The Red Deer Trail is a carefully crafted selection of trails linking traditional German villages, with their unique wood-frame architecture. The trail is designed to be a pure experience of the Black Forest of Germany. If you are really looking to get away from it all for a few days, then the Red Deer Trail maybe just what your looking for. The Northern Black Forest is known for its remoteness. You will not likely find others along your route through the very best scenery that the Northern Black Forest has to offer. You will stay each night at wonderful 4 star hotels, each chosen for their hospitality and cuisine – pools and spas also.
The Black Forest is not what the English name suggests. It is not a single forest, but rather it is the name given to the mountainous region 100 miles north to south and 45 miles east to west. About 60% of the land is forest. This forested area is generally 1500 feet above sea level, with the highest mountain peaks just under 5000 feet. The terrain of the Northern Black Forest is composed of rounded mountain peaks surrounded by thick forests, grasslands, moors and farm land.
Is this a good hike for me? The Red Deer Trail is a great hike if you are a real hiker and you want a remote nature experience, but with the balance of being pampered in the evenings in 4 star wellness hotels. Most often there is no cell phone coverage on this trail. We highly recommend taking the lunch (box) provided by the hotel because there are often no other options for lunch along the trail. If you want to experience the Black Forest in all its beauty and remoteness – this is the hike for you.
Submit your review
Four of us spent 6 days walking through the Black Forest, with excellent hotels waiting for us every evening, and our luggage transferred ahead of us. The walking was excellent, very well sign-posted and with some wonderful views and scenery.Highlights for us were the very clear maps and directions provided by Simone, the 2-star Michelin meal one evening, and the excellent service provided in sorting out one or two issues with hotel bookings.At about 80 miles over the 6 days, we were used to walking a little further, but we got into the habit of having a leisurely breakfast, and leaving a little later than on similar hiking holidays. Note that Day 3 between Besenfeld and Schwarzenberg is the shortest of routes, but also the one with the Michelin-starred restaurant at the end if you want to splash out.
We had a great week of walking (the weather was excellent most of the time), and the maps/directions you provided were very good indeed.
You have partnered with some great hotels. The hospitality and quality is wonderful.
I have been surprised that English is less commonly spoken than other destinations in Germany we have visited. The Black Forest seems popular with locals but apparently has not caught on yet with Americans.
The people here are all so friendly and helpful. More Americans should be more aware of this wonderful place.
We returned from traveling last night. I waited to get to my computer to write and tell you how much we enjoyed the Red Deer Trail.
Your maps and trail notes were excellent. Our accommodations could not have been better. We were thrilled each evening to enjoy the spa facilities - especially after a day of rain! Our favorite was perhaps Forsthaus Auerhahn although it was hard to choose.
Again, thank you,
Excellent hiking experience. Trails were well-marked and had a range of scenery. Distance and difficulty were appropriately indicated. Hotels at night were very welcoming, had good meals and provided bathing and sauna facilities.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Black Forest. The trails were well-maintained and not as busy as I had suspected. The weather was perfect and that, no doubt, contributed to an enjoyable time. .
THe hotels were excellent. There were no problems with our luggage transfers, the meals were very good. WE particularly enjoyed the bathing and sauna facilities at each hotel -- which were very welcome to us after a day of hiking.
Simone was very helpful. The Black Forest is gorgeous. The hotels were wonderful. The people were super friendly & eager to help. If you are interested in hiking and being in the forest, this is an excellent place to go. Also: Germans really know how to do breakfast!
The track notes and maps were very good.
The accommodation was very good.
The transport arrangements were very good.
The Black Forest is a wonderful walking area.
I will recommend this walk to others; including those in my own bushwalking club
the hotels are lovely and the trail is amazing. we're having a great time.
Thanks for everything!
We have finished the walk and we are back home in Melbourne. It was a great walk, and we loved it. Although my friend was recovering from a broken foot, she was able to do three days walking. The hotles were very accommodating mostly in allowing her (and me) to travel with the luggage on the days she could not walk.
Thank you Simone. We had a wonderful time. Marie
I think this is a fantastic get away - more than I expected.
