For those that love to get out into the woods, the hike from Seeheim to Felsenmeer (a geologic place of interest) will give you a good workout and plenty of scenery. I went on a beautiful Saturday in November and was just one of hundreds of others walking the Odenwald trails.
You can start at a parking area on the road up to Lufthansa Training & Conference Center off of Ober-Beerbacher Strasse. While there are a number of routes you can take to get Felsenmeer the easiest one to remember is to follow the "yellow cross" trail toward Ober Beerbach. This trail will eventually connect with the "red line trail" and if you hang a right you can follow it all the way to Felsenmeer. Along the way you will see the ruins of Tannenberg castle as well as beautiful views of the Odenwald hills and dales.
When you arrive at the top of Felsenmeer you can stop at Ada's Buka Resaurant, an African-themed restaurant which serves good German food. Then, you can hike all the way down the other side of the hill to the Felsenmeer Information Center which has a small cafe attached to it. The Information Center explains the history of Felsenmeer from how the geological formation came to be there, the myths about it (something to do with Giants) and how the Romans quarried the rock there (and left some behind). While the displays are in German there are English pamphlets you can buy. They also sell hiking maps of the area.
If you buy the map of this area you can head back a different way. I personally didn't want to climb back up the hill so I took the #4 trail around to the right, then jumped onto the #5 trail then to the #7 trail which finally put me back on the "red line" trail. tI was a lot longer and still had some put pretty steep parts but it was all new to me and that is what it is all about.
Once upon a time there were two giants who lived on two hills; one on the Felsberg, the other on the Hohenstein. One day they had a quarrel and began throwing boulders at each other. The giant from Hohenstein had the advantage of many more stones to throw, and soon the giant from the Felsberg was buried in a sea of rocks. Today that spot is known as the Felsenmeer.
This is just legend, of course, but there really is a sea of rocks in Germany’s Odenwald region between Reichenbach and Beedenkirchen. The real reason is there has everything to do with geology and nature and nothing with giants. (from the Felsenmeer website listed below)
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We have been to Felsenmeer twice in as many months. Nestled on a hillside in the Odenwald, a forest between Hesse and Bavaria, Felsenmeer is a delight for hikers and families alike. Starting from the bottom of the hill, you can look up the hill to a sea of rocks – not pebbles or skipping stones, but the big ones, boulders actually, the kind you can’t move even with a group of friends.
As you stand at the bottom of these rocks, you are instantly faced with a dilemma – climb up or go around? Families love this place; kids have no dilemma (climb the rocks, of course) and parents (or at least one) climb with the children. Those less adventuresome can climb the hill the easier way, through a system of pathways, steps, and bridges – still not the easiest, but definitely more appealing to some than rock climbing.
Working your way upwards, you can turn around and see a green valley with a village in the distance; keep climbing and you reach a bridge that stretches across the rocks from one side to the other. Keep climbing – you are half way there! At the top you will be rewarded with some artifacts from long ago when the Romans used this place as a quarry. A 30-foot, 27 ½ ton column from the 4th century is waiting to be explored and calling to be climbed upon.
Continue uphill just a little bit more to the northern parking lot and have lunch at Ada’s Buka, an African themed restaurant – great food, pleasant atmosphere, and comfortable chairs to relax in before you make the descent back to the bottom (see below for website).
Those with children should be prepared for a quiet ride home as they will have expended all their energy in the climb.
Felsenmeer is about 12km from Seeheim-Jugenheim near the village of Reichenbach in the Odenwald. Parking is 1 Euro for the day and admission is free.
An interesting note is if you search for Felsenmeer on GoogleMaps - search for Reichenbach im Odenwald - then switch to the satellite view -- you will see the rocks and how long big Felsenmeer really is!
At the vineyard I was the guest of Martin and his lovely wife, they both could communicate in English as well which was nice for me and I was invited to taste the wines from different graps and years. It was just wonderful and in 10 minutes later I was over the driving permission limits. :)
For dessert Martin gave me to try his own Schnaps, which was excellent as well.