Suggested stages: Hochrhöner - West Route
1. Day stage (19 km)
- Bad Kissingen train station
- Bad Kissingen Obere Saline
We start at the hiking portal in the park below the Bad Kissingen train station. We walk between the villa in the park and along the Fränkischen Saale. Passing the Wandelhalle and the Regentenbau we reach the rose garden. We continue to hike to the graduation tower of the Obere Saline. Here, brine water drips over brushwood on which salt settles - a short break for the lungs. We cross the Saale on the Salinensteg and walk across the Au and reach the Altenburg house at the entrance of the Kaskadental. The Klaushof wildlife park awaits behind the stream. Next we reach the forester's lodge in Hermannsruh and enjoy the backdrop of the Black Mountains behind Stralsbach. On the other hand, the table and benches invite you to rest. Opposite the Warrior Chapel, the Way of the Cross leads steeply down - only a few meters to the center of Stralsbach. In the Wiesengrund in Stralsbach we cross the road to Zahlbach-Aschach and take the junction to Frauenroth. In the village we turn onto the main road to the church of the former Cistercian convent. A short detour to the simple church is worthwhile: We discover the medieval grave monument for the crusader and minstrel Otto von Botenlauben and his wife Beatrix. Behind the altar are sandstone reliefs from the 13th century, they are equated from the art-historical importance of the Bamberg rider. Through the field path and forest path we come to a wayside shrine, here we walk steeper and steeper downhill to the left. We leave the forest above the Premich district of Steinberg and reach the center of Premich.
2nd day stage (17.5 km)
- Kloster Kreuzberg
In Premich you go towards the Saalkirche, whose church tower was built in the 17th century. At the war memorial we walk down to the right into the Kellersbachtal. At the cross we take the asphalt road in the valley to the left and cross a crossroads. There follows an ascent across meadow to the forest. In summer aromatic thyme blooms on the wayside! Here we see the Kreuzberg for the first time. In the forest it goes through a depression and on a grassy path to Langenleiten. We reach the typical, long street village after a steep climb. The Catholic parish church of the Assumption dates from the 18th century, the interior furnishings are from the time of construction. We walk out of Langenleiten and see the meadows in the forest after the sports field. In early summer the orchids bloom here and we have an excellent view of the Kreuzberg. In curves it goes to the Reidelberg and through an old spruce forest downhill. This is followed by a long ascent to the Kreuzberg - through meadows, beech forest and a short stretch through gloomy spruce protection. At the monastery, beer is recommended, which has been brewed for centuries under the supervision of the Franciscan monks. A fantastic view from a height of 928 meters can be enjoyed at the summit with the three crosses. On the road downhill we walk left into the forest and reach the wide saddle between Kreuzberg and Arnsberg. Silver thistles, a trademark of the Rhön, bloom here in autumn. We walk around the Arnsberg downhill to Oberweißbrunn.
3rd day stage (14.5 km)
- Rotes Moor (attention: here the route is divided into the Kuppenrhön or Lange Rhön)
We leave Oberweißbrunn on the Rochensteinstraße. We enjoy the view of Arnsberg and Kreuzberg and leave the rock head of the Rockenstein on the left. The path leads to the seating area on the summit of the Himmeldunkberg (888 m). The unwooded slopes on the south and east side of the mountain were once grazed with sheep, to which we owe the name "Land of open distances". Through the spruce protection we reach the Hohe Hölle (894 m), where the sheltered hut offers protection. Low earthen walls are the remains of the Schwedenwall defense. The route leads along the slope of the Kesselstein and ends in forest and forest paths. The red moor separates the HOCHRHÖNER®. The eastern route over the Lange Rhön begins on the right upwards, the western one down on the left over the Kuppenrhön. From the crossroads we walk downhill to the house on the Roten Moor. We take the moor path and turn right at the refuge. Next to the Carpathian birches we see the observation tower. Whoever walks up can see the entire moor and the Heidelstein. The attentive hiker will discover one or two boulders of basalt between forest and meadow. Through the dark spruce forest we reach the Fulda spring and finally the summit of the Wasserkuppe. Here is the last remaining radome, the silver dome that concealed one of four radars during the Cold War.
4th day stage (23 km)
- Bubenbader Stein
- Oberbernhardser Höhe
We walk the northern slope of the Wasserkuppe steeply downhill and come to the grass hump of the Weiherberg, where model planes and machines often take off. Then we reach the Enzianhütte. From the Enzianhütte we walk a steep path to the Grabenhöfchen. It goes uphill to the Bubenbad, a small lake in the forest. Legend has it that a girl turned into a boy here when she was baptized and thus gave the family an heir. After the Bubenbad, we get back to the open terrain under the rocky slopes of the Milseburg. Celts once settled at the foot of the mountain, a reconstructed section of a wall shows how they secured their village back then. We climb up a rocky path and reach the Gangolf Chapel and a baroque crucifixion group on the summit of the Milseburg. Various information boards point to the summit wall, the Celtic settlement terraces and the former gate. From history it goes back to nature, because silver thistles and orchids bloom in the nature reserve Oberbernhardser Höhe. Via a short access road we reach the Lothar-Mai-Haus, on whose terrace a panoramic view to the north inspires. The narrow meadow path leads to the road between Dörmbach and Elters. We hike through a varied meadow landscape towards Harbach. We keep to the west and reach a large refuge with information boards about the HOCHRHÖNER®. Behind it we follow a moss-covered path and halfway around the northern slope of the Kirschberg. Here is the HOCHRHÖNER® bench with a fantastic view of Nüsttal and the Kuppenrhön. Then it goes to Langenberg, we walk through the village and turn right after the last house. At the aisle we have a magical view of the valley towards Schwarzbach. We circle Ulrichshauck and walk down the outskirts of Schwarzbach. After the sports field, we pass the sour cherry and apple trees and reach Gotthards.
