Pfaelzer Mandelpfad Wachenheim Eckkopfturm Hike Loop

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ruine wachtenburg above wachenheim germany with almond blossoms
The first stop for wine on trail is only 10 minutes from the town center. The Ruine Wachtenburg has amazing views over the vineyards and really cute.

Author’s tl;dr: The Pfaelzer Mandelpfad Wachenheim Eckkopfturm Hike Loop may be my favorite early March hike in Germany. It’s definitely the hiker’s way to see the ample almond blossoms in March without the crowds. If you prefer to pair this area with the wild animal park, you can hike from Kurpfalz Park to Eckkoptturm also.

Dog friendly, kid-friendly 5+, not stroller friendly.

7.92 miles.

If you want to make a weekend out of it, the best place to stay is in Wachenheim at the lovely family run winery and guesthouse Altstadt-Residenz Manz.

goldendoodle running in german forest by wachenheim germany
My little doodle Ruby is the best hiking partner you could ever hope for…exploring German forests is one of our favorite pasttimes.

Located about 20 min from Neustadt Germany, this Haardt mountain front-range mixed with vineyard hike offers more vineyard than the nearby Kalmit or Kurpfalz hikes.

  • What I really loved was the Eckkopfturm…this tower is massive and has amazing views.
  • What I thought was rough was finding parking.

Related: If you love chairlifts on your hikes (to skip the up, or if you have friends that don’t love the hills as much as you do) check out my Edenkoben Tal Hike just down the Mandelpfad.

Morgan’s Hiking Video Wachenheim an der Weinstrasse

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pfaelzer Mandelpfad Wachenheim Eckkopfturm Hike Overview

✨Best Almond Blossom Hike Loop

  • Location: Wachenheim Germany, Haardt Mountains Pfälzerwald
  • When to Hike: Year Round – But March is best
  • Distance: 7.92 mile loop
  • Up/down: 1,300 feet
  • Time: 3:30 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Points of Interest: Ruine Wachtenburg, Basalt-See lake, Eckkopfturm tower, Chapel, Vineyard Almond Path
  • Transport: Parking is in town on street, train right in town
  • Stay: Altstadt-Residenz Manz family run winery and hotel.
trail signs for the eckopfturm hike
The signage on this trail is Above Average. You’ll mostly follow a red and white wave, white dot, Mandepfad flower- but it switches a bit.
Trail Sign Rating = 4/5

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Wachenheim Eckkopfturm Loop Hiking Map

How to Use This Map:
Click on the icon on the top left-hand corner. You will now see an interactive list.

For more info on each, click on the map icons.

To see the map in more detail, click on the [ ] in the top right-hand corner. This will open a larger map where the details of each point can be found by clicking on the location point name in the list on the left.

You can also save the map for your own use by clicking the next to the map name. This will save the map to your Google Maps, where you can make a copy and use it for your own trip planning.

To view the saved map on your phone, open Google Maps, click “saved” on the bottom, and then “maps” on the lower right.

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View of almond blossom tree over wachenheim germany in spring
The soft light of sunset is incredible at the end of this hike. You’ll get to walk into soft pinks and fading sunset for about an hour through the vineyards if you time it right. The only people I ran into were moms with toddlers having a picnic on a vineyard plot. And when I say picnic, I mean a wine picnic where they all rode bikes there.

My dog Ruby and I hiked it on a sunny day in March and we had a blast. The mud was not a problem at all and the castle restaurant was open. The tower was open to climb, but I chose not to because I didn’t want to carry my dog.

This area is along the Weinstrasse front range and one of my favorite cultural hikes in Rhineland Palatinate.

You will also like my related hiking guide: The Rodenbach Sculpture hike near Kaiserslautern offers beautiful hand carved statues in the middle of the forest and a Celtic burial grounds.

Wachenheim Village – Ruine Wachtenburg – Basalt See (1:00)

basalt see germany
This slight detour is great. It’s an old quarry that is now a lake.

Start walking toward the mountain side of town on “Burgstrasse” and it turns into the trail. You are basically heading toward the castle ruins you can see from everywhere.

The path is marked by the “Pfalzer Weingsteig” signage and meanders past some housing before turning into a single sidewalk between houses going uphill.

Within 10 minutes you’ll reach the Ruine Wachtenburg and you can grab a drink with a lovely view.

Follow the signs that are a red triangle. This goes to Eckkopfturm, but in many places the signs have the word “Eckkopfturm” written out also.

Basalt See – Eckkopfturm – Heidenlöcher – Chapel (2:30)

eckkopfturm tower in germany near wachenheim
It’s free to climb this tower.

However, after the trail turns into a twisted pine forest you’ll take a detour down a dirt road to the Basalt See lake and nature area. It’s a beautiful lake in an old quarry to let the dogs get some water.

You’ll double back to rejoin the single track toward Eckkopfturm. Just past a picnic table there will be 3 trails.

Take the left-most trail and within a few hundred meters it turns into a lovely mountainside single track all the way to Eckkopfturm.

I would take the stairs up for the view next time when I don’t have my dog. They serve food here but only on Saturday’s, Sundays and Holidays (Not international Women’s Day tho)!

You’ll head downhill now on the “white dot” path. This stretch of twisted pines is astounding and still.

This is the Heidenlöcher am Kirchberg.
You’ll reach the ruins of hundreds of homes that only have the foundations left for posterity. It’s spooky.

