The starting point of the hiking route is the large parking lot in Kriebstein (directly on the Kriebsteiner Straße K8215). Directly on-site, a large information board welcomes us and gives an overview of the location and departure times of the various ferry connections at the Kriebstein dam.
Our hiking route runs straight ahead for about 200 meters on the asphalted road ‘An der Talsperre’. Then a wider forest path leads to the left in the direction of Kriebstein Castle, which we follow straight ahead for about 400 meters. At a junction, a signpost shows us the way to the right. Along a hill, which provides a beautiful view of the river loop of the Zschopau and partly of the mighty knight's castle, we reach the parking lot at the Café Kriebstein after a left-right hook. We reach the Kriebsteiner Straße, which we follow to the right. The following 300 meters, it is recommended to go downhill against the traffic due to the cramped road conditions and the lack of a footpath. Directly along the route, Kriebstein Castle, Saxony's most beautiful knight's castle, invites us on a journey to the Middle Ages. From the outside, the completely preserved building from the late Gothic period looks impregnable. The monumental residential tower with its late medieval oriel towers 45 meters above the defensive walls. Inside the castle, from the deepest cellar to the historically preserved attic floors, visitors can see, among other things, the castle chapel with valuable paintings from around 1410, the Kriebstein Room and the furnished interior rooms of the von Arnim family. You can even take a break in the castle tavern ‘Zum Hungerturm’.
Below the castle portal, there is a fine gravel footpath that leads us downhill across the castle parking lot and then to the right, following the Luther Trail Saxony, to the Grunau Bridge. This is a sturdy metal and wooden construction spanning 83 meters over the wildly rushing river. From the bridge, the castle, perched on a steep rock above the weir of the Zschopau, once again offers itself as an impressive photo motif. Continuing to follow the white-red-white markings and the signs to the Lochmühle, we reach a shelter after about 300 meters and shortly after a stone staircase on the right. We climb the steps and continue to follow the markings along the forest path, which again lead us up some steps to the viewing platform. At a height of 250 meters, a charming view of the dam and the upstream dam wall opens up to us. Two benches allow a pleasant rest. Since 1940, the Kriebstein dam has been a protected landscape area. It is 9 kilometers long, occupies an area of 132 hectares and has a reservoir volume of 11.3 million cubic meters. The dam is 235 meters long at the top of the wall and is used for power generation as well as flood control.
Continuing on our forest trail, we soon reached the highest point of our hiking route at 270 meters. The path winds through the forest crosses a small wooden bridge and immediately turns right. After about 200 meters, a signpost at a larger crossroads points us in the direction of the Erlebach ferry. We cross this wider forest path, leaving the shelter behind us on the right and follow the path mainly along the edge of the field for about 700 meters. Then we meet an asphalted road (Lochmühlenstraße), which we follow to the right according to the signs. It leads us in a big left and then right turn down to the former restaurant Lochmühle. We continue our hike on the signposted circular trail, which on this last section is both the Zschopautal Trail and the Luther Trail. Next, we take the natural but still passable Nordhäuser Weg, which takes us to a bungalow settlement. Soon after, we reach the Mittelbachschänke via a forest path that turns slightly left twice. Numerous seats invite you to take a break with a view of the dam.
A narrow hiking trail along the shore now leads past weekend properties and jetties to the Erlebach ferry dock. You can catch beautiful views of the Kriebstein harbor with its lake stage and the dam wall. The ferry departs every hour (for schedule see www.kriebsteintalsperre.de). Arriving at the Kriebstein harbor, we have solid ground under our feet again and walk to the right in the direction of the lake stage and the treehouse hotel past the dam wall and reach our starting point, the large parking lot, after about 600 meters.