Nestled in the picturesque region of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, the charming town of Baden-Baden offers a remarkable destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Other than its natural spas, Baden-Baden offers stunning landscapes, lush forests, and panoramic views which make hiking around the town a memorable experience.
One of the standout hiking trails in this region is the Panorama Trail (Panoramaweg in German). Often regarded as one of Germany’s most beautiful hiking trails, the Panoramaweg is a 45.5 km trail divided into four stages. Of the four stages, stage 1, which starts from Baden-Baden is perhaps the most popular stage of the trail.
As the name suggests, this trail is renowned for its breathtaking vistas that stretch across the Black Forest, the Rhine Valley, and even as far as Strasbourg on clear days. The trail also showcases the region’s natural splendour and offers a glimpse into its rich history.
We undertook Stage 1 of the Panorama Trail but modified it slightly to suit our requirements. So, you can follow the official trail for Stage 1 or have a look at our modified track for inspiration.
Our Modified Version of Panorama Trail Stage 1
The official trail for the Panorama Trail Stage 1 is a 9 km route that starts at Kurhaus and ends at the Merkur funicular station. However, as we’d already visited the area around the Merkur funicular station, we decided to end the hike at Ebersteinburg, a village next to Baden-Baden.
In short, our modified version of the Panorama Trail Stage 1 starts at Caracalla Spa and ends at Ebersteinburg. Our guide follows the same trail, but we also try to highlight all the options along the way to help you make better decisions.
The main highlights along our route are:
- Bernharduskapelle, a charming chapel nestled in the Black Forest.
- Altes Schloss, the historic ruins of the Hohenbaden Castle.
- Battert Summit, the highest point on the Panorama Trail Stage 1.
- Battertfelsen, the exposed rock faces on Battert.
- Ebersteinburg, a beautiful village neighbouring Baden-Baden with its own castle ruins.
Our modified route is shorter, and we’ll show you how to return to Baden-Baden by bus or foot from Ebersteinburg. If you follow our version of the trail, we definitely urge you to visit Merkur Mountain and the area around the funicular station another time.
With that out of the way, let’s begin the Panorama Trail Stage 1 Hike in Baden-Baden!
Caracalla Spa to Weißer Stein
For me, the Panorama Trail Stage 1 in Baden-Baden begins at Caracalla Spa. Upon arriving at the spa, make your way to the left side where you will find a lane called Paracelsusweg that leads behind the spa.
Take the path and continue walking along a gentle incline for approximately 380 meters. Look out for a set of steps on your left and proceed to climb them.
Once you reach the top of the steps, turn left and stay on Paracelsusweg. Keep an eye out for a gap in the divider and carefully cross over to Schloßstraße on the other side. Here, you will notice a flight of steps leading up to a park.
As you enter the park, turn right onto Türkenweg. Follow this path until you come to a junction where it splits into two. While Türkenweg continues to the left, you should continue straight ahead. Keep walking and at the next intersection of paths, maintain your course by going straight towards a charming beer garden called Waldschänke.
Once you pass Waldschänke, take a left turn and continue walking. This will lead you to the highlight of the trail, Weißer Stein. It is a magnificent, large rock that marks the highest point on the path. From here, you will be treated to awe-inspiring views of the park below and a glimpse of Baden-Baden.
Don’t forget to take a moment to soak in the beauty of your surroundings before continuing your hiking adventure along the Panorama Trail Stage 1 in Baden-Baden.
Weißer Stein to Bernharduskapelle
The next section of the hike takes you into the enchanting Black Forest, away from the Baden-Baden town.
To proceed, locate the exit at the back of Weißer Stein and cross the road to reach the pavilion on the other side. From here, walk behind the pavilion and join the scenic Eberbrunnenwegle track.
The Eberbrunnenwegle track is a picturesque path adorned by tall trees on both sides. It gently ascends, making it a relatively easy section of the hike.
After approximately 280 meters, you will encounter a fork in the track. Take the left path to stay on Eberbrunnenwegle. As you continue along this path, you will find yourself immersed in the serene beauty of the Black Forest.
After another 300 meters, Eberbrunnenwegle intersects with Alter Schloßweg, which serves as the main motor vehicle road leading to Hohenbaden Castle (Old Castle). To continue hiking, cross Alter Schloßweg and stay on Eberbrunnenwegle on the opposite side as it continues its gentle ascent.
Eberbrunnenwegle remains a captivating trail, meandering through some of the most picturesque sections of the forest. After another 350 meters, you will once again come across Alter Schloßweg. Follow the same pattern, crossing the road and continuing on the trail on the opposite side.
Keep climbing uphill for approximately 100 meters until you arrive at Bernharduskapelle on your right.
Bernharduskapelle is a charming chapel nestled in the beautiful surroundings of Baden-Baden, Germany. Situated along the Panorama Trail Stage 1, this picturesque landmark offers hikers a serene spot to rest and appreciate the natural beauty of the area, showcasing the tranquillity of the Black Forest.
