Explore the Rench Valley in five stages an discover its diverse landscape such as the wineyards around Oberkirch, the nearly treeless and humid area - the so-called Grinden - around Alexanderschanze, legendary rock faces or the waterfalls of Allerheiligen. Hiking one of the most beautiful hiking trails of Baden-Württemberg, the Renchtalsteig is definitely a great experience.
Visit the Allerheiligen Monastery Ruins and the Allerheiligen Waterfalls
1 Bottenau – Oppenau
From the town hall walk up the street Kindergartenstraße until you arrive at the pilgrimage chapel St. Wendel after 900 m. Proceed to the next destinations Münsterblickhütte – Teufelskapelle and walk on a tarred path through the vineyards passing the destinations Fichtenbuckel – Rohrbacher Eck –Schwarzes Kreuz (cast-iron crucifix) – Stollenwald – Illental . From here, you have a beautiful view to the castle Schloss Staufenberg, over Durbach and to the Rhine Valley. Walk through the vineyards until you arrive at the castle Schloss Staufenberg. From here, walk 150 m back and walk up (slightly ascending) to the highest point of the vineyards at the edge of the forest. Proceed (slightly descending) to the destination Stollenburg , pass the destination Stollenwald Hölzle and the chapelBrandstetter Kapelle and then proceed to the destinations Stürzelbacher Höhe – Hummelswald until you arrive (steeply ascending) at Bildeiche . Proceed on the ridgeway between Oberkirch-Ödsbach and Durbach passing the destinations Schönwasen and Krebsenbacher Höhe until you arrive at the destination Ofenloch(cottage with benches and nearby well of the association Schwarzwaldverein , clearing with view to the mountains Hornisgrinde and Schliffkopf). From Schönwasen on, the Renchtalsteig runs parallel to the hiking trail Kandelweg. Proceed from Ofenloch (ascending) to the destinations Michelsbrunnen and Mooskopfhalde . At this point you leave Kandelweg and proceed until you arrive at the destination Geisschleifsattel . Here, you can visit monuments of the poet Grimmelshausen and of the hurricane Lothar. Proceed to the observation tower Mooskopf (21 m) where you can also find a refuge of the Schwarzwaldverein . With 872 metres above sea level this is the highest point of the first stage. From here, you have a panoramic view of 360 degrees. Walk on a descending forest road passing the destinations Moosturmwegle –Edelmannskopfhalde . From here, turn right and proceed until you arrive at the destination Mooshof . From here, proceed on a tarred road passing the destinationSandbühl until you arrive at the hotel Kalikutt . Proceed to the destinations Börsgritt – Kuhbach – Lehwaldbrunnen (benches under a lime tree, beautiful view) –Lehwaldhof , walk along the hillside to the destinations Guckinsdorf and Hugenhöfen , the final destination of the first stage.
2 Oppenau – Bad Peterstal (16.5 km)
Tour description: From the destination Hugenhöfen (400 m off the train station of Oppenau) walk uphill about 500 m, passing the destinations Bühlhöfen Vorderbühl , Bühlmatt and Am Wald and walk further towards the destination Ibacher Holzplatz where you have a beautiful view over Oppenau and a large part of the Rench Valley. Here, you almost reach this stage's total height of 850 m (at the destination Hemersberger Hütte). Proceed on a nice forest road, without many ascents or descents, passing the destination Schäfersfeld where you have a beautiful view to Bad Peterstal, the final destination of this stage, and to the upper part of the Rench Valley. After a few metres, cross the street towards Nordrach and walk further for another 2 km until you reach the summit of the destination Löcherbergwasen . The trail continues on the other side of the valley, about 2.5 km in the area of Oberharmersbach with beautiful views over the valleys of the rivers Harmersbach and Kinzig. After reaching the ridge of the hills, a visit of the nature-monument “Urselstein”, an impressing formation of huge red sandstones, at a distance of about 200 m, is worth one's while. On the side of the Rench Valley, the trail continues passing the destination Täfele along Hermersberg to the cottage Hermersberger Hütte where you have a beautiful view to Überskopf, the local mountain of Bad Peterstal. From the cottage, walk a few metres downhill to the well Kalter Brunnen at the street Forststraße Hermersbergweg . At the destination Saale Brünneleweg turn left and walk 400 m downhill passing the destinations Dornenweg – Bühlbauerneck – Zefersgrund until you arrive at Kurhaus Bad Peterstal , the final destination of this stage.
