Bavarian Forest
National Park

  • Druckversion

Hiking Area

Summit of the Rachel (Photo: Alice Alteneder)

Rachel Hiking Area

The natural forests around the highest mountain in the Bavarian Forest National Park have always been considered to be mysterious. Perhaps for this reason the Große Rachel with its lake of many legends has always been a much loved destination for many friends of nature. Two marked circular trails lead into this area; both require stamina, clothing for all weathers and suitable footwear.

Capercaillie Circular Hiking Trail
Time: About 4 hours. Height difference: 500 metres

As the Gfäll car park cannot be used by private cars between 8am and 6pm, drive to the Park and Ride car park in Spiegelau. From there use the Igelbus, which is the permitted mode of transport on minor roads in the national park, to reach the Gfäll car park. (It’s free for visitors with a Guest Card).

The 10km long trail begins at Gfäll (Igelbus) and leads initially steeply up to the “Lieslbrunn" and on to the Waldschmidthaus with its nearby viewing point overlooking the Rachelsee below. In this region the bark beetle killed off the old mountain spruce trees across a wide area. In the protective cover of the dying trees a new wild forest has been born. You reach the summit of the Rachel with its characteristic gneiss blocks via stone steps. The view reaches far over the sheer unending forests of the Bohemian Forest of the neighbouring Šumava National Park. The descent leads over steep rocky steps to the Rachel Chapel with its view of the old primeval forest reserve in the Seewand. The diversity of the unspoilt mixed mountain forests is reflected in the information boards, and hikers can experience it themselves at the Rachelsee, which lies silently and dreamily in the gouged out bed of an ice age glacier. The path leads back with small altitude differences back to the Gfäll (Igelbus).

Woodpecker Circular Hiking Trail
Time: 2 ½ hours. Height difference: 200 m

The starting point for this 6.5km long hike is the Racheldiensthütte (Igelbus). The trail leads moderately uphill to begin with in the direction of the Rachelsee. A number of information boards provide details of what can still be seen from the last Ice Age. The calm Rachelsee only becomes visible gradually through all the old trees and their low branches. The hike continues moderately uphill until its highest point, the Felsenkanzel, is reached. On clear days there are views to the Alps from here. The path downhill back to the Racheldiensthütte is an old sleigh run.