Dahner Felsenland The leisure and travel magazine
Rocky wonderland Tranquil woods Following the footsteps of the robber knight Full of myths and legends The journey is the goal Over hill and dale Unearthly underground Have you tree-topped yet? Bare feet and wooden heads Feel-good world From farm to table
INTERVIEW Three questions to L. W. Tritsche, mythical creature Ms. Elwetritsche, what has brought you to the Dahn Rockland? We are always looking for people who will treat us kindly. Even if they do not know quite what they want. What do you mean? Well, look: On the one hand the people here get up in the middle of the night to track us down and catch us. On the other hand they put us on pedestals like in the Dahn spa grounds. Makes you feel a bit strange. And yet you have lived here since time immemorial! Yes â€“ and we fully intend to stay. We like it here because we love unspoiled nature. It is our habitat. And the people here, even though they occasionally hunt us, have their heart in the right place. Above all, they have a good sense of humor.
Fables, rocks and recreation
The southwestern Palatinate A tour of the Dahn Rockland is full of sensations – a natural amusement park. It is obvious that the region is aptly named. It teems with bizarre rock formations bearing names such as Maiden’s Jump, Bride and Groom, Gallows Rock, Flat Stones or Schiller’s Rock that cause awe and respect even in people who are not scared of heights. The rocks tell stories – just like the many castles that bring history to life. Hospitality has a long tradition in this area. You know what you get – as host and as guest alike: a sound infrastructure and a gently developed nature that appeals to urbanites as well as country folk. Woods and pastures, rocks and fortresses, rivers and swimming ponds, castles and mines – a stretch of land to cherish, a region for active recreation. Its family-oriented program has even received an award from the German government. The dense network of hiking and biking trails in the Rockland sets standards. If you inquire about tours in the Dahn Rockland, you get an armful of suggestions. The close proximity to France offers opportunities for literally boundless tours. The association of Rockland chefs cultivates a deliciously
creative program – seasonal and prepared with regional ingredients. The freshly caught Rumbach brook trout is as appetizing as the Pinot Blanc from the neighboring Southern Wine Route. That humans and nature get along well here is also evidenced by the central location of the Rockland in the Palatinate ForestNorthern Vosges biosphere reserve and nature park. You do not need to understand everything right away to like it. Take, for example, the Elwetritsches. Not everybody knows what to make of them. The legendary Palatine creature has many friends in the area around Dahn and well beyond it. In the town itself, behind the restaurant “Haus des Gastes”, there is an Elwetritsche educational trail. And directly behind it starts the Elwetritsche circular trail. Of course, there also is an Elwetritsche club because without it none of this would exist. And where else could you find an Elwetritsche flight lane. Discover the Dahn Rockland!
First there was desert
Green, red and yellow everywhere: Those are the colors of the Rockland, where sandstone peaks rise up out of the treetops.
When you dive into this sea of colors and shapes you can take in this unique landscape with all you senses. The bizarre red sandstone massifs rising above lush green forests are part of a rocky wonderland that stimulates the imagination. 47 natural monuments and 24 lookout rocks are an invitation to go exploring. The view from above is simply overwhelming. Stretched out below the adventurer are clear streams, rivers and lakes, charming villages, meadows in bloom and almost endless hiking trails in unspoiled nature. At eye level, imposing castles – history turned into stone. The rocky wonder dates back about 250 million years, to the Triassic era of the red sandstone. At that time this region had the appearance of a desert. The wind and rivers bearing water only from time to time brought sand and gravel – erosion debris from mountain ranges further south whose
rock had become brittle and been loosened by exposure to the weather. Over time layers up to 500 meters thick were deposited and solidified to sandstone. Their typical reddish to yellowish color comes from iron oxide. If you want to learn more about millions of years of the Earth’s history, the geo trail is your place. Today’s appearance of the landscape, however, with its numerous and varied rock formations developed much later. With the onset of the Ice Age about two million years ago the region began to be shaped by erosion, which continues to this day – although so slowly that we do not notice it. So, when you hike on the Dahn Rock Trail you can not only enjoy the impressive scenery, but also peek through a window into the history of the Earth.
RECOMMENDATIONS Lookout rocks (small selection) ■ Jungfernsprung (Maiden’s Jump) in Dahn ■ Schwalbenfelsen (Swallow’s Rock) in Dahn ■ Römerfelsen (Roman Rock) near Dahn ■ Christkindelsfelsen (Christ Child Rock) near Rumbach ■ Pfaffenfelsen (Parson’s Rock) near Schönau ■ Lindelskopf (Lindel’s Head) near Ludwigswinkel ■ Hahnfelsen “Felslandblick” (Rooster’s Rock “Rockland View”) in Erfweiler ■ Jüngstbergkanzel (Jungst Rock Chancel) near Bruchweiler-Bärenbach All lookout rocks are marked on the Dahn Rockland leisure map.
Pure nature in the middle of the biosphere reserve
That the woods of the Dahn Rockland are so deep in the middle of nowhere that fox and hare wish each other a good night here, is nothing but a rumor.