I had fun doing my whip at this ancient settlement ruins.

This is the Heidenlöcher am Kirchberg.

Chapel – Mandelpfad Path – Wachenheim (3:30)

chapel in forest with a doodle in front
I absolutely love a hidden chapel in the forest.

You’ll come up on a really cute church with lovely views of the Winestrasse vineyards and the entire Rhine plain.

You’ll take your last downhill onto the actual vineyards and meander across walls and in between plots. There’s even a cute stone staircase to walk down.

The sign will shift to the “Mandelpfad” and it’s an obvious pink blossom. Have fun strolling back to Wachenheim and if you go in March the entire trail is covered in pink petals.

💗 Hiking & Culture? Read👉 Rhine Castle Hotel Guide

Food and Hutten on the Hike

germany's southwest weinstrasse

You’ve got your choices on this trail of multiple huts or you can dip into Wachenheim village….there’s places for wine tastings, hotels and restaurants including a Japanese tasting menu and Greek restaurant amongst others.

Ruine Wachtenburg (Wachtenburg Burgschänke)

wachtenburg castle open hours tavern
This is the Taverns opening hours. It’s only one hour walk from the village of Wachenheim.
  • The Castle Tavern is open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • You can always walk in to view it.
  • It’s volunteer run to have private tours if you arrange ahead of time.

Contact here.

Eckkopturm Tower

Eckkopfturm hutte food and drinks menu.

It was closed when I went on a Friday, but in season (weekends only in winter) you can grab a drink and climb the tower for what are likely great views of the Rhine plain overlooking Dedesheim.

Look at for opening times.

How to Get Here

pfalzer weinsteig signs
This is the Pfalzer weinsteig sign. Red/over yellow and on trees it’s red over white with the slight curve. This long distance path is perfect for an Inn-to-Inn hiking holiday. Many of the loop trails I write about use sections of this trail.

By Car

Driving is the easiest way to get to this hike.

Wachenheim is the most adorable wine village but parking is tough. I found a spot on the street and couldn’t find the parking lot. You can find ample parking in the housing section of town away from the mountain side of town.

By Bus

If you want to take the bus, you’ll need to get to Wachenheim via Neustadt or Bad Durkheim. Check the schedule here.

Where to Stay

wachenheim germany church

Lovely Hotel Stay: Altstadt-Residenz Manz

This family run 4 star guest home offers an authentic stay right in the village of Wachenheim where the hike starts and ends. It has free parking or you can take a 1 km walk from the train station.

It has half-timbered vibes and lovely service.

🛎️ Book a room at the Family Run hotel and winery.

Cultural Aspects German Weinstrasse

deutche weinstrasse mandelpfad sign
Deutche Weinstrasse Mandelpfad sign – this trail is 100km long! Mostly goes through vineyards and villages under the mountains…


The Mandelpfad, or Almond Trail, in Rhineland-Palatinate is a scenic route that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural exploration.

Winding through the picturesque wine-growing region, the trail spans about 100 kilometers and is adorned with the delicate pink and white blossoms of almond trees, especially enchanting in the spring.

Along the way, hikers can immerse themselves in the region’s rich history by visiting charming villages and ancient ruins. The path meanders through zesty vineyards and past cozy wine taverns, inviting travelers to sample the local fare and renowned wines.

Rietburg Chairlift (30 min from Wachenheim)

vineyard with doodle dog walking
Don’t worry, you can walk along and in between the vineyard plots.

Soar to a Castle Restaurant

Located at the top of the Rietburg chairlift and inside the castle ruins, this restaurants has some of the best vineyard views you could imagine and serves up typical Pfalzisch dishes and wines.

The Sesselbahn will open this year March 16 and operate daily. It ends at the restaurant located within the castle ruins. For winter it’s open Saturday and Sunday only.

Monday – Friday : 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Saturday + Sunday : 10:00 – 18:00 o’clock

Pricing: 8 euros for adults

Things to Know about the Rietburg Castle Ruins

woman hiking through door in rietburg castle ruins

The Rietburg is a historical hillside castle ruin located above the village of Rhodt within the Südliche Weinstrasse county of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Perched at 535 meters above sea level on the northeastern slope of the 618-meter-high Blättersberg mountain, part of the Haardt range, the castle overlooks the scenic Palatinate Forest.

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The Rietburg was constructed between 1200 and 1204 by the lords of Riet. Its history saw a notable event in 1255 when Hermann of Riet took Queen Elisabeth of the Welfs hostage, leading to his loss of the castle, which then became an imperial possession.

Despite surviving the Weißenburg Feud in 1470 and the Palatine Peasants’ War in 1525, the castle was destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War and never rebuilt.

Efforts to preserve the ruins have been ongoing, including a notable discovery of coins during excavations in 1872, preservation work in 1925, and the construction of a refuge hut and a restaurant in the 20th century.

The Rietburg Club has been active in conservation efforts, including the installation of a wooden bridge over the historic neck ditch in 2012.

A local legend speaks of a robber baron with a hideous face who once inhabited the castle, known as the “old palace.”

His cruel actions and eventual downfall are part of the folklore surrounding the Rietburg, adding a mystical aura to its ruins.

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Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy rambling around the Haardt mountains and catching some outdoor history and culture. How cool is that?

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We hope this guide about the pfaelzer Mandelpfad Wachenheim Eckkopfturm hike has given you some helpful information to plan your next adventure.

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.