In the Upper Palatinate Forest…
… more precisely in Marktredwitz the Goldsteig starts or ends. When walking in the direction of Passau, at first the tour will lead you through the Steinwald, then cross the romantic castle ruin Weißenstein, the “Land der Tausend Teiche” (landscape famous for its numerous fish ponds) and continue through the Waldnaabtal.
Then it will cross Neustadt an der Waldnaab, Castle Leuchtenberg, Castle Trausnitz – and beyond the gold mining city Oberviechtach you have to decide whether you walk on the Northern or Southern Trail through the Bavarian Forest, as after hiking through the Prackendorfer and Kulzer bog the Goldsteig is divided into two trails:
Goldsteig – The Northern Trail
The Steinerne Wand (rock formation) and the mountain Schwarzwihrberg with Castle Schwarzenburg are situated between Thanstein and Rötz. Waldmünchen, Furth im Wald, Rötz – you have reached the Bavarian-Bohemian boundary region. Here you find “Europe’s Green Roof”, the largest connected forest landscape in Europe between the Atlantic Ocean and the Ural Mountains. Pretty villages, culture and green nature alternate pleasantly.
After that some thousand-meter-high peaks have to be conquered – Hohenbogen, Kaitersberg, Arber, Falkenstein, Rachel, Lusen and Dreisessel. Some of the most beautiful geotopes of Bavaria like the Blockmeer near the mountain Lusen or the bizarre granite rocks at the Dreisessel can be found along the trail.
No doubt: One of the centerpieces of the Northern Trail is the heart of the National Park Bavarian Forest. In the border triangle (Germany, Czech Republic, Austria) the landscape opens up and offers you a great view on the Danube valley and the Mühlviertel (northern Danube region of Austria). You have almost reached “Three River City” Passau.
Goldsteig – The Southern Trail
Those who decide to walk on the Southern Trail will experience shady forest tracks as well as tracks through the open grassland. No matter where you are the trail always offers you breathtaking views, especially on the Gäuboden (region in Lower Bavaria).
On a clear day you are able to see the Alpine chain from Dachstein to the Zugspitze on the horizon. The trail leads you up and down through the nature reserve Hölle and the rock reserve near Falkenstein.
In the sunny mixed forests of the northern Bavarian Forest you can explore beautiful nature: standing on top of the Rusel (mountain range) you can see the Lallinger Winkel (high valley near Lalling) and enjoy the sunny side of the Bavarian Forest.
This region has a very favorable climate and therefore lush and fertile vegetation that blossoms early. The Goldsteig continues through the Sonnenwald (part of the Bavarian Forest) and leads you to the mountainside of the Brotjacklriegel. From that point on the Southern Route runs along the “Black Pearl” Ilz (river) until you have reached Passau.
Goldsteig – Interconnections of Northern and Southern Route
An interconnection in the heart of the Bavarian Forest makes it easy for hikers to switch between the Goldsteig Northern to the Southern Trail. This connection, running through the regions Straubing-Bogen, Regen and Cham, starts at the top of the mountain Pröller and leads you through the lovely villages Kollnburg and Viechtach. Crossing a mountain range with splendid panoramic view, the route leads you to the castle ruin Neunußberg and through the beautiful Zellertal (valley region in the Bavarian Forest) straight to the Berggasthof Eck (restaurant, guest house and Biergarten). From here you can walk on the main track towards the mountain Großer Arber and the National park Bavarian Forest or you hike northwards crossing the mountain range Hohenbogen in the direction of Furth im Wald.