(by Ernst Kafka)

Up to the 18th Century, the area between Lichtenthal and Freudenstadt and between Hornisgrinde and Murg was a primeval forest in which wolves, bears and lynx used to live. The wildlife stock of the northern Black Forest was very diverse and was greatly acclaimed. In fact, during the 19th Century gentry of both Baden and Württemberg used the northern Black Forest as their main hunting grounds for capercaillie, or wood grouse. In the 18th Century, princes and prince-bishops as well as up-and-coming private traders saw that the “inexhaustible” supply of wood in the northern Black Forest could be used even better than ever before.

Image While Christophel von Grimmelshausen, author of Simplicius Simplicissimus wrote of the Black Forest in the 17th Century “... like the deserts of Arabia, nothing more than rocks and pine cones”, the Supreme Forestry Advisor of Baden Jägerschmid said in the 18th Century that it was a “greenhouse for wood, probably unlike any other anywhere else in Germany”. Transporting wood had became easier. Many streams in the Black Forest were made floatable with the creation of rafters lakes, watercourses were altered and other measures taken to aid floating. The timber trade and timber rafting go back to the days of yore, although on a much more modest scale. The prosperous cities along the Rhine as well as the emerging United Kingdom of the Netherlands with its Dutch East Indies Company required enormous amounts of wood for shipbuilding and for the building of cities on the swampy ground prevalent there.The rivers Kinzig, Murg and Enz grew to become the most important transportation routes for the timber trade in the northern Black Forest. Rafts on the Rhine, particularly near Strasbourg, attained widths of more than 50 m and lengths of up to 700 m. They were comparable to floating villages, carrying up to 700 people at times. In addition to the loads of massive oak trunks, almost all goods available or produced in the Black Forest were carried to be sold. Pine soot, resin, wooden household articles, charcoal and glass products as well as livestock such as goats and Hinterwald cattle were much sought after goods in the cities along the Rhine.

Image At the end of the 18th Century and in the 19th Century particularly, more and more drivable paths were constructed to enable better exploitation of the riches of the forest and its products in the inaccessible higher areas where rafts could not be used. Mule tracks to enable trading with the cities along the Rhine had been around for a long time; and there were also reports of bleak, badly-maintained trade routes crossing the northern Black Forest. Paths were just 8-14 feet wide and could only be used (with great difficulty) by animal-driven wooden carts. The draught animals, mostly oxen and mules, were hitched not side-by-side, but rather behind each other, sometimes with up to 10 or more animals. Most of the paths – streets in our sense of the word did not exist yet – were sometimes nothing more than knee-deep mud and sludge.


In 1795, forty goods carts reportedly sank between Offenburg and Emmendingen; the servant of the postmaster of Friesenheim supposedly suffocated in street sludge. The historical Schwarzwaldhochstrasse crossed the Black Forest from Strasbourg through Renchtal via Oppenau, Kniebis and Freudenstadt – founded in 1599, to Vaihingen near Stuttgart. It was the heavily used main artery between Paris, Munich and Vienna. The impenetrable, densely wooded heights of the northern Black Forest were a no-man's land for a long period of time.

vor 1922

Prior to 1922: From Lichtenthal near Baden-Baden, there was a roughly gravelled track, used mostly as a logging road that was extended to go along the Grobbach past the Geroldsauer Waterfalls to Schwanenwasen and from there in steep hair-pin bends past the Bühlerhöhe to the “Bletych” and Sand further along to Hundseck. From Hundseck to Unterstmatt, there was a footpath or hiking trail, made by the ‘Mannheim Section’ of the Schwarzwaldverein in 1897 (Mannheimer Weg). Between Unterstmatt and Horngass (near the current junction of the road to Sasbachwalden via Breitenbrunnen) there was just a very narrow, very winding, partially badly gravelled logging road-track, previously used as a mule track. There was a better track (logging road) leading from Horngass via Mummelsee, Seibels Eck, and Wolfbrunnen to Ruhestein. The route, though, was not identical to the one of today.