To hike the entire Red Deer Trail it will take you 6 days of hiking. New in 2017: We now also offer shorter versions of the Red Deer Trail – starting at 2 days of hiking. Did you know? Most travelers prefer a 4 day hike.
The Full Red Deer Trail: 6 days of hiking, 7 nights hotel
- Day 1: arrival in Freudenstadt (hotel 1 – Hotel Langenwaldsee)
- DAY 2: Walk from Freudenstadt to Besenfeld- ca. 23 km (hike 1, hotel 2 – Hotel Oberwiesenhof)
- DAY 3: Walk from Besenfeld to Schwarzenberg – ca. 15-20 km (hike 2, hotel 3 – Hotel Sackmann)
- DAY 4: Walk from Schwarzenberg to Hinterlangenbach – ca. 18km (hike 3, hotel 4 – Forsthaus Auerhahn)
- DAY 5: Walk from Hinterlangenbach via Lake Mummelsee to Obertal – ca. 20km (hike 4, hotel 5 – Waldhotel Sommerberg)
- DAY 6: Walk from Obertal via the Black Forest Ridge to Kniebis -ca. 14km (hike 5, hotel 6 – Waldblick Hotel Kniebis)
- DAY 7: Walk from Kniebis back to Freudenstadt – ca. 14km (hike 6, hotel 7 – Hotel Langenwaldsee)
- Day 8: Departure from Freudenstadt
The Short Red Deer Trail: 4 days of hiking (If you prefer 2 or 3 days of hiking the Red Deer Trail, you follow the below itinerary. We transfer you back to Freudenstadt the morning after your last hike)
- Day 1: arrival in Freudenstadt and transfer to Schwarzenberg (hotel 1 – Hotel Sackmann)
- DAY 2: Walk from Schwarzenberg to Hinterlangenbach – ca. 18km (hike 1, hotel 2 – Forsthaus Auerhahn)
- DAY 3: Walk from Hinterlangenbach via Lake Mummelsee to Obertal – ca. 20km (hike 2, hotel 3 – Waldhotel Sommerberg).
- DAY 4: Walk from Obertal via the Black Forest Ridge to Kniebis -ca. 14km (hike 3, hotel 4 – Waldblick Hotel Kniebis)
- DAY 5 Walk from Kniebis back to Freudenstadt – ca. 14km (hike 4, hotel 5 – Hotel Langenwaldsee)
- Day 6: Departure from Freudenstadt
Detailed Itinerary of The Short Red Deer Trail
Day 1: Arrival
Arrive in Freudenstadt either by car or train. Before heading to your hotel which is located outside of Freudenstadt, we recommend exploring Freudenstadt. Freudenstadt is a classic beautiful Black Forest town. The town is home to Germany’s largest market square surrounded by historic buildings and dozens of little shops. You will be provided with a self-guided walking tour of the town. After exploring town, you will transfer to the town of Schwarzenberg and Hotel Sackmann, which has a Michelin Star to satisfy your appetite (reservations necessary).
Day 2: First day of hiking
You leave Hotel Sackmann and the town of Schwarzenberg walking through meadows to the town of Schoenmuenzach. From here you walk through a game reserve on to Hinterlangenbach where you check in at Hotel Forsthaus-Auerhahn.
Day 3: Second day of hiking
Leave Hotel Auerhahn and head to mysterious lake Mummelsee, with its amazing mirror-like surface and limitless photo opportunities. Continue on to Lake Wildsee. Then its on to the ski area of Ruhestein before you are heading down to the small picturesque village of Obertal. Here you will spend the night at Hotel Sommerberg.
Day 4: Third day of hiking
(If you chose a 2 day hiking tour, you will head back to Freudenstadt now). Hike up to Lake Buhlbachsee and over the Black Forest High summit road to view point Zuflucht. The Westweg takes us through the forest to Kniebis, famous for its winter sports. You will spend the night at Kniebishotel.
Day 5: Fourth day of hiking
(If you chose a 3 day hiking tour, you will head back to Freudenstadt now). The hike on day 4 is an easy relaxing hike back to Freudenstadt, where you spend your last night at Hotel Langenwaldsee.
Day 6: Departure
Depart from Freudenstadt after breakfast.