What is a fact, however, is that the rare wildcat has found a refuge here. To catch a glimpse of a representative of this shy species would be an encounter of the uncommon kind. Even rarer to find is the lynx. But thanks to systematic observation we know today that a small population of the largest native predatory cat again roams the vast, nearly natural woods. Deer and wild boar on the other hand are among the more common residents of the Rockland forest. You can also hardly take a hike without meeting some squirrels. And it is the territory of bats, martens and many kinds of birds, reptiles and insects. The Dahn Rockland has many such areas where animals find tranquility and seclusion. The people who live here or spend a few pleasant days or weeks here as guests, respect nature as the source of it all. And this respect has tradition. It started with the establishment of the Palatinate Forest nature park in 1959. At the time, it was one of the first nature parks created in Germany and today is among the largest in the country, spreading out over almost 180,000 hectares (700 square miles). The park’s primary objec-
tive was the preservation and development of a large, almost unspoiled and natural landscape as a place for people from the surrounding cities and metropolitan areas to relax in and encounter nature. The park was officially put under protection in 1967 as the “Palatinate Forest Nature Park” conservation area. Because of its special character as a showcase and role model, the region was recognized by the UNESCO in 1992 as a biosphere reserve and included in the worldwide network of biosphere reserves. That makes the Palatinate Forest an important puzzle piece in the global effort for the preservation of biological diversity and sustainable use of the earth’s natural resources. Since 1998 the region has been the German part of the border crossing German-French biosphere reserve Palatinate Forest–Northern Vosges, with the Dahn Rockland in its heart. A great number of wild animals and plants find an appropriate habitat here. Fox and hare are among them – no matter, whether they wish each other a good night in the deep of the forest or not…
RECOMMENDATIONS Discovery route “Cross-border countryside”. Start: Ludwigswinkel 4 circular trails on both sides of the green border. Information points along the route offer interesting insights in and outlooks for the biosphere reserve. www.pfaelzerwald.de www.biosphere-pfaelzerwald-vosges.org
INTERVIEW Four questions to H. Trapp, robber knight, ret. Mr. Trapp, you are said to still be haunting this area, even though you died in 1503. Is that true? Of course I still hang around; how else would you be able to ask me such a silly question? But stop calling me Mr. Trapp; it is Knight Hans von Trotha to you! Why did you rob, plunder and even pick a fight with the Pope? Because the authorities cheated me. They promised me Berwartstein castle with accessories. Those accessories Iâ€™m still waiting for. For a brave knight like me that means nothing less than a lifelong feud. You are selfish. You should have done like Robin Hood who shared his loot with the poor! Nonsense - what good does that do him now! He had already been dead for 300 years when I was born, and I am still alive. Donâ€™t you want to repent your evil deeds in your old age? Why on earth! Then people would no longer have any respect for my immortality. Your questions are really getting on my nerves. Thank you for the interview, noble knight.
Following the robber knight
The Dahn Rockland can rightfully be called “Palatinate’s Castle District”.
No fewer than 16 castles and ruins can be visited here and in neighboring northern Alsace – a playground for children of all ages where the old walls bring the distant past of noblemen and robber knights back to life. Mysterious passageways in the rocks lead down to chambers and dungeons, and high up on the battlements you almost seem to see the enemy knights and squires with their colorful banners... Myths and legends have grown around the historic sites of battles and wars in the border region. Famously infamous was the robber knight Hans von Trott who resided on Berwartstein castle from where he plied his dreadful trade and struck terror in people’s hearts. As Hans Trapp he nowadays scares naughty French children by rattling his chains and making dreadful noises. Berwartstein, the robber knight’s castle near Erlenbach, partially rebuilt from 1893 to 1896, today is one of the most visited castles of the Palatinate. The legendary aerie, inhabited and offering food and drink, is impressively located on top of a high sandstone rock. Besides a tour through the rooms chiseled into the rock - the scarily romantic highlight of every
guided tour -, what draws crowds of visitors to Berwartstein is the breathtakingly deep well shaft which used to secure the castle’s water supply in the old days, and last but not least the fantastic view. If one castle is not enough for you, how about three at a stroke, such as the “Altdahn, Grafenstein and Tanstein” group near Dahn with their castle museum. Altdahn is the largest castle complex in the Palatinate. The highest castle ruin of the Palatinate is the Wegelnburg, 572 meters above sea level and built directly on the border. Wasigenstein castle in the vicinity of Fischbach-Petersbächel and of the French town of Obersteinbach was first mentioned in a 10th century poem. And if you just cannot get enough of the exciting world of the knights, then we recommend wrapping things up by taking your children to the German-French castle playground located within sight of the Fleckenstein castle ruins not far from the border town of Hirschthal near the Gimbelhof country inn.
RECOMMENDATIONS ■ Castle ruins “Neudahn”, near Dahn ■ Castle group “Altdahn-Grafendahn Tanstein”, near Dahn ■ Castle ruins “Drachenfels”, near Busenberg ■ “Berwartstein” castle, near Erlenbach ■ Defense tower “Kleinfrankreich”, near Erlenbach ■ Castle ruins “Wegelnburg”, between Nothweiler and Schönau ■ Castle ruins “Blumenstein”, near Schönau ■ Castle ruins “Hohenbourg”/F, near Nothweiler ■ Castle ruins “Loewenstein”/F, near Nothweiler ■ Castle ruins “Fleckenstein”,/F near Lembach ■ Castle ruins “Froensbourg”,/F near Niedersteinbach ■ Castle ruins “Wasigenstein”,/F near Obersteinbach ■ Castle ruins “Arnsbourg”,/F near Obersteinbach ■ Castle ruins “Lutzelhardt”,/F near Obersteinbach
RECOMMENDATIONS Brochure with 26 “Stories, myths and legends” along the Rockland Legends Trail. Among them: “The forgotten guard, The golden crown, The brave chatelaine, The seven brothers, The battle at Wasigenstein”… This brochure is currently available only in German. An English version is planned.
