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Soonwald Steig - The third stage - from Simmerbachtal to Ellerspring

The third stage - from Simmerbachtal to Ellerspring

Stage details

Soonwaldsteig The third stage  from Simmerbachtal to Ellerspring

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Stage at Outdooractive

Distance: 14 km

Localities: Simmerbachbrücke, Burgruine Koppenstein, Asbachtal, Alteburgturm, Runde Tanne, Wanderparkplatz Ellerspring

Stage description 

After the new wooden bridge across the Simmerbach near Gehlweiler, hikers face one of the biggest challenges of the trail: a steep slope with quartzite blocks, also known as the 'sea of blocks'. It is a section for experienced hikers wearing good shoes.

Bypassing the Henau quarry the trail leads to the ruins of the legendary Koppenstein Castle. Once past the summit quartzite of the Soonwald forest the view soon falls on the castle ruins with its remarkable pentagonal keep. In front of the tower rests the famous 'wobble stone' a huge quartzite boulder that seems to hover on the inclined surface of its narrow support, a symbol of balance in a fragile position. The residents of the Soonwald forest are very passionate about the remains of the Koppenstein Castle as a symbol of their region: "The Hunsrück landmark though shall be, ye great, defiant Koppenstein." (Röhrig, songbook) The well-preserved tower makes the climb very alluring and the view from the top is something hikers should not miss. A steel plate with cardinal points and the names of the towns provides orientation.

The trail leads on into the Asbach valley, one kilometre from the village Henau. Passing through here hikers come to the forest isolation of the Large Soon with quartzite ridges and enchanted relics from the past. The first destination in the state forest area of the Soonwald is the Alteburg tower. In the woods surrounding the tower building from the century before last, there are still remains of ringforts in concentric circles. At the Alteburg tower, there is a metal relief of the former forester Mathias Bollinger, who used to be responsible here. It is a reminder that here, near the tower at the age of 101, is where he shot his last deer.

From the Alteburg tower the Soonwaldsteig trail leads through well-kept, old beech stands, also known as 'beech domes' along a narrow path parallel to the 'Rennweg' (an old trade/supply route). On this last part of the way it is well worthwhile to make a small detour to visit the nature reserve 'Im Eschen' in the north. This park-like structure was created by forest grazing in the 19th century. One of its special features is the presence of large amounts of greater tussock sedge and smaller fragments of acidic soil bulrush marshes. After passing the 'Runden Tanne' you will come to the destination of this stage, the Wanderparkplatz (parking area) Ellerspring by the L 108.

Altitude profile

Soonwaldsteig Etappe 3 - Simmerbachtal-Ellerspring


Marktplatz 6
55481 Kirchberg
Phone: +49 (6763) 910144

Bahnhofstraße 37
55606 Kirn
Phone: +49 (6752) 137610
Hunsrück-Touristik GmbH
Gebäude 663
55483 Hahn-Flughafen
Phone: +49 (6543) 507700

Parking areas

  • „Wanderparkplatz Ellerspring"

Places to stop for refreshments

  • Restaurant „Zur grünen Au" Gehlweiler
    Phone: +49 (6765) 607
    Closed Mondays
  • Café & Restaurant Malepartus
    Lärchenpfad 1
    55595 Winterbach-Kreershäuschen
    Phone: +49 (6756) 219
    Closed Mondays



  • Castle ruins Koppenstein
  • Lookout tower castle ruins Koppenstein   
  • Gemünden Castle
  • Lookout tower Alteburg (630 m)
  • Lookout point Ellerspring (highest peak in the Soonwald, 657 m)