Length up to 21.3 km (13.2 miles), terrain hilly, with a gain of more than 500 meters
Graz Routes List:
Leechwald half-marathon hill trail
Graz old-town loop
For more running routes, see the Route List
Here is a great run if you want to do some trail running in the woods while you're in Graz. The Leechwald trail follows a wooded ridge-line east of the city center, providing beautiful vistas along the way.
|Along the Leechwald trail|
The run has been laid out as a half-marathon. I only ran the first half of the route, so I can't describe the rest, but it's well-marked, so run as far as you please. Just follow the "Leechwald" signs with the picture of the running shoe.
|Just follow the Leechwald signs|
You can run the entire route or turn around any time you want. There are quite a few runners out on the trail any time of the day. The way is well marked: every half-kilometer there is a distance marker. You basically follow the main ridge-top trail the whole time.
The first five kilometers of the route, till Mariatrost, is dirt, and the rest is paved. The dirt section is also lit by streetlights at night.
You can easily reach the starting place by taking the number 1 tram line towards Mariatrost, getting out at the Hilmteich/Botanischer Garten stop. The trail-head is directly across the street from the tram stop, at the Hilmteich pond.
The pond occupies the center of a little park, and is full of rental rowboats in the summer.
|Hilmteich in winter|
In 50 meters, you will hit the main path, where you turn left again and run northeastwards, continuing uphill.
Follow the path uphill as it winds through the woods. The trail is well-kept, made of hard-packed clay and gravel. This first part of the trail is also marked with "Menschenrechts Weg" signs for the first kilometers.
You will pass a white villa and then an animal refuge ("Wildtiere im Not").
Then, before the first half-kilometer marker, you'll pass a tall brick tower. You have now reached the top of the ridge, and the trail flattens out as you run with a fence to the left side.
|Along the ridgeline|
|View of Mariatrost from the trail|
After 5 km, you come to Mariatrost, a huge pilgrimage church and monastery complex built on the Purberg. Its yellow, double-towered baroque facade is visible from a long away. The trail, Roseggerweg, leaves the woods, and joins a paved street. If you went straight downhill for 100 meters, you would head towards the basilica. But, instead of continuing down the hill to the church, turn to the right at the modern wooden houses and continue running northeast through the woods.
|Mariatrost from below|
The road goes by some big farm fields, then back into the woods. I turned around there, at the 6-km marker, so the rest of the description is just what I could see from the map.
|Abandoned farmhouse along the way|
So now, run straight, and follow the road until it ends at a farmhouse on a cross-road, Reindlwaldweg, at about 8.8 kilometers. There you turn right and run south.
|View from the Leechwald trail|
At the cross-roads, at about 13.5 km, turn left and head back on the same way as you came.