Heidenfelsen Pagan Springs Hike: Landstuhl Germany

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Heidenfelsen
This is part 5 of our ongoing German Camino de Santiago Blog series, an exploration of outdoor culture and accessible Nature experiences empowered by the enchanting Camino de Santiago pilgrimage path that spans most of Europe.

Author’s tl;dr: 3.5 mile, mild uphill, wooded soft trails going across ruined medieval castles and 2nd century Pagan springs and sculptures rumored to be for human sacrifice.

Heidenfelsen Germany Pagan Springs Hike Overview

Heidenfelsen
Heidenfelsen – Human Sacrifice?

Location: Landstuhl, Germany
Type of Hike: Loop
Distance: 3.5 miles
Elevation: 400 ft gain 400 down
Duration: Approx. 1 – 1.25 hours
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
Kid-friendly: 5+
Stroller-friendly: No
Dog-friendly: Yes
Fees: none
Start/end point: Stadthalle Landstuhl Parking Lot Behind
Camino de Santiago: Yes large stretches
Something Good to Eat: Right in town on the path is 9 Chan, a delicious Thai restaurant that has ever favorite for kids, Boba Tea.
Coming from Out of Town?

Best Places to Stay: Want to be in the forest next to the Burg Nanstein?
The Schlosshotel Landstuhl is gorgeous and secluded and perfect for a more wellness stay with a sauna, fitness room and wellness area.

Want to be right in the thick of the medieval village? Hotel Restaurant Ölmühle is a 17th century building with delicious food and family run.

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Heidenfelsen Pagan Springs Trail Map

Here is the Heidenfelsen Hiking Guide on the Camino de Santiago Map Route

How to use this map: Use your computer mouse or fingers to zoom in and out. Click on the icons to get more information. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the written index. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your google maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open google maps, click the menu button, and go to “your places”/ “maps.”

Quick Tips

Breitenwald forest Camino sign
Camino de Santiago in Germany Sign

The trails are mild in the beginning and then become uphill and then traverses across with views of Ramstein Air Base with plenty of gorgeous rock formations and ancient sculptures to ponder.

If kid’s activities are your jam, this might be a bit tough unless you are carrying them. This guide is not for strollers. There are beautiful single tracks that aren’t compatible with even sport strollers, however the shorter hike would be great for backpacking your kid with a baby carrier.

Check out this Camino de Santiago blog post with a gentle hike to enjoy with the little ones.

People living in Landstuhl love visiting this hiking spot thanks it’s proximity and solitude. Runners and hikers love the soft covered trails.

Dreamers and spiritual types love the ancient trees and long walk along the Camino de Santiago and people you meet along the Way and the Roman sculptures and it’s one of my favorite things to do in Rhineland Pfalz.

Getting to the Heidenfelsen Pagan Springs Loop Hike

heidenfelsen

The trailhead is at the Stadthalle Landstuhl or main cultural center. The weekly Friday morning farmers market is held here and various shows, performances and events.

The best way to access the Nanstein Castle hikes is by train. The (only) train station in Landstuhl is located less than ½ mile from the Stadthalle and a flat easy walk.

The easiest way is to use a car and park directly behind the Stadthalle.


Things to Know About Pfalzerwald

heidenfelsen germany

Landstuhl rests at the very northern edge of the Palatinate forest (Pfälzerwald in German) which is a UNESCO site.

It is located within the heart of the Kaiserslautern military community, and often overlooked as a place to explore by American expats living in Germany, hikers or travelers near Frankfurt seeking a unique outdoor travel experience.

It’s the first cross border project in Europe, and the UNESCO site spans from Kaiserslautern, through the Palatinate forest and into the Vosges du Nord in France.

The 8,000 sq km biosphere reserve allows people of all fitness levels to walk on forested, soft paths.

An excellent and free resource to explore this preserve is the Pfälzerwald Verein, a club that supports the immaculate trails and markings, history placards, and adorable hütten (huts and restaurants) which offer hot meals, beer on tap and often bunk style beds for multi-day or long distance hikers.


Tips for Hiking Heidenfelsen Germany Pagan Springs Hike

and German Camino de Santiago

Herrengarten
Herrengarten

The parking behind the Stadthalle (cultural center) can fill up and does require you to use a blue placard to annotate your time. Other ,parking areas include this one.

You’ll walk through the town a bit and head uphill into the forest. After 10 minutes you’ll jump onto the back parking lot of the IGS Landstuhl school, then pick back up the trail near the roundabout.

From here you’ll stay on the lower trails until you get to a pond, then head uphill to the pavilion that houses the ancient Roman sculptures and springs. Turn back towards Landstuhl and head to the upper trails until you reach Herrengarten. Or Gentleman’s garden with an amazing overlook of Ramstein Air base.

Then head to the Burg Nanstein ruins, then downhill back to the trailhead.

The springs are muddy, you’ll want an athletic shoe of some sort and a change of shoes not to dirty your car or the train.

Bring your own water.

It is never free to get tap water in Germany and it’s expensive.


Exploring the Heidenfelsen Pagan Springs Hike

Like so many of the sections of the Camino de Santiago you’ll get not only some exercise but some insights into the local life and culture.

And with such great proximity to Ramstein, Kaiserslautern and Landstuhl it is the perfect day hike destination.

This is a hike we recommend you add to your bucket list, especially if you want some ancient history with your hikes.


Exploring the Burg Nanstein History

The Burg Nanstein (Nanstein castle) has been mentioned in books as far back as 1162. If you love the movie The Princess Bride, you’ll love this tour.

You’ll find all of the fun things like ramparts, cannon balls, watchtowers, dungeons and everything else fun and medieval.

The castle was originally part of the King Barbarossa’s system (from Kaiserslautern, and the best local bakery) but changed hands by marriage to the Knight Sickingen sometime near 1480 and he modified it from castle to fortress.

Franz von Sickingen was famous for resisting progress and “city-states”. He engaged in multiple wars, conflicts and engagements to try to keep feudalism alive in the area. His style resulted in multiple bombardments, his death from wounds and eventually the French burned the castle in 1689 and it lies a ruin today.

Learn more about German castles with this great book.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.

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