Hiking in the national park
Whether you are hiking through the species-poor mountain spruce forest, along a babbling mountain brook or through open cathedrals of beech trees, you will notice that on more than half the territory in the national park nature is left to its own devices. And what can bring you closer to nature than hiking? At any time you can take a short pause and look at the plants on the edge of the path, discover here and there traces of timid animals, for example wood splinters that a hard-working woodpecker has chiselled out of a tree, and if you are lucky, you might even see a shy roe deer disappear into the undergrowth.
That is why there are over 300km of well marked hiking trails opening up the national park and its seemingly endless sea of forest.
Hiking trails in the national park are either signposted as hiking paths, which have plant symbols on a white background (they link places and parking areas with attractive destinations within the national park), or as circular hiking trails, which have animal symbols on a yellow background (you return to the starting point of the hike). For distance trails the signs in application outside the national park are used.
Yew (Eibe) marker
Peacock butterfly (Tagpfauenauge) marker
Steep golden track (Goldsteig) marker
Yew: The Yew (Eibe) hiking trail runs from Zwieslerwaldhaus to the Große Falkenstein
Peacock butterfly: The peacock butterfly (Tagpfauenauge) markers will take you on a circular route around the forest playground
Steep golden track: The Goldsteig is a certified quality hiking trail with a total length of 660km that runs the whole of eastern Bavaria from Marktredwitz to Passau.
If you would like information on guided walks with trained forest guides or national park staff, please check the current list of available guides.
Cycling in the national park
More than 200km of marked cycle paths extend through the national park and connect the Bavarian Forest National Park with the Šumava National Park at three border crossings for pedestrians and cyclists: Ferdinandsthal / Debrník, Gsenget / Prášily and Teufelshäng / Bu?ina.
The topography (many mountainous stretches) requires you to have a good level of fitness, but the surface of the cycle routes is such that a good touring bicycle is sufficient and that a mountain bike is not necessary. The cycle paths lead you close to all the national park’s highlights, which are often reached only by dedicated hiking trails. At the connecting points between cycling and hiking paths we provide places to leave your bike safely and securely, so that you can add a small walk on to your cycling trip.
The cycle paths in and around
the national park are signposted
with figures on this symbol.
Winter is a time of calm in the Bavarian Forest National Park. Nature is blanketed by thick white snow, which muffles noises and intensifies the weak sunlight. Water freezes around the rocks in the ice cold mountain streams, whilst plants and many animals hibernate, waiting for spring. Bare beech trees stand between snow-covered spruces, and in the high areas the snow often has a depth of metres. Those animals that are still active require calm and protection in order to survive the harsh winter.
People however look for the beauty of nature in winter too. In the Bavarian Forest National Park you can go cross-country skiing, hike, explore the forest on snow-shoes, and in some places also sled down the mountain. We do though ask you to respect the period of quiet that nature needs. Every frightening instance of running or jumping can cost the animals a lot of energy, which they cannot replace in a hard winter because resources are so scarce. When on holiday in the national park pay attention to the plant and animal kingdoms by staying on and using only the marked cross-country skiing or hiking trails and accepting the restrictions.
A localised thunderstorm in the summer of 1983 tore great holes in the mixed mountain forest at the foot of the Rachel. Many thousand cubic metres of upturned spruce trees piled up into an impenetrable mess. Nature created something that nobody thought possible: in just one decade a fairy tale forest was conjured out of apparent chaos.
The idea of the experience trails is to make accessible the most beautiful and attractive places in the national park. They offer insights in to the forest, which has been changed fundamentally by storm and bark beetle infestation, and make visible, the multi-faceted birth, growth and decay that is taking place there. They awaken trust in the self-healing powers of nature and generate hope in us for the widespread natural renewal in the mountain spruce forest.
Each of the experience trails takes in the natural forest from a new perspective and enables you to see the important ecosystems and developmental phases of the forest in the national park. The experience trails invite you to let nature work on all your senses: marvel at the gigantic trees, be captivated by the babbling and rushing of the running streams, breathe in the smell of mushrooms and mouldering wood, take in the moist coolness of the moss on the forest floor – let yourself be enchanted!
Facilities in the parishes around the national park
Together with the towns and villages around the national park we offer our visitors many attractive facilities. Here are some examples:
In the Wanderpark in Bayerisch Eisenstein the “Gallery of Forest Spirits” is particularly impressive and comical. A small stream bubbles out of an artificially constructed well, which feeds a “village pond” and a natural Kneipp facility with fresh water.
The deer enclosure in Scheuereck is worth a visit at any time of the year! Particularly exciting is the rutting season, which usually reaches its highpoint at the end of September / beginning of October.
Taking the well-known stork steps through the natural Kneipp hydrotherapy facility in Spiegelau is a refreshing experience. The water, having gushed down from the Rachel and mountain mires, provides an experience that is now also available to people with disabilities.
In line with the motto “Understanding nature playfully” the forest playground in Spiegelau provides a playing and nature experience for the whole family. In this 50 hectare, park-like wooded area, there are playgrounds, a nature experience path and a meadow with barbecue facilities waiting for you.
If you want to hike on the trail of the lynx then the place to be is the recently created “lynx path” of the villages of Bayerisch Eisenstein and Lindberg.
The fairytale landscape of the mountain village of Waldhäuser inspired the works of painters and artists at the beginning of the last century. Traces of historic and contemporary art around the Lusen are connected by the Ark Path.