Sunday 18 September 2016

Wolfsburg Rabenberg Trail Running Route

Click here for route map 
Length 10.6 km (6.6 miles), terrain: a few light hills, 72-meter gain

Wolfsburg Running Routes:
Rabenberg Trail Run
Wolfsburg Scenic Route
For more running routes see the route list.

Wolfsburg is a fairly small city, just over 120,000 people. That has a great advantage for runners: you're never far from the edge of town, where you can find woods and fields in the rolling countryside. So, although the city is a purpose-built factory town, with everything modern and full of apartment buildings, you can quickly escape to some green.
Out in the Rabenberg countryside
Just south of the town center -- around the Rabenberg hill -- is a mixture of woods and fields, with a few streams and ponds.

There is a great trail there, with 3 different lengths: 8-km, 10-km and 12-km. All three start out and end together, but the two shorter routes take short-cuts off the main loop. The Libellenweg (Dragonfly Way) is sponsored by the Wolfsburg city water works, and they added a water theme to the route, with it winding past the various springs, streams and ponds that feed the city water supply. They added a few wells, picnic tables and hand pumps at various spots where people can stop and enjoy the trail more. Most of the way is dirt roads and paths, with a few paved ones nearer to civilization.

This route follows the 10-km-long Libellenweg route, but you can just as well follow the longer- or shorter-one.

The Libellenweg route is marked by trail-markers with a blue square with a white dragonfly. And the three route variations are marked by additional colored dots: blue for 8-km, green for 10-km and red for 12-km. Where the routes overlap, there will be dots for each color. When it is just one or two routes together, you'll see just those dots.
Libellenweg trail marker
We'll actually start the route in town and link it to the Libellenweg. So get yourself to Schillerteich park, right in the town center, by heading east along Pestalozziallee from the Rathaus (town hall). The park is a big lawn surrounding a pond.
Schillerteich with geese
Standing there, along the west side of the pond, turn south, with the water to your left. Now follow the path as it exits the park under the Berliner Ring road and into more parkland. You're heading straight towards a big outdoor swimming pool, the VW Bad
Start of the run out front of the VW Bad
This is where Libellenweg starts. There is a trail map out front of the pool building. Most of the trail is well-marked, with occasional maps showing you where you are, and explanations of the 17 water-features along the way.

The trail now heads east, going through the parking lot and along the fence for the pool area.
VW Bad, nice hangout in the summer!
At the eastern end of the pool area, the trail turns south to go into the woods, at the 1-kilometer mark. But here I'd recommend a short detour: in just a few steps, you'll see a path heading to the right. Take that path, and in a minute you'll come to the Drei Steine (three stones), a spot with some small but cool rock formations. Then just head back to the main trail again, where you head south.
Drei Steine, or at least two of them
From now on, just watch for the dragon-fly markers.

After just a short way, the Libellenweg leaves the main trail, at a boulder with the incription "Steimker Berg". The trail heads left and leads you to a scenic little stream valley often frequented by deer, the Hasselbachtal.
Heading to the Hasselbachtal
After you pass a covered well, the trail turns to the right and heads westwards. It will go uphill and past the Libellengrund springs marked by a boulder. Now the trail splits, with the 8-km trail (blue) heading straight westwards, and the two longer trails (green and red) turning south to follow a longer loop. So turn left here to follow the green trail.

This trail also curves around towards the west and then heads down and up little hills and out into open fields at the 4-kilometer mark. It zig-zags around a field and heads westwards into the woods again, along a dirt road called Grenztrift.
Heading through the fields
This is where the 12-km trail (red) turns off to continue on a longer route to the south, along Hattorfer Hauptweg. But we'll continue along the 10-km trail (green dots) heading west along Grenztrift.

The trail turns to the right (north) along the second real dirt cross-road, Herrenwiesen Weg and continues to the next crossroads.

Now turn right for just a short stretch till the next crossroads. This is where my favorite part of the run begins: the trail leaves the logging roads and heads along a narrow, muddy path winding its way into the woods. It will follow a tiny stream to some more springs and steep little hills at Erlengrund, perfect for mountain-biking.
Along the little stream
The trail finally comes out of the woods at the Rabenberg neighborhood at the 7-kilometer mark, where you turn right and skirt the neighborhood, heading east.
One of the ponds
After almost circling the neighborhood, at the 9-kilometer mark, the trail leads you back eastwards into woods, along a chain of pretty ponds. You'll pass a soccer field and then come back to the VW Bad.

Now you just turn left (north) to head back to Schillerteich and you're almost home.

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