Schluchtensteig (gorges trail) across the Southern Black Forest Nature Park
Water murmurs, spindrift is blown through a wet and shiny ravine, water leaves long trails on mossy rock walls that glisten in the sunlight and then flows downhill in a creek. Wutach gorges, Lotenbach ravine, Schleifenbach waterfalls, Haslach gorge, Windberg waterfall, Hohwehra gorge and Wehra valley and gorge are destinations for all of you who love water, who want to climb through deep ravines, who love dramatic valleys, who want to admire thundering waterfalls and who want to escape from their daily routine for a week. The 118km Schluchtensteig begins in Stühlingen and passes through the Wutach gorge on its way to Lenzkirch and Lake Schluchsee. After passing the cathedral at St. Blasien it crosses the gently rising uplands of Dachsberg and Ibach and winds its way through the dramatic scenery of the Wehra valley from Todtmoos to Wehr. Gorges and ravines, waterfalls and lakes, highland moors and flower-filled meadows, ancient woodland and dark pine forests: these are the natural features that characterise this "Wanderbares Deutschland" premium trail between the Wutach and Wehra rivers. But it is by no means just a valley route. Just the opposite. The trail regularly ascends to rocky outcrops and lofty summits. There are frequent views across gorges that have just been negotiated or those still left to tackle. At times you can see Mount Feldberg over the top of the wooded peaks of the Black Forest, at others the glaciers atop the Swiss Alps that line the southern panorama, this time inviting the eyes to move around instead of your feet.
The Schluchtensteig can be accessed from beginning of May to November. After the first snow, it is no longer recommended to walk along it, particularly in the steep, alpine-like sections of the gorges. In particular on days with frost, the narrow paths are often covered with ice making walking impossible or even life-threatening. Any time of the year, we recommend sturdy, ankle-high hiking boots. The Schluchtensteig is an ideal route to escape from summery heat. The sections in the gorges remain pleasantly cool and shady. Again and again, you will find pools filled with clear and clean water to take a bath or, at least, to cool your feet. On the plateaus, there is often a refreshing breeze when the heat is stifling at other places.
The Schluchtensteig is a succession of narrow paths, dramatic climbs and tranquil forest trails. The tougher, rockier sections are regularly broken up by easily negotiable, surfaced paths giving you ample opportunity to take a breather. In the Wutachflühen section, near the Räuberschlössle (thieves' castle) and in the Haslach ravine, narrow paths wind along very steep rock faces so that a minimum surefootedness and no fear of heights are absolutely necessary. The Wutach gorges are subdivided into different rescue sectors. They allow the mountain rescue services to take appropriate measures in case of emergency. So please make always sure to remember in which sector you are.
Schluchtensteig with children
With due caution, Schluchtensteig is an ideal hiking trail for children. Who is not excited about waterfalls and thundering water, castles, virgin forests, rocks for climbing and look-outs? There will never be a dull moment!
Fauna and flora
Many rare and protected animals and plants have found an ideal habitat in the gorges of the Southern Black Forest. This includes Apollo butterfly, honey buzzard, rare aspic vipers, beavers, lynxes, chamois and deer. Botanic gems, such as Petrorhagia, orchids, Turk's cap lily or honesty, grow next to the paths. Lupine, mullein and columbine give a touch of colour to the green forests. Please do not pick the wild flowers. Do not disturb animals. Keep your dog on a lead at all times!