Getting Wet

Experiencing Baden-Württemberg's Water Worlds on Foot and by Bike 

Schwarzwald, Wutachschlucht, Wanderung - Wasser

The Wutachschlucht Gorge and the Gauchachschlucht Gorge are among the oldest nature reserves in Baden-Württemberg. | © Kommwirmachendaseinfach

STUTTGART – Tens of millions of years ago, ice and water shaped the natural landscapes of Southwest Germany. The result is lovely valleys with babbling streams, deep gorges with thundering waterfalls, extensive caves, and underwater canals through which water flows into springs and rivers. The often protected, unspoiled landscapes can be explored on adventurous hikes or bike tours.


Surprisingly Alpine: Margarethen Gorge Trail in the Odenwald Forest

A steep path leads through the Margarethen Gorge in the Odenwald Forest, with unique views of waterfalls, caves and rockfalls. Again and again you cross the Flursbach Stream, jump from rock to rock and overcome high cascades and rocks with the help of ropes. The stream plunges 110 metres into the gorge, making it one of Germany's highest waterfalls. Because of its alpine character, the tour is a bit of an adventure. But with good footwear and a little concentration, it is an eventful excursion for the whole family.


Indomitably Wild: Exploring the Kocher and Jagst Rivers

Between Crailsheim and Kirchberg, the Jagst River cuts deep into the shell limestone. The river there is completely untamed, natural, and unregulated. The trails at higher altitudes, such as the ones near the Baierlesstein Rock, offer impressive views deep into the steep gorge. Cyclists can explore the area on the Kocher-Jagst Cycle Path. The two-river tour can be combined with the Liebliches Taubertal Cycle Path for a three-river tour.


Fathomlessly Deep: On Foot and by Bike to the Aachtopf and Blautopf Springs

The legendary, turquoise Blautopf Spring should definitely be planned as a stop on a bike tour along the Ice Age Valley Cycle Path. The constant overflow at the side of the pool indicates that it is a spring. The water rushes briefly towards the town of Blaubeuren and then makes its way to Ulm as the Blau River. The Aachtopf Spring is less well-known, although it is Germany's largest spring. It is the starting point for the Aacher Geißbock Premium Hiking Trail, which offers views over the Hegau Hills, the Alps, and Lake Constance.


Refreshingly Different: Urach and Neidlingen Waterfalls

Millions of years ago, the fracturing of the Upper Rhine Rift caused the Swabian Alb to tilt. As a result, most of the region's waterfalls can be found at the ridge of the Swabian Alb, the so called ‘Albtrauf’. At the Urach Waterfall, the water falls almost 40 metres (over 120 feet) and then flows further down into the valley. The Güterstein Waterfall, whose water splashes romantically in small cascades into an enclosed pool, is a bit off the beaten track. You can combine these different water spectacles on the Wasserfallsteig Circular Hike. Further north, the Neidlingen Waterfall roars through the greenery. If you want to visit it, just follow the enchanted forest path by ear.


Really Worth Knowing: Ice Age Hiking Trail ‘Albwassertour’

The Schmiech River, a tributary of the Danube, meanders through the Danube Valley from Schelklingen to Ehingen. On the Ice Age Hiking Trail “Albwassertour,” you can follow the route of the first water supply of the Swabian Alb. From the end of the 19th century, water was pumped to the Alb Plateau from the pumping station in Teuringshofen - a technical masterpiece. Today, the listed monument houses a museum. From there, the trail climbs up to the historic water tank and then back down along the old steep road once used by ox carts loaded with heavy water barrels to make the arduous climb.


Unspoilt and Special: The Monbach Gorge

Not far from the spa town of Bad Liebenzell, the sparkling Monbach Stream gurgles wildly and romantically through dense forests and over huge boulders. It once formed the border between Baden and Württemberg. Today there is a hiking trail through the nature reserve where, with a bit of luck, you might even spot the rare kingfisher. The tour takes you under fallen trees, past mossy rock faces, and through the streambed. Cyclists can extend their route to include the Würmtal and Nagoldtal Valleys and enjoy the full river programme.


Dizzy Heights: ‘Natural Forces Tour’ Hiking Trail to the Ellbachsee Viewpoint

Lake Ellbachsee is located at the heart of the Black Forest National Park. A karst lake from the Ice Age, its smooth surface reflects the conifers. You can reach it on the ‘Natural Forces Tour’ Hiking Trail. The circular trail offers refreshment with numerous streams, springs, fountains and the Rosshimmel Waterfall. Along the way, you can also see the elemental power of storms and floods. The Ellbachseeblick Viewpoint, which offers sweeping views over the treetops and Lake Ellbachsee 150 metres below, is also accessible to wheelchair users.


Exceptionally Steep: The Gorge Paradise of the Black Forest Highlands

The wild Ravenna Stream roars through a carved out over thousands of years. It can be explored via wooden walkways and rock galleries on the ‘Heimatpfad Hochschwarzwald’ (Black Forest Highlands Heritage Trail). Small cascades, the great Ravenna Falls and the impressive Ravenna Viaduct make the tour an experience. The nearby ‘sister gorges’ of Wutachschlucht Gorge and Gauchachschlucht Gorge are among the oldest nature reserves in Baden-Württemberg. The varied ‘3-Schluchten-Tour’ (Three Gorges Tour) connects them with the adventurous Engeschlucht Gorge.


Exhilarating Water Experiences along the Wasserweltensteig Trail in the Southern Black Forest

A certain level of fitness is required to complete the ‘Wasserweltensteig’ Long-Distance Hiking Trail in one go. But those who take on the adventure will be rewarded with fantastic views and plenty of opportunities for refreshment. The trail starts at Germany's highest waterfalls in Triberg and follows the watershed between the Rhine and the Danube to Europe's largest waterfall, the Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen. Along the way, water is everywhere, from babbling brooks to tranquil moorland lakes and rushing rivers.


Extremely Rugged: Schussentobel Ravine in Upper Swabia

The small Schussen River comes rises near the spa town of Bad Schussenried and passes through Ravensburg, Weingarten and Tettnang on its way to Lake Constance. The upper part of the valley, however, has remained natural and runs through unspoiled forests. The Schussentobel Ravine was formed by a glacier tongue during the last Ice Age, leaving a rugged valley to explore on foot by bike. At the end of the route, the valley widens into the Schussen Basin.


Naturally Phenomenal: Premium Hiking Trail ‘DonauWelle Donauversinkung’

One trail, two water phenomena: the premium hiking trail ‘DonauWelle Donauversinkung’ (Danube Sinking) connects the Danube Seepage near Immendingen with the northernmost Hegau Volcano, Höwenegg. Years of mining the volcanic rock left a deep pit in which a small, deep-green shimmering lake formed after the quarry was closed. The area has been a nature reserve since 1983 and is also a bird sanctuary and a geotope. It has become famous for important mineral and fossil finds. For example, the three-toed prehistoric horse ‘Hipparion’, which is now in the State Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe.