Friday, 20 July 2012

Stuttgart Bärensee Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 8.3 km (5.2 miles), flat terrain along lakes, but hill to university

Stuttgart Routes List:
Best Stuttgart Running Routes: Overview 
Schlossgarten Park  
Rosenstein Park  

TV Tower hills  
Bärensee lakes  

Stuttgart Airport woods 

For other running routes, see Route List

If the Schlossgarten is Stuttgart's most popular running track, Bärensee must be number two. The 2.5 km-long, curving lake set in the woods west of town provides a beautiful spot to run in nature, and attracts a lot of runners on summer evenings.
Trail along Bärensee
Many runners drive there in a car because it's a bit difficult to get to. But if you are in Stuttgart without a car, then this route will do the trick. It starts at the university campus, at the Universität S-Bahn train station, then heads the 1.5 km to the lake from there.

NOTE: If you have a car and want to drive to the lake, just take route 14 straight west from downtown. After you pass Wildparkstraße (L1187), keep going west on Magstadter Straße for a few hundred meters until you see the parking area on the right side. You'll save 3 km by not running from/to the university.

The university sits up on a ridge above the wooded lake valley. There's a 45 meter drop, which -- of course -- you have to run back up again at the end.

The Stuttgart Bärensee Running Route
When you arrive at the underground Universität S-Bahn station, get out at the south exit, on Universitätsstraße. Turn left (east) and run past the south edge of campus until the street curves to the right.
Universität station. Head straight down that street
Turn left there on Pfaffenwaldring. The university is a technical college, with lots of interesting stuff scattered around: giant wind tunnels and gas tanks, a high-performance computing center. Looks like a fun place to study!

Just run straight down the Pfaffenwaldring, past the tall building at the end, and then straight into the woods on the trail called Kurze Allee, heading north.
Pfaffenwaldring: head straight past that tall building into the woods
The trail crosses a bigger trail, but keep going straight. Then it heads steeply downhill. Sorry, but we'll have to run back up here later. Enjoy the downhill!

Kurze Allee ends by running into another path, but just turn right and you'll see that Kurze Allee continues onward just 20 meters to the east. So turn left on the next stretch of Kurze Allee and keep heading north.
Kurze Allee trail sign
The trail comes out to a paved road, Magstadter Straße, where you'll see cars from other runners parked along the roadside. There is a path leading from the parking lot to the east end of the lake, just a few meters north of the road.
At the parking lot
When you come to the water, it doesn't really matter which way you head, but this description turns right to run counter-clockwise around the lake, taking 5 km in total. Just stay on the waterside trails and you can't go wrong. There are also dozens of other trails heading out in every direction: it's a great place to go exploring these beautiful wooded hills!
Along Pfaffensee
The lake is actually three little lakes divided by earthen dikes. This eastern lake is the Pfaffensee, then comes the Neuer See, then finally you'll come to Bärensee. The whole area was once a royal hunting ground for the Würtemberger kings.
While running along the north side of the lake and passing the second dike, you'll see a house crowning a bluff along the right side, surrounded by lawn. This is the Bärenschlössle, a restaurant and beer garden. It was built by one of the kings as a hunting lodge, but now serves a thankful public as a great waterside hangout.

About 400 meters past the Bärenschlössle, Bärensee ends and the path goes around a meadow before turning around to head back down the south shore of the lake. There are some huge oaks which have died along the south shore. I guess they were there before the valley was flooded for the hydroelectric power plants. Some of the ancient trees have been dead for a long time.

When you round Neuer See, you'll run over the earthen dam that keeps the water in the lakes.
The dam
When you reach the spot where you first came to the lakeside, turn south and head back uphill to the university.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Stuttgart TV Tower Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 7.8 km (4.8 miles), terrain is hilly

Stuttgart Routes List:
Best Stuttgart Running Routes: Overview 
Schlossgarten Park  
Rosenstein Park  

TV Tower hills  
Bärensee lakes  

Stuttgart Airport woods 

For more running routes, see the Routes List.

I'm back in Stuttgart this week, and I finally got a chance to try out some of the trails in the wooded hills surrounding the city. Stuttgart is bordered by hills on three sides. This route heads to the hills on the south side. They are the closest to the town center, and easy to get to.

