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Long distance hiking trail - Rennsteig - From Hörschel to Blankenstein - Thuringian Forest

· 3 reviews · Long-Distance Hiking · Thuringia · Open
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  • Make the way to the goal - The Rennsteig
    Make the way to the goal - The Rennsteig
    Video: ThueringerTourismus
m 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 km Gasthof Thomas … Zitzmann
Whether you hike it from Hörschel to Blankenstein or vice versa ... Whether in 4, 6 or 8 stages ... Whether with or without luggage on the back... One thing is for sure: once in a lifetime it has to be the Rennsteig, because Rennsteig hiking is - of course ... cult!
Distance 169 km
44:40 h
2,555 m
2,336 m
973 m
201 m
Germany's oldest, best-known and most popular high-altitude hiking trail in the Thuringian Forest, the Rennsteig, offers perfect conditions for hiking - and is ideal for skiing in winter. Experience the magic and originality of the Thuringian Forest! Satisfy your desire for nature enjoyment and activities in the probably most romantic German low mountain range.

Rennsteig: Hiking with leisure and magnificent views

The Rennsteig is cult and myth at the same time. If you decide to actively experience the Rennsteig by hiking, a beautiful mixture of mixed and coniferous forests, blooming mountain meadows and unmistakable views awaits you. There are countless fantastic moments for young and old to experience on the Rennsteig. All you have to do is set out on the trail!

Pure enjoyment - on the Rennsteig you can expect, among other things:

enchanting lookout points and towerscozy resting places and refugesRennsteig houses and laddersvaried adventure trailsvarious accommodations and places to stop for refreshmentsHistorically, the Rennsteig originally connected important cities and towns - especially for messengers in a hurry. Today, the ridge trail wants to be experienced intensively and rewards its hikers with a wealth of picturesque impressions: Forest-crowned heights and deep valleys, magnificent views of villages, castles and palaces and much more. To hike the entire Kammweg, you need to plan for about 44 hours, which is a multi-day tour.

On our website you will find detailed information about your hiking project in the Thuringian Forest, whether stage descriptions, travel information, accommodation tips and much more.

Use the information we have compiled to plan your individual hiking experience in the Thuringian Forest. If you have any questions about your Rennsteig tour, just leave us a message: Here's the contact form.

Author’s recommendation

Often great views are about 200-500m away from the Rennsteig. Pay attention to the signs and hike quietly now and then a piece off the Rennsteig - you will be thrilled.

There is also a lot to discover in the valleys of the Thuringian Forest. Along the Rennsteig you will find 42 information boards about the Rennsteig ladders. These are short connecting routes to the valley towns.

Profile picture of Paul Hentschel
Paul Hentschel 
Update: January 13, 2023
Highest point
Plänckner's view, 973 m
Lowest point
Hörschel, 201 m
Best time of year

Track types

Asphalt 0.13%Forested/wild trail 0.16%Path 0.20%Road 0.01%Unknown 99.48%
0.2 km
Forested/wild trail
0.3 km
0.3 km
0 km
168.2 km
Show elevation profile

Rest stops

Gasthaus & Pension "Tor zum Rennsteig" Hörschel
Sängerwiese meadows
Waldgaststätte „Am Kissel“
Berggasthof Stöhr
Berggasthof Ebertswiese
Rennsteighaus Neue Ausspanne
Neue Gehlberger Hütte
Suhler Hütte
Waldbaude Großer Dreiherrenstein - Frauenwald
Gasthof/ Familien Fleischerei "Schwarzer Adler" - Gießübel
Haus Rennsteigrose - Elisabeth Pauli
Gasthof Thomas Müntzer Jaqueline Zitzmann
Gasthof Hirsch
Gasthaus & Pension "Am Rennsteig" - Sonneberg OT Spechtsbrunn

Safety information

Be aware of forest type hazards and remember that you are hiking through several natural and climatic zones.

Tips and hints

Detailed information about the entire Rennsteig is available HERE.

You prefer to experience the Rennsteig by bike? No problem, along the Thuringian mountain ranges there is also the Rennsteig bike trail. You will find all information on this page.

Hiking without luggage? That is also possible. You can find details here.

You want to do a complete trip on the Rennsteig? The entire organization and package deal is available here.


