Harzer Hexenstieg – Section 1

Weekend trip in Harz mountains


One month after my adventure in Bieszczady it was time for my next “mini” expedition. Chosen trail – Harzer Hexenstieg (Witche’s Trail) – the most famous trail in Harz mountains. Another “excuse” for this weekend trip was to test my new tent and spend my very first night alone, on the trail.

After many adventures, which left me with a very positive opinion about German railways (honestly, never before a train waited JUST for me to departure), shortly after 10PM I finally reached Thale – my first destination point and gateway to mysterious mountains of Harz.

Before I reached youth hostel I managed to find a board marking beginning/end of the trail –  I learnt my lesson from Bieszczady ;) The town is pretty small so in no time I reached the shelter, took  my room and was bed ready. Next day held many challenges and we know nothing is better than a good night sleep before an adventure.

Day 1 – section 1 – Thale => Treseburg => Wendefurth => Neuwerk => Rubeland

My departure got delayed by aprox. 1h (breakfast, making necessary payments etc.) and around 8AM I was on my way. As forecasted the weather was very pleasant which made a good start into the day. The trail started very light – wide, flat trail along Bode river. From the first steps on I realised that the trail will be very diverse. Initial flat trail soon changed into steep patch which then turned into small pathway full of stones. Views were very limited as almost the complete trail runs in the forests and there aren’t many open spaces. After around 2h of walking I finally emerged from the woods and reached my first town – Treseburg.

Next 6km were fast and easy. Part of a trail lead through the fields which was a nice change after all those hours under the trees. Already then I started feeling that something was not ok with my feet. I felt a slight discomfort around my heals but continuously ignored it. Next town on my way was Altenbrak which marked, more or less, a half of my daily plan (15km from a start). From there another 6km lead towards a dam in Wendefurth. On the way I saw very interesting remnants of old aqueduct and slate mines. The way to the dam was actually quite boring and monotonous – flat, wide and just somehow.. boring.

The dam itself occurred to be a very popular touristic, weekend trip destination. Many cars and buses which of course resulted in many, many people. The dam is not the biggest in Harz mountains but it’s situated in a quite picturesque place. After crossing over to the opposite shore I got lost taking the wrong turn (went right while I should go left – I blame very confusing guideposts) It ended up adding additional couple of hundred meters to my hike. Luckily not far from the crossing I found a nice hut which was a perfect spot for a proper brake. I must admit at that point I was already tired but my feet felt worse than any other part of me – I had take out my plasters and start a rescue mission.

The following part of the trail looked rarely traveled – paths were overgrown and often barricaded by fallen trees which made it a little bit more exciting. Along the complete trail I was guided by a witch sign painted on the trees. In the moments of doubt if I was still on the right track they assured me I was.

The section around small place called Neuwerk was very swampy. Wet and spongy ground and trees with moss garlands made it look and feel a little bit mysterious. From that point I only had around 3km left – it was about time cause honestly I was damn tired.

My weekend’s trip day one final destination was a place called Rubeland. Original plan assumed wild camping in a small shelter just above the village. Reaching last meters of my first day I was completely finished – I didn’t have any water left, my body was aching and I was mentally exhausted. So when, completely accidentally, I found a PERFECT camping spot I was almost ecstatic :P I still can’t understand why this place was never mentioned in any other Harzer Hexenstieg trail reports . “Harzbaude Susanne” lies directly on the trail and offers a lot of ideal camping space. It’s primarily designed for car campers but after short negotiations with the owners I was allowed to pitch my tent and use a small WC in one of their guest houses. I think being a solo female hiker helped a lot ;)

With a feeling of unparalleled luck and overwhelming thirst I ordered myself a cold Paulaner – I tell you guys, that was the best beer in my entire life! After celebrating this small victory I started setting up my camp and preparing dinner. Around the spot I chose I found a handful of wild strawberries which made me even happier. After hiking around 27km the only thing I could think about was sleeping. I was exhausted but also curious how my first solo tent night will be.

 Check out detailed info on this trip below!

DetailsGPS dataGetting thereLiterature
  • Difficulty  Medium
  • Distance  27.38km
  • Time  08:30:00h
  • Ascent  1254 m
  • Descent  -956 m
  • A to B
  • Altitude                          »Max. 472m               »Min. 175m


Harzer Hexen-Stieg Map 1 : 30 000

Great map with all the necessary details showing the exact route as well as many other trails around that region. I highly recommend it.

Meet the Author

Trail Maiden i.e. Karo is an optimistic outdoor fanatic. She has founded trailmaiden.com to share her knowledge and experiences with all the nature loving hikers out there. When not hiking she's planning her next trip or her next tattoo but knowing her it's probably both ;)

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