Length 7.8 km (4.8 miles) -- or 3.5-km with short-cut, terrain: gradual long hills, gain 250 meters
The pictures are from a day in March, but even then the woods are beautiful!
When in Heidelberg, you'll find yourself looking up at those green hills rising behind the town on both sides of the river, wondering if there are any decent running trails up there. The simple answer is: yes!
|View downwards towards town from Königstuhl train station|
I myself think there is no nicer run than along the trails through one of Germany's sheer endless woods. Public trails criss-cross the whole country, and it's always a joy to be out discovering the great outdoors here.
You can get to the trail-head via a few methods. The classiest way is to take the 130-year-old cable-car train, the Bergbahn. It starts just below the castle on Neue Schloßstraße. It leaves every 20 minutes and takes about 20 minutes to reach the top. The tickets include entrance to the castle, where there is a stop along the way.
|In the Bergbahn|
The third method is what I did: hike up the hill, taking the footway to the castle first, then -- behind the castle -- continuing on the long-distance hiking trail called Odenwald-Vogesen, with the horizontal red stripes as trail markings. I took the train back down, afterwards, feeling a bit beat.
Once you're at the hilltop, leave the train or bus and continue uphill along the paved road the 100 meters towards the two red/white radio towers. At the base of the towers, you'll find several trail waymarkers and maps.
|Waymarkers at the start of the trail, with radio tower|
So, if you're ready to discover this beautiful trail, turn south to run downhill a bit, with the kids' fairy-tale park, Märchenparadies, on the left and the parking-lot and bus stop to the right.
|The fairy-tale land on a winter's day|
|Beginning of Via Naturae|
|Along Alter Hilsbacher Weg|
|Old tree along the way|
|One of the trail huts|
At the 5.5-kilometer mark you'll come to the Hohlen Kästenbaum hut, where the trail turns to the left, heading southwest, then later curving westwards.
|A carved table and bench along the way|
You'll soon see the radio towers at the end, on the left, and your back. Too bad that it's over!