Hahnen Stream Valley Trail
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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.
There are 111 hiking trails in Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate which are called "Traumschleifen"; that means a dream of circular hiking trails. These trails are perfectly marked with the information of the next intermediate hiking target, 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.
The trail is almost 10 km long, up and downhill in elevation 303 meters and takes 3 1/2 hours without a guided tour. We started the hike from the parking at Forellenhof Reinhartsmühle, a trout restaurant but I recommend to start at the slate mine. This gives you the opportunity 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 which is a stream and walked uphill through several rock tunnels. These tunnels were used for the slate transport in those days. At the top, you have great views to the ancient Schmidtburg which is an impressive castle and to Altburg, an old Celtic settlement. Afterwards, we reached the slate mine Herrenberg and the reconstructed Celtic settlement. Guided tours are offered for a small fee, but you are not allowed to walk into it alone. 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.
In April and May, you find the herb Bärlauch (wild garlic) along the Hahnen stream close to the Forellenhof/trout restaurant. It smells similar to garlic, and you can't miss it. A picture is attached.