Hörschel - Werraufer (195 m)
51.007858, 10.227611
51°00'28.3"N 10°13'39.4"E
32U 586125 5651415


Blankenstein - Selbitz Bridge

Turn-by-turn directions

1st stage: From Hörschel to Ascherbrück:

The Rennsteig begins on the banks of the Werra in Hörschel. Here, it is customary, you should take a pebble with you to throw into the Saale at the end of your tour. The first stage leads you about 19 kilometers almost steadily uphill. At the Großer Eichelberg (310 m above sea level) you have a beautiful view of the Wartburg before you pass the Vachaer Stein. The obelisk and signpost reminds you of an old pass that was already used by Napoleon. Continue on mostly easy paths to your destination in Ascherbrück, which is easy to find because the tour is marked with a white "R" throughout.Did you know? The actual meaning of the name Rennsteig is "to move quickly". Originally, it was an old trade route connecting important cities and towns, mainly used by messengers in a hurry.

2nd stage: From Ascherbrück to the Spießberghaus:

The second stage takes you on about 20 km from Ascherbrück to the Spießberghaus near Friedrichroda. Here you need to be fit and sure-footed, because at the Großer Inselsberg the Rennsteig reaches its second highest point at 916 m above sea level. The summit compensates you for the strenuous climb with a breathtaking view. The trail then descends in the direction of the Possenröder Kreuz. Here, benches and a shelter invite you to take a break. Soon you will reach your destination at the mountain meadows of the Thuringian Forest.

Stage 3: From the Spießberghaus to the Grenzadler:

In contrast to the first two stages, the third is a true rest for tired hiking legs. From Spießberghaus you hike on easy paths for about 23 kilometers to Grenzadler. A short rest is worthwhile at the lookout tower on the Krämerod. If you climb the platform, you are guaranteed a great view over the Thuringian Forest before you reach the border eagle, which marked a former border.Tip for sports enthusiasts: From the Grenzadler, it's worth taking a short detour to the ski jumps on the Rennsteig in Kanzlersgrund or to the luge track.

Stage 4: From Grenzadler to Allzunah

The fourth stage leads from Grenzadler to Allzunah. On the 23 kilometers you will pass the highest elevation of the Thuringian Forest, the Großer Beerberg with 983 m above sea level.Shortly after the start, the first highlight awaits you: the Rennsteig Garden. It houses about 4,000 mountain plants from all over the world and is really worth a visit. At Plänckners Aussicht (973 m above sea level) you will stand on the highest point of the entire Rennsteig. Enjoy the panoramic view!Continue on to a monument dedicated to the inventor of the "Rennsteiglied": Herbert Roth. Another short detour to the bunker museum Frauenwald and you have arrived at your destination in Allzunah.

Stage 5: From Allzunah to Friedrichshöhe

From Allzunah to Friedrichshöhe (about 24 kilometers) the Rennsteig changes from the ridge of the Thuringian Forest to that of the Thuringian Slate Mountains. On the fifth stage, you will pass the "Dreiherrensteinen", which testify to the fact that the Rennsteig is not only a high-altitude trail, but was also a borderline. After that you cross the center of the trail.Immediately behind Masserberg, it is worth climbing the steps of the Rennsteigwarte. The lookout tower offers a fantastic view over the region. If the weather is good, you can already spot the destination Friedrichshöhe in the distance.

Stage 6: From Friedrichshöhe to Spechtsbrunn

On the sixth stage, you will walk about 22 kilometers from Friedrichshöhe to Spechtsbrunn on easily accessible paths. Before you leave the starting point, you should visit the exhibition of the Thuringian Forest Nature Park in the former school building. After about three kilometers you will reach the Dreistromstein. The special feature of this monument is that the rainwater here flows to three different rivers - the Elbe, the Main and the Rhine. After Neuhaus am Rennweg, the highest town in Thuringia, Spechtsbrunn is not far away.Tip: A look into the baroque village church of Spechtsbrunn from the year 1747 is worthwhile.

Stage 7: From Spechtsbrunn to Brennersgrün

On the seventh stage from Spechtsbrunn to Brennersgrün, you will pass one of the most important pass crossings of the Thuringian Forest, the "Kalte Küche" (cold kitchen), over a distance of about 20 kilometers. Here you will meet the Kurfürstenstein, the oldest and most beautiful heraldic stone of the Rennsteig, and pass the border between Thuringia and Bavaria. Shortly before the stage destination Brennersgrün you will find the miniature world Mooshäuschen of a local landscape gardener, which is really enchanting.

