Lorch - Wisper bridge - Nollig - Chapel of St Clement - Retzbach Valley - Wirbellay - Niederthal - Rheinsteig junction - Volkenbach Valley - Gutenfels Castle - Kaub
For centuries, the Hilchenhaus was a symbol of Lorch's wealth, the most splendid Renaissance building on the Middle Rhine. Today, the splendour has gone, the walls are crumbling. Luckily for the residents of Lorch, they still have their church, which houses two valuable works of art – the carved altar and the organ. There is always a bottle of wine hidden somewhere among the organ pipes, so that the organist never has to go thirsty.
Premium route awarded the "Deutsches Wandersiegel"
Schutzhütte Bodental, 353 m
Kaub, 76 m
Best time of year
Health and safety
Wear suitable weatherproof clothing that will protect you from cold, wet, heat and sunshine.
Make sure you take regular breaks and don't overexert yourself.
Take enough fluids with you as there are sections without rest stops.
Wear suitable hiking boots/shoes which give you enough grip on slippery, steep, rocky and uneven surfaces.
Avoid any sections of the route which you feel are too difficult for you. Natural trails can quickly become wet and slippery in adverse weather conditions.
Particularly in autumn, you should be careful of uneven ground, roots, stones or holes that have been covered by leaves.
You need to take these kinds of adverse conditions into account every time you go on a hike.
Particularly steep and dangerous places are made safer with handrails or ropes. Please use these as safety aids. Handrails are not to be climbed on or used to get a better view!
You will wish you had brought some wine with you to help you up the steep ascent to Nollig Castle. The castle tower once formed part of the town wall, which enclosed the town on the mouth of the River Wisper. What follows is pure hiking pleasure. Vineyards accompany us high above the Rhine to the Chapel of St Clement and on to the Retzbach Valley. The trail continues on the other side of the Rhine Valley to a viewing point with benches. From here, it's not far to the Wirbellay. There is a wonderful view of Bacharach, the unofficial capital of Rhine romanticism, as well as the imposing ruins of the Werner Chapel and the mighty Stahleck Castle from the top of the hill.
The trail now approaches the Niederthal Valley, where the gallows of Mainz High Court once stood opposite those of the Palatinate High Court and greeted each other gruesomely from opposite sides of the valley. A noticeboard created by the border guard of the Niederthal and a guest book for you to record your impressions of the area can be found here. Once you've done this, it's time to huff and puff your way up the steep, winding Paul-Claus path. How nice that another path soon crosses the trail which would allow us to walk more comfortably to Kaub – if the Rheinsteig trail didn't turn off once again and take a long detour across the Volkenbach Valley to Gutenfels Castle. Pfalzgrafenstein Castle appears to emerge straight from the river – the only castle on the Rhine which always has wet feet.
Getting home: follow the footpath to the train station.
all notes on protected areas
Train to Lorch station
B42 to Lorch. From the train station, follow the path leading to the Rheinsteig trail until you reach the city centre (ca. 750m).
Parking spaces off the B42 near Lorch train station
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike
Book recommendation by the author
Author’s map recommendations
Rheinsteig-Wanderkarten sind im Rheintalshop erhältlich: www.rheintal-shop.de
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