Hausach marks the halfway point on the Westweg. The Kinzigtal valley is the heart of the Central Black Forest. Nearby Gutach, is incidentally home to the famous Bollenhut hat traditional Black Forest dress. This stage is long and more strenuous than might be expected. Farrenkopf, Prechtaler Schanzen fortifications, Huberfelsen cliffs, and Karlstein demand ascents that are at times very steep and challenging. From Karlstein onwards, the Westweg maintains altitude and reaches Wilhelmshöhe with tranquil ups and downs.
Briefly after starting in Hausach, the first stop is found at the fortress Husen. From here, it’s nice to take in the view of the city and the valley Kinzigtal one more time. The fortress keep and walls of the former Zähringer Burg sit proudly upon their throne over the city. Built to protect the surrounding silver mines, they were destroyed by Weimar troops during the Thirty Years’ War. To reach the cabin Haseman Hütte on Farrenkopf (789), hikers will need to ascend another 500 meters, which ascends steeply toward the end. The Westweg continues its path south along the mountain ridge, at times surprisingly narrow and with more ups than downs. More than 1,100 meters will be racked up throughout the journey. Quite an accomplishment for one day! The fortifications along the trail at Büchereck, on Höchst, and on Hirschlache bear witness to the turbulent times during the War of Spanish Succession at the beginning of the 18th Century. There is a nice view into the Elz’s valley from the Huberfelsen cliffs, shaped like a ship’s bow and covered in ash and birch trees, as well as rowan berries. The highlight of this stage is the brief cliff ascent to the 25-meter granite block on Karlstein (964m), secured by handrails. A view to the south reveals individual estates surrounded by fields, like islands in a dark forest of needles. Ten minutes later, hikers can celebrate what’s been accomplished so far with a hearty meal at the restaurant “Schöne Aussicht”. The Westweg now maintains its altitude. Our destination is near. Passing by “Zum Karlstein” inn, this stage ends at Wilhelmshöhe over Schonach, a winter sports venue rich in tradition.
Those who still have energy in reserve can go on a Schonach discovery hike. Tours are given of the ski jump every Wednesday. Triberger waterfalls are also easy to reach with the regular bus line from Wilhelmshöhe.