Hiking in Germany is pretty popular. I mean, you can’t go wrong with the many trails in Germany, to me, they’re all great! Due to Covid restrictions we have had in the past few months; we’re finally permitted to go on family hikes further out than our 100km radius! Today, we decided to explore a favorite hiking location by many, Karlstalschlucht (also known as (Karst valley gorge or Karlstal Gorge), located near Trippstadt, Germany. It was our Memorial Day Holiday, and since we had been working on the house, we knew we needed to get the kiddos out and explore. Given the green light to meet with one other family, we met up with close family friends of ours; it’s always better when you explore with friends, in my opinion.
Upon arrival, we found parking here, a rocked area located by the Klugsche Mühle restaurant. To start our hike, we walked past a small pond after the parking area to our left, and the start of the trail was directly after the pond (before the restaurant). We followed the sign for the Karlstalschlucht, the trail to the left as you passed the pond.
Karlstal Gorge is one of the most beautiful hiking locations in the Rhineland Palatinate region of Germany in the Palatine Forest. There’s history in this region dating back to the late 1700s to include a visit from King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell, who founded the English garden designs in Germany, has been known to have said that Karlstal is, “One of the most beautiful valleys of this type that I have seen …, lying in the Barony of Trippstadt …, then known as the Karlstal” (quoted in Wikipedia). You can find more historical information here and here.
Walking through the forest, the trail’s start was a nice, peaceful, beautiful hike; it felt more like a stroll. We enjoyed the ambiance of the forest and listening to the water along the trail. You can cross wooden bridges to get to the other side of the trail. The kids were able to lead the way, and they seemed to enjoy the stream and easiness (is that a word?) of the hike.
Hiking under the canopy of trees, the temperature was cool, so on hot days, it would be a nice hike. The weather for the day was in the high 50s, so we had lightweight jackets with us. I think we took so many pictures during our walk; it was that beautiful. It almost reminded me of our hikes among the Redwood forests of Northern California when we visited there. The hike’s highlight, a gazebo that makes Karlstal Gorge so popular; it’s the most picturesque area for this hike! Here are a few photos from our hike.
The total mileage of the trail before crossing the main road to hike up to the town of Trippstadt was approximately 1 mile, very easy for kiddos. You could probably take a stroller made for rough terrains, but I don’t recommend it as some areas are a bit more rocky and steep. I would take a toddler hiking backpack for those kiddos not quite ready to walk just yet.
After crossing the main road, be careful as cars pass by this road, and there’s no crosswalk; the trail became more uphill. We took the trail to where it lead us to the town of Trippstadt. We were on the lookout for a restaurant that would be open for us to grab a quick bite (of course Covid style as we were only allowed, for our end, to eat outdoors).
The Town of Trippstadt
The town of Trippstadt was quaint and cute. We passed by the Trippstadter Schloss (aka Trippstadter Palace), the palace that Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell was commissioned to design the garden. Unfortunately, it appeared to have been closed when we passed through. We didn’t really get to explore so much history in this cute town, but we did stop by the tourist shop to grab my friend and me a postcard (my souvenir for each location we visit, I’ll be writing a post about this hopefully soon). Here are some lovely photos of Trippstadt during our brief passing through.
We found a pizza place in town that was open. We weren’t able to eat inside due to the take-out only option (darn Covid), so we ate outside by the restaurant. This was definitely a Memorial Day to remember. We ate our delicious pizza and continued on the trail (husband followed the AllTrailsapp, but there is also the Komoot app you can follow). Here is the AllTrails app route he followed (disclaimer: I am by no means an affiliate for AllTrails app or Komoot, I want to share what we use to look up trail routes).
The route we followed took us to a paved pathway along with some open, beautiful fields. We then followed an unpaved pathway to stay away from the main road to go up the Burg Wilenstein-Flörsheim castle. This was a mistake; the path was steep and narrow, some areas were overgrown with shrubs and stinging nettles (this hurts a ton if you rub your skin upon it). I would not recommend this pathway to families; follow the paved road up to the castle. We finally made it up to the castle via this unpaved trail (again, don’t go that way). Unfortunately, the castle was closed. We then made our way back down the trail past the castle. The downward trail again was slightly steep but not too bad. The trail ended right across from the restaurant that we saw at the beginning of the hike.
All in all, the hike was approximately a four-mile loop. It was a pretty easy hike (except for the trail going up the castle). If you enjoy hiking and are ever in the area of the Palatine Forest/Rhineland Pfalz of Germany, be sure to check out the Karlstalschlucht trail. It is a favorite by locals and beautiful. I would come back here to enjoy the ambiance of the forest by the stream and explore Trippstadt some more. Bis zum nächsten Mal (Until next time in German)! Tschüss (bye in German)!