Pfälzer Waldpfad Stage 9: Erlenbach - Schweigen-Rechtenbach
The last stage leads on its way from Erlenbach to Schweigen-Rechtenbach, the southernmost point of the Deutsche Weinstrasse. Forest, streams, wine and history are the chemical composition which combine to create a remarkable blend characteristic for this region. On your way from Erlenbach the roof and battlements of the Felsenburg Berwartstein can be seen, the only castle of the region which is still inhabited (guided visits available). The path continues to the Seehof-Weiher, which offers a welcome cooling-down on hot days. You now follow the Portzbach down river until you reach an elevated stage near the Wieslauter that takes you to the Waldgasthof St. Germanshof on the German-French border. Soon you will be wandering through the Bannwald forest in France , where the forest opens up in a southeasterly direction and gives you a view of the northern Black Forest. Between vineyards you then descend into Schweigen-Rechtenbach and the Deutsches Weintor. Alternatively, you can leave the Bannwald on a forest feeder path to the beautiful town of Wissembourg, where many restaurants and a railway station are to be found. The detour to Wissembourg is also possible from the Deutsches Weintor along the Weinsteig feeder path.
UFFBASSE! - Campaign for being considerate of others in nature
- Always act in a proactive, friendly and considerate way towards everyone you encounter along the way.
- Respect nature, do not destroy plants and always stay on the paths. Try to avoid excessive noise and leave the forest before dusk.
- Remember to take a rubbish bag with you when you go out and take your rubbish back home.
- Please keep your dog on a leash at all times. Other visitors and animals thank you.
- For your own safety, observe all road closures, including at weekends.
- Park only in designated parking areas. Leave space for emergency vehicles and agricultural machinery.
- Please give priority to agricultural and forestry traffic.
The final stage of the Pfälzer Waldpfad trail brings us from Erlenbach to Berwartstein Castle (1), the only castle of the Wasgau area still inhabited today. Next we pass the Seehof-Weiher lake (2), great for swimming during hot weather, and follow the Portzbach downstream to just before it flows into the Wieslauter. The trail now leads us through the forest on curving paths on the slopes north of the Wieslauter to the St Germanshof inn (3), which lies directly on the German-French border.
A little later we reach French territory. Shortly after reaching the edge of the forest, there is an amazing view to our right (4) of the North Alsace town of Wissembourg. In clear conditions, this view can extend as far as the Hornisgrinde mountain in the Black Forest. We hike through the vineyards and back into German territory over an actual green border (an international border in the countryside) and down the slope to Schweigen, at the foot of the hills. Here we reach the German Wine Gate (5) which marks both the end of the German Wine Route and our hike. A walk around the historical old town of Wissembourg is highly recommended. And of course you shouldn't miss the opportunity to finish your trip with a visit to a winemaker. If you still haven't had enough of hiking, the wine tasting session can serve as a prelude to the Pfälzer Weinsteig trail.
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