Photo: Joachim Fox, Romantischer Rhein Tourismus GmbH
Photo: Frank Gallas, Tourismus Siebengebirge GmbH
Video: Top Trails of Germany
This stage of the Rheinsteig starts with a very special highlight: the Drachenfels, undoubtedly the most prominent rocky peak in the hills of the Siebengebirge,
Distance 13.9 km
with breathtaking views from the top. The new plateau with its spacious step seating, completed just a few years ago, encourages you to pause for a moment. If you like, you can conserve your energy and master the first ascent on the Drachenfelsbahn, Germany’s oldest cog railway still in operation. You can also gaze far into the distance from the ruins of Löwenburg Castle and Himmerich Hill. There’s quite a climb before you do so, however! Luckily, there’s lots of shady woodland to protect you from the sun.
This shady route is ideal for the summer months. There are several steep ascents; be sure to take enough to drink with you.
Updated: July 23, 2020
Premium route awarded the "Deutsches Wandersiegel"
Ruine Löwenburg, 360 m
Bad Honnef, 85 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!
From the station you wander along the access path with its yellow Rheinsteig signs to the valley station of the Drachenfelsbahn where there’s also a tourist information centre. Drachenfels Hill can now be climbed on foot or by train. It’s worth stopping half-way up to visit Drachenburg Castle and the Nibelungenhalle with its reptile zoo before continuing up the Drachenfels. The castle ruins tower up above the summit station of the cog railway. They remind us of the saga of Siegfried which claims that a dragon once lurked in his cave here, waiting to fire ships as they passed by below. In this legend it’s Siegfried who kills the evil dragon.
Through a gap in the enclosing wall of the panorama terrace you access steps leading down towards Rhöndorf. After a few metres you should make sure to take the short detour to the Siegfriedkanzel viewpoint. Shortly before Rhöndorf, the home of former German chancellor Konrad Adenauer, the trail passes the Ulanen Monument.
You don’t actually go into Rhöndorf but turn off towards the cemetery and start the gradual ascent to the Löwenburger Hof restaurant where it’s worth stopping off for a bite to eat. (Just before the Löwenburger Hof the first access path cuts off to Bad Honnef (north). Up to this point you’ve covered about six kilometres on the main trail. It’s approximately another four kilometres on the access path to the train station in Bad Honnef.) Once you’ve gathered your strength, another detour worth exploring is the path heading up to the ruins of Löwenburg Castle, a border fortification once erected by the Counts of Sayn. The marvellous view from here is your well-earned reward for the arduous climb! On a clear day you can see Cologne Cathedral in the distance. Back on the main trail it’s a steep drop down into the Ohbach Valley and up again on the other side. On the flanks of the Wingstberg the Rheinsteig slowly curves to the right to the foot of the Himmerich, where another access path to the top of the hill intersects the main trail.
If you don’t have the energy for these few extra metres, continue on the main trail which a little further on suddenly turns right and winds down to the Mucherwiesen Valley, steep at first but later evening out. Just outside the town the Rheinsteig makes another sharp left into the woods. If you wish to end today’s hike in Bad Honnef, however, you should follow the access path with its yellow signs past the youth hostel and on into Bad Honnef and the train station (main line and suburban trains). From here you can travel back to your starting point.
all notes on protected areas
There is a train station in Königswinter and Bad Honnef (main line/Deutsche Bahn), both of which also have very good suburban train connections.
Follow the B42 along the Rhine to get to Königswinter and Bad Honnef.
There is a car ferry in Bad Honnef.
Access by train or ship (in the summer) possible.
You can park at the station or at various places in town.
32U 373416 5614718
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike
Book recommendation by the author
Literatur zum Rheinsteig erhältlich im Rheintalshop: Web-Shop
Author’s map recommendations
Rheinsteig-Wanderkarten sind im Rheintalshop erhältlich: Web-Shop