© Ottmar Vetter, Elbsandsteingebirge Verlag

Brand rock – village Waitzdorf – Napoleonschanze hill

At a glance

  • Start: Hohnstein
  • Destination: Hohnstein
  • Medium
  • 14,28 km
  • 7 hours
  • 619 m
  • 389 m
  • 204 m

The hike starts on a pedestrian-friendly forest path to the Brand rock lookout point and then continues on the Malerweg trail through Waitzdorf until the Kohlichtgraben gorge. From there on to the Napoleonschanze hill the path is characterized by hills, slopes and forest. The historic Napoleonschanze lookout point offers a panoramic view over the Saxon Switzerland to the Upper Lusatia.

The starting point of the hike is located at the last public parking on the Brandstraße street, close to the old-age home in the forest. If the parking area is already full on the weekends, you can alternatively use the larger parking area by approaching via the street Obere Straße at the junction to the Teichstraße. The hike starts at the edge of the forest towards the Brand rock (blue line waymark). After about 300 metres we see left from us at a slope-shaped clearing an official fire pit. Here hikers are allowed to make a campfire, except for forest fire warning levels. The fireplace is made of circular arranged sitting places and a fire bowl. The firewood must be organized individually and cannot be taken from the surrounding area. After about 300 metres a circular arrangement of trees at a street appears. On the wayside is located the "Waldborn", an old water pump which still gives spring water. This pump is named "Brandpumpe" because since 1855 it ensured the water supply for the buildings at the Brand rock for many years. Continueing the hike we see on the left wayside at the junction to the forest gorge a so-called „Forstbergsäule" (old signpost pillar, but just a new remake), standing in memory of the horrible death of a clergyman in the year 1795. It is said that this man probably had tasted too much of the altar wine before he went from Bad Schandau over the Brandwände rock formation to Hohnstein and then fatally crashed. Since we are still reminded of the accident, indicates that probably very few hikers in this mountain region suffered the same tragedy. The following parts of the trail confirm our thinking, because the path is well developed and with almost no altitude differences. Noteworthy are the numerous very old beech trees at the wayside. The route to the Brand rock is nice for mothers with prams or nature loving but disabled people. After about 300 meters, on the left wayside is again a possibility for a short detour to the lookout point from the forest gorge wall. Finally we arrive at the Brand rock with the restaurant and an excellent view from the visitors terrace. The panoramic 180-degree view includes from left (southeast) the Schrammsteine ​​rock formation, followed by the table mountains left from river Elbe until the area of the Bastei rock formation near Rathen (northwest). Fortunately this lookout point, as also the one at the Bastei, can be accessed throughout the whole year. In close proximity in south direction is located a special climbing rock which attracts alot attention. It is called "Brandscheibe" and offers climbing routes up to the level of difficulty VIIIc. In dry weather conditions spectators can watch very adventurous climbers on weekends. Especially the observation deck with installed binoculars is great for following the action. The tables in the restaurant at the Brand rock are placed directly on the railing and offer a great view. Thus it is a popular place to take a rest and enjoy this panorama. On a clear day you can easily spend a few hours at this place. Therefore, the restaurateurs organize holidays and regular cultural events outdoors. Nearby the Brand rock lookout point is also located a lookout point over the "Hafersäcke" (transl. "oat sacks") rock formation. The route is signposted and leads along a nearby goat stall, towards the opposite side of the ledge, facing northeast. The sandstone rock formations in the north actually look like petrified and slumped bags. The valley infront of us, the deep gorge, separates us from the Waitzdorfer walls rock formation. After having descended we will then ascend again to Waitzdorf village on the well recognizable Dorfgrund-path. The next section of the path leads us through the serpentine-shaped Brand steps down to the Schandauer road in the Tiefen Grund (transl. deep ravine). Unfortunately we now have to follow the road for 300 meters uphill until we arrive at the junction to the Dorfgrund-path (red line waymark). The ascent to Waitzdorf is the first of our hike and thus very welcome. Waitzdorf is a small district of Hohnstein and fortunately has a guest house, the tavern with a beer garden. In this place there is no disturbing traffic noise and the only attraction are the Galloway cattle on the surrounding meadows. Since the Brand rock lookout point the red singposted path follows the Malerweg trail. Nevertheless shortly after the tavern we turn to the right to visit briefly the Waitzdorf lookout point. From this point the Brand rock lookout point is clearly visible. The path leads us back to the Malerweg trail. It unspectacularly follows along the Mühlweg trail until we leave it at a 180 degree turn and then follow the yellow line waymark to the Bergstraße street at the entrance of the village Goßdorf. Here a settlement of small garden plots is located in a very quiet location. We stay on the yellow marked path and go uphill on the asphalt road for about 1 km. After the first crossroads (Höllenweg trail and Querweg trail) we continue for 200 meters and then turn left on the Erbgerichtsweg trail. After another 200 meters we turn right on the Zwölferweg trail and admire the new hunter's post at the edge of the forest. If a hunter is in this area, then he should be asked for permission for climbing up the post ... this is a great place for a break while having a wide view over the landscape. We continue our hike parallel to the street until we reach the Grundmühle mill. The trail now follows the yellow waymark downhill, parallel to Schandauer street. After 300 meters, at the gorge Liebethals Grund, our trail crosses the street and meets on the right handside with the Brandweg trail. It then winds back uphill. At the junction with the green marked trail, we can decide whether we turn left towards the Brandstraße street and finish the hike in 1,5 km, or right and continue to the Napoleonschanze. Of course we choose the latter. The path (Ringflügelweg trail) winds further uphill to the edge of the forest. From the field ahead of us we have a clear view to a sparsely wooded hilltop. This is the Schanzberg mountain with the Napoleonschanze. Previous hikers have already created a small path across the field which we follow to the Napoleonschanze hilltop. The Napoleonschanze is a time capsule of the Napoleanic Wars of Liberation from 1813 to 1815. After the defeat of Napoleon in the campaign against Russia in 1812/1813, he then wanted to push back the alliance of Russia and Prussia with new troops. The commanders forced the local population to build several field fortifications. On the Napoleonschanze were thus installed three gun emplacements in order to secure the important routes to Bohemia. There were heavy battles in the area between Upper Lusatia and Saxon Switzerland. After Austria allied with the Russians and Prussians in August 1813, Napoleon's defeat in the Battle of Leipzig was sealed. From the top of the Napoleonschanze the visitor has a magnificent panoramic view. In the northwest, inbetween the hilly landscape, is located the small town Hohnstein. The castle and church impressively mark the center of the town. We finish our hike by descending the slope in southeast direction until reaching the Brandstraße street and after a few steps we arrive at the starting point of the tour

Tour dashboard


  • Unknown (9%)
  • Street (12%)
  • Tarmac (5%)
  • Gravel (29%)
  • Hiking trail (36%)
  • Path (9%)


General information

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