Hotel Sackmann – 4 star – www.hotel-sackmann.de.
- Please note -this hotel has two restaurants. The gourmet restaurant (closed Mondays and Tuesdays) has a Michelin Star.
Forsthaus-Auerhahn Hotel, Hinterlangenbach, Baiersbronn – 4 star – www.forsthaus-auerhahn.de.
- Please note -The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays to a la carte guests. It is open to house guests choosing the prix fixe menu.
Waldhotel Sommerberg, Obertal, Baiersbronn – 4 star – www.waldhotel-sommerberg.de.
Waldblick Hotel Kniebis – 4 star – www.waldblick-kniebis.de.
- Please note – The restaurant is closed Mondays and Tuesdays to a la carte guests. It is open to house guests choosing the prix fixe menu.
Hotel Langenwaldsee, Freudenstadt – 4 star – www.langenwaldsee.de
Hotel Oberwiesenhof, Besenfeld 4 star – www.hotel-oberwiesenhof.de.
- Please note – you will only stay at this hotel during the Full Red Deer Trail hike (6 days)
- 4 star hotel accommodations
- Breakfast buffet
- Daily luggage transfer of 1 bag of up to 20kg per person
- Free public transportation in the area
- Detailed route descriptions
- Maps of the hikes
- Highly recommended: Lunch Package (7 Euros per day per person) You will often not have options for lunch along the trails – strongly recommended!
- Dinner package (30 Euros per day per person). Optionally choose to eat a la carte at the hotel restaurant (please note that some restaurants are closed on particular days, check the hotel information or ask us)
When to go
This trip is available from mid-May to mid-October.
- Travel to and from Germany
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses such as lunch, dinner, drinks, snacks, telephone calls, tips, extra transfers (such as by taxi or when not included in public transport pass), etc.
- Any items not specifically mentioned in the package
Arriving: Nearest airports to Freudenstadt are Baden Baden, Stuttgart and Strasbourg. Frankfurt and Basle/Mulhouse are also good options to fly into.
Distances. From Strasbourg Airport, it takes about 2 hours by train to get to Freudenstadt Hauptbahnhof (main strain station). You will need to change trains twice. The train from Stuttgart also takes about 2 hours. It will bring you to Freudenstadt Stadtbahnhof (city train station). From Frankfurt it can take you anywhere from 2 hours 45 minute to 3 hours 30 minutes to get to Freudenstadt train station.
Please ask us if you need help with train connections.
Prefer a transfer? Since our company is located in the Black Forest we can also provide automobile transportation. Many visitors combine their Red Deer Trail Hiking tour with a visit to Freiburg, the capital of the Black Forest. From Freiburg it is an easy transfer to Freudenstadt. Please ask us for details.
Arriving with your own car? You can drive all the way to Freudenstadt and leave your car at your first or last hotel.
What to Bring
We recommend you bring sturdy hiking boots and good socks, swim suit, warm and waterproof clothes, a day pack, water bottle, insect repellent, sun glasses, sun hat, sun block, rain gear, compass, flashlight and a first-aid kit.
Make sure you are covered by a travel insurance covering you against illness, injury and loss or damage to luggage. Ideally the insurance also covers the possibility of you having to cancel your vacation for any reason.
Your luggage will be transferred by the hotel and moved to the next hotel on your route. The transfer of one bag per person (up to 20 kilos) is included with your tour package.
Navigation, Route Notes & Maps
The route is well marked and easy to follow. The Red Deer Trail sign is a green deer which you will follow on your hikes. The hotel you are walking to is responsible for ensuring that the green deer sign is at all the necessary way points. At each point where the route divides, you should see a sign. With the tour package come detailed route notes and a map. If you have questions about the trail ahead, ask at the hotel. They will go over the route with you and provide local detail – they know the trails very well.
Grade & Shortening Walks
The level of the walking tour is moderate but not hard. Daily distances do not exceed 20 km. Have a look at the elevation profile images for each day. There are some significant ascents and descents. Sometimes you have the option to shorten your walks. The route notes mention bus stops and taxi phone numbers. Using public transportation is free with your Konus card which you receive at the beginning of your tour. You must pay for cabs – taxi cab rides are not included in your package.