Full of myths and legends
Stories, myths and legends have left their mark in the Dahn Rockland – in nature, in buildings and in the minds of people who pass them on from generation to generation. Many of these legends help keep history alive or revive it. When you explore their locations, you will find: The Dahn Rockland can rightfully call itself a region of legendary beauty. Often it is the remembrance of occurrences shrouded in history that makes the present really exciting. The stories, myths and legends are immortal; in the present they maintain the connection between beauty and fate, past and future of this stretch of land in the southwest of the Palatinate. Only those who raise these legends’ treasures will discover the real wealth of this unique region. FOR EXAMPLE: The Forgotten Guard During the Thirty Years’ War the imperial forces posted a guard on a rock above the Lauter valley. He was to give early warning of the enemy’s approach. When the Swedes suddenly began to attack one night, the Imperials hastily had to retreat and forgot to collect the guard. He continued to stand guard, waiting in vain for his relief. Eventually he began to feel eerie. Finally he went down into the village and told the mayor his story. Since he did not really mind having been left behind by his comrades, he hung up his soldier’s coat and became a worker in the service of the village mayor. A year later he even married the mayor’s daughter. A dozen years had gone by when the man one day heard with alarm that his old regiment was coming back. He was afraid he would be regarded as a deserter and executed. Hoping for a good outcome, he exchanged the farmhand’s frock with the soldier’s coat and went back to his post on the mountain. When the Imperials approached, the colonel was
utterly amazed by his subordinate’s loyalty. Since the war had ended in the meantime, the guard was graciously discharged and is commemorated to this day by the “guard rock” above the Lauter valley. FOR EXAMPLE: The Haunted Castle The Maimont mountain is said to hold a hidden treasure that can be only be raised by someone who has seen the White Lady at the sacrificial stone. One day a man set out for the mountain and waited for the apparition – but in vain. When the day began to dawn in the east he slowly went down the mountain towards the Blumenstein castle. Suddenly the castle shone in its old splendor as if lit up by magic. Towers, gates and buildings arose out of nowhere. Behind the windows he believed he could make out the shadows of people, when suddenly a trumpet sounded and all the grandeur turned back to ruins. The man went up on the mountain many more nights and every time the miracle would happen. Even some of his friends had the fortune to catch sight of the splendor on Blumenstein. This continued until one of the friends took a stranger along to show him the wonderful spectacle. From then on it could only rarely be seen, and only the very lucky one who wanders up to the sacrificial stone on the Maimont at full moon will occasionally glimpse the castle in all its glory.
Every kind of walking
The journey is the goal The Dahn Rockland offers something for everyone who “loves to go a-wandering”.
Whether it is a long, relaxed stroll or a trek of several days for the ambitious and trained hiker: you have your choice here. The network of well-marked trails stretches over more than 1,000 kilometers. Plenty of room to unwind and enjoy nature. But the Rockland also has a few extras that can rightfully be termed “adventure hiking”: Themes that have a special way of reflecting the surrounding scenery and history. Examples are the premium hiking trails in the Dahn Rockland certified by the German Hiking Institute.
Legendary and quite a sight – the “Rockland Legends Trail” The 90 kilometer long Rockland Legends Trail that you can enjoy either on a long-distance walk over several days or section by section in seven circular tours. Two dozen stories, myths and legends bring the past back to life. Many spectacular rock formations dot the path, almost a dozen castles and many other attractions. If you choose Dahn as the starting point of your walk, you have the symbol of the most famous legend right in front of your eyes: the Maiden’s Jump. No less fabled and indispensable on such a walk is the Elwetritsche. Hikers can almost grasp the mythical bird of the Palatinate. Legends also shroud the Drachenfels, Berwartstein and Fleckenstein castles. If you set out with an open mind, curiosity and a bit of imagination, you can have incredible experiences...
Fascinating colors and shapes – the “Dahn Rock Trail” A real attraction for hikers is the Dahn Rock Trail. On twelve kilometers the circular trail follows mostly new, narrow paths that take you to some striking rock formations. But not only the route is full of variety, the same can be said of the rock shapes. If you want to take to the trail, you should be fairly surefooted and in good physical condition. From springs to ponds – the “Wasgau Lake Tour” In the Dahn Rockland, around the communities of Fischbach and Ludwigswinkel, you can find an abundance of water. The contrast between bold peaks and wide valleys with scenic wetlands, clear springs and brooks and secluded ponds is quite unique. The Wasgau Lake Tour takes you through this countryside with its quiet charm and spectacular villages on a length of about 19 kilometers that can be hiked in two stages. Pole positions That Nordic walking is part of the offerings in this vacation region is hardly worth mentioning. Whether on guided tours or on your own, there are more than 27 routes of different length and difficulty to choose from: Soul and body will benefit from taking your poles for a walk in this singular scenery.
RECOMMENDATIONS Elwetritsche trail, approx. 10 km, Dahn Forest theme trail, approx. 10 km, Schindhard Busenberg wooden shoe trail, approx. 25 km, Busenberg Haunted castle tour, approx. 9 km, FischbachPetersb채chel Geo trail, approx. 2 km, Bundenthal
RECOMMENDATIONS ■ Collection “Biking in the Dahn Rockland” containing
12 circular tours. ■ “Biosphere-Tour” approx. 40 km; A circular tour for nature lovers through the Dahn Rockland. ■ “Robber Knight Tour” approx. 41 km; To the mighty castles of dreaded knights in the Dahn Rockland. ■ “ Water Lily Tour” approx. 26 km; Along scenic ponds and through deep forests.
By touring bike or mountain bike
Over hill and dale
The rocks, the castles, the woods, the water: The big Four in the Dahn Rockland can also be explored by bike.
An extensive network of bike trails leads you through floodplains and over mountain ridges, through nature reserves, to one of the many swimming ponds or over to our friendly Alsatian neighbors and their attractions. Mountain bikes are welcome here for an enjoyable ride on wide forest and farm roads through unspoiled nature. All 15 towns of the Dahn Rockland are connected by top quality, well-marked bike trails – over a dozen tours to choose from. In the distance you are greeted by Drachenfels and Berwartstein castles when you pedal on the popular Robber Knight bike trail from Bruchweiler-Bärenbach to Erlenbach and Vorderweidenthal that connects to the Klingbach bike trail. A must along the way: A visit of the Drachenfels castle ruins with their bold climbs over narrow stairs and their breath-taking view, or a stopover at Berwartstein castle. The German-French Pamina Lauter valley bike trail runs along the Wieslauter brook through the romantic Wieslauter valley past Bobenthal and on to France and to the Rhine River. Worth a visit: The small town of Wissembourg in northern Alsace. On the Sauertal bike trail you pass through wide valleys from Bundenthal via Rumbach and Fischbach to Ludwigswinkel or Schönau and Hirschthal.