5th day stage (15.5 km)
- Gotthards rest area
- Ahorn Platz
- Tann (Rhön)
In Gotthards the mountain road goes steeply uphill and we see a good part of the previous stage. Through the forest we come to Ketten, where we cross the border between Hessen and Thuringia. There are hardly any memories here of the division of Germany, which ran less than 100 meters further east. From the road we walk on gravel forest roads up the Katzenstein and along the height in the forest. Back in the open area, the view wanders south to Milseburg and the Wasserkuppe. Boxberg can only be reached by a green-marked feeder path that continues to Hilders. Above Boxberg we walk downhill on the road through a forest towards Habel and up to the summit of Habelberg (718 m). At the small refuge by the side of the path, we can take a last look down into the village of Habel. The steep descent to Tann leads to the Ulster bridge. Along the park and city walls we come to the city gate with the distinctive, round towers. We reach the city through the gate built in 1557. Here you can visit the Elf-Apostel-Haus, the town fountain on the market square, the Ochsenbäcker half-timbered house, the St. Nicholas Church and the Rhön Museum Village as well as the palace complex of the Barons von und zu der Tann with the palace fountain.
6th day stage (17 km, plus 1.3 km on the feeder to the center of Dermbach)
- Tann (Rhön)
- Andenhausen (route merging of the variants Kuppenrhön & Lange Rhön)
- Dermbach (Fatima chapel)
We walk through the alleys of the town of Tann past the cemetery , it goes steeply uphill and over the grass path to Dietgeshof. We reach the wide plateau via Andenhausen. At the edge of the forest we walk along the row of bushes and trees that mark the border between Thuringia and Hesse. The slab path, which belongs to the former border system, leads to the table and benches - ideal for taking a break. Here the route over the Kuppenrhön and the Lange Rhön is brought together again. We walk into the valley and past the gardens of Andenhausen and through the village. We walk a few meters downhill at the bypass road and left on a grass path up to the access to Katzenstein, a rock made of basalt columns with a summit cross and a wonderful view. From the parking lot of the Hotel Katzenstein we walk to the former border barracks. On the road to Zitters we switch to the gravel field path at a cross and come through the forest steeply downhill onto the road from Brunnhartshausen to Steinbach. We hike uphill to the saddle between Gläserberg and Waltersberg. Before Föhlritz we go left and above the village again left and right to the summit of the Gläserberg with a hut belonging to the Rhönklub. The panorama board shows every elevation in the northern Rhön and in the Thuringian Forest. Between fences the path leads down over pastures and steeply downhill over serpentines. At the intersection of the forest paths, the feeder from the Ermberg hut near Oberalba joins on the left and the feeder to Dermbach straight ahead.
7th Day (11.5 km, plus 1.3 km feeder from Dermbach)
From Dermbach there is a feeder that leads directly to the Fatima-Kapelle. Then we walk along the forest, in the meadow and downhill into a valley to the road to nearby Glattbach. At the end of the village we meet the figure of Rhönpaulus, known as "Robin Hood" of the Rhön. We walk on dirt roads towards the Neuberg and see 600 year old yew trees in the Ibengarten nature reserve. Branches form a green tunnel over the forest path. We come over a saddle from the west to the east side of the mountain. Shortly before Wiesenthal we cross the street and come to the Hornmühle. In the forest there is a steep uphill to the Horn (578 m). A rest area awaits us here with a view of Roßdorf, Wiesenthal and Wiesenthaler Schweiz. We go back to the Wiesental on the wooded ridge of the Lange Rain and after Bernshausen to the parking lot.
8th Day (19 km)
- Bernhäuser Kutte
- Parking area Polsambach
- Bad Salzungen
We walk past ponds to the Bernshäuser Kutte. The formation of the circular lake is attributed by geologists to a collapse (sinkholes) in the subsurface. We walk around the forest on field, meadow and forest paths to what the locals call the Stoffelskuppe. On the ascending forest path to the Pleß, the path forks shortly before the panoramic mountain (645 m), where we take the right forest path and switch to the narrow path to the summit. From the observation tower, the view extends from Wasserkuppe to the large Inselsberg in the Thuringian Forest. For the descent there is a steep path or alternatively a stairway. Below is a former barracks, which was the eastern counterpart to the Wasserkuppe during the Cold War. Downhill we reach the Polsambachgrund, a wide valley. Signs indicate that the area to the right of the path is used for military purposes. Over a small footbridge, below which the Polsambach flows, we come to a large parking lot for hikers and walk through the village of Langenfeld at the edge of the forest. The path leads between allotment gardens into a depression and through the valley with fields and meadows to the outskirts of Bad Salzungen. We pass the modern clinic, cross the Zellerroda allotment garden and reach the Hochrhöner gate. This is the counterpart to the hiking portal at the beginning of the path in Bad Kissingen. We have achieved our goal! A green marked feeder route leads to the train station. Those who still want to spend time in the district town can, for example, visit the Solebad at the graduation garden nearby or visit the two covered graduation towers.