Stage 8: From Brennersgrün to Blankenstein

rom Brennersgrün, easy paths lead you on about 21 kilometers to the finish of the Rennsteig in Blankenstein.With the eighth and last stage you cross the former inner-German border twice. The official end point of the hike is the Selbitz Bridge, where the Selbitz flows into the Saale. Don't forget to hand over your stone from the Werra to the floods. This way, the eventful days on the Rennsteig will remain in your memory and luck will accompany you all the way home, says the custom.


all notes on protected areas

Public transport


Travel to Hörschel by train:

You can travel to Hörschel comfortably with the trains of the Deutsche Bahn. The next long-distance connection is in Eisenach. For planning and timetable information please use the travel information of the Deutsche Bahn.

Departure from Blankenstein and return to Hörschel:

Blankenstein is also connected to the DB Regio (Erfurt railroad) network. The nearest long-distance train station is Saalfeld.

Direct connection query back to Hörschel: Blankenstein → Hörschel Hp

Getting there

Coming from the A4, take exit 39 (Eisenach-West) and continue on the B7 towards Creuzburg. At the second traffic circle turn west onto the L1017 towards Hörschel. Under the Werratal bridge turn left onto the L1021 towards Eisenach and keep right at the next possibility onto the Rennsteigstraße to Hörschel.


In Hörschel please use the Rennsteig parking lot (Google NAV point)


51.007858, 10.227611
51°00'28.3"N 10°13'39.4"E
32U 586125 5651415
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


  • Sturdy shoes
  • Rainwear
  • First aid kit
  • Drink reserve
  • GPS navigation device or smartphone


Parts of this content were machine translated using German as the source language

Questions and answers

Question from Paul Kühnel · May 13, 2022 · Community
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Answered by Ulrike Mende · May 13, 2022 · Community
2 more replies


Frank Baumbach 
September 07, 2020 ·
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Edwin Krug 
April 05, 2020 · Community
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When did you do this route? September 13, 2019
Raphael Noack
April 18, 2019 · Community
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Photos from others

169 km
44:40 h
2,555 m
2,336 m
Highest point
973 m
Lowest point
201 m
Public-transport-friendly Multi-stage route Scenic Refreshment stops available Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights Linear route


  • Content
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Maps and trails
  • 8 Stages
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 1 Open
Distance 19.1 km
Duration 6:30 h
Ascent 434 m
Descent 85 m

The actual meaning of the name "Rennsteig" is "to move quickly". Originally, it was an old trade route that connected important cities and towns ...

from Paul Hentschel,   Thüringer Wald
recommended route Difficulty difficult Stage 2 Open
Distance 19.7 km
Duration 7:30 h
Ascent 555 m
Descent 398 m

Straight uphill to the second highest point on the Rennsteig.

from Paul Hentschel,   Thüringer Wald
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 3 Open
Distance 22.8 km
Duration 5:00 h
Ascent 346 m
Descent 203 m

... To the training ground of the Olympians in Oberhof ...

from Paul Hentschel,   Thüringer Wald
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 4 Open
Distance 19.8 km
Duration 5:12 h
Ascent 249 m
Descent 340 m

Past the Tausender to the Rennsteigbahn ...

from Paul Hentschel,   Thüringer Wald
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 5 Open
Distance 24.4 km
Duration 7:00 h
Ascent 411 m
Descent 359 m

Across the middle of the Rennsteig to climatic health resorts and Germany's largest hydroelectric power station.

from Paul Hentschel,   Thüringer Wald
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 6 Open
Distance 23 km
Duration 6:30 h
Ascent 297 m
Descent 414 m

Via the highest railway station in Thuringia into the Schiefergebirge mountains.

from Paul Hentschel,   Thüringer Wald
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 7 Open
Distance 19.2 km
Duration 5:00 h
Ascent 197 m
Descent 161 m

Take a detour to Bavaria through the idyllic Schiefergebirge mountains.

from Paul Hentschel,   Thüringer Wald
recommended route Difficulty moderate Stage 8 Open
Distance 20.8 km
Duration 6:00 h
Ascent 88 m
Descent 377 m

Down to the banks of the Saale ...

from Paul Hentschel,   Thüringer Wald
Distance  km
Duration : h
Ascent  m
Descent  m
Highest point  m
Lowest point  m
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