The nature reserves, the biosphere house with its treetop trail, and the swimming ponds along the way are tempting stops for a break. The War and Peace bike trail along the German-French border is a special kind of experience. Among the longer bike routes is the biosphere tour for nature lovers, measuring 40 kilometers. Running almost in a circle around the center of the Dahn Rockland, it reveals all the beauty of this countryside. MTB (race) course in the Dahn Rockland A challenge for big and small mountain bikers is the MTB course at the “Fladensteine” rock formation in Bundenthal with its permanent, professional race course, kid’s trail and technical zone. All routes start at the Bundenthal sports field. The race course is marked with red arrows, the kid’s trail with yellow ones and the technical zone with blue arrows on white fields. For safety reasons helmets are mandatory. All users ride at their own risk. www.radsportarena.de
Fladensteine geo trail and Nothweiler iron ore mine
Tracing Earth’s history up and down hills is never dull Never loses its thrill
Nothweiler iron ore mine It’s possible that the Celts forged their famous swords from Nothweiler ore. What is certain, however, is that until 1883 the iron ore deposits in the southern Palatinate formed the basis of a flourishing mining and steel industry. Today the exhibition mine at the community of Nothweiler offers a unique opportunity for a glimpse at the miners’ lives. Since 1978 visitors can admire the colorful ore patterns in the sandstone in the cavities of Saint Anne’s tunnel. The artist has been nature itself: More than 30 million years ago iron-containing hot water rose from crevices and fissures deep in the rock. The iron ore segregated from the water in beautiful red, brown and yellowish shades. In their search for the ore the miners worked through the mountain by hand – with mallet and iron but without gunpowder. On the 420 meter long tour you get a good look at the secrets of the depths of the earth.
Fladensteine geo trail – Geology up close The geo trail circles the Fladenstein massif near Bundenthal and takes you back 250 million years and more in the earth’s history. Along the half-hour path you will find interesting information about the development of the different types of rock, their local occurrence and their utilization as indispensable raw material. And you can quite literally get your hands on the rock itself. The diversity of shapes of the sandstone rocks with their turrets, ledges and benches, their distinct layers and erosions give you an impression of the sculpting force of nature over millions of years. And if you want to get really close to the sandstone: The Fladensteine are proven climbing rocks.
RECOMMENDATIONS â– Biosphere theme trail and water theme trail Both circular trails are approx. 2 kilometers long and provide interesting information for young and old at a number of hands-on stations. Start: Biosphere house â– July - August: : Night hikes and sleep-outs on the treetop trail www.wipfelpfad.de
Treetop trail and biosphere house Palatinate Forest/Northern Vosges
Have you tree-topped yet?! The biosphere house “Palatinate Forest/Northern Vosges” in Fischbach with its breathtaking treetop trail – what an experience!
People who come to Fischbach from the east instinctively stop and rub their eyes. They see the tops of white tents rise above the treetops of the forest. These are part of Germany’s first treetop trail which opened in 2003 and lets visitors see the world from 35 meters up. The trail zigzags up to the treetops. At a height of 18 meters it winds through the branches up to the observation platform at 35 meters. Stunning is the view over the Palatinate Forest, fascinating are the impressions of nature. There are two trails to choose from: one moderate, the other for the more adventurous. For the way back down you can use either a comfortable ramp or a faster paced 40 m slide. The treetop trail offers adventure without risk. 19 steel supports, a firm handrail and stable wooden bridges provide safety and give the entire family and even wheelchair users easy access to the treetops. When you spot rare birds or gnarled trees you realize how rich this region is in wonders of nature. The many special traits of the cross-border area of unspoiled nature are shown in the biosphere house located directly adjacent to the treetop trail and acting as a visitors’ information center for the border crossing biosphere reserve.
With its innovative architecture and its exciting interior the biosphere house was an EXPO project in the year 2000. The centerpiece of the house is the interactive hands-on exhibition that allows visitors of all ages to study the surrounding nature. Whether you want to see the world through the eyes of various animals or spend a night in the forest - together with owls and bats -, here is your chance! It is not without reason that the biosphere house is located in Fischbach near Dahn. All around there is plenty of nature to discover. The house is the starting point of excursions into the vicinity. Familyoriented dining facilities as well as overnight accommodations in the neighboring nature center and a diverse calendar of events throughout the year complete the offerings of the biosphere house.
Barefoot path and sculpture trail in Ludwigswinkel
Bare feet and wooden heads The 1.6 kilometer barefoot path offers a refreshing experience, and on the sculpture trail visitors are greeted by more than 30 figures from the world of legend and fable. There it goes, the lost shoe. Leisurely the symbol of civilization floats down the stream. But that (almost) does not matter. After all, this is the barefoot path. And shoes are just about the most unnecessary thing here. In Ludwigswinkel you can release your feet from their usual leather prison and put them firmly on the ground. Forest floor and swamp, sand, gravel and mowed pasture await your soles when you follow the signs with their funny “footnotes”. Unfamiliar sensations for feet spoiled by firm footwear: Gravel meanly pokes into the soft flesh, mulch and straw prick the soles – but at the sight of blooming pastures with fragrant herbs we are more than ready to take these little discomforts as a tingling massage of our reflex zones and a thrill for notorious pussyfooters. So close to nature – especially when wading in the sandy stream bed. It will really lift your spirits. The cool water refreshes and invigorates and stimulates the circulation – but it is not primarily the “medicinal” effect of this natural Kneipp treatment that attracts us. It is the youthful pleasure of treading
water and poking the toes into the mud. So, there it goes, the shoe. No problem. A friendly gentleman in the “oncoming lane” fishes it from the clear water and hands it over to its owner with a smile. Enthusiastic members of the barefooters’ guild. They do not need words. They both know: You don’t really need shoes. But away from the Ludwigswinkel barefoot path they still are somewhat practical. Cultural pessimists claim that the chil-dren of the 21st century know the forest only from video games. The sculpture trail in Ludwigswinkel is a remedy. A walk in these woods is anything but boring for children. 33 wooden figures, cut from trees right there by two local foresters, have a lot to tell about nature, history, people and legends of the Wasgau region: Elwetritsche, snake spirit and hunter, wood sprite and the knight of Lindelskopf line the 2.5 kilometer circular trail. But you will also find forest animals: deer, kite, wildcat and barn owl, frog, falcon and wild boar.