Take a moment to enjoy the peace before continuing further.
Bernharduskapelle to Altes Schloss (Originally Schloss Hohenbaden, now Old Castle or Altes Schloss)
The next stop on the Panorama Trail Stage 1 Hike is undoubtedly one of the main highlights – the magnificent Altes Schloss (Old Castle). After taking in the beauty of Bernharduskapelle, continue walking uphill on Eberbrunnenwegle for approximately 100 meters until you reach the entrance of the castle.
At 420 metres above sea level, the Altes Schloss stands proudly, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich heritage of Baden-Baden. Although it can be seen from Bernharduskapelle, it is when you get closer to it that you truly appreciate its grandeur and feel the weight of its historical significance.
To explore this medieval castle, start by entering the castle grounds and immersing yourself in its captivating atmosphere. There is a toilet and restaurant located inside the castle. But please check if the castle’s restaurant is open on the day of your visit.
Once inside, walk along the ancient walls and take in the breathtaking views of Baden-Baden and the surrounding countryside from the castle’s vantage point.
One of the main highlights within the castle is the courtyard, which features remarkable architectural elements and provides a glimpse into the castle’s past. As you make your way through the castle, be sure to visit the various rooms and exhibits that showcase the castle’s history and cultural significance.
In addition, take the time to explore the castle’s tower, offering panoramic views that are simply mesmerizing. From here, you can truly appreciate the beauty of the surrounding landscape and gain a deeper understanding of the castle’s strategic positioning.
The combination of stunning architecture, historical artefacts, and captivating views make the Altes Schloss an essential stop on the Panorama Trail Stage 1.
Altes Schloss to Ritterplatte
After exploring the fascinating ruins of the Altes Schloss, it’s time to make your way to the next attraction, the Ritterplatte. Named “Knight’s Plate,” Ritterplatte is a naturally formed viewing deck situated above the old castle. Resting on a flat rock, this vantage point offers outstanding views that stretch from Baden-Baden below to Strasbourg and beyond on a clear day. The vistas from Ritterplatte are truly stunning!
To reach Ritterplatte, you have two options: the normal path or a shortcut. If you choose the normal path, simply exit the castle and take the trail to the right, following it as it meanders uphill. This well-marked path will guide you towards Ritterplatte.
However, if you’re up for a bit of adventure, you can opt for the shortcut. Turn left as you exit the castle and follow the path that runs alongside the castle’s outer wall.
This unmarked path will take you through cleared sections on the ground, around rocks and trees, gradually climbing up. Towards the end of the shortcut, you’ll encounter a few steps that lead directly onto the Ritterplatte.
If you feel more comfortable taking the maintained trail, it is a reliable and well-maintained option. Follow the signs along the known path to ensure a smoother journey to Ritterplatte.
Once you arrive at Ritterplatte, take a moment to fully immerse yourself in the unparalleled beauty and panoramic views it offers. Allow the magnificent scenery to captivate your senses and serve as a reward for your hiking efforts.
Return to Baden-Baden or continue
Once you’re done admiring the views from the Ritterplatte, you can choose to return to Baden-Baden if you choose not to continue ahead with the Panorama Trail Stage 1.
To do so, simply retrace your steps back to Caracalla Spa.
Continue on Panorama Trail Stage 1
However, if you choose to continue on the Panorama Trail Stage 1, locate the pavilion on Ritterplatte and get onto the trail behind the pavilion.
Turn right and walk for about 50 metres to the point where the trail splits into two. At this point, you have another decision to make.
Take the Oberer Felsenweg or Unterer Felsenweg
The track on the right is the Unterer Felsenweg, or lower rock path. Whereas the track on the left is the Oberer Felsenweg, or upper rock path.
Although both paths take different routes, they ultimately merge after the Battertfelsen, the 15–60-metre-high jagged rock face popular with climbers.
The Unterer Felsenweg (lower rock path) bypasses the Battert Summit, the highest point on the trail and stays below the Battertfelsen. This is a very easy track with no views or chances of getting lost.
Whereas the Oberer Felsenweg, or upper rock path goes above the Battertfelsen, to the Battert Summit. It also offers several stunning viewing points.
We only recommend the Oberer Felsenweg if you’re comfortable hiking and aren’t afraid of getting lost above the Battertfelsen.
What we did was take the Oberer Felsenweg to the summit of Battert, then head to a viewing area, before descending and rejoining Unterer Felsenweg.
Oberer Felsenweg to Battert Summit
To reach the highest point on the Panorama Trail Stage 1, follow the Oberer Felsenweg (Upper Rock Path), which can be found on the left when the track splits.
As you ascend the track, you will notice that the path becomes a bit jagged and may have loose rocks on its surface.
After hiking for approximately 280 meters, the track will split again. Take the steps on the right, which will lead you further up above the Battertfelsen.
