When Is the Best Time
Recommended from April to October. We prefer May/June less crowded and hot and the autumn foliage. Important to know are the timetables for the guided tours to the slate mine and the reconstructed Celtic settlement. Attached is a picture with the time of the guided tours.
However, if you want to enjoy the mine tour, plan a trip along this trail starting in April to November.
Best Months to Visit
Location and Tips
There are 111 hiking trails in Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate called "Traumschleifen"; that means a dream of circular hiking trails. These trails are perfectly marked with the next intermediate hiking target information, the distance you've already hiked, how long you still have to walk, and the next highlight on your trail. The trails are abundant in variety and always even better than expected. In 2012 this trail was distinguished to be the prettiest one of Germany. This trail is a 9.4 km loop trail and does have a few inclines making it a moderately difficult trail. The trail took us 3.5 hours gaining an elevatuíon of 300 m. The trail has many overlooks of the ruins as well as a beautiful creek and tunnels to explore.
This trail is both kid and dog friendly but the path is dirt and will not allow strollers. We had an amazing adventure along this trail and I suggest making it a top priority on your hike list.
We started the hike from the parking at Forellenhof Reinhartsmühle, a trout restaurant but I recommend to start at the slate mine. This allows you to take part in a guided tour at the beginning or the end of your hike. Unfortunately, we arrived much too early, and we didn't want to wait more than an hour. As mentioned, we started at the Hahnenbach, a stream and walked uphill through several rock tunnels. These tunnels were used for the slate transport in those days. You have great views of the ancient Schmidtburg, an impressive castle and Altenburg, an old Celtic settlement. Afterwards, we reached the slate mine Herrenberg and the reconstructed Celtic settlement. Entry only on a guided tour for a small fee.
The main subject of this hike is slate. Therefore, the trail leads to an old stone quarry as well. Very nice is the old ruin of Hellkirch. There is still no evidence if it was used as a church or as an observatory. After crossing the stream, we got to an old grinding mill. The highlight of this trail is the huge and impressive ruin of Schmidtburg/Castle. The entrance is free, and it is always open. The popular bandit chief "Schinderhannes" (1779-1803) used the castle as a hideaway.
You find the herb Bärlauch (wild garlic) along the Hahnen stream close to the Forellenhof/trout restaurant in April and May. It smells similar to garlic, and you can't miss it. A picture is attached.