Photo: Frank Gallas, Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH
This stage of the Rheinsteig is extremely varied with grand views. There are steep climbs at the start and up to the two Hostile Brothers castles; otherwise the hike is quite moderate.
Once upon a time there were two evil brothers who cheated their blind sister out of much of her inheritance. Unlike the latter the two men squandered the money they’d taken off her. They soon lost their fortune and began to fight. Once everything had gone, they decided to make their peace with one another by going on a hunt. The first brother up the next morning was to wake the other by shooting an arrow at the window shutters. However, both awoke at exactly the same moment, opened their shutters and loosed their arrows – into the heart of the other brother.
This section boasts lots of great views and constantly changing scenery. You pass wild orchards, hike through forest and walk past walls of rock. At just 12.5 kilometres, it also makes a good half-day tour.
The castles of Sterrenberg and Liebenstein (the Hostile Brothers) are good places to stop off for a snack with a view!
Updated: July 23, 2020
Premium route awarded the "Deutsches Wandersiegel"
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!
The Rheinsteig between Kamp-Bornhofen and Kestert is as beautiful as the saga of the two brothers is gruesome. The main part of our tour starts at the viewing pavilion on the edge of the Kamper Hang. Here, you’ve already mastered the first few metres in altitude. The access path with its yellow Rheinsteig signs steadily guides us up a steep nature trail from Kamp-Bornhofen.
The track then follows the Avenue of Trees where each year on April 25 a new tree is planted. There’s another short spurt uphill before you catch your breath at the Jakobstempel viewing pavilion on the Pfählsberg. The next stop is the Wilhelmshöhe where the two castles of Liebenstein and Sterrenberg seem close enough to touch.
To reach them, however, you first have to descend the 82 steps of the ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ in the forest down to the valley of Bornhofen Stream and then up again to the castles on the other side (both have restaurants). Here, you can take a short detour to the pilgrimage church in Bornhofen. At this point a path cuts off into the woods that first runs up to the Brömserkopf viewpoint and then to a large fenced area where English Exmoor ponies and South African Boer goats keep the undergrowth down. You have to climb over a stile to enter the paddock (there’s a gap in the fence for dogs). You exit the other end of the enclosure through a large turnstile.
Once outside the grazing area, it’s another steep climb up to the Lykershausen Plateau, the highest point on the Rheinsteig. It’s then little more than a stroll along a path snaking gently down through the woods to the glorious viewing pavilion on the Hindenburghöhe up above Kestert, where to finish you hike down a short, steep track to your destination for today.
all notes on protected areas
Public transport friendly
There is a train station in both Kamp-Bornhofen and Kestert regularly serviced by regional trains.
Follow the B42 along the Rhine to get to Kamp-Bornhofen.
Access is possible by train.
Parking in Kamp-Bornhofen along the main road. There are also a few parking spaces at the train station.
32U 401016 5565672
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike
Book recommendation by the author
Literatur zum Rheinsteig erhältlich im Online-Shop des Rhensteigs
Author’s map recommendations
Rheinsteig-Wanderkarten sind im erhältlich im Online-Shop des Rhensteigs