Heidelberg's 'old town' and castle – Königstuhl viewpoint – Sea of Rock – Reichenstein Castle – Neckargemuend's 'old town'.
Length: 12.6 km
Start / End: Heidelberg Castle (Wolfsbrunnenweg), Neckargemuend ('Altstadt' train station)
Difficulty: 600 m ascent, 650 m descent
You can start or end the hike in the old town of Heidelberg; the official start or finish point is at the entrance gate of Heidelberg Castle. The 'Himmelsleiter' (Stairway to Heaven), about 1,200 roughly hewed sandstone steps, connects the castle and the Königstuhl. In good weather, from the Königstuhl – at 559 m above sea level – you can see across the Upper Rhine Trench to the Forest of the Palatinate. The route between the Königstuhl and Neckargemünd ascends and descends again and again, with the route comprising of forest tracks and narrow paths. About halfway, the hollow chestnut tree rest area invites you to take a break. From the gorgeous Gämsberg pavilion you have a wonderful view of the Neckar loop. The trail leads over the 'Neckarriedkopf' hill with the shelter of the same name, from which you can see Dilsberg. A narrow path runs through the impressive 'Felsenmeer' (Sea of Rock) nature reserve with its colorful sandstone, typical for this area. On the edge of Neckargemünd lies Reichenstein Castle, built in the 12th century.