The first stage of this trail starts in Herborn's market square and leads around the Dollenberg mountain into the Ambach Valley and on to Neuhaus. The trail continues through the Donsbach Valley, then follows the bird park to Uckersdorf, where it leaves the village in the direction of Gonkelrain. It climbs over the Kramberg and continues along the slopes of the Mühlberg mountain to Erdbach, with its 'Zeitsprünge' museum. Highlights of the tour are the Große and Kleine Steinkammer caves between Erdbach and Breitscheid, as well as the 'Herbstlabyrinth' limestone caves just before Breitscheid.
Beautiful half-timbered houses in the Hessian town of Herborn, mysterious prehistoric caves, and an underground stream are just some of the exciting highlights of this hiking tour.
From the south and north: take the A45 to the Herborn-West exit, then continue on the B255 towards Herborn-Zentrum or via the B277
From the east and west: take the B255 towards Herborn
Bus/train to Herborn (Hesse) central bus station: from Herborn station, walk about 400m to the market square, where the Westerwald-Steig trail begins.
Returning from Breitscheid to Herborn: bus no. 510
Free: city car park, Dr.-Siegfried-Straße, Herkules-Center
Charges apply (long term car park): Kallenbachstraße
In terms of history, there's no better place for the Westerwald-Steig trail to begin than in the medieval Hessian town in the Dill Valley. The name 'Westerwald' is mentioned as early as 1048 in a document which describes the forest west of the Herborn court. You could almost say that Herborn is the cradle of the Westerwald. The first stage of the Westerwald-Steig begins in Herborn's market square, with its 400-year-old half-timbered houses. The heraldic frieze at the town hall and the Baroque Löwenbrunnen fountain, dating from 1732, in the market square are particularly interesting. You begin your hike by passing the town's many shops, cafés and half-timbered houses and leaving the town on Dollenbergstraße. After a short section on tarred roads, the trail turns into a forest path which leads around the 296m high Dollenberg. A wide path takes you through mixed forest down into the Ambach Valley and continues back uphill to the former Neuhaus ducal hunting lodge. The trail makes its way through the Donsbach Valley to the Uckersdorf bird park, which attracts around 40,000 visitors every year with around 100 species of bird. The Westerwald-Steig trail continues through Uckersdorf and leaves the town in the direction of Gonkelrain, ascending steadily all the time. It continues over Kramberg mountain and heads along the slopes of Mühlberg mountain towards Erdbach. You can already hear the noise of the River Erdbach from the cemetery. Just before Breitscheid, this small stream disappears into a small hole and flows underground for about a kilometre, before emerging again near the clubhouse. The 'Zeitsprünge' museum is only a short walk from the car park at the stove factory in Erdbach. Soon after this, the trail reaches the first highlight of the hike: the Große and Kleine Steinkammer caves. It then ascends to some rocks which are already visible from far away. Exploring the caves is quite an adventure, especially when you imagine that people lived in them in prehistoric times. The trail continues along the top of the quarry to the 'Herbstlabyrinth' caves, Europe's first LED-lit caves which opened in 2009, and then on through the ‘Faule Feld’ (lit. lazy field) to the end of the stage at Breitscheid.
Access paths (marking: green W on a yellow background)
Wear sturdy shoes and appropriate, weatherproof clothing that protects you from cold and wet or heat and sun.Take enough liquid with you. There are not always places to stop for refreshments.Please wear walking shoes appropriate for the trail, which will give you sufficient grip even on slippery and steep or rocky and uneven paths.If you are of the opinion that certain sections of the trail are not passable for you, then you should avoid them. Especially in adverse weather conditions, muddy and slippery passages can occur on natural paths.Especially in autumn, you should also be aware that leaves lying on the ground can hide uneven surfaces, roots, stones or holes in the path. You must expect path impairments of this kind when you undertake a hike.Although the trail is very well marked throughout, you should always have a suitable hiking map with you for safety reasons.
Suitable weatherproof clothing
Rucksack with provisions
For explorers: visit the 'Herbstlabyrinth' limestone caves at Breitscheid (www.zeitspruenge.de)
For families: visit the Herborn-Uckersdorf bird park (www.vogelpark-herborn.de)
- Wanderkarte-Leporello Westerwald-Steig, hiking map with GPS data and tips for day trips, rest stops and leisure activities, map size (w x h): 18 x 20 cm, 39 pages in total, including 29 pages of maps, ISBN 978-3-89920-461-2, €8.95 - Official WesterWaldSteig trail map for hikers and holidaymakers, 1:50 000 scale map, LVermGeo Rheinland-Pfalz, ISBN 978-3-89637-406-6, €8.50