Middle Rhine - Climb Above the Rhine
In all areas of human activity there are sectors that are so demanding that they are commonly referred to as "supreme disciplines". This is exactly what applies to the Middle Rhine Rheinsteig, one of the more arduous of the German wine trails.
Over a total length of 320 kilometers, it leads from Wiesbaden through the entire valley of the Middle Rhine to Bonn.
The stage from St. Goarshausen to Kaub is one of the most beautiful hiking routes in the Rhine Valley. Here, 823 meters of altitude is reached over 22 kilometers. Depending on your condition, we have to allow 6 to 7 hours for this strenuous tour. For this we are rewarded with stunning views of numerous highlights of the Middle Rhine World Cultural Heritage along the route, which makes all efforts well worthwhile.
We start our actual tour at the train station in St. Goarshausen. From there we go towards the cemetery, where we come across the first markings on the Rheinsteig. The first sight of this hiking route, which is rich in cultural and scenic highlights, is Neukatzenelnbogen Castle, popularly known as “Burg Katz”. Built between 1360 and 1371 on the orders of the Count of Katzenelnbogen, this fortification has an eventful history with episodes of serious damage, reconstructions and conversions. None other than Napoleon I had the castle blown up in 1806. Then ninety years later, it was rebuilt as a residence for the then district administrator Ferdinand Berg with the guidance of a Cologne architect studio, who used the medieval foundations for a makeover in the Wilhelmine taste of the times. The castle has practically nothing in common now with its medieval original, except that the structure towering high above the city still impresses.
With this knowledge and thoughts on the vicissitudes of history in the back of our minds, we continue our hike following the trail markings, enjoying the wonderful view of the Rhine Valley. Not only hobby historians, but also nature lovers get their money's worth along the Rheinsteig. On springy forest floors, narrow paths lead through remote valleys and shady forests. This is how we finally get to Loreley. Since Clemens Brentano sang the fate of the beautiful mermaid Loreley in a ballad in 1801, the slate rock 193 meters above sea level, from which his namesake is said to have plunged to his death, has been firmly anchored in the collective cultural memory of the Germans. From here we enjoy the breathtaking view over the bend in the Rhine River.
We continue to our next vantage point, the Spitznack rock. From here, too, the view of the lush green slopes of the Rhine Valley takes your breath away. We continue through the beech forest to the Bornichbach. On the other side, the forest path runs up to Lenning. There we have a view that looks like it has been painted: Oberwesel with the red Liebfrauenkirche and the 16 towers of the medieval city wall. Now it's down to the wild and romantic Urbachtal. The Rheinsteig leads us through overgrown vineyards over rocks and stairs to the stream, then to the hut "Alte Burg" - the ideal place for a short backpack break.
Close by, a narrow path begins, nestling close to the slope. It leads us to the "Roßsteinen", great viewing rocks across from Oberwesel. Now we have to climb a few more meters before we get to Dörscheid. At Oberstraße 19, framed by vineyards, the Blücher Country Inn with attached winery and distillery awaits us. Here we can relax with regional delicacies, excellently prepared game specialties and fine wines from their own vineyards, before we start the final stage.
After this replenishing dinner, the long descent in the steeply terraced vineyards of Kaub begins with a picturesque view of the old customs castle Rheingrafenstein. Finally, we reach our destination, the city of Kaub. The place became known, apart from the castle Gutenfels built in 1220, because of Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher ("Marshal Forward"), who crossed the Rhine with his troops here in early 1814 when Napoleon was persecuted.
Wine lovers should be even more interested in the fact that there are at least five winegrowers in the small town, which of course has left its mark on the local culinary landscape. Worth mentioning here are the winery and tavern "Bahles" (Bahnhofstrasse 10) and "Am Löwenkopf" (Schulstrasse 48) as well as the Straußwirtschaft "In Däuwel's Küch". A fine end to a strenuous day.
Hours walking time
St. Goarshausen - Kaub
Blue square with a white curved line (Rhine) in the form of a slight "S"
Steep climbs, also through the vineyards, are always rewarded with impressive views of the steep slopes. Numerous benches allow you to rest after the climbs.
Parking at the train station in St. Goarshausen
Stadt der Rheinromantik
Burgen / Kirchen / Natur
Abtei St. Hildegard
Rheingauer Weinmuseum Brömserburg
Rheinsteigtipps / Königsetappe
Also on the Middle Rhine, the old tradition of seasonal wine taverns, "where the bouquet hangs, one is served," has been preserved. Many winegrowers place tables and benches in their gardens and courtyards and hang the "bouquet" over the door to let walkers know that they can drop in for a local wine and snack.
According to the website mittelrhein-wein.com, there are around 60 winegrowers with connected restaurants on the Middle Rhine. In addition to their own wine, they also offer the perfect accompaniment: “Spundekäs”, “Zwiwwelkuchen”, “Wingertsknorze” and “Winzersüppchen”.