RECOMMENDATIONS Rockland water paradise and sauna world www.sauna-dahn.de Swimming ponds in the Dahn Rockland ■ Schöntalweiher near Ludwigswinkel-Schöntal ■ Sägmühlweiher in Ludwigswinkel ■ Saarbacherhammer between Ludwigswinkel and Fischbach ■ Seehof near Erlenbach/ Berwartstein castle
Rockland water paradise and sauna world
Wonderful fragrances, hot steam, a fluorescing rock wall, lights that change color, and soothing music guarantee complete relaxation in the sanarium.
In the sauna world of the Rockland water paradise in Dahn wellness is spelled with a capital W. A large rock crystal sauna and a freestanding House of Herbs provide cozy heat and sauna feeling in the classic sauna area. After you emerge from the blossom bath or the herbal steam bath, you may be in the mood for a tropical rain shower or some polar ice rain. You can have it all in the theme shower area, true to the motto “Everything flows”. The Finnish sauna village offers an unrivaled atmosphere for recreation and relaxation any time of the year on 7,000 square meters in the middle of nature. Made completely of ancient Kelo logs is the big Finnish sauna house, an exclusive panorama sauna and a breathtaking 30 meter long relaxation house that includes the Fin Lounge, a dream room and a chill-out room. The hot stone benches in the unique biothermium provide soothing deep heat, and the water hut makes chilling and footbaths a treat. A spacious wooden porch and the well-maintained sunbathing lawn will thrill every sun worshiper and nature lover. When you dip into the biologically cleaned natural pool, Finland won’t seem all that far away. Sandstone boulders framed by select plants and trees are eye-catchers and contri-
bute greatly to the attractive picture. But the Dahn family and adventure pool has much more to offer. One of the highlights is the giant 40 meter slide that takes you right in the middle of the wet and wild fun. Flow channel, mushroom shower, water fall showers for a back massage, bubbling pool, massage jets and Jacuzzi beds put a sparkle in water lovers’ eyes. A solarium provides a natural tan any time of the year. The connected indoor and outdoor areas let you splash about outside even in winter, and in summer there is an additional pool for ambitious swimmers. Young water fans will find great distraction here. The mother/father/child area with its large pool, merry-go-round, bubbly hill, elephant slide, water animals and more is a place right after a child’s heart. You can enjoy all this in the midst of the Palatinate Forest where clean air, clear water and a gorgeous countryside provide the perfect setting for your sports and leisure activities.
Woodwork and stage floor Wood art by Erwin Würth is a protest against the throwaway mentality, a criticism of the double standard of civilization, and at the same time a guide to treating Creation with care. Shaping wood, forming a piece of nature, that has fascinated Erwin Würth since childhood. So the path to carpentry was almost predestined and this craft became his tool for an artistic use of the material. The spark was ignited in 1991 during a vacation at the Danish coast. Erwin Würth was fascinated by the driftwood washed ashore: Things that we normally would not notice, that have become worthless, acquire new value for Erwin Würth. He picks up what others have cast away and what seems to be of no use. He collects it and then rearranges individual pieces and designs something completely new from them. A talent is discovered. Since 1993 Erwin Würth’s works have been exhibited in Germany and abroad. In his studio in Petersbächel in the Dahn Rockland he shows a sampling of objects in a permanent display. No less interesting: the historic sawmill and the wide range of native wood varieties to see and touch. www.wuerth-holzart.de
For more than 40 years the “Dahn Summer Festival” has been a particular highlight of the Rockland for locals and guests alike. What counts is diversity and high quality. With an average of twelve events from May through September plus many additional concerts and theater performances, the Summer Festival has become an institution in the cultural scene of the Palatinate and the State. Its program of concerts, plays, comedies, cabaret and jazz captivates culture lovers of every kind. The wonderful location in the midst of the Dahn Rockland lends itself to open air performances at Altdahn Castle. Rain-proof venues are the Otfried von Weißenburg theater, the municipal hall in the “Haus des Gastes”, the civic hall in the town hall and also the popular band shell in the Dahn spa grounds which is especially suited for young families and disabled persons. The Dahn Summer Festival has been of inestimable value for the region because it has kicked off an active cultural life in clubs and organizations, galleries and art centers. Amusement is guaranteed when the amateur theater group of Bruchweiler performs plays in the Palatinate dialect. The Wasgau Theater in FischbachPetersbächel, renowned well beyond the Palatinate, offers its sizeable audience not only a diversified theater program but also high-class movies which regularly “fill the house”. The motto of the Haewwich Theater at Busenberg, “More than a show”, is well chosen. Twice a year youngsters and adults put performances on stage.
RECOMMENDATIONS Galleries and museums ■ K reisgalerie (county gallery), Schulstr. 14, 66994 Dahn ■ Galerie N, Marktstr. 7, 66994 Dahn www.kunst-wasgau.de ■ Gallery “Die Werkstatt”, Friedhofstraße 7, 66996 Erfweiler www.galerie-die-werkstatt.de ■ Museum “Instrumentarium”, Nothweiler ■ Castle museum at Altdahn castle near Dahn, www.burgen.rlp.de ■ What, when where? You find the current calendar of events of the Dahn Rockland under www.dahner-felsenland.net
A taste for nature conservation. Culinary delights made from seasonal products of our region.
