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Hahnen Stream Valley Trail

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Hahnen Stream Valley Trail

When Is the Best Time 

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.

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Hiking
DE
Where  
Germany, Bundenbach
Review and Tips 

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.

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Comments

Mar 23, 2017

This is by far the best Castle ruins trail we have found in our location so far. The trail and Burgruine Schmidtburg are open year round and the place where we parked was no fee. However, if you want to enjoy the mine tour, plan a trip along this trail starting in April to November.
We parked at the Foellenhof Hotel & Restaurant outside of Bundenbach in a small, no fee, dirt parkplatz. From parking, we walked a short distance to the trail head with signs marked with a purple HS indicating a loop trail. There are a total of 10 focal points along the trail to include a slate mine tour, museum, historical ruins, and of course the castle. We hiked the trail backwards toward the ruins first. This trail is a 9.4km loop trail and does have a few inclines making it a moderately difficult trail. The trail has many overlooks of the ruins as well as a beautiful creek and tunnels to explore.
We went on an overcast, windy day in March but could see signs of blooming flowers. This would be a great trail to visit in the summer to take advantage of the greenery. We went during the week and saw no one else on the trail. I imagine if you went in the summer on a weekend the museum and mines would be busy.
I plan to take my family later in the year where I will park at the Scherbergwerk Herrenberg in Bundenbach and hike backwards again toward the ruins. From here I can hike about 3k to the castle seeing all the overlooks along the way. This trail is both kid and dog friendly but the path is dirt and will not allow strollers. We had an amazing adventure along this trail and I suggest making it a top priority on your hike list.