The Soonwaldsteig trail begins at the Kirn market square, with its beautiful half-timbered houses from the 16th - 19th century, and leads off in the direction of Steinkallenfels, a small town with three castle ruins. Right from the beginning, this impressive ensemble of crumbling walls and bizarre, wooded quartzite cliffs gives the hiker an impression of the character of the trail with its white-greyish shimmering rock formations and forgotten historic relics in the midst of wooded nature.
From Steinkallenfels a nature trail leads to the restored Wartenstein Castle. From the terrace, shaded by horse chestnut trees, there is a spectacular view of the Hahnenbach valley, one of the Soonwald forest's transverse valleys. The themed exhibition "Woods and Nature" explains 'Lohmachen' the peeling of oak bark, which is high in tannin, for leather manufacturing.
Then walk along both sides of the lovely Hahnenbach valley, past Rudolfshaus, to the destination of this first stage, the Wanderparkplatz - parking area - at the slate mine Herrenberg. From here it is easy to reach the slate mine with its small fossil museum. Right next to it is the Altburg: Celts settled here almost 2500 years ago. A village has been reconstructed on the castle ruins giving an impression of the Celtic settlement. The Altburg is temporarily inhabited by persons re-enacting the Celtic way of life.
After a steep descent and ascent, continue on to the castle ruins of the Schmidtburg with a great hall and keep, one of the largest medieval castle complexes located on a craggy mountain spur high above the Hahnenbach valley. The site where the fossils were discovered, the Celtic village and the castle ruins form a unique ensemble of witnesses to the million year heritage of this landscape.
- Kirn train station
- Parking area next to Ohlmannstr. 15
- Parking area next to Berger Weg 21
- Parking area Schulzentrum Kyrau (school)
- Bundenbach, parking area of the slate mine Herrenberg
(access via Bundenbach; follow signs to Schiefergrube Herrenberg)
Places to stop for refreshments
- Hotel Forellenhof, Reinhartsmühle
Phone: +49 (6544) 373
Opening hours: Closed Mondays
- Bergmannsschänke (at the slate mine Herrenberg)
Phone: +49 (6544) 9272
Opening hours: 1 April to 31 October
- Fachwerkhäuser am Marktplatz Kirn
- Stadtverwaltung Kirn (ehem. Piaristenkloster)
- Whiskymuseum Kyrburg
- Burgruinen Steinkallenfels
- Schloss Wartenstein
- Erlebniswelt „Wald und Natur" Schloss Wartenstein
- Naturerlebnispfad Schloss Wartenstein
- Keltensiedlung Altburg
- Besucherbergwerk Schiefergrube Herrenberg
- Fossilienmuseum Bundenbach