© Ottmar Vetter, Elbsandsteingebirge Verlag

Malerweg trail 5th stage - Neumannmühle mill-Schmilka

At a glance

  • Start: Neumannmühle mill
  • Destination: Schmilka
  • Difficult
  • 16,33 km
  • 5 hours 34 minutes
  • 752 m
  • 556 m
  • 117 m

The fifth stage of the Malerweg trail starts at the mill Neumannmühle and leads over the Arnstein rock and the Kleinsteinhöhle rock arch back into the Kirnitzschtal valley. From there we ascend up the mountain Großes Pohlshorn and continue to the Zeughaus restaurant. Thereafter follows another ascent on the Roßsteig trail to the Goldstein lookout point. The climb continues to the Great Winterberg mountain and the Kipphorn lookout point. We finally reach Schmilka after a long and exhausting descent.

The fifth stage of the Malerweg trail starts at the mill Neumannmühle, where we can visit a museum of mills and an almost functional watermill. A few meters after our starting point we reach the mill Buschmühle. This mill not only has a cult status among Saxon mountaineers. Unfortunately during the flood in 2010 it was heavily damaged. The mountaineering associations and lovers of the Saxon Switzerland were able to completely rebuild the mill and the Hiker's hostel with the help of work assignments and donations. Next to the mill Buschmühle is the turnoff to the village Ottendorf. At this point also starts the ascent to the rock Arnstein. In the middle of the ascent the Malerweg trail makes a sharp right turn and continues at the same altitude parallel to the Kirnitzschtal valley. However before turning right it is possible to make short detour to the Arnstein. On the Arnstein rock once stood the Ottendorfer robber's castle. Today only the remains are visible. The stairs, cistern and the carved in stone bearings for the timber beams are hints of the ancient castle. Moreover it is said that a treasure is still buried somewhere here!

Back on the Malerweg trail we soon arrive at the rock Kleinstein. This is a typical climbing-rock with no fewer than 90 climbing routes. Over the stairs it is possible to reach the "Kleinsteinhöhle", which is the second largest rock arch of the Saxon Switzerland. In 1820 the painter Ludwig Richter portrayed it in an etching. Shortly after the descent we reach the extension of the Kirnitzschtal valley. The river Kirnitzsch has now already diverted towards the south and the the Saupsdorfer stream flows nearby. Unfortunately the Malerweg trail now leads about 750 meters along the Schandauer Straße road until the Vorderes Räumicht road area. Once we can see the houses, another ascent awaits us opposite the small parking lot in the forest. We walk through the Mühlschlüchte (mill ravines) which were unfortunately quite brutally deforested. This trail section is no longer shaded and hopefully the remaining cut down wood will not be simply left to rot in the national park ...

At the top, we pass by a small hut and continue towards the rock Großes Pohlshorn. On the left side the view on the basalt peak of the mountain "Raumberg" is revealed here and there. Finally the trail arrives at the magnificent lookout point of the Großen Polshorn. The wide, unobstructed view reaches over large parts of the Saxon Switzerland Hinterland: Raumberg mountain, Thorwalder rock walls, Bärenfang rock walls, the mountains Großer Winterberg and Kleiner Winterberg, and in the foreground the rock Teichstein. The view even catches the rock arch Kleinsteinhöhle. After the lookout point we must return about 150 meters to get back on the Malerweg trail and then further descend down to the river Kirnitzsch. After the bridge over the river Kirnitzsch the route becomes really tough. The long ascent towards the rock Teichstein passes over an extensive root area and demands full concentration. We reach a forest road, from where it is possible to continue the ascent to the Teichstein rock. However we choose to go downhill into the valley, where is located the restaurant "Zeughaus". In the valley the first building that appears is from 1901, the royal hunting lodge. In this place the last Saxon king once spent his "free time" together with the Queen during the hunts. In December 2014, the roof was newly cladded in order to make the building usable for the national park administration. A few steps further we reach the restaurant "Zeughaus", the oldest building around. It was built in 1672 at the instigation of the electoral prince Johann Georg I for his hunt attendants. The current building was built in 1870 and became more and more gastronomically used after 1900. A few meters next to it is the building of a National Park Information Point.

After a rest the trail continues along the Wolfsschlüchte gorge and Roßsteig trail uphill towards the mountain Großer Winterberg. Halfway up we reach the Goldstein lookout point. The view ranges far into the valley Großer Zschand. In the past the valley trail led to the village Rainwiese (Mezni Louka). The foreground of our view is dominated by the flat rock wall Sommerwand next to the climbing-summit Jortanshorn. Back on the Malerweg trail we can see left and right basalt breakthroughs through the typical sandstone. Later on the route also appear spruce trees, which have huge holes in the bark. It is not exactly clear whether these are caused by woodpeckers. The next big crossroad is marked by the very characteristic rock Katzenstein. Our route now turns left and we soon arrive at a historical signpost and a wooden railing which functions as a road block. This was the historical route of the Fremdenweg trail to the Prebischtor rock arch. Recently there were frequent efforts to make this fantastic trail again accessible for the public. Let's see in a few years ...We further walk on the Fremdenweg trail in the opposite direction. The ground is partially so wet due to sources, that it is only passable over trail embankments and wooden walkways. We now hike through the beautiful beech forest and reach the mountain Großer Winterberg with the National Park Information Point "Eishaus" (icehouse). The mountain hotel "Großer Winterberg" is located on a large basalt breakthrough. It features a nice large visitor terrace, which unfortunately has no view. The beech forest grew fast during the last 150 years and now blocks the view on the river Elbe, which was often a romantic motif for the painters in the 18th and 19th centuries. The recently reconstructed lookout tower is usable again since 2008. Though due to problems with building physics, the highest floor had to be removed from it. Therefore visitors cannot enjoy an continuous panoramic view. Yet the view to Bohemia and also the Saxon part of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains is unobstructed.

Now starts the descent into the Elbe valley. The first trail section leads along the asphalt road. On the right side you can see the fire extinguishing pond, which has already done good service during forest fires in the past. In spring the entire pond surface is covered with a green carpet of duckweed. Even Muscovy ducks and frogs can be found here. For now we do not turn right on the forest trail (marked as Malerweg), but follow the driveway for 400 meters. On our right side is located the rock formation with the Kipphornaussicht lookout point. This is the southernmost lookout point in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, from which visitors can enjoy a 270 degree panoramic view. It is possible to see the course of the river Elbe from Belvedere to Prossen. On the opposite riverbank of the Elbe, the table mointains from the mountain Hoher Schneeberg in the Bohemian Switzerland until the Lilienstein at the town Königstein are visible. In addition on our right side we have an excellent view on the valley Schmilkaer Kessel, the rock Rauschenstein and the rock formation Schrammsteine.

Back to the Malerweg trail we do now descend over the steep wooden stairs of the mountain trail through a dense beech forest. In the lower part of the descent the ground consists of a centuries-old rough pavement. Especially during wet conditions this demands again full concentration. Opposite of the National Park Information Point Forsthaus (forester's lodge) our hiking path turns into the village. Here hikers are immediately greeted with many gastronomic options and the source Ilmenquelle is ideal for cooling our stressed feet. Walking further the village becomes increasingly hospitable. In the area of the former mill many buildings were restored very lovingly. On numerous occasions, as for example the Mill Festival, musical and culinary delights can be enjoyed during parties in the beer garden. Passing by the ice-coffee-bar we is soon reach the federal highway. At this point ends the 5th stage of the Malerweg trail. The ferry finally brings us across the Elbe to the S-Bahn train stop Schmilka-Hirschmühle.


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