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Hiking trails to the Brocken

The Brocken is the highest peak in the Harz at 1,141 meters and from the summit you can enjoy magnificent panoramic views across the whole region.

  • Blick zum Brocken (Foto: Bennet Dörge)
  • Brocken (Foto: Bennet Dörge)
  • Blick zum Brocken (Foto: Bennet Dörge)
  • Wandern im Torfhausmoor (Foto: M. Gloger)

A tour to the Brocken is one of the highlights of any trip to the Harz. Well known travelers like Johann Goethe and Heinrich Heine drew their inspiration from the summit.

The "Mountain of the Germans", as the summit is often referred to, has some special features: it is geographically located on the former inner-German border and was from 1961 to 1989 a restricted area. Its position and altitude in northern Germany ensures at times harsh winds and cold temperatures, comparable to the mountains of Iceland.

As the Brocken is within the Harz National Park it is not possible to drive to the summit by car. You can take a ride up with coachmen who offer carriage rides to the summit from Schierke. Another way is to take the Brocken steam train, which is part of the Harz Narrow Gauge Railway to the summit. Alternatively you can hike in the footsteps of Goethe from Torfhaus to the Brocken. Follow the path that Goethe took on December 10th 1777, on his first visit to the Brocken. The rough terrain and untouched nature that created bizarre shapes left a lasting impression on him and manifested years later in one of the greatest works of German literature: Faust.

Tip:
Take time on the Brocken trail to see the witches altar and devils pulpit. These two granite cliffs on the Brocken summit impressed Goethe; this is the meeting point for witches and the devil on Walpurgis night.

Ascent route from Ilsenburg: Heinrich-Heine-Weg (12 km, 850 m altitude difference)

Ascent route from Ilsenburg: Heinrich-Heine-Weg (12 km, 850 m altitude difference)

The most beautiful ascent to the Brocken starts in Ilsenburg. Follow the traces of the German poet Heinrich Heine alongside the mountain stream Ilse. (Route description in German)

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Ascent route from Schierke: Shortest route (5,4 km, 504 m altitude difference)

Ascent route from Schierke: Shortest route (5,4 km, 504 m altitude difference)

The scenic ascent from Schierke through the Eckerloch valley to the Brocken is recommended for experienced and well-equipped hikers. (Route description in German)

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Ascent route from Torfhaus: Goetheweg (8 km, 350 m altitude difference)

Ascent route from Torfhaus: Goetheweg (8 km, 350 m altitude difference)

In December 1777 the famous German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe took this route to the Brocken. (Route description in German)

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Ascent route from Elend: Teufelsstieg Trail (26 km, 806 m altitude difference)

Ascent route from Elend: Teufelsstieg Trail (26 km, 806 m altitude difference)

The Teufelsstieg is the most difficult ascent route to the Brocken. It ends in Bad Harzburg. (Route description in German)

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