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example. All animals are butchered skillfully and in a responsible manner. The meat is processed close by, for ins-tance by the Rockland chefs. The same goes for local game and the trout from the clear streams of this region. To expand their menus the chefs also look for (and find) lamb and goat, vegetables, herbs and mushrooms right in this area. The guests find the results of the close connection between producers and restaurants on their menus. With this underlying idea and imaginative creations the Rockland chefs aim at a quality-conscious clientele. Those are guests who prefer local products over exotic ingredients that have traveled halfway around the globe before they land on Palatinate plates. These guests can expect a new culinary theme every month.
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“To handle a whole lamb instead of just the filet, that certainly is attractive for a cook.” The Rockland chefs are experienced with such tasks. They rely on closeness to nature and want to know where the products come from that they serve their guests. They look for untreated products “because we have a taste for nature conservation”. That is the ambition of the Rockland chefs, an initiative of a dozen restaurants in the Dahn Rockland. The cooking cooperation is one of the positive effects of the “Dahn Rockland development concept” presented in 1998. It concerns environmentally compatible tourism and the preservation of the characteristic landscape of this region which is marked not only by bold rock formations, but also by traditional orchards, floodplains and meadows. To keep these from overgrowing, a grazing concept has been developed that makes use of “suitable types of animals” such as sheep or free range cattle – Galloways, for
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From farm to table
The Rockland chefs
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Recipes from the Rockland chefs for you to try out: ■ Herbed lamb roast with hand-made spaetzle noodles and green beans with bacon ■ Small venison steaks with pumpkin mousse, glazed chestnuts and herbed hash browns ■ Trout dumplings with potatoes and pumpkin on cress sauce These and other recipes in German at www.dahner-felsenland-wirte.de
Fun for young and old
Fun and games, adventures and discoveries are the order of the day when the entire family goes vacationing in the Dahn Rockland.
16 castles and ruins in the Rockland and neighboring Alsace are within easy reach and wait to be conquered by the children. Here they can put themselves in the shoes of robber knights and noblemen, roam through secret passageways and dungeons or look out for the “enemy” from the castle’s battlements. Uncounted small and large massifs invite you to make your first attempts at climbing. In good weather you can watch climbers in the steep rocks show off their skills. Many of the peaks of the Dahn Rockland can be reached without problem even by children on secured paths with climbing aids. Below ground there is plenty to discover as well. On a guided tour of the Nothweiler exhibition mine children can learn a lot about the life and work of miners. Special treats in the Dahn Rockland are the Rockland water paradise with its many attractions and the wealth of natural swimming ponds where the youngsters can splash about. Water plays a role on the barefoot path in Ludwigswinkel as well, where you come in very close contact with nature. Just a few steps further, at the sculpture trail, wooden creatures tell their stories.
An extensive network of bike trails offers all kinds of opportunities for interesting tours in the Rockland. For walks with children we have special recommendations, such as the treasure hunting tour, the haunted castle tour or the Princess Hirlanda tour. Children will have an unforgettable time when they visit the biosphere house with the treetop trail in Fischbach. Nature is on permanent display for studying, playing in and exploring. Plus there are special events from bread baking in a clay oven to a night in the treetops with fairytale walk, from night hikes with owl and bat watching to drawing and woodworking courses. Always worth a family trip is “Petit Fleck” at the Fleckenstein castle near Lembach in northern Alsace. This cross-border theme station lets children experience nature’s treasures with their own senses. The Silz wild game and hiking park does the same in a different way. It is also within easy driving distance of the Dahn Rockland.
INTERVIEW Three questions to Bushy, the squirrel, mascot with a sense of family Hello, Bushy, what has happened to you? You are all wet! O that’s ok! I am coming from the barefoot path in Ludwigswinkel. And what I like best there is running in the water. Some children passed me – well, and then it splashed a little… And what are your plans? This afternoon I will visit the biosphere house with my parents. They have lots of hands-on things there. And I am curious about the treetop trail. I like it high up there. They say you can even spend the night there. Do you have plans for the next few days too? No. But that is no problem. The people at the tourist information in Dahn have put together such a great program for families with children. I know I won’t get bored. Bye now, I’ve got to run so I don’t miss the bus to the water paradise…
Dahn Rockland at a glance
Rest and recreation spots 15 climatic spas, resorts and tourist centers constitute the Dahn Rockland, surely one of the most interesting and romantic regions in Germany. Bobenthal: (approx. 350 residents) Bobenthal is rich in half-timbered houses. Not to miss: a historic mill wheel. The St. Germanshof section, directly on the French border, used to house the priory of the Weißenburg imperial abbey. Bruchweiler-Bärenbach: (approx. 1,720 res-idents) Located in the upper Wieslauter valley, surrounded by wooded slopes and green valleys. Several bold rocks such as Geiersteine (vulture stones) or Napoleonsfelsen (Napoleon’s rock), all designated natural monuments, surround the scenic village. Bundenthal: (approx. 1,200 residents) The fortified church and the geo trail directly at the Fladenstein natural monument are the highlights of Bundenthal. The town is also the final destination of the romantic railroad line Hinterweidenthal-Dahn-Bundenthal/Rumbach. Busenberg: (approx. 1,430 residents) The Drachenfels castle ruins, one of the boldest and most romantic fortresses in the Dahn Rockland, are within two kilometers of Busenberg. More bizarre rock formations can be found at every turn. Dahn: (approx. 4,900 residents) The tourist and cultural center of the Dahn Rockland. The Maiden’s Jump, a legendary rock, rises mightily in the middle of town. Another attraction not far from there are the Neudahn castle ruins and the mystic ruins of the “Altdahn-GrafendahnTanstein” massif with a museum. Erfweiler: (approx. 1,300 residents) With its half-timbered houses it is one of the most scenic villages in the Dahn Rockland. An old craft is remembered during Charcoal Week that takes place every spring. Erlenbach: (approx. 430 residents) Within eyeshot of the romantic, completely renovated Berwartstein rock castle lies the village of Erlenbach with its Lauterschwan section. The Seehof swimming pond is close by the castle. Fischbach: (approx. 1,720 residents) Fischbach and its Petersbächel section lie in the wide valley of the Sauer river, surrounded by woods and rocks. The biosphere house “Palatinate Forest/Northern Vosges” at the outskirts of Fischbach offers a special kind of experience on the breathtaking treetop trail.
