Westweg Trail - Ticking off the peaks in Germany’s loftiest hill range

The Westweg Trail in south-west Baden-Württemberg abounds with typical Black Forest idylls and excellent food and drink, and has a total climb of 12,000 metres – well worth any walker’s respect.

The Black Forest in south-west Baden-Württemberg is the highest and largest of all Germany’s mittelgebirge – a sort of medium-relief mountain range. The Westweg Trail begins in the ‘gold town’ of Pforzheim, on the northern edge of the Black Forest, and ends some 285 kilometres later in Basel in Switzerland. All the characteristic Black Forest landscapes are featured along the way, with mysterious upland moors to begin with. The trail heads down through the deeply cut valley of the Murg river, then up again and past the Schwarzenbach dam, over forested hills and to the Black Forest Ridgeway amid the lofty peaks of the northern Black Forest. The descent into the Kinzigtal valley ushers in the gentler topography of the Central Black Forest. From here, the Westweg clings to meadows and valleys; and en route to the Upper Black Forest it sweeps up and over a hill range marking the European watershed between the Black Sea and the North Sea. At Lake Titisee, the trail forks into an eastern variant over the Herzogenhorn and Hochkopf peaks, and a western variant over Mount Feldberg and Mount Belchen – two of Germany’s tallest mountains outside the Alps. On both routes, walkers tick hoff one peak after another as they stride towards Basel on their Westweg experience.

Tip: Mount Feldberg

With an elevation of 1,493 metres, the Feldberg is the highest peak in Germany outside the Alps. It lies within Germany’s largest and oldest nature conservation area, and offers breathtaking panoramic vistas of the surrounding region.

At a glance:

  • Starts: Pforzheim
  • Ends: Basel
  • Length: 285km
  • Number of stages: 12
  • Altitude variation: ascent 12,000m, descent 12,000m
  • Terrain: 40% unmade, 13% asphalt, 47% other, e.g. farm tracks

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