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Circular hiking trail - Slate path on the "Green Belt" - Probstzella - Thuringian Forest

Hiking route · Thuringia · Open
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  • Technisches Denkmal - Historischer Schieferbergbau - Lehesten
    Technisches Denkmal - Historischer Schieferbergbau - Lehesten
    Photo: Paul Hentschel, Lutherweg - Thüringer Tourismus GmbH
m 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 50 40 30 20 10 km Blick auf Burg Lauenstein Thüringer Warte Grenzbahnhofmuseum - Probstzella
The Slate Trail connects interesting geotopes, technical monuments and museums that have been created in the historic mining areas in the Thuringian Slate Mountains/Upper Saale Nature Park.
Distance 56.6 km
16:45 h
1,500 m
1,479 m
724 m
332 m
The blue gold, as slate is also called, is no longer mined here today. With the closure of the last slate mine in Lehesten/Schmiedebach in 2008, a centuries-old mining tradition came to an end.

During a hike on the slate path you will learn a lot about the mining tradition in an entertaining way, discover breathtaking views of the Thuringian-Franconian Slate Mountains and find very special vegetation on the slate rock.

The slate trail passes slate dumps, open pits and the former border strip called the "Green Belt". Due to centuries of slate mining, a very special cultural landscape has developed here. Mountain-high slate dumps, overgrown with trees, mosses and lichens, small lakes in open-cast mining pits and a special fauna impress the hiker. The mining industry has also left its mark on the small villages: Everywhere you will encounter houses with slate roofs and diversely designed slate facades.

Historical background information about these villages in the Thuringian Slate Mountains/Obere Saale Nature Park and the former inner-German border are explained on information boards along the slate trail.

The mining of the roofing slate from the huge slate deposits of the geological strata sequences of the Carboniferous and Devonian has decisively shaped the character of the Slate Land Geopark over centuries. Along the path there are geotopes, technical monuments and museums, which were created in the historical mining areas.

The slate trail can be hiked in several stages with corresponding overnight stays in the towns of Lehesten, Probstzella, Gräfenthal, Ludwigstadt.

Author’s recommendation


Probstzella: Bauhaus Hotel "House of the People" | Nature Park Information "A Window to the Green Belt" | Border Tower on the Hopfberg | GDR Border Station Museum in Probstzella Station

Schmiedebach: Laura Memorial and lookout point in the Oertelsbruch (side trip) | Slate Village Museum

Lehesten: Roofing School ( side trip ) | Thuringian Slate Park Lehesten with Technical Monument - National Geotope "Slate of Lehesten" | Nature Park Information "Lichtwechsel" and Stone Garden Lehesten

Ludwigsstadt: Viaduct of the former local railroad | Slate museum of the "Hermann-Söllner-Foundation" | Observation tower "Thüringer Warte" (side trip) | Lauenstein Castle (side trip)

Gräfenthal: Wetzstein Quarries | Border and Local History Museum | Wespenstein Castle

Profile picture of Sandro Dittmar
Sandro Dittmar
Update: September 16, 2022
Highest point
Wetzsteinbrücke, 724 m
Lowest point
Marktplatz Probstzella, 332 m
Best time of year

Track types

Asphalt 6.68%Dirt road 13.96%Forested/wild trail 60.02%Path 12.62%Road 6.18%Unknown 0.52%
3.8 km
Dirt road
7.9 km
Forested/wild trail
34 km
7.1 km
3.5 km
0.3 km
Show elevation profile

Rest stops

Bauhaushotel Haus des Volkes
Gasthaus "Goldener Löwe" - Lauenstein

Safety information

  • It is forbidden to enter the waste rock piles, residual opencast mining holes and adit mouth holes.
  • Barriers must be observed (danger of falling).
  • Sturdy footwear is required in the area of the column path (honeycomb slabs).

Tips and hints

Tourist information along the slate path: Probstzella, Lehesten, Ludwigsstadt


Marktplatz Probstzella (342 m)
50.532050, 11.380032
50°31'55.4"N 11°22'48.1"E
32U 668670 5600494
Show on Map


Marktplatz Probstzella

Turn-by-turn directions

The slate path is laid out as a large circular route of about 60 km. The start is in Probstzella (train station) at the market place, where you start hiking clockwise. Via the mountain town Lehesten you reach Ludwigsstadt (train station) with the slate museum. With this tour you complete about half the distance of the slate path.

From Ludwigsstadt you can walk the 2nd stage in the direction of Gräfenthal (via Lauenstein) to Probstzella (train station).

Where your hike begins is, of course, up to you. We would especially like to recommend the four small circular trails around the towns of Probstzella, Lehesten, Ludwigsstadt and Gräfenthal.

Part of the trail runs along the former column route of the border troops of the GDR.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport


You can reach Probstzella comfortably with the trains of the Deutsche Bahn. Use the travel information of the Deutsche Bahn.

Alternatively, there is a bus stop in every larger village. Please use the VMT website in advance or the VMT app during the hike to find a suitable bus connection. However, it is advisable to search for the possible connections in advance before the hike. Due to the topographical situation, there may be regional connection problems with cell phones.

Getting there

Coming from the A9 exit 29 (Bad Lobenstein). Then continue on the B90 in the direction of Bad Lobenstein. Follow the B90 via Wurzbach and Klettingshammer until shortly before Grünau. Turn left towards Lehesten / Schmiedebach (L1097) and change there to the right onto the L2376 towards Lichtentanne, Großgeschwanda. Follow the road further west via Kleinneundorf and Probstzella.


In Probstzella use the parking lot at the train station (NAV-PUNKT)


50.532050, 11.380032
50°31'55.4"N 11°22'48.1"E
32U 668670 5600494
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


  • sturdy shoes
  • Rainwear
  • First aid kit
  • GPS navigation device or smartphone

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Profile picture of Kristin Pfeiffer-Geheeb
Kristin Pfeiffer-Geheeb
April 18, 2018 · Community
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When did you do this route? April 15, 2018
Karlheinz Herzing
August 30, 2017 · Community
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When did you do this route? July 29, 2017
Photo: Karlheinz Herzing, Community
Photo: Karlheinz Herzing, Community
Photo: Karlheinz Herzing, Community
Photo: Karlheinz Herzing, Community
Photo: Karlheinz Herzing, Community
Photo: Karlheinz Herzing, Community
Photo: Karlheinz Herzing, Community
Photo: Karlheinz Herzing, Community
Photo: Karlheinz Herzing, Community
Photo: Karlheinz Herzing, Community
Photo: Karlheinz Herzing, Community
Beate Graumann
July 04, 2017 · Community
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When did you do this route? May 06, 2017

Photos from others

+ 7

56.6 km
16:45 h
1,500 m
1,479 m
Highest point
724 m
Lowest point
332 m
Public-transport-friendly Multi-stage route Scenic Geological highlights Flora and fauna Insider tip Circular route Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest Botanical highlights


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