Hirschthal: (approx. 110 residents) The smallest village of the Dahn Rockland, located directly on the French border and ideal for exploring the Fleckenstein castle ruins and the Fleckenstein pond in France. Ludwigswinkel: (approx. 1,010 residents) Ludwigswinkel and its Schöntal section, located on the border to the Alsace, have three swimming ponds to choose from. Another refreshing experience awaits you on the barefoot path of approx. 1.6 km length and the sculpture trail lined by more than 30 figures from the realm of fable, myth and legend. Niederschlettenbach: (approx. 350 residents) A highlight is the St. Laurentius parish church with Gothic choir and tower dating from the 15th century. Not far from the village is the small Gothic St. Anne’s Chapel housing the bones of the robber knight Hans von Trott. Nothweiler: (approx. 180 residents) The quiet, cozy village of Nothweiler lies directly at the French border at the foot of the highest castle ruins of the Palatinate: the Wegelnburg (572 meters). Close by is the exhibition mine of Nothweiler. Rumbach: (approx. 500 residents) Rare Romanesque frescoes can be found in Christ Church, an imposing fortified church. The great number of half-timbered houses make Rumbach a typical, idyllic village surrounded by bizarre rocks and deep forests. Schindhard: (approx. 630 residents) Characteristic for the village are the half-timbered houses with brick base typical for this Wasgau region. Schindhard is located in the middle of the popular sandstone climbing area of the Dahn Rockland. The route to the romantic Bärenbrunnerhof farm complex crosses the village. Schönau: (approx. 480 residents) The village (meaning “beautiful meadow”) with its section of Schönau-Gebüg is located at the upper part of the Sauer stream, surrounded by sandstone rocks and castle ruins on the German as well as on the French side. From the Pfaffenfels (a secured lookout rock) directly at the edge of the community you have a grand view far beyond.
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Biosphere house/treetop trail Geo trail Fladensteine Rockland water paradise/sauna world Exhibition iron ore mine Barefoot path Sculpture trail Elwetritsche – info trail “Altdahn” castle museum Christ Church Neudahn castle ruins Altdahn – Grafendahn – Tanstein castle complex
Drachenfels castle ruins Berwartstein castle Kleinfrankreich(small France) fortified tower Wegelnburg castle ruins Castle ruins Hohenbourg /F Castle ruins Löwenstein/F Castle ruins Fleckenstein, P´tit Fleck/F Castle ruins Froensbourg/F Castle ruins Blumenstein Castle ruins Wasigenstein/F Castle ruins Arnsbourg/F Castle ruins Lutzelhardt/F
Trail inns of the Palatinate Forest hiking association Dahner Hütte “Im Schneiderfeld” Drachenfelshütte Hirzeckhaus Hütte “Am Schmalstein” Hohe List Walthariklause
In the neighborhood All around the Dahn Rockland you can find places worth a daytrip by car, bus or train.
Wissembourg / F (approx. 25 km) Beautiful historic downtown, St. Peter and Paul’s Church, Westercamp museum, salt house, tithe barn, mansions www.ot-wissembourg.fr Speyer am Rhein (approx. 70 km) Romanesque Kaiserdom cathedral, Jewish bath, Altpörtel town gate, picturesque historic downtown, historic museum of the Palatinate, museum of wine, museum of technology with IMAX cinema www.speyer.de Strasbourg / F (approx. 80 km) Charming historic downtown, cathedral, European parliament, palace, historic museum, synagogue of peace www.otstrasbourg.fr Neustadt an der Weinstraße (approx. 55 km) Hambach castle: “The cradle of German democracy”, www.neustadt.eu www.hambacherschloss.eu Holiday-Park, Haßloch (approx. 60 km) Large amusement park – thunder river, free-fall tower, devil’s casks, expedition GeForce, lighthouse tower, www.holidaypark.de Karlsruhe und Ettlingen (approx. 60 km) Karlsruhe Palace, Baden state museum, Ettlingen Palace www.karlsruhe.de, www.ettlingen.de Lembach / F (approx. 24 km) Fleckenstein castle ruins between Lembach (F) and Hirschthal (D), mighty rock castle, P‘tit Fleck with children’s museum “Woods and sandstone”, www.fleckenstein.fr Zweibrücken (approx. 40 km) Europe’s rose garden, rose museum “Wild rose garden”, www.zweibruecken.de Annweiler am Trifels (approx. 25 km) Trifels castle (Hohenstaufen castle), where the Imperial crown jewels are kept, www.trifelsland.de
Landau (approx. 40 km) Zoo, reptilium (reptile zoo) www.zoo-landau.de, www.reptilium.de Bitche / F (approx. 50 km) Citadel of Bitche – imposing fortress, museum, www.citadelle-bitche.com Lembach / F (approx. 25 km) Maginot line, artillery plant Four à Chaux, one of the largest fortifications in Alsace www.lignemaginot.fr, www.ot-lembach.com Steinfeld cactus world (ca. 35 km) Over 1,000 cactus varieties, sale www.kakteenland.de Edenkoben (approx. 50 km) Villa Ludwigshöhe, chair lift to Rietburg castle ruins, www.garten-eden-pfalz.de www.burgen-rlp.de Rastatt (approx. 75 km) Rastatt Palace, open-air museum, museum of military history, www.rastatt.de www.schloesser-und-gaerten.de Pirmasens-Niedersimten (approx. 22 km) Siegfried Line museum “Gerstfeldhöhe Fortification”, underground fortification www.westwall-museum.de Schoenenbourg / F (approx. 38 km) Maginot line, Schoenenbourg fortress, large underground fortification www.lignemaginot.com Bad Bergzabern (approx. 18 km) Siegfried Line museum in the artillery bunker, many objects relating to the Siegfried Line www.otterbachabschnitt.de Hatten / F (approx. 50 km) Maginot line, shelter museum, large exhibition, many objects www.maginot-hatten.com Silz game and hiking park (approx. 15 km) more than 400 animals of 14 species (wolf, bison, wild boar, etc.), www.wildpark-silz.de Pirmasens Dynamikum (approx. 22 km) Pirmasens Dynamikum (approx. 22 km) an interactive hands-on museum. www.dynamikum.de
