Hike in the scenic Karlstal Gorge

Hike in the scenic Karlstal Gorge

by Jolanta and Randy Jackson
Stripes Europe

Sometimes you wake up on a Sunday morning and unexpectedly the rain has stopped, the sun is shining and you want to spend the day outside. If you have never visited the Trippstadt area, then it’s the place to go on a sunny weekend for an easy but scenic hike.

Trippstadt is only 8 miles south of Kaiserslautern (15 miles from Ramstein), and there are over 30 hiking trails in the area. We went late in the day, so we chose the romantic Karlstal hike along the Moosalbe stream that has carved a deep and beautiful valley in the sandstone rock over the centuries.

Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell, a famous German landscape gardener, fell in love with this valley in the 1780s, and designed the trail with little wooden bridges from one side of the stream to the other. You will also find comfortable benches and a wooden gazebo to sit down and inhale the beauty of your surroundings, and there are sandstone stairs for you to climb and enjoy the different views of the valley. In the 19th century, German and Austrian royalty came to admire the beautiful gorge of Karlstal, and their visit is marked by a black iron sign.

We started our hike near Klug’sche Mühle (Wilensteinermühle 1, 67705 Trippstadt) where you can park your car. We then crossed a little bridge over Moosalbe stream and followed the directions for Karlstalschlucht. Soon, we were surrounded by the greenery of the forest. Somehow, magically, you travel to the land of giants, because you feel so small in the presence of the enormous sandstone rocks covered in green moss, which gives you an impression that they were left on the side of the gorge by giant builders who took a break and later on forgot about their building project.

As you wander along the stream, you can hear the music created by the babbling brook when the water hits the mossy rocks and branches and tracks through the curves and turns of the gorge. The music show is accompanied by rays of sun and water reflecting on all of the surrounding surfaces. The finale of the show is a picturesque waterfall, where the water falls gently to continue its journey through the valley.   

After enjoying nature’s show, you can continue on a longer hike, following the musical creek and wondering where it will take you next, or turn around and appreciate, again, the magnificence of the nature and manmade design of the gorge.

The hike is around a kilometer each way; if you get tired, you can have a refreshing drink or delicious home-made waffle at Klug’sche Mühle, which was owned by the Klug family over two centuries. If you have more energy, you can hike to the Wilenstein castle just up the hill, which is now a school camp.

The Karlstal trail is one of the most beautiful hiking destinations in the Palatine Forest. It’s easy to hike with children, perfect for taking lots of photographs, getting a good dose of fresh air and enjoying the elegant beauty of nature.

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