STUTTGART – It sometimes pays to stand above it all. Particularly when you want to take in the wonder of nature at its full extent. In Baden-Württemberg, there are now some fascinating places where you can admire nature and wilderness up from the treetops. Ranging from observation towers, suspension bridges, treetop walkways and nature cinemas, architects and designers have found new ways of setting the scene for nature at its very best. Here’s an overview of some of the most successful attractions.
Only for those who can brave great heights: Bad Wildbad suspension bridge
It measures 380 metres long, 60 metres high and just over a metre wide: The “Wildline” suspension bridge in Bad Wildbad connects the Sommerberg with the treetop walk and offers spectacular views over the Black Forest. Apart from the views of nature, another admirable feature of the filigree-style building is its clever construction: only two steel cables keep the footbridge high up above the treetops. No wonder it wobbles and rocks when you cross it! You’re sure to get a kick of adrenaline out of it.
Touch the summit: Black Forest treetop walkway
At eye level with the alpine mixed forest, the 1250-metre long treetop walk in Bad Wildbad snakes its way through wild nature. The wooden footbridge leads to the 40-metre-high observation tower which spirals up towards the sky. On the way, there are plenty of exciting info points giving various plant and animal facts. Once you’re at the top, the view extends right into the Vogesen if visibility is good. If you want to, you can go back via the 55-metre-long tunnel slide to whoosh back from the platform to the forest floor.
At the forefront: Rems Valley cinema
In the Weinstadt vineyards, the concept of the countryside cinema is taken quite literally. At the Three Giants viewpoint, there are 26 wooden cinema chairs left over from the Rems Valley garden show last year. Here’s where you can enjoy a gigantic view over the Rems and Neckar valley looking all the way into Stuttgart. The Rems Valley cinema is open 365 days a year, although the schedule changes constantly: depending on season and weather, the landscape and vineyards appear in a different light every time.
Filigree views: Schönbuch tower
The observation tower in the Schönbuch Nature Park can be seen from far away. The 35-metre-high wood and steel construction on the Stellberg looms high above the surrounding trees in Baden-Württemberg’s oldest nature park. 348 steps grant access to the somewhat delicate-looking tower and lead to three observation platforms 10, 20 und 30 metres aboveground. High up, you can view not just the leafy rooftop of the Schönbuch nature park. The Swabian Alps and Black Forest are also a stone’s throw away from here.
Above the canyon: Ellbachseeblick
If you’re out and about on the Black Forest overpass between Baden-Baden and Freudenstadt, it’s well worth stopping off at the Kniebis Cabin and exploring the short footpath leading to the Ellback Lake View viewing platform. The 33-metre-long footbridge made from native Douglas fir wood reveals a wide view of the northern Black Forest and the Ellbachsee lake situated 150 metres further down. The view is truly spectacular, and you feel like you’re gliding over the canyon: the bridge has no barriers and so is accessible to all.
Endless views into the distance: Limesblicke in Hohenlohe
Limes in the present-day Hohenlohe tells the story about human impacts on the landscape. The ancient border rampart that separated the Roman Empire from open Germania once extended here in a straight line. Two millennia later, nature has now conquered back most of the former border strip. But if you climb on one of the three “Limesblicke”, you will get a sense of the historic magnitude of this world cultural heritage site. The modern viewing platforms provide visitors with information, maps and even binoculars to see far into the landscape.
With 60 things through the treetops: Hirschgrund Zipline
If the spectacular views by themselves are not enough to keep you interested, you will find another instant buzz down in the Kinzig Valley. Situated near Schiltach, this is one of Germany’s longest Ziplines that guarantees you an action-packed experience in nature. It’s like the zipwire in your local playground – just slightly bigger! Seven different routes extending above precipitous slopes and valleys each measure 570 metres in length and 83 metres aboveground. The pace of it all also makes it a good test of courage: At speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour, the landscape and treetops simply whoosh past as you glide along.
Skywalk to wilderness: Black Forest National Park
The new visitor centre in the Black Forest National Park opening in late 2020 will offer remarkable sights and distant views. The tree trunks that appear to lie randomly interspersed in the landscape make the wood-panelled buildings beautifully blend in with the surroundings. Inside, information about the National Park is given by the exhibition “Wild warden der Wald”. From the foyer of the wooden building on the slope, a skywalk leads over the canopy of the smaller trees. From here, you can peer down onto the head of the wilderness of the Black Forest.