The hills stretch diagonally, from northeast to southwest, with a few busy roads crossing them. This route isn't as quiet as most forest runs, but most of the time it is quiet enough to feel away from all the big-city traffic.
TV Tower on the horizon, seen from Stuttgart Schlossgarten
There are two main hills on the south side: Bopser (to the west, with the TV Tower) and Frauenkopf (to the east, with the radio tower crowning its peak). It's easy to mix up the two towers if you don't pay attention. The TV Tower (Fernsehturm) is very tall and has a glass observation deck up near the top. The radio tower (Fernmeldeturm, further to the northeast) is much shorter and has a large UFO-like platform down near its base.

This route will cover both hills. To get there, you can take one of several trams (Stadtbahn, they run as subways downtown). You can use lines 7, 8 or 15, and get out at the Ruhbank (Fernsehturm) station. After getting out of the tram, you'll see the tower to the north. Just take one of the paths leading there from the station.

NOTE: Of course, you could run up the hill from the center, if you want the extra hill-climb. There are a maze of trails leading up from town. For example, from Hohenheimer Straße, you can take the Am Bopserweg trail straight up. But I tried to save you the long up and down slug here. There is a total rise of about 100 meters in the rest of the route, anyway, so you won't be without some good hill work.

We'll start the run by looping through the Waldau neighborhood. This few blocks around the TV Tower is a sportsman's paradise. There is a little stadium (Gazi Stadion, home of the Stuttgart Kickers), practice fields, clubhouses, climbing walls, volleyball, tennis, an ice-skating hall, you name it. It will make you proud to be an athlete just running by all the other sportspeople out doing their thing.

The Stuttgart TV Tower Route
Start at the TV Tower base. There is a beer garden here, and people can ride the elevators to the top for a great view.
TV Tower starting place
Turn towards the southwest and run through the little parking lot to the first cross-street, Guts-Muths-Weg. You'll see Gazi stadium across the street on the left.

Turn left on Guts-Muths and run south, past the "Luftbad" a quiet area for tai chi etc. At the first real street to the right, Georgiiweg, turn right and run past the Waldau U-Bahn station.
Waldau practice soccer field
On the left, there is a climbing center and soccer fields. Just watching all these dedicated sportspeople made me glad to be out and about in Waldau.

After you cross Königsstraße, Georgiiweg is called Löwenstraße, and there will be woods on your left, and villas on the right.
Waldau freeclimbers
When you come to the white church, turn left and run onto the trail going into the woods to the south. You will pass some more athletic fields on the left, and then come to the Haus des Waldes, a kind of clubhouse for friends of nature.

Right at the Haus des Waldes, turn left and run eastwards along Möricke Weg. You'll cross Königsstraße again and run into more woods.
Turn left here at Haus des Waldes
When the trail splits by running into another trail, turn left and run to the next cross-trail. Here, you turn right and continue eastwards. The trail runs towards a busy road, Mittlere Filderstraße. But before the trail gets there, zigzag to the left, then right to get onto the pedestrian bridge that crosses to the other side. Crossing at street level is no fun.
Heading over the pedestrian bridge
Now you run straight, heading northeast, and you'll cross another road, Kirchheimer Straße, with the tram line next to it. Cross them and then take the turn to the left. Follow the trail with the markings of a red cross on the white background as it curves downhill towards the left, after crossing another trail. But just keep running straight ahead, where it starts going lightly downhill. A steep valley goes off to the right.

Now just stay on this trail as it curves around the side valley. A few trails will come up from the valley on the right side, but don't turn onto any of them. This is the nicest part of the run, I think: no street noise and very natural.
Heading towards the Frauenkopf
When the trail runs into a paved road, keep left and continue running on the paved trail. It will go around the head of the side-valley and turn north.

A kilometer after Kirchheimer Straße, the trail will end at Jahnstraße, at the tram station called Stelle.

This is where we take a trail uphill to the Fernmeldeturm at the top of Frauenkopf. Just follow the little paved trail going uphill next to the trail map sign.
Take that paved trail as it curves upwards to the right
In about 350 meters, going up about 40 meters, you'll come to the radio tower, where you turn around and run back to Stelle.

The Fernmeldeturm radio tower
We are now on the return trip. At the Stelle tram station, cross Jahnstraße, and take the path angling off to the left into the woods, heading due west.

Follow that little trail to the Bopser, running back to the TV Tower
Just stay on this trail for less than a kilometer. You will come across a few trails coming up from the city to the right side, but ignore them.

When you get to a place where several trails cross and there are a couple of picnic shelters, turn left and run up the little path to the left of the grill-fireplace.
Head up that small path to the left of the grill
This path rises about 50 meters, heading straight back to the TV Tower. You'll cross Jahnstraße again, and then you'll find yourself back at the parking lot at Gazi stadium.

Just turn left and you're back at the TV Tower.