© HTV, Foto: M. Gloger

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.

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.

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.

Hiking trails to the Brocken

Ascent route from Ilsenburg: Heinrich-Heine-Way (10,5 km 857 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)



Ascent route from Schierke: shortest route (5,4 km, 505 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)



Ascent route from Elend: Teufelsstieg trail (23,3 km, 813 m altitude difference)

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



Ascent route from Torfhaus: Goethetrail (8,8 km, 360 m altitude difference)

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



Ascent route from Oderbrück (7,7 km, 353 m altitude differnce)

This hiking trail leads to the Brocken via the "Dreieckigen Pfahl (triangular pile)" and the Harz border path.


Ascent route from Ehrenfriedhof (cemetery of honor): (7,1 km, 330 m altitude difference)

This ascent offers an alternative to the route from Torfhaus or Oderbrück.



Tips for the hike on the Brocken

How is the weather on the Brocken?

It is much colder on the mountain top than in the valley, with rough winds blowing. It´s important to have a jacket with you. The first snow usually falls in September and lasts until March.


What kind of clothing do you need need?

Sturdy shoes and weatherproof, warm clothing are recommended.


Is there a restaurant on the summit?

Yes, there is a refreshment stop in the train station and a gastronomic offer from the "Brockenwirt". Overnight stays in the "Brockenhotel" are only possible with advance booking.


What time should I explore the Brockengarden?

Botanists took an early interest in this unique vegetation. In the Brockengarden - founded in 1890 - 1.800 high mountain species from all over the world grow today. You can explore it on guided tours from mid-May to mid-October.


What can I expect in the Brockenhaus?

You can look forward to an extensive exhibition on history and nature on the Brockenkuppe.


What do I have to consider?

With several million visitors in the Harz National Park and in particular on the Brocken, "rules" are needed to guarantee plants and animals adequate protection:

  • Don't leave your rubbish in the woods
  • Do not take anything from nature - every animal and every plant has an important function
  • No fire in the national park - there is a risk of fire even in cold weather
  • Smoking is prohibited because of the risk of forest fires
  • Dogs must be on a leash all year round
  • Camping in the national park is not allowed
  • Stay on the signposted hiking trails
  • Riding is only permitted on appropriately marked trails
  • Cycling is allowed on all hiking trails - but note: hikers have priority

Thank you for your consideration!

More information about the Brocken

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