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10 Things to Know Before Visiting the Hainich National Park, Germany

10 Things to Know Before Visiting the Hainich National Park, Germany

Picture of Anwesha Ray
Updated: 23 January 2018

Hainich National Park, Thuringia, is one of the 16 national forests in Germany and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This sprawling deciduous woodland is home to several rare species of animals and birds. Here in Hainich National Park, one can find the last remaining Central European Beech Forests, and the aim of the park is to protect them. Let’s take a look at the various fascinating ways you can bond with wild nature at the Hainich National Park.

Canopy Walk

Easily the most popular family activity in Hainich National Park, Canopy Walk lets you enjoy a bird’s eye view over the entire parkland and beyond. A 530-metre-long wooden walkway meanders along the tops of towering trees and spirals upwards to the observation tower at a height of 44 metres. En route, visitors collect interesting nuggets of information about the forest and its flora and fauna.

Wildcat spotting

Here is your chance to see exotic wildcats going about their business in their natural habitat. The 7km (4.3 miles) Wildcat Path walks visitors along country roads through wildcat region. At the Wildcat Barn, you can learn all about this rare, shy creature, and say hello to them at the Wildcat Enclosure. From the 20-metre-high Hainichblick observation deck, you get to feast your eyes on the lush wilderness of the forest and the protected areas dedicated to wildcats and other endangered animals. Wildcat feeding sessions are an immensely enjoyable and popular activity among visitors.

Urwald-Life-Camp

Forget about 7-star hotels and sleep under a million twinkling stars at the Urwald-Life-Camp. Located near Lauterbach in the west edge of the Hainich National Park, Urwald-Life-Camp is a great spot for families and friends to bond with nature and each other, sing by bonfires, breathe in the purest air, have a picnic in the wild and get cozy in treehouses or teepees.

Hiking trails

The best way of experiencing this wild primeval woodland is by foot. Twenty well-marked hiking trails, adding up to 120km, lead travellers around the depths of Hainich National Forest. Most walks are circular, and of varied difficulty.

Through Hainich National Park | © Aleksey Stemmer / Shutterstock

Cycling trails

The Yellow Route takes you from Creuzburg to Bad Langensalza down narrow forest paths, farm tracks and steep slopes. The Red Route lies between Mühlhausen and Hainich National Park and takes the better part of a day to cover. There are shorter and easier routes too, adding up to a total of 50km (31 miles) of well-signposted, safe biking trails.

Horse riding

A unique way of experiencing the forest is on horseback. The park has 16km (10 miles) of marked trail especially designed for horse riders. Moreover, nothing spells romance better than taking a charabanc ride through the dense vegetation of Hainich National Park. In winter, the forest even offers sleigh rides in horse-drawn carriages.

Guided walks

The park offers several guided tours for groups, led by locals who know every nook of the forest. For exciting insider information and a chance to step off the beaten path, sign up for guided tours, theme walks or tours with a ranger. These walks are of varied difficulty, and many are suitable for entire families.

Green classrooms

Experience exciting biology lessons in the great outdoors of Hainich National Park. Learn all about the unique traits of wildcats, the influence of light and shade on the vegetation, characteristics of various plant species, soil fertility, how to read cloud shapes and more. This education trail is suitable for all age groups.