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[Germany] MTB – Riding up the three highest peaks in the Black Forest

    Black Forest Feldberg Horzogenhorn bike

    Photo: From the Herzogenhorn looking south.

    Hitting the Feldberg (1493m), Seebuck (1449m), and Herzogenhorn (1415m). The three highest peaks in the Black Forest, and the highest in Germany outside of the Alps.

    Key Information

    Route: Segeten – Bernau – Menschenschwand – Feldberg – Herzogenhorn – Bernau – Ibach – Segeten.

    Length: 80km, +/- 1900m.

    Date: 2021-July-22


    Practical Information

    Season: Late spring – Autumn.

    Arrival/Departure: This route will be rather awkward to repeat unless you are staying in the area. A more reasonable starting point would be the train stations along the Freiburg i.B. to Schluchsee line.

    Supplies: There are various villages and restaurants along the route. The only real shop that I passed was in Bernau.

    Alternate routes/shortcuts: Not really many options other than just not going so far. I would skip the Feldberg and Seebuck in favour of the Herzogenhorn if I just had the energy for one.

    Exposure/Hazards: A few brief sections on roads, but nothing too busy. None of the riding is technical, the descent straight down from the Herzogenhorn is a bit steep but otherwise it is almost all paved road or gravel.

    I planned the route using Komoot with the intention of trying to avoid both roads and extra climbs as much as possible. Sometimes using the official signed routes and sometimes just ploughing through the forest paths. I have written about riding and planning a bit more in my cycling Black Forest post.

    Around the Feldberg was busy with walkers and few E-bikers, but most of the time it was very quiet or I was outright alone.


    Notes along the route

    Starting off following the Murg stream to its source, and then along the ridgeline to the pass at Ibacher Kreuz to avoid the road and avoid gaining/loosing too much height. This dropped me down into Bernau which I had only intended to pass along the side of, but realising that I was out of sunscreen a diversion across the village to a shop was required.

    Through lonely meadows and forest.
    Approaching Bernau for the first time.

    From Bernau there is a little bit of single trail before reaching the valley road to Menschenschwand.

    The ride through Menschenschwand is fantastic. Basically flat along the valley floor with beautiful houses forest all around. I followed the valley up past the waterfall and climbed what was marked as a MTB route. This would have been fine in the other direction but I had to push up a fairly steep and rough single trail for 20 minutes – so I would suggest using the marked cycling route instead to climb out of the valley.

    Looking back over Menschenschwand just before the Feldberg pass road.
    By the Seebuck. Hikers coming up by foot and chair lift.

    Reaching the road at Feldberg the tone really changes. From a few scattered hikers and bikers there is now vast amounts of tourism infrastructure with car parking, hotels, and a chair lift going up.

    The climb up to the Feldberg plateau is quite steep at times. I first went to the Seebuck which is the lower end but stands out more thanks to the chunky tower (including a ham museum). This is also where the chair lift drops people off so it was quite busy, I admired the Bismarck memorial and a slight view over the Feldsee lake below for a minute then carried on. The top is full of hikers but there are two very wide paths running parallel to each other so I didn’t have any problems with them. Crossing over to Feldberg proper the novelty of being at the highest point is fun, but the summit is just too wide to get a good view. There is also the Baldenweger Buck (1460m) which could claim to be the 3rd highest peak and would make for an easy diversion, but it is barely even a side peak of the Feldberg.

    The highest bike in the Black Forest at the Feldberg peak.
    The roads connecting Feldberg and Seebuck.

    There is a little side path that is marked as a MTB trail, but that was closed so I had to double back to the hotels.

    Turning off to the Herzogenhorn it suddenly gets much quieter again. The last climb up to the Herzogenhorn is short but steep, however it is worth it. The Herzogenhorn is by far my favourite of the three peaks: it is much quieter, it isn’t as broad so you can see in every direction at once, and whilst the Feldberg blocks the view to the north the more interesting views are to the south anyway. It also has the most ridiculously oversized summit cross.

    The summit cross on the Herzogenhorn. Yes that is an adult sized bike.

    Dropping down the south side of the Hzerogenhorn on a rather steep and loose footpath before joining a gravel road to the Krunkelbachhütte, which is worth a stop for a drink, and down to Bernau again. Crossing my path from the way out and following the cycling route to Ibach. This is a gentle climb on a gravel road, up until Mutterslehen when it gets much steeper. Following the route through the forest to Oberibach is the tougher option, but it gives the last

    Dropping down from the Herzogenhorn.
    Passing back through Bernau.

    After Ibach there are a few quiet little valleys to cross with nothing but forest and moorland.

    Forest road after Bernau
    Looking back over Mutterslehen

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