for sharing you obvious passion. Can’t wait to retire and join you somewhere in Germany.

  • Chris

    Excellent trail description–much better than those stuffy guidebooks. I totally agree with the last two comments. Your writing makes it very easy to picture the trail in my mind’s eye.

    I’m also impressed by how you consider gaining 500 m elevation in 1 km of travel as “minimal”. It sounds tougher than that!

  • Laurel

    @Andrew – What? How is that possible? I haven’t been in over a month and after writing this post realized I needed to go again, so we’re going this weekend.

    @Michael – Thanks for the opportunity.

    @Renee – Thank you, you are so sweet. You’re right, the weather was perfect.

    @Grace – LOL, well the Black Forest is famous for their cake:). Thanks for your kind words as well, I appreciate it.

  • Is it wrong that all I could think about when I saw the photo of the farmhouse was fresh stew…then you said it was a rest stop. I agree with Renee…have you ever considered doing expat hike tours/trips =)

  • I think Laurel has missed her calling. She has a fantastic way of making you feel as if you are being given a personal tour of her adopted country. What a beautiful waterfall and scenery with amazing vistas to drool over…..it looked like the weather was cooperating nicely too.

  • The Black Forest is also one hiking destination that I keep going back to. Perhaps this year, this will be the one I’ll do with my son. Thanks to Laurel for this guest post and to you Andrew for dropping by.

  • Despite living essentially in the Black Forest for nearly 3 years, I have only gone hiking once or twice there. This valley you talk about, I know, but have never even been up there.
    The pictures are beautiful. I think I’ll try to make a time this spring/summer to do more like this.

  • Jeremy B

    Normally, I would love this post! However, the photos and waterfall are so beautiful and I would LOVE to get outside anywhere (especially here in Germany) and do this hike. Cold weather has me ready to get outdoors. Seems like a great hike in a beautiful part of Germany! Come on Spring and Summer!

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