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Der Bayerische Wald ist zu jeder Jahreszeit einen Ausflug wert, Bild: imageBROKER.com / shutterstock

Advertisement: Hiking in the Bavarian Forest – where life becomes freer and richer

The fresh wind that just blew over the heights of the Bavarian Forest has turned into a mild breeze. It is now quiet on the silent paths, because the forest full of mountain spruce trees swallows almost every sound. Many a hiker tends to devotion or even humility in such moments, because the encounter with the gnarled giants causes the body’s own hormones to gallop and releases feelings of happiness. Hikes are miracle cures of life, and those who enjoy the Bavarian Forest National Park with all their senses will be grateful in retrospect to the legendary wildlife filmmaker Bernhard Grzimek for his commitment to the preservation of this unique mountain forest fifty years ago. Today, this region is something like the “silverware” among the natural landscapes of Germany.

The largest of all forest landscapes in Central Europe spreads over about six thousand square kilometers between the border with Austria, the Danube and the Bohemian Forest. If you have chosen this area for your hikes, you can choose between sweaty tours or trails that families with their children can easily master. Old trade routes even lead to the neighboring Czech Republic. Some people opt for enduring walking for many hours, others enjoy the landscape above all, looking forward to a rest at one of the streams that wind through this green world and have polished the rocks in their bed round. There are nature and adventure trails, wild gorges and countless romantic places where it is worth taking a break. There are cosy huts to stop at and views that touch the soul.

Hiking trails in the Bavarian Forest

Bavarian Forest Lake Circular Trail
The climatic health resort of Eging a.See is nestled in the middle of a gentle, wooded hilly landscape, Image: © Markt Eging am See

A note in advance: As always, be considerate of each other when hiking and observe the trail commandments and protected areas. There are also many mountain bikers in the Bavarian Forest. Everyone has the right to move in this wonderful nature.

The feeling of absolute freedom always sets in on the hiking trails of the Bavarian Forest when the “green roof of Europe” opens up and the view extends from a mountain ridge to the horizon. This is the Eldorado for people who lace up their hiking boots, fill their backpacks and look forward to the big and small experiences of their outdoor activities. The range of destinations for hiking in the Bavarian Forest is extensive, and many a hiker is surprised when he even comes across a museum along the way. A castle museum has been established in Altnußberg, there is a fire brigade museum in Roding, and in white you can learn everything you should know about the life of bees.

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If you want to go on foot over long distances and plan numerous stage destinations during your stay as a hiker in the Bavarian Forest, you can follow the signs that mark the route of the Goldsteig long-distance hiking trail. This hiking trail leads over 660 kilometers and is one of the “Top Trails” in Germany. If you don’t want to lug your luggage, you can use various organizations that try to transport it.

Summit tours – Not only for experienced hikers

Trans Bavarian Forest, Bavarian Forest
Enjoy the Bavarian Forest, Image: jaroslava V / shutterstock

Admittedly: The choice is difficult with over 130 peaks. Nevertheless, there is hardly a more beautiful feeling of happiness for a hiker than reaching the top of a mountain. The Bavarian Forest offers many possibilities. From sports hikers to family outings.

Our summit tips:

  • Großer Arber (1,456 m) – highest mountain in the region
  • Gibacht massif (900-1,000) m in the Upper Bavarian Forest Nature Park
  • Rachel (1,453 m), Lusen (1,373 m) and Großer Falkenstein (1,315 m) in the Bavarian Forest National Park
  • Dreisesselberg (1,333 m) in the border triangle of Bavaria, Bohemia and Upper Austria
  • Pröller (1,048 m), Hirschenstein (1,095 m), Geißkopf (1,097 m) and Brotjacklriegel (1,011 m) boast great lookout towers

Hiking tips with the family

  • Eisvogelsteig near Arnschwang – via ferrata in the river
  • Waldwipfelweg Sankt Englmar
  • Falke Frauenau Adventure Trail
  • Grafenau-Neuschönau Bear Trail
  • Nature experience trail on the Staffelbach Hauzenberg
  • On the historic Pandurensteig from Waldmünchen to Passau, you hike in the footsteps of the Pandurs. Among other things, you will come across the white quartz rock “Große Pfahl” in Viechtach, the ruins of Weißenstein Castle and the Ilz am Dießenstein nature reserve.
  • Our travel magazine tip: Buchet Bernried Wildlife Trail

The courage of the foresters led to the Bavarian Jungle

Grosser Arber, Bavarian Forest
View of the Grosser Arber mountain in the Bavarian Forest National Park, Image: Vaclav Volrab / shutterstock

In the Bavarian Forest, those responsible rely on the self-healing powers of nature. Here the bark beetle was allowed to do what it wanted when entire mountain ridges were eaten bare. The foresters trusted the free play of forces and finally succeeded. Botany changed, but where once a rather sterile monoculture had spread, an impressive Bavarian jungle developed. The nutrient-rich droppings of the beetles gave a strong boost to an exciting nature, and anyone who walks through the mountain forest on the Lusen today notices the green of hope in the form of many tree children peeking out of the dead stumps. The courage to go wilderness became a successful experiment in the Bavarian Forest.

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The civilized world seems to be in retreat here, and the unspoilt nature of the Bavarian Forest is an ideal area for hikers of all ages and thus for the whole family. If you are travelling with children, you will feel particularly at home on the so-called “swing path” near Breitenberg. It starts at the Blutwurz Hütt’n, and along the way there are 18 children’s playgrounds waiting for the youngsters. The “Rock Hiking Trail” on the Steinberg leads through an area that resembles a jungle, and the path to the Schulerloch stalactite cave is like a walk through the Stone Age and provides insights into the period when the Neanderthals still lived there.

Extraordinary moments in the Bavarian Forest

Every year in November, the inhabitants of the small village of Langdorf near Bodenmais parade through their community with a lot of clattering. This is the so-called “wolf omission”, an old shepherd’s custom. It was created when bears and wolves still roamed the Bavarian Forest. Again and again, hikers in this region encounter the traditional customs from times long past. And with a bit of luck, they will observe the shy otters on the rivers or the proud capercaillies on their banks in this untamed nature. Several animal species, which were believed to have long since become extinct, have become native again in the thickets of the forests.

If you are looking for the extraordinary, you may be able to get excited about “donkey hiking” in the Bavarian Forest. On these tours across the wide fields and through secluded villages, holidaymakers enjoy the company of a donkey. The friendly four-legged friends can be rented for one-day or multi-day stages. After a basic course and getting used to each other, we start and the donkey is entrusted with the luggage.

On the hikes, you will always encounter the traditional glass craftsmanship in Bavaria. The Glass Road in Eastern Bavaria is one of the most beautiful holiday routes in Germany. Take the time to visit one of the establishments or museums.

On a hike in the Bavarian Forest, many people are also on the trail of their memories. Because here it smells of fresh hay on warm summer days, just like in the days of your own childhood. Here, the dumplings in the huts along the way taste like they once did with mothers. And when the fireplace crackles in the hotel’s restaurant in the evening, all that’s missing is grandfather, who tells the children about Little Red Riding Hood, who is picking a bouquet of colourful flowers in a clearing between the trees. The Bavarian Forest is also a reserve for the soul for hikers, where the wilderness has been allowed and where life becomes freer and richer for those who move there.