Pfälzer Waldpfad Stage 6: Merzalben - Hauenstein

The "Königsetappe" starts at the centre of Merzalben and leads to the Burgruine Gräfenstein. With a flashlight in your hand can the explore the keep, the only heptagonal keep in Germany, via a narrow spiral staircase. Once at the top, the Palatinate Forest spreads out like a carpet in front of you. From the visitor's parking lot, the trail then leads to the Winschertkopf. This stony colossus crowns a conical hill overlooking the valley of Merzalbe and allows a deep insight into the Palatinate Forest. A dense forest trail with comfortable ups and downs takes you to the summit of the Weißenburg with its Luitpold tower. At 607 m above sea level the perspectives of the views change and not only the village houses below shrink to a miniature size. The descent to the hamlet  of Hermersbergerhof past the ruins of the Falkenburg , brings you into the valley of the Queich. A detour to the twin-sandstone steepled church in Wilgartswiesen offers itself as a last highlight before reaching the day’s goal of Hauenstein.

 

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.
Difficulty
hard
Route
22,3 km
Duration
6:45 h
Ascent
451 m
Descent
481 m
Start
Merzalben
End
Hauenstein

Route


Route description


The so-called 'King's stage' of the Pfälzer Waldpfad trail begins in the centre of Merzalben, on the corner of the Hauptstraße/Zimmerbergstraße streets. It then leads us into the forest and after a short ascent to the ruins of Gräfenstein Castle (1), which dates from the era of the Swabian dynasty in the Middle Ages. Equipped with the torches we have brought with us, we can explore the castle's seven-cornered keep and enjoy the view over Merzalben and, in the distance, the rolling green hills of the Palatinate Forest.

We leave the castle and return to the car park, where we can begin our ascent to Winschertkopf (2). This mighty red sandstone rock stands on a hill and towers high over the Merzalbe Valley. After enjoying the magnificent views once again, we continue through the forest on gently undulating paths and gradually ascend to the top of the Weißenberg. At 607m above sea level, this is the highest point on the Pfälzer Waldpfad trail. We can enjoy another magnificent view from the Luitpold Tower (3), this time of the largest continuously forested area in Germany.

We then descend to the hamlet of Hermersbergerhof and from there past the ruins of Falkenburg Castle and into the Queich Valley. We can make a quick detour to visit Wilgartswiesen, with its twin-towered sandstone church, before reaching our final destination of Hauenstein.

Blick vom Luitpoldturm auf über 300 bewaldete Gipfel (Dominik Ketz)
Sicht auf die Merzalben (Dieter F. Hartwig)
Burg Grafenstein (Dieter F. Hartwig)
Wunderschöner Blick auf die Merzalben (Dieter F. Hartwig)
Sicht vom Winschertkopf (Dieter F. Hartwig)
Luitpoldturm (Dieter F. Hartwig)
Treppe auf der Ruine der Falkenburg (Dieter F. Hartwig)
Blick Richtung Hauenstein (Dieter F. Hartwig)
Sonniger pfälzer Waldpfad (Dieter F. Hartwig)
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Burgschiff - Foto: TI Gräfensteiner Land (Thomas Russold)

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