Once you have climbed the steps, you will reach a flat area with a four-point intersection. At this point, continue straight ahead, following the path that lies before you. Be sure to follow any trail markers or signage along the way.
After a short flight of steps, you will arrive at a large open space. At 569 metres above sea level, this open space is the Battert Summit, which serves as the highest point on the hike. Although there may not be any views from this particular spot, there is a signpost situated at the summit that points towards Oberer Felsenweg, Altes Schloss, and Unterer Felsenweg.
Take a moment to soak in the accomplishment of reaching the Battert Summit, the pinnacle of the Panorama Trail Stage 1.
Rejoin Unterer Felsenweg
There are a few viewing locations scattered on top of the Battertfelsen on either side. If you want, take your time to explore them.
Once again, you have the option to follow either the sign for Oberer Felsenweg or Unterer Felsenweg. To take in one last view of Baden-Baden from the summit, we decided to head to another natural viewing deck atop the rocks before rejoining Unterer Felsenweg.
To reach this viewing point, follow the sign for the Unterer Felsenweg from the Battert Summit. While some of the signs inscribed on rocks may be difficult to find or read, but the track itself should be relatively easy to follow.
Continue along the track as it gradually descends towards the edge. From there, you should be able to spot an opening among the trees leading to a natural viewing point atop the rocky cliffs of Battertfelsen.
Take your time to admire the stunning panoramic views of Baden-Baden, Merkur Mountain, and beyond from this vantage point.
After soaking in the beauty of the scenery, locate the track on the side of the rocks and carefully begin your descent (Please note that there may be multiple tracks connecting the Oberer Felsenweg to the Unterer Felsenweg, and your specific experience may differ from ours).
As you make your way down, exercise caution as the track may not be regularly maintained. While some sections may have steps, other areas may require you to navigate rocks using your hands. Take your time and proceed safely during your descent.
This part of the trail offers a close-up view of the stunning Battertfelsen, showcasing their natural beauty.
Once you finally reach the Unterer Felsenweg, turn left to continue with the hike.
To Untere Batterthütte
After descending and rejoining the Unterer Felsenweg, the rest of the hike becomes a serene and picturesque walk through the Black Forest. The trail maintains a flat or gentle descent, accompanied by tall and beautiful trees on either side.
As you continue along the path, you will still encounter the exposed rocks of Battertfelsen, some with notable features like a large rock adorned with a golden inscription, adding to the scenic charm of the surroundings.
While walking, you may notice the entrance to another trail called “Einsiedlerpfad” or The Hermit’s Path, which leads up into the rocks and rejoins Unterer Felsenweg 150 meters ahead. Unfortunately, since we didn’t take this path, I cannot provide details regarding any specific highlights along the way.
Eventually, Unterer Felsenweg leads you to Untere Batterthütte, an information kiosk constructed in the shape of a wooden hut. This location serves as a meeting point for multiple tracks within the Black Forest, adding to its significance and serving as a resting spot for hikers.
Exit at Ebersteinburg
As we reach the end of the Black Forest section of our modified version of the Panorama Trail Stage 1 Hike, the journey continues by exiting towards Ebersteinburg, a charming village neighbouring Baden-Baden.
From Untere Batterthütte, take the fork on the right, and follow the track as it gently descends and leads you to one end of Ebersteinburg. Keep following the track until you reach the houses within the village.
Once you reach the houses, transition onto the main road and make a right turn onto Herrenäckerstraße.
When we visited the village, this road was adorned with vibrant cherry blossom trees, which created a magical and fairy-tale-like ambiance. Strolling along this picturesque path was truly an enchanting end to our hike.
Continue walking until you reach the end of Herrenäckerstraße, then make a right turn onto Ebersteinburger Straße. Follow this road, heading towards the Ebersteinburg Klinik bus stop. This is where you can catch a bus to return to Baden-Baden.
Alternatively, if you wish to extend your journey, you can walk back to Baden-Baden via Rotenbachtalstraße, the main street, or take Hungerbergweg, a beautiful hiking track through the Black Forest.
If you have the time and energy, consider exploring Burg Alt-Eberstein, the ruins of another hilltop castle located in Ebersteinburg. To reach the castle, make a left turn on Ebersteinburger Straße and follow the signs directing you to Burg Alt-Eberstein. This additional excursion allows you to experience the historical charm of the area and adds another layer of interest to your hike.
As you conclude the Panorama Trail Stage 1 at Ebersteinburg, take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey you’ve completed, surrounded by nature’s beauty and cultural gems. Whether you choose to return to Baden-Baden by bus or opt for a scenic walk back, this marks the end of an unforgettable hike through the mesmerizing landscapes of Baden-Baden and its surroundings.
Unwind in Baden-Baden
We hope you enjoyed our modified version of the Panorama Trail Stage 1 in Baden-Baden. As mentioned at the start, you’re more than welcome to follow the official trail to get the full experience.
If you’re looking for more inspiration of what, check out our list of the top things to do in Baden-Baden.