The castle ruin Hohenwittlingen is closed due to renovation work until the end of 2021! The Hohenwittlingensteig route takes us on a journey into another time. Along the nearly seven-kilometer circular route we see orchards and shaded forests; visit ruins and caves and wander through impressive gorges.
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scenic / geology / culture / Healthy climate
The Hohenwittlingensteig hike is one of our five premium Grafensteige routes that lead visitors to Bad Urach through the natural beauty of the Swabian Alb Biosphere Reserve. Many highlight are packed within this short hike and the route is an insider tip, even for experienced adventurers. At the beginning of the tour hikers enjoy a pleasant walk through the Wittlinger orchards until Geschlitzten Fels, a rocky outcrop. Here you can breathe in the fresh Alb air and take in the views of the Alb plateau. Next comes a sporty incline from Geschlitzten Fels to the old castle ruins of Hohen Wittlingen – it’s a steep, adventurous path, but well worth it! Once there we enjoy a breathtaking view of the hills of the Swabian Alb and the upper Ermstal valley. For those who need a snack-break there is a barbecue spot at the foot of the ruins, where you can grill your sausages and enjoy the view. Follow the pathway around to the mysterious Schiller cave, which is the inspiration for the famous local children’s book ‘Rulaman’, about a stone-age tribe. Finish off through the dramatic Wolfsschlucht (Wolf gorge) - another highlight of the tour that never fails to impress.
Directions: From the road we walk towards Bad Urach-Wittlingen and turn right onto a path that leads us through orchards, then turn right along the edge of the forest and into the forest itself. Following the path keep to the left and shortly afterwards take a right, follow the signs in the direction of Geschlitzter Fels and descend a narrow path into the valley. Still on the narrow pathway we pass the ruins of Baldeck fortress hidden in the dense forest and walk right past the rock massive of Geschlitzter Fels. Since the impressive rock face is one of the best rock climbing in the Swabian Alb, you’ll probably see it dotted with climbers.
After following a steep incline in the shady forest path, we bear to the right, then turn left on a path seeming to disappear in the undergrowth. Along the edge of the slope we pass underneath the overhanging Buckfelsen rocks and hike onwards to the ruins of Hohenwittlingen castle. Around the ruins are benches and brick barbeque areas, inviting us to spend some time and enjoy the views, the platform in the center of the complex also provides fantastic scenery over the green hills of the Uracher Alb. Once it’s time to move on we take the signposted path to the Schiller cave, a descent through the rich, leafy mixed forest, leading into the lush and jungle-like gorge of the Wolfsschlucht. A refreshing contrast on a hot day, the pleasantly cool gorge displays impressive geological formations and terraces caused by mineral deposits. From here we are not far off the finishing point, just follow the creek, turn right and we are right back at the car park P65 in Wittlingen.
See the lovely old town of Bad Urach: visit the marketplace with its half-timbered houses of the 17th Century!
Sturdy footwear and surefootedness is recommended for this tour.
Please note, the Grafensteigen routes are hikes and not strolls! Sturdy footwear and surefootedness is recommended for all tours. In particular, please be cautious during and after rainfall as the limestone rock and soil, especially on an incline, can be very slippery.
In an emergency dial 112. Where necessary, make the emergency services aware that the injured persons are located in inaccessible terrain, so that the mountain rescue Bad Urach can be alerted and there is no loss of time needed in the rescue.
All along the signposted routes you will find plaques with your exact location number on them. These numbers are known in the emergency control center and will help to speed up rescue times, please reference them when making an emergency call.