5 Highlights in the Kinzigtal Valley
© TMBW, Foto: Anna Monterroso-Carneiro
BW Story - Hirsch & Greif
Discovering the Home of the Black Forest Raftsmen
Old half-timbered towns that are steeped in history, traditional crafts, and lush green countryside. There is lots to see in the Kinzigtal Valley in the Black Forest.
Here are five highlights in and around the Kinzigtal Valley.
#1 Kinzigtal Cycle Path
Biking through the Black Forest
With impressive castles, pretty half-timbered towns and traditionally crafted rafts, the 90-kilometre Kinzigtal Cycle Trail is a fascinating ride through nature, culture and history. Your trusty companion throughout the tour is the Kinzig River, which has its source near Lossburg and joins the Rhine near Kehl. The cycle trail starts in Freudenstadt and passes through pretty little villages like Alpirsbach, Schiltach and Gengenbach. There are plenty of highlights along the way, including the Zauberland Adventure Park in Lossburg; the historic half-timbered town of Haslach, which was founded in the 11th century and was the administrative centre for the local silver mines for a long time; and the impressive Ortenberg Castle, built by the Zähringers in the 12th century at the entrance to the Kinzigtal Valley.
#2 A Stroll through History
Vogtsbauernhof Black Forest Open-Air Museum
The farm gardens are a blaze of yellow, white and purple, little bunnies snuffle around in the shade of the tall trees and there is a wonderful smell of fresh bread: the Vogtsbauernhof Black Forest Open-Air Museum is a museum for all the senses, showing how people used to live and work in the Black Forest. The first building at the open-air museum was the Vogtsbauernhof farmhouse, built in 1612. Over time, gardens and stables have been added to the 17‑acre site, with farmhouses, workshops and rooms set up in the styles of different regions of the Black Forest using the ‘translocation’ method. The dismantling process is documented stone by stone, and the building is then reconstructed on the new site according to the plans. New buildings are still being added today, the Ortenauhaus farmhouse was only added to the Black Forest Open Air Museum in 2023. The estate is 250 years old and was originally situated in Durbach in the Ortenau Region. The open-air museum is open from 24 March to 3 November 2024.
#3 One of the Highest Mills in the Black Forest
Mooswald Mill in Lauterbach
The Mooswald Mill (Mooswaldmühle) in Lauterbach is not only a historic landmark, but also a lovely place steeped in history and charm. The nearly 400-year-old mill sits high up amid the pretty hills and forests of the Sulzbachtal Valley. With its huge mill wheel and pretty thatched roof, the Mooswaldmühle is a living testimony to the tradition of milling. The mill is open to visitors whenever the miller, Mr. Fischer, opens the low wooden doors of the building. He will tell you all about the mill, and you can even mill grain into flour. The mill grounds are open all year round.
#4 Experience Tradition
Raft Festival in Schiltach
All the clattering, hammering and splashing means it is raft festival time again in Schiltach. The summer festival, held every five years in the little town by the Kinzig River, is a chance for the members of the raft club to showcase their skills. They make tools, turn branches into ropes, and make improvements to the long raft that calmly floats along the Kinzig River during the festival weekend. It is organised by the raft clubs of Schiltach and Wolfach who work together to explore the traditions and keep them alive. The atmosphere at the festival is lively, with people eating, drinking and dancing to the sounds of the band. The big highlight of the festival is the launch of the big raft, an opportunity for the rafters to demonstrate their fearlessness and their skills.
#5 Following the Rafters
For a long time, the Kinzig River was the lifeblood of the Kinzigtal Valley. It was used to transport the important cargo of timber from the Black Forest to the Rhine Valley. But how did it work? And who was brave enough to take on the task? You can find out on the 32-kilometre Floesserpfad Trail (Rafters Trail) from Lossburg to Wolfach. The path leads through forests dappled in sunlight and wide valleys, following the Kinzig River all the way. Information boards, an audio guide, and various interactive stations along the way tell you all about the life and work of the rafters. And if you fancy delving particularly deep into the history of rafting, you can visit one of the rafting museums in Schiltach, Wolfach or Gengenbach.