• Germany's news in English

Climbing legends in the Dahner Felsenland

25 Aug 2011, 07:02

Published: 25 Aug 2011 07:02 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Jungfernsprung, or Virgin's Leap, has towered over the town of Dahn for centuries.

But the ominously named sandstone cliff is just one of many bizarre reddish-yellow rock formations attracting climbers and hikers to this part of Rhineland-Palatinate in southwestern Germany known as the Dahner Felsenland.

“The area around Dahn has individual climbs that rival the quality of sport routes anywhere I've been,” said Mike Lydon, an American from Kaiserslautern who has been climbing in region for the past 10 years. “The routes are steep, gymnastic and interesting, and the location is beautiful."

Although climbers come to test themselves against the rock, many visitors are simply fascinated by the spectacular landscapes and many myths surrounding the Dahner Felsenland.

Take the Jungfernsprung, it’s the perfect combination of legend and adventure; not only does it boast one of the tallest climbs around, but it has a story.

The story goes that a villain, perhaps the infamous robber baron Hans von Trotha himself, chased a local girl up the paths behind the rock formation to where the edge drops 70 metres to the forest floor. With nowhere else to run, the girl threw herself over the edge – and miraculously survived to escape the villain's clutches. Where she landed, a gurgling spring broke from the ground. This spring still runs strong today.

"People come for the climbing and the walking," Sandra Biehler, a representative from the Dahner Felsenland Tourist Office, said. "But they are interested in the stories, too. They go hand in hand. You can't get one without the other."

The area's ability to attract visitors is unabated more than six decades after the establishment of the Pfälzerwald nature park, which was recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve in 1992.

It took a lot longer for Mother Nature to create the reddish-yellow rocks speckling the region. Their special colouring comes from oxidized iron ore, deposited there over 250 million years ago. Layers upon layers were built from erosion debris, carried by wind and rivers to the Dahner Felsenland from mountain ranges further south.

To learn more about the local geology, visitors should consider visiting the two-kilometre Geo Trail in Bundenthal. The path is one of many such themed hikes in the area. Others include a Haunted Castle tour in Fischbach-Petersbächel, The Barefoot Path in Ludwigswinkel, and the epic Rockland Legends Trail that passes through Dahn – a 90-kilometre trek where hikers can maybe even catch a glimpse of the Elwetritsch bird said to populate the hills.

If castles pique your interest more than mythical flightless birds with scales and antlers, there are over 16 castles and ruins in the region to visit. Bewartstein, the Robber Baron's castle in Erlenbach, is more complete than many, having undergone renovation from 1893 to 1896. Don't forget to enjoy the vertiginous view down the two metre wide, 104 metre deep well that was once a key part of the castle's life support system while under siege.

Story continues below…

With so much to see, travellers may be surprised to note that the tourism industry in the Felsenland is still small, but growing each year, according to the Tourist Office. Light tourist traffic make the area around Dahn the ideal place to enjoy the natural beauty of Germany without having to push through crowds or swallow jacked-up tourist prices.

While some of the sights like indoor spas, are available year-round, it is best to experience the Felsenland in the summer, while the warmth and the sun is there to keep you company.

Whether you are looking for a looking for a pleasant day trip or a serious climber looking to tackle the rocks, the Dahner Felsenland presents the perfect mix of outdoor recreation and cultural heritage to please almost everyone.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:18 August 25, 2011 by ECSNatale
"Where she landed, a gurgling spring broke from the ground. This spring still runs strong today" - that must have been one robust maiden!
Today's headlines
Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

German police carry out nationwide anti-terror raids
Police outside a building in Jena during raids on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Police forces in five German states carried out raids on Tuesday morning with the aim of tackling the financing of terror groups, police in Thuringia have reported.

The Local List
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Photo: DPA

So you've mastered German, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

Iconic German church being eroded away by human urine
Ulm Minster towering over the rest Ulm surrounding the Danube. Photo: Pixabay

It will now cost you €100 to spend a penny. That’s if you get caught choosing to pee against the world-famous Ulm Minster.

German small arms ammo exports grow ten-fold
Photo: DPA

The government has come in for criticism after new figures revealed that Germany exported ten times the quantity of small arms ammunition in the first half of 2016 as in the same period last year.

14-year-old stabs 'creepy clown' in prank gone wrong
File photo: DPA.

A 16-year-old in Berlin decided he wanted to scare some friends, but his plot backfired in a violent way.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd