© Ottmar Vetter, www.elbsandsteingebirge.de

From the village Rainwiese to Hinterhermsdorf

At a glance

  • Start: on the street 1km eastward from Rainiese (Mezna luka)
  • Destination: tavern Erbgericht in Hinterhermsdorf
  • Difficult
  • 22,34 km
  • 6 hours 57 minutes
  • 755 m
  • 473 m
  • 231 m

The tour leads us from the villages Rainwiese (Mezni Louka) over Dittersbach (Jetrichovice) to Hinterhermsdorf. The part to Dittersbach leads along the southern edge of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. Then the path leads via the Rudolfstein rock, Balzhütte hut and the Schwarze Tor (black gate; a conglomeration of sandstone rocks along the trail) to the village Hinterhermsdorf.

The starting point of our hike is very unusual: at a turn at about 1.5 km after the end of the village Rainwiese. The only thing worth mentioning is a forest path branching off to the east. We recommend to take a taxi from Hernskretschen (Hrensko) to the starting point. Alternatively you can as well take the international long distance hiking trail E3 (red line waymark) from Rainwiese. ... We turn on the aforementioned forest path and continue until we arrive at the long distance trail E3. After about 300 meters a signpost directs us to the small Prebischtor rock arch (Kleines Prebischtor). The little brother of the Prebischtor (the largest sandstone rock arch in Europe) is unspectacular; but a beautiful climbing opportunity for children. The real climbing starts at the Hohenleipaer robbery castle. The remains of the medieval robbery castle consist of stone-carved cavities and foundations of former wooden buildings on the rock. Due to the robber barons activities the fortress was finally destroyed by sieges of the Wettin and their Allies. Despite the missing buildings the walk on the rocky plateau is very interesting. Everywhere are traces of former times. The stone-carved cistern on the summit illustrates the anguish which the robbers must have suffered from during the weeks of the siege in summer. At that time the small fortress was probably only defeatable by treachery and supply shortages. The exact circumstances of the destruction of the robbery castle may be found in the Saxon archives. We now follow the red line waymark and in south direction the buildings of the community Hohenleipa (Vysoka Lipa) are recognizable. We soon arrive on a gravel road, which is known as the old "Böhmerstraße". It was at first a medieval trade route and thus of major interest for the robbers. Later, until 1945 it was a much-used local connection road to Hinterdittersbach. After the relocation of the Sudeten Germans and the subsequent destruction of the buildings, the village disappeared after 1950. Only since 2003 it is again possible to access the Böhmerstraße from Germany. This was made possible by the restoration of the bridge over the river Kirnitzsch and the erection of a new unguarded border crossing-point. After 1 km on Böhmerstraße trail he signpost shows us to turn on the Jubiläumsweg trail. On the right handside the Great Kitzenberg mountain and on the left Golischt rock raise up. Our route continues semicircular at the base of the mountain toward east until we arrive at a way-forking with a green line waymark. Here we turn to the south, down to Dittersbach (Jetrichovice). We soon recognize the main symbols of the village: the Marienfelsen rock with a small cabin and the white baroque church on the hilltop. The scenery with the half-timbered houses looks very inviting ... and the restaurants confirm our thoughts with the typical Czech cuisine. After a relaxing break, we follow the red line waymark toward north. At the end of the village is located a castle-like building. Since 1927 this was a former children's recovery and holiday camp. Now follows the ascent to the Marienfelsen rock. It is a sad feeling to walk through this burned down forest section; caused by a huge forest fire in 2006, which even attracted attention in the German media. The destroyed forest has not been reforested since. Similar to the case of tree dying due to bark beetles in Saxon Switzerland, the National Park management wants to support new, better adapted tree species in a natural way. On the following course it becomes apparent that vast areas of the forest were filled up with monocultures of timber (mostly spruce). With a truely slow, yet widespread natural recultivation of dead biomass, the total biodiversity will increase in the two national parks in the long run. On top of the Marienfelsen rock is located a spacious cottage with great panoramic view. Thereafter we leave the trail toward the Wilhelminenwand rock wall. Yet again a beautiful panoramic view