Discover dramatic rockfalls and unspoilt river scenery along the nature reserve trail spanning the Eichsfeld region, Hainich forest and the Werra Valley.
From river to river: The nature reserve trail connects the river Leine in the spa town of Heilbad Heiligenstadt to the Werra river in Creuzburg, weaving through a network of bio-diverse leafy forests, meadows, orchards and historical little villages. There's plenty to see just off the track, including Thuringia's biggest yew forest at Lengenberg hill, the ten-metre tall Lutter waterfall near Grossbartloff or simply the rich diversity of the riverbank meadows along the Werra near Treffurt, not to mention the impressive 360° panoramic view from Lindenhecke hill and the vantage point atop the Dieteröder cliffs. And for a touch of culture the trail also passes Gleichenstein, Normannstein and Creuzburg castles, as well as the pilgrimage churches of Klüschen Hagis and Boniface Chapel (on Hülfensberg hill). The region is known for its sausage-making traditions, as well as its fruit juice and Eichsfeld schmandkuchen – a cake with a sour cream topping. Spanning five day-long stages ranging between 16 and 22 kilometres, the Leine-Werra trail takes in the most beautiful spots of the Eichsfeld-Hainich-Werra Valley nature reserve. Round off your walk by exploring the unspoilt expanse of the Ancient Beech Forests in Hainich National Park, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site.
Hülfensberg hill is home to a Franciscan abbey still in use today, and a pilgrimage church with a Romanesque depiction of Christ. Every year thousands of Christians make a pilgrimage to the hill. The 18.6m tall crucifix can be seen from miles around as a reminder of the 19th century struggle for religious freedom.
At a glance:
Starts and ends: Heilbad Heiligenstadt – Creuzburg (or in reverse)
Number of stages: 5
Altitude variation (approximate values): ascent 2,700m, descent 2,785m
Terrain: 38% unmade, 19% asphalt, 43% other e.g. gravel