Tourist information Dahn Rockland
Our offers for you
Tips and information for a memorable vacation as well as souvenirs are available at the Dahn Rockland tourist information. Ihre Gas
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For example: ■ Dahn Rockland accommodation directory listing all tourist accommodations in the Dahn Rockland plus additional useful information. ■ Brochures on the Nothweiler ore mine, the treetop trail, the barefoot path, the Rockland water paradise with sauna world, the Dahn Rockland Chefs, the castles, the premium hiking trails (with maps) and much more. Some in English. Items to buy: ■ Hiking maps of the Dahn Rockland 1:25.000, Pietruska-Verlag showing all hiking paths, bike trails and attractions. ■ “Premium hiking in the Dahn Rockland” 1:35.000, Pietruska-Verlag showing all three premium trails plus 7 circular trails on the “Rockland Legends Trail”. ■ Brochure “Dahn Rockland hiking paradise” 12 Dahn Rockland hiking tours of great variety. ■ Brochure “Stories, myths and legends along the Rockland Legends Trail” Discover 26 locations that are wreathed in tales and mysteries. ■ Brochure “The Sculpture Trail” 33 eccentric creatures have a lot to tell about the nature, history, people and myths of their home country. ■ Brochure “132 Circular Trails” Brief description of 132 circular trails for long and short hikes in the Dahn Rockland. ■ Castle map “Boundless castles” 15 castles/castle ruins in the Dahn Rockland and neighboring northern Alsace, 4 castle tours, in 3 languages: D, GB, F
■ Elwetritsche figurines large or small (male, replica) ■ Rockland Legends Trail mug ■ Dahn Rockland T-Shirt, white, various sizes ■ Postcards with Dahn Rockland motives ■ Elwetritsche hunt CD (in German) “A merry-meditative hunt of the Palatinate’s national bird!” with Gust Espenschied. ■ Elwetritsche bitters in various sizes ■ Book (in German) “We, the Elwetritsche” “… mysterious reality and historic background”, by Alfred Frischbier, a MUST for every "Elwetritsche fan”. ■ Freizeitkarte Dahner Felsenland Dahn Rockland map with leisure activities The Dahn Rockland at a glance. Sights, trails and much more.
Nominal price: 4.00 Euros Published by: Dahn Rockland Photos: Peter Zimmermann, Werner Richner, Kurt E. Groß, Karl Hoffmann, tourist information Dahn Rockland, Christoph Riemeyer, Manfred Kuntz, Südwestpfalz archive, Biosphärenhaus archive, Radsportclub Felsenland archive Translation: Interpret-Service, Mehlingen Produced by: K. E. Groß advertizing agency All information in this brochure is given to the best of our knowledge. We do not assume any liability, however, for the correctness of the information or the safe use of the trails. You hike at your own risk.
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Train station with connection to long-distance lines Train station/stop Stop only on weekends during tourist season Attraction Rail line Bus line or shared taxi (AST) Bus line operated on Sundays and public holidays during tourist season
Your way to the Dahn Rockland A comfortable and ecological way to reach the green lung of the Palatinate is by train. The Bundenthaler and the Felsenland-Express are among the popular excursion trains that take you to the most attractive destinations along the most scenic train routes in Rhineland-Palatinate on all weekends and public holidays of the tourist season – without changing trains and at a good price! The Bundenthaler Every Sunday and on public holidays from 01 May to the end of October the popular Bundenthaler excursion train traverses the Palatinate from the Mannheim main station via Ludwigshafen, Neustadt an der Weinstraße and Landau through the Queich river valley directly to the Dahn Rockland, where it stops at all stations. The Felsenland-Express Every Saturday, Sunday and public holiday from 01 May to the end of October the FelsenlandExpress takes you from the Karlsruhe main station via Wörth, Kandel, Landau and Annweiler am Trifels to the scenic Wieslauter river valley. Very practical: The departure times of the Felsenland-Express in Karlsruhe are tuned to the arrivals of ICE trains. This gives you easy access to your vacation resort in the Dahn Rockland from all over Germany without long delays. To make the trip even more special, the Felsenland-Express uses historic railcars of the “Esslingen” type.
Your ticket: The low-price tickets of the regional transportation networks VRN (from Mannheim) and KVV (from Karlsruhe) are accepted on the Bundenthaler and on the Felsenland-Express. The same goes for the weekend special and the Rhineland-Palatinate ticket and others offered by the Bahn AG. Information and schedule under www.dertakt.de, at VRN, phone: 01805 – 876 4636* or at KVV, phone: 0721/61075885 * 14 cents per minute from a German landline. Mobile phone rates may vary; as of 01 March 2010: maximum 42 cents per minute. Our tip: From the Bundenthal-Rumbach station you can reach the highlights of the region, e. g. Berwartstein castle or the biosphere house, by connecting bus. In the next few years steam trains will come to the Dahn valley from time to time. Especially in 2011, in connection with the centennial celebrations of the Wieslauter train line between Hinterweidenthal and BundenthalRumbach, nostalgic steam trains will add another attraction to the Dahn Rockland.
Here is how you can reach us Contact: Tourist-Information Dahner Felsenland Schulstraße 29, 66994 Dahn, phone +49 6391-9196222, fax +49 6391-91960222 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.dahner-felsenland.net
Kaiserslautern B 37 A6
Neustadt an der Weinstraße
B 48 A 65
Landau ab Bad Bergzabern
Bitche N 62
Hagenau DEUTSCHLAND N 63