appears. We continue on the stone steps to the north and arrive in a forest with beech trees. At the next way-forking to the right direction we see the yellow line waymark. We will follow this path later. For now we continue on the red line waymark into the direction of the Rudolfstein rock. From the distance a fabulous wooden hut on the top of a sandstone rock is recognizable. The ascent to the hilltop runs over stone steps, ladders and iron clamps. You should have a head for heights, as the hut already occupies a large part of the summit space. The panoramic view is dominated by two conical mountains. It is the Kaltenberg mountain (Studenec) in the southeast and the Rosenberg mountain (Růžovský vrch) in the southwest; both mountains are of volcanic origin. The foot of the mountains consists of the usual sandstone, whereas the summit is of volcanic basalt. On top of the Kaltenberg mountain is also located a lookout tower. At this point we have just completed half of our trip. Therefore it is advisable to not lose too much time here. We return on the trail until we reach the junction with the yellow line waymark and follow it to the left direction. After about 1 km we recognize the blue line waymark, which we then follow almost to the German border. However the path initially leads us to the hut Balzhütte (Na Tokáni). In this part we have to admit word-for-word that we are located in the Saxon "Switzerland", since all houses were built in the alpine style. The buildings are only hotels and restaurants that served in earlier times as a base for hunting parties of the noble family Kinsky. The further route to the rock tunnel Schwarzes Tor (black gate) at the river Kirnitzsch is unspectacular. On our right handside are the huge sandstone cliffs of the "Hohen Wände" (high walls). The path now leads us to the way-forking with the green line waymark. By continueing into this direction we would reach the remains of the former village Hinterdittersbach and the Böhmerstraße road. Those who want to follow this direction can also end the tour as a round trip. However we actually continue on the blue line waymark to the Brückengrund ravine. A way-forking with a blue half-cross waymark appears. The trail maps indicate that directly above the way-forking are located the lookout points "Käs und Brot" (cheese and bread). Our path leads into the east direction (branching off to the left) for about 1,5 km toward the Schwarzen Tor (black gate). This rock tunnel leads us to the Kirnitzschtal valley. It must be mentioned that the tunnel is located quite deep and is thus often filled with water. Most of the time it is possible to walk through it with dry feet by stepping on boulders and tree trunks which lie in the water. Yet still ahead of us is an unavoidable river crossing. Unfortunately, the Schönlinder bridge is not existing anymore and only the large bridge foundations tell us of previously better times in the border region. Usually the river Kirnitzsch can easily be crossed barefoot, except after rainstorms! Directly at the opposite slope are the remains of a stone-carved ascent to the trail in the Kirnitzschtal valley (blue line waymark). From here we turn right and walk toward north for about 500 meters to the local recreation area Hermannseck and the ascent to the hut Schlegelhütte. We move up to the top through a narrow crevice on an iron staircase. At the hilltop a rewarding romantic wood cabin invites us for a last rest before the final part of our tour begins. From this point we partly have a nice view into the Kirnitzschtal valley. The last section of the hike starts on the Schleusenhornweg trail (red line waymark) and leads us after almost 1 km to the trail junction Wettinplatz. At this place a memorial stone in memory of the Wettin was erected; in honor of the former owners of the mountain region Saxon Switzerland. We now shortly follow the green line waymark and at the next crossroads we turn left to the blue waymark. After about 1 km walking straight ahead we arrive at the Buchenparkhalle (hall) and the parking. The building offers a self-service restaurant with moderate prices. From the sunny terrace visitors can enjoy a wonderful view on the village Hinterhermsdorf. The remaining meters to the bus stop (turnaround station) just opposite of the restaurant Erbgericht in the village Hinterhermsdorf should be known. From the Buchenparkhalle we walk down the Buchenstraße road which finally leads us to the village center. Hikers who use public transportation should remember, that the last buses to Sebnitz and Bad Schandau leave shortly after 18 o'clock (see season schedule).


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