01.June 1922

Opening of the omnibus service between Bühl and the high-altitude health resorts of Sand, Bühlerhöhe, Oberer Plättig and Hundseck.

December 1925

On 7 December 1925, the city of Bühl requested that the reponsible district office set up a meeting for the planning and construction of a vehicular road from Hundseck to Unterstmatt. After many drawn-out, tedious negotiations that threatened time and again to fail due to the divergent interests of the parties involved, the road construction was finally approved in a meeting on 19 March 1930. Contracts for the work, estimated at 190,000 reichsmarks, were immediately allocated.

8 July 1930

Ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the road connecting Hundseck and Unterstmatt.

8 November 1930

Opening of the road connecting Hundseck and Unterstmatt following a four-month construction period, and first official use of the name Schwarzwaldhochstrasse.

19 October 1932

Extension of the road connecting Unterstmatt - Horngass - Mummelsee. The project included the design and lay-out of a road from Mummelsee to Hornisgrinde to the youth hostel there and the “Hornisgrinde” inn. Costs ran to 410,000 reichsmarks, 1/3 of which were covered by the district of Baden-Baden and 2/3 by the state.

30 July 1933

Official opening of the road as well as acceptance in the Landstrassenverband (German Roads Association).


Extension of the Mummelsee - Ruhestein segment. A new route was chosen here. It followed a line of springs which, due to the ensuing water problems, turned out to be a big challenge for the construction of the road. It called for larger blasting operations, particularly near Dürrbaden, today's branch-off to Seebach. The entire stretch of the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse was made up of a crushed gravel surface laid on top of a 30 cm-thick rough bed and sealed with tar, since the road from Baden-Baden up to Ruhestein had to be kept clear for the use of vehicles, even in winter.


Widening to 6 m of the very narrow stretch of road (Landstraße I. Ordnung) between Sand and Unterstmatt.

1938 - 1939

Improvement of the road between Bühlerhöhe and Sand.

1938 - 1941

Construction of the ‘strategic’ section of the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse between Ruhestein and Alexanderschanze. The construction of this segment, begun by the German Wehrmacht, went through the Schliffkopf nature reserve (inaugurated on 1 October 1938) and was not completed until 1951/1952. Up until 1941 only the Alexanderschanze - Schliffkopf section was built up and covered with a tar surface to be used by vehicles. The further stretch to Ruhestein was just roughly gravelled and could not be driven on the whole way. In the turmoil of the retreat, the Vogelskopf Viaduct was partially blown up by the German Wehrmacht in April 1945, and in 1946 was repaired by the French Occupation so that it could be used for transporting timber.


2 km of the road near Unterstmatt widened.


Restoration and completion of the segment of the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse from Ruhestein to Schliffkopf and repair of the rest of the damaged Vogelskopf Viaduct.


The entire length of the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse from Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt was now open to traffic. The Ruhestein - Allerheiligen forest road was converted into a proper road. In the same year, the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse was straightened near Kurhaus Sand and the gradient ratio was improved.


A 3.5 km-long section of the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse between Sand and Unterstmatt is widened to 7.50 m at a cost of 300,000 German marks.


Improvement of the road layout and widening of the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse between Kurhaus Plättig and Kurhaus Sand.


The highly dangerous hair-pin bends near Bühlerhöhe are straightened out and the road is widened to 7.50 m.


A ca. 1 km-long section of the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse from Unterstmatt in the direction of Mummelsee is widened to 7.50 m (at a cost of ca. 200,000 German marks).

1957 - 1960

Continuation of the construction of the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse in the direction of Mummelsee and widening to 7.50 m.


Provisional construction of the road between Baden-Baden and Bühlerhöhe.


Start of construction of the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse between Mummelsee and Ruhestein. It was completed in segments which took until around 1972. Overcoming substantial problems with the routing and subsequent replanning, especially in the area of Dürrbaden, accounted for the long construction time.