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Eco Travel: Cycling
By bicycle you can ride on the
Unstrut Cycling Trail passing historical towns and medieval castles,
Rennsteig Trail through the Thuringian Forest Nature Park,
You are permitted to go by bike on many hiking trails in Hainich National Park. You cycle across the woods of the National Park from the West to the East from Bad Langensalza via Thiemsburg, Craulaer Kreuz to Berka vor dem Hainich. From the North to the South from Muehlhausen via Kammerforst to Berka vor dem Hainich. From here you reach the Werra Valley Cycling Trail via Creuzburg and Treffurt.
Werra Valley Cycling Trail
The 186 mile Werra Valley Cycling Track takes you from the two springs in Fehrenbach and Siegmundsburg up to the Werra river's mouth into the Weser river.
You reach the springs from Eisfeld train station riding on the Rennsteig trail. After that, there is a steep decline to the valley.
From then on you enjoy a flat route along the Werra river, through historical towns with half timbered houses, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, passing castles on your way.
The Werra Valley Cycling Trail is ideal for families with children.
Including the ride to the two springs, the Werra Valley Cycling Trail will take you 6 to 10 days depending on the way you plan your stages.
Along the way, you pass works of art erected by the arts and craft workshop of the Witzenhausen adult education center. Cherries blossom from the end of April to the beginning of May.
You ride along the formerly feared East and West German border. You can get an impression of the former border security in the museums of Philippsthal, Bad Sooden-Allendorf and in the documentation center of Wanfried.
The mine at Merkers near Bad Salzungen boasts of the world-wide largest underground bucket wheel excavator. You descend 150 to 240 feet into the history of potash mining. You see a mining museum, along with a crystal grotto where salt crystals are up to three feets long, and you get a chance to look into the room, where the National Socialists hid the gold and foreign currency of the Reichsbank towards the end of the war.
Unstrut Werra Cycling Trail
The cycling trail starts or ends at the Werra river in Heldra near Treffurt. In spring, storks nest in Heldra.
The 110 mile Unstrut Cycling Trail leads you from the source of the Unstrut river in the Eichsfeld region up to the confluence with the Saale river. On your way you pass historical towns and medieval castles and you cycle through Germany's most northern wine growing region.
You enjoy a flat route, the trail is ideal for families with children.
You need a mountain bike for the 104 miles Rennsteig trail. The route runs parallel to the hiking trail.
You ride across the ridge of the Thuringian forest and the Schiefer mountains, through the nature park passing the biosphere reserve of the Vesser valley, from West to East, from the Werra river to the Saale river.
You ride along the water-shed between the rivers Elbe and the Rhine, through Thuringian and Franconian dialect zones, past medieval boundary stones and stone crosses, crossing the very recent former East and West German border.
The Rennsteig used to be a short-cut: On your hike you will walk in the footsteps of Celtic and Germanic tribes, of Roman legionaries, of missionaries, of Martin Luther, of Goethe and of Napoleon on his way to the battle at Jena and Auerstedt.
Eisenach is a starting point with good train and road connections. The Rennsteig Cycling and Hiking Trail starts from Hoerschel on the Werra river. You ride from Eisenach to Hoerschel on the 6.2 miles Hoersel Valley Cycling Trail.
In Blankenstein the Saale Cycling Trail continues the Rennsteig Trail.
Ilm Valley Cycling Trail
The Ilm Valley Cycling Trail takes you from the springs near the Rennsteig Trail at Allzunah past Stuetzerbach and Ilmenau, via Stadtilm, Kranichfeld, Bad Berka to Weimar, Tiefurt and Ossmannstedt, on to Apolda and the Saale river at Kaatschen. You cycle through the places where the poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe spent most of his life. All in all the trail is 77.5 miles long and easy to ride. You climb and - mostly - descend a difference in height of 2066 feet. The distance from Ilmenau to Weimar amounts to circa 43 miles.
Ulster Valley and Felda Valley Cycling Trail
From Bad Salzungen the Felda river and the Ulster river lead into the Biosphere Reserve Rhoen.
The 24 miles Ulster Valley Cycling Trail is quite challenging: You climb and descend up to 114 feet. The trail starts in Philippsthal, where the Ulster river meets the Werra river. You ride via Hilders, Tann and Frankenheim. A trip to the castle ruins on Auersberg is worthwhile.
In Dorndorf, at the Werra river, you start the ride along the approximately 25 miles Felda river. The trail runs via Stadtlengsfeld and Glattbach. Parts of the Felda valley cycling trail are still in the planning stage.
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