Hiking: The Donnersberg Highlands

The Donnersberg “Mountain” is a large volcanic hill on the edge of the Rhine valley. It’s full of interesting rock formations, castle ruins, and ancient legends. This hike takes you up through a rocky ravine to the dramatic ruins of the Falkenstein castle. Throughout the trip, you should have dramatic views of the highland landscape that characterizes the Western Palatinate.

Despite relative proximity to several major population centers, the Donnersberg Highlands feel remote. The hills and forests help hide the inevitable factory and rail yard in every German village, so you get the feeling of actually being in the wilderness.

This particular location was never the site of any major human settlement. Elsewhere on the mountain, there are the ruins of a Celtic ring wall and the foundations of a medieval monastery. Fighting during WWII in the area saw everything of value destroyed or looted, and today the area is known mostly for its natural beauty.

How to Get Here:

  • Regional trains from Frankfurt via Bad Münster am Stein or directly from Kaiserslautern.
  • Hike Starts at the Train Station in Winnweiler

Photography Note: This is primarily a woodland tour, so the direction of the sun or the lighting conditions, more generally, will depend on what kind of pictures you want to take. Currently, the hike heads north to avoid looking into the sun. Hopefully, around midday, the sun should be optimal for the views over Falkenstein Castle.

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