Some time ago I came across the Schluchtensteig, literally translated with “gorge trail”, running through the southern Black Forest. The name already sounds promising! In winter we went to the gorge of the river Wutach, through which the trail also leads, and we were totally thrilled. The Schluchtensteig leads on six stages over 119 km through the southern Black Forest.
The tour on the Schluchtensteig is a training for our big Sweden tour in summer
To train for our Sweden vacation in summer we wanted to go hiking for two days with our gear and an overnight stay in a tent. We chose the third and fourth stage with a total of 38 km starting from the Schattenmühle and ending in St. Blasien. The accessibility by public transport was so complicated that we decided to travel by car. On the website of the Schluchtensteig you will find bus transfers from the start to the finish of the stages. On closer inspection, however, it turned out that this would not work at all for the stages we had chosen; it would have taken several hours of bus travel to get there. Too bad actually!
We start quite late from home
As I did not get back from a business meeting the day before until around 11 p.m., we still have to pack my hiking backpack in the morning before leaving. Somehow everything takes a little longer than expected, so we plan to shorten our first stage a bit. Finally, because of the bad public transport connection, we reluctantly set off with two cars and head to our destination St. Blasien first. Unfortunately there is a road closure at the Schluchsee, which has not yet been passed on to the navigation systems, so that we have to drive a detour of 15 minutes shortly before our destination.
Already from the beginning our hike seems to be ill-fated
In St. Blasien we leave one car a little outside on a parking lot. To our surprise, parking fees are charged there on weekdays. Additionally, the ticket machine is programmed incorrectly and does not know Ascension Day. So we insert as much money as is theoretically required to park until the next evening and hope that we don’t have to deal with the traffic control office later on. When we begin the navigation to the starting point of our hike and the way there is supposed to take another 45 minutes plus the mentioned detour, I slowly get the feeling that this hike is ill-fated.
Google Maps does not have a good day either
In a somewhat gloomy mood we set off. Shortly before reaching our destination, Google Maps directs us into a street that is marked as private and passage is prohibited. What a bummer! A glance at the map reveals that our starting point could also be reached from the other side, but only with another 45 minutes detour. After a short consideration we decide to drive the remaining 3 km on the private road hoping that nobody will catch us. At first this works quite well, but then the path gets smaller and steeper and finally ends in a hiking trail. We have to turn back and at this point at the latest I have the feeling that I just want to return home again. Instead we decide to drive to Lenzberg and walk the nine kilometers to the campground at the Schluchsee.
When we finally leave Lenzberg around 4:30 pm we need a while until our mood gets better again. Then, however, we can fully enjoy the forest and the hiking again. After the first ascent we have a great view over Lenzberg. From there we pass a small village with a few houses along fields into the forest. The Schluchtensteig is well signposted and we only need our maps after leaving it towards the campsite.
The Black Forest Camp offers a little bit of Sweden feeling!
As overnight location we have chosen the Black Forest Camp in Schluchsee. It is located right next to the large campground of the village, but is independent and offers a little bit of Sweden feeling. There is no tent meadow here, but small well-trodden places in the middle of a small forest. Without electricity and WiFi, but with a compost toilet. While the campers are standing close to each other at the campground next door, it ist quite spacious in the Black Forest Camp, although this camp is fully booked, too. If you like you can use the sanitary facilities of the campground next by. We are happy about our great sleeping place and after a good dinner we fall asleep reconciled with the day.
The premium-trail predicate signifies a highly compacted forest road
Well recovered, we continue on the second day. At first, we follow the Schluchsee, until we meet the Schluchtensteig again after about four kilometers. There is a lot of traffic on the path along the lake. At that point we hope that the hustle and bustle will decrease on the other side of the lake. But that’s not the case. On the contrary, the path becomes wider and wider and now even cyclists share the route with us. Sadly, this does not have much to do with relaxed hiking any longer.
Due to the overcrowded path we decide to walk through the forest parallel to the main route. There we find numerous trails that we can use and feel directly a lot more comfortable. Later we come across the Schluchtensteig, which winds through the forest for kilometers on huge dirt roads. We are disappointed by the way the path leads, the fourth stage is really not nice to walk. Where we can we take shortcuts as the highly compressed paths let our feet become tired.
Just before St. Blasien the Schluchtensteig shows its most beautiful side
Shortly before St. Blasien, however, we unexpectedly come across one highlight of this tour: the Windberg waterfalls and the gorge of the Windberg creek. On a small path, we walk through the protected forest that grows on the slopes of the gorge. It is clearly visible that the nature can unfold its full potential here.
We expected a lot more small trails like the one at the end along this way. The Schluchtensteig is a hiking trail that is only ten years old, and I believe it could have been made more beautiful. Maybe we will give it another chance on a different section next time. If you have a tip for a more beautiful stage, leave us a comment!
If you are not yet completely scared off, you will find all important information about the individual stages at www.schluchtensteig.de.