The SaaleHorizontale walking trail – 72 kilometres of pure walking pleasure
This trail winds its way along narrow paths through steep fossil-flecked limestone cliffs, offering spectacular vistas across the delightful scenery of the central Saale valley. When it comes to outdoor pursuits in Jena, this is the undisputed highlight.
Lush meadows alternate with verdant beech forests. Sparse groves of pine trees and the many clear valley slopes provide regular glimpses of small villages, castles and palaces, and of the distinguished university city of Jena.
Along the way
There’s no shortage of observation points along the SaaleHorizontale walking trail. One minute you’re looking at a sleepy little village set among orchards, the next the unique JenTower appears behind the trees. Jena from afar, from above or close up – take in the views of the university city on the Saale river as it moulds itself to the shape of the valley and gradually gives way to forest. This thoroughly modern city looks back on a rich history, and its lovely old quarter with its many cafés, restaurants and cosy pubs is the perfect place to while away the hours. The Botanical Garden, the Romanticist House, and the legacy of famous residents such as Otto Schott, Carl Zeiss and Ernst Abbe all bear witness to the city’s successful fusion of science, research and business.
The panoramic views that can be enjoyed from the SaaleHorizontale are simply stunning. One minute you can spot Leuchtenburg Castle from afar, while the city centre hustles and bustles deep below your feet, the next the Dornburg Palaces suddenly appear into view, followed by Jena’s skyline. You’ll always stay on track on the SaaleHorizontale and gain new perspectives from its lofty heights.
The expansive scenery clears the mind.
Be it summer, winter, the weekend or an afternoon stroll. Meet Napoleon and Emperor Otto the First along the way, while also tracing the steps of Goethe and Schiller. In a region formed from the prehistoric seas of the Triassic, the trail passes charming Romanesque castle ruins and babbling rivers, telling countless stories that will lead you into the here and now. Thanks to the SaaleHorizontale, you can experience thousands of years of history, see a hundred rare plants and reach ten peaks. Discover something new around every corner or simply be immersed in nature on the path to connecting with yourself.
The trail has gentle as well as steep ascents, but you are always rewarded by the landscape and natural scenery, which on the SaaleHorizontale are frequently spectacular. Pine groves, beech forests, traditional meadow orchards and luscious field borders offer plenty of variety.
Steep cliffs make for striking photo opportunities.
Bright carpets of early flowering plants, delicate orchids and the rich colours of the autumn foliage make their unique mark on the stunning surroundings. The Dornburg Palaces, the ruins of Kunitzburg and Lobdeburg castles, hospitable little villages, and ancient rocks are fascinating monuments to bygone ages. There are also restaurants and hostels along the way. The trail has been split into 17 short tours to make it more accessible. The many access paths and exit points make it possible to split the trail into any number of shorter individual walks. The SaaleHorizontale’s distinctive symbol, which is displayed every 400 metres, makes it easy to follow the route even without a map. At selected points there are information panels about the panoramic trail that provide extensive help in finding your way around.
The trail at a glance
|Lowest point||130 m|
|Highest point||390 m|
Short tours | Offers| Nature and landscapes | Service & Downloads
The SaaleHorizontale walking trail has the seal of approval of the German Ramblers’ Association.
Information Jena Tourist-Information
Jena from above – along the Kernberge hills to the Fuchsturm tower
Explore the SaaleHorizontale hiking trail on a guided one-day walk along the Kernberge hills to the Fuchsturm tower.
Napoleon Stone and Rautal
Explore the SaaleHorizontale hiking trail on a guided one-day walk to the Napoleon Stone and through Rautal.
The Luther Trail retraces the steps of the famous church reformer over more than 900 kilometres, including several stops in Jena.