The ninth stage of the Weinsteig trail treats us to several highlights of the Palatinate. No fewer than eight picturesque ruins and castles line the route of our hike, including Trifels Castle and the ruins of Madenburg Castle. We can also discover some imposing sandstone massifs.
No less than six castles and ruins, including the venerable Trifels Castle and the ruins of the Madenburg, take you back into history on this stage. From the spa garden town of Annweiler the trail goes in an easterly direction towards the castle of Trifels. The trip to this castle, where once the English king Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned, should not be missed. We then pass by the forest tavern of Barbarossa and encounter the mighty sandstone cliffs of the ruins of Anebos and Scharfenberg. These weathered rock formations are often used by many rock climbers. Below the ruins of Scharfenberg the forest trail leads along the southern slopes of the Föhrlenberg to the ruins of Neukastel and the Madenburg on the other side. The path into the valley leads to the Slevogthof, the longtime home of the Impressionist, Max Slevogt. From the spa gardens in Leinsweiler we then go on to the ruins of the Madenburg, one of the oldest and largest castles in the Palatinate which also hosts a tavern in its courtyard. A path leads down into the Kaiserbachtal and the ruins of Landeck with its inviting Burgschänke. Only a few steps now separate us from the wine town of Klingenmünster.
Despite the well-signposted trail markers along the premium hiking trails, we recommend for security reasons to always have an appropriate hiking map so that, for example when a storm occurs, you can quickly either find shelter or get out of the woods.
Especially in the autumn it is also important to remember that leaves lying on the ground can conceal irregularities, such as roots, rocks or holes in the path. Following storms, trees can have been uprooted or have branches hanging down. Such path impairments have to be expected when using such trails . Especially in adverse weather conditions, it may occur that the trails and paths turn into muddy and slippery passages. Path impairments of this kind have to be expected when you go out for a hike. Not all rocks or slopes are secured with ropes or railings and sure footedness is required. Should you be of the opinion that these are not accessible to you then you should try and get around them.
Annweiler am Trifels, spa gardens (180 m)
32U 424574 5450503
From the spa gardens in Annweiler (1) we walk uphill on shady paths through the chestnut trees to Trifels Castle car park. The former imperial castle on the 494m high Sonnenberg mountain, with its imperial regalia, is worth a detour. Passing the Barbarossa restaurant, the trail continues below the ruins of Anebos Castle towards a pass, flanked on both sides by imposing sandstone rocks (3). These partially weathered massifs rise like cliffs from the forest floor and make for an impressive backdrop. Especially at weekends, we can see climbers practising their sport here.
An attractive path now takes us below the rocks to the ruins of Scharfenberg Castle. After a short, steep descent we walk along the wooded southern slopes of the Föhrlenberg mountain and finally up a path through chestnut trees to the ruins of Neukastell (4). We can climb a steep ladder to a viewing platform, which offers a magnificent view of the ruins of Madenburg Castle. Passing Slevogthof, the long-term residence and studio of the famous Impressionist Max Slevogt, we then descend to the small village of Leinsweiler, where we can refresh our feet in the roadside wading pool (5).
We then continue on the gentle uphill trail through sun-drenched vineyards and shady woods to the ruins of Madenburg Castle (6), one of the largest and oldest castles in the Palatinate. The castle restaurant invites us to pause for a meal in a historical atmosphere. The trail continues on a narrow path down to the Kaiserbach Valley, past the Palatinate Clinic to the ruins of Landeck Castle (7). Here we also find a castle restaurant with a magnificent view of the Rhine plain. Now only one final descent separates us from the final destination of our hike, the charming wine-producing town of Klingenmünster.
all notes on protected areas
Train to Annweiler am Trifels
A65 to the Landau-Nord exit, continue on the B10 to Annweiler am Trifels
In Annweiler am Trifels
32U 424574 5450503
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike
Book recommendation by the author
Rother Bergverlag : Die Pfälzer Weitwanderwege Pfälzer Höhenweg, Pfälzer Waldpfad, Pfälzer Weinsteig. In 30 Tagen durch die Pfalz (Autor: Jürgen Plogmann). 140 Seiten mit 60 Farbabbildungen, 30 Höhenprofile, 30 Wanderkärtchen im Maßstab 1:75.000, eine Übersichtskarte. ISBN 978-3-7633-4401-7 Conrad-Stein-Verlag: Pfälzer Weinsteig (Autorin: Anne Bärbel Engelhart). 192 Seiten mit 17 Karten, 61 Farbabblidungen und 10 Höhenprofilen. ISBN 978-3-86686-380-4
Author’s map recommendations
Public Press Wanderkarte Pfälzer Weinsteig im Maßstab 1:25.000, deutsch, Leporello Falzung mit 17 Teilkarten, GPS-genau, elf redaktionelle Seiten mit Ausflugszielen und Einkehrtipps. Weitere Hauptwanderwege enthalten. ISBN 978-3-89920-677-7, Preis: 11,99€. Direkt hier bestellen.