3 Bad Peterstal – Alexanderschanze (18.5 km)
Tour description: Start at the destination Kurhausbrücke Bad Peterstal , pass the Kurhaus and the street L 96, traverse the parking space of the Kurhaus and go to the destination Aufgang zum Sportplatz (steeply ascending) at the sports field. Walk further, passing the destinations Frentzeck – Erlengrund – Holchenwasserfall until you arrive at the destination Palmspring . From here, pass the destinations Langenberg Ries – See-Ebene Straße and See-Ebene (940 m above sea level). Here, the Renchtalsteig crosses the hiking trail Westweg for the first time. After 400 m you arrive at the viewing point Seeblick from where you have a beautiful view over the lake to the valleys Seebachtal and Wolftal and – if the weather is good – to the mountain range Schwäbische Alb. Proceed to the destination Lettstädter Höhe (Stone 77: former border stone which separated the diocese of Strasbourg from the territory of the ruler Fürstenberg). At this point, you leave the Westweg. Pass the destinationsWildwies – Bärenfelsen – Marienruhe and walk further to Rappenschliff , an inclined formation of red sandstones worth seeing. Proceed downhill until you arrive at the destination Wasserfall from where you walk on a small ascending path to a forest road which leads to the cottage Sexauer Hütte. Proceed to the destinationTeufelskanzelweg , turn right and pass the rock overhang Teufelskanzel. The challenging path with some steps runs between huge sandstones and is 120 m long. You will need sturdy shoes, a head for heights and sure-footedness. At the destination Schnepfenmoos the Renchtalsteig crosses the Westweg another time. From here, proceed to the destinations Hildahütte – Graseck – Heuplatz and to the parking space Neuer Höhenweg which is located next to Alexanderschanze, a summit between Kniebis, Bad Peterstal-Griesbach, Oppenau and Baiersbronn. Its name derives from a redoubt which was named after the duke Karl Alexander and built in 1734 to secure the strategically important crossing at the border of Württemberg.
4 Alexanderschanze – Allerheiligen Wasserfälle (23.5 km)
Tour description : Start at Alexanderschanze , pass the destinations Schwarzer Stockweg – Oberer Leitweg – Trogloch – Renchquelle (with a well) – Schöngrund –Mittlerer Brandweg until you arrive at the destination Renchtalhütte . Proceed uphill to the destination Kohlgrube, turn left after a few metres on a path towards the parking space of the paragliding starting place, proceed to the destination Rossbühl and further on a new hiking trail towards Zuflucht . From here, the Renchtalsteig runs parallel to the Westweg. From Zuflucht, proceed to Röschenschanze until you arrive at the ski hill Zuflucht and then walk further on the right-hand side of the ski hill on a rocky path (descending) through the forest until you arrive at the destination Schwarze Lache (parking space). Proceed 600 m through the forest on a forest road (slightly ascending) and then on a broader forest road from where you have a view to the west, over the Rench Valley and to the Vosges. Proceed until you arrive at the destination Lotharpfad and then walk downhill to the destinations Haferhüttenrank – Schwabenrank – Steinmäuerle . Walk uphill on a hiking trail to the mountain Schliffkopf (summit: 1,058 m above sea level). From here, walk downhill to the destination Am Tausendmeterweg and to the cottage Jakobshütte . Proceed on forest roads and then on strait paths (steeply descending) to the ruins of Allerheiligen (monastery) and to the destination Klosterhof . From here, keep right and proceed on the trail towards the destination Engelskanzel , a rock from where you have a beautiful view to the waterfalls of Allerheiligen. Walk 1.4 km downhill to the destination Wasserfall-Parkplatz (parking space, bus stop). Tip: At the destination Lotharpfad , you can visit a path of the same name which was created after the hurricane Lothar in 1999.
5 Allerheiligen Wasserfälle – Burgruine Schauenburg (16.8 km)
Tour description : Start at the parking space of the waterfalls, steeply ascending, in parts over steps, passing some cascades of the waterfalls until you arrive at the way up to the monument of the Schwarzwaldverein (rotunda). Pass the monument ( Ehrenmal ), the destinations Zierteich – Klosterhof and walk up to the destination St.Ursula (wayside cross, parking space). Proceed on strait paths to the destination Eselsbrunnen crossing some forest roads from time to time. Proceed on natural paths passing the destinations Knappeneck (cottage) – Sohlberg (parking space) – Sohlberg Kamm and Simmersbacher Kopf until you arrive at Simmersbacher Kreuz . From here, walk uphill to the destinations Oberer Simmersbach – Rappenschrofen and through the high forest to the destinations Buchwald - Kopf – RingelbacherKopf . Proceed on a flat forest road to the refuge Buchwaldhütte and to the destination Schwend Parkplatz (parking space). After about 100 m turn left on a natural path, walk on a flat path through the coppice and then more steeply descending through the high forest passing rocks and the destination Mühlebur until you arrive atDilgerbrunnen . Turn left (coming from the forest road) on a natural path, in parts steep, and walk on a serpentine way to the destination Tannenköpfle . From here, walk on a flat natural path to the cottage Schwalbenstein - Hütte and to the destinations Schwalbenstein - Denkmal and Schwalbenstein Brunnen . Proceed on a broad forest road passing the destination Katzensteig to the destination Schweigmatt and downhill to the destination Schauenburg (through the forest and then over grassland). From the ruins of the Schauenburg castle, walk on a steeply descending road to the parking space of the castle, the final destination of this tour.
Worth knowing: ruins of the Allerheiligen monastery/waterfalls of Allerheiligen: former monastery of the Premonstratensians which was founded between 1191 and 1196; foundation of Uta von Schauenburg; 100 m high waterfalls next to it. Rappenschrofen: viewing point, beautiful view over the valley. Ruins of the Schauenburg castle: built by Duke Berthold II von Zähringen (1070-1090); beautiful view over the Rhine Valley to the Alsace.