Interesting Facts about the World-Famous Schwarzwaldhochstrasse
This famous panoramic road running from Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt (the B500) is a must for every visitor to the Black Forest. The Schwarzwaldhochstrasse covering some 60 km is the oldest, best known and perhaps even the most beautiful scenic route in the Black Forest. The route was inaugurated back in 1930 – and has lost none of its charm since then. At elevations ranging from 600 to 1000 meters, spectacular views across the Black Forest and the Rhine plain to the Vosges Mountains await visitors.
Natural attractions include the Hornisgrinde (elev. 1164 m), the highest mountain in the northern Black Forest; the legendary Mummelsee (elev. 988 m); the Schliffkopf and Ruhestein nature reserves; and the Schwarzenbachtalsperre.
The Schwarzwaldhochstrasse begins in Baden-Baden, the world-famous spa city at the foot of the northern Black Forest that, along with being a popular tourist destination, also plays host to congresses and festivals.
Steep and curving, the road winds its way up to Bühlerhöhe where it soon reaches the ridge. When the weather is clear, you can see from there all the way across the Rhine plain to the Vosges Mountains.
The pass road continues on at a height of 800 to more than 1000 meters above sea level, the aromatic high-altitude air and enchanting views entice you to stop and take a break. Treat yourself to a stay at an idyllic hotel or one of the typical mountain inns. Enjoy the cosmopolitan hospitality of the Black Forest – one look at the menu lets you know just how close you are to France.
In winter, cross-country trails and ski slopes attract sports enthusiasts. During other seasons, hikers and mountain bikers come to revel in the great outdoors. Those looking for fun and action can have their thrills year-round on the Mehliskopf tobaggan run.
Just below the Hornisgrinde, the road comes to the circular Mummelsee, a glacial lake that is a relic of the last Ice Age. Legend has it that nixens, known as Mümmlein, can be seen emerging from the water on moonlit nights. The lake is a popular destination during the daytime, too.
In the Naturschutzzentrum Ruhestein, visitors can find out interesting facts about how this unique landscape came to be, as well as about the local flora and fauna. Guided hikes based on different themes take place from May to October and in winter, there are snowshoe tours. Another special attraction is the Lothar Trail on the Schliffkopf, describing the destruction of Hurricane Lothar in 1999.
Following the crest of the Schliffkopf, the well-paved road carries on to Freudenstadt, the charming little Black Forest town that is home to Germany's biggest marketplace.
(by Ernst Kafka, Ruhestein Nature Conservation Centre)