The stages - hiking on the Oberlausitzer mountain trail
Hiking and marvel in beautiful surroundings
Discover more about the individual stages on the Upper Lusatian Mountain Trail.
The centre of the Upper Lusatian pottery trade, a demonstration workshop for hand and linen weaving, Upper Lusatian houses
Welcome to Neukirch! Your route starts here. Two mountain ranges from the Upper Lusatian Highlands surround the centuries old village. 1000-year-old Bautzen, the erstwhile capital of Upper Lusatia, is 15 kilometres away.
Take a little time to enjoy your starting point. The community has been known for the potter’s art since 1759. The oldest potteries which are still operating there date from the 19th century. The traditional craft techniques are demonstrated at demonstration workshops.
What is sponge printing? Watch closely as the potters use sponges to decorate the pots. The procedure comes from Bunzlau, now called Bolesławiec. It has only been preserved in Upper Lusatia. The Neukirch Pottery Festival in October attracts up to 80 potteries from Germany and Europe and thousands of visitors every year. It is surely a reason to come again.
- the Heinke Ceramic Works established in 1886
- the Kannegießer Ceramic Works established in 1824
- the Karl Louis Lehmann Pottery established in 1834
- the Kleist Linen Manufactory with a demonstration workshop, established in 1886
- 37 Upper Lusatian houses (the block assembly and half-timbered construction methods under one roof)
- the baroque church (1723 – 1753) with the initial product made by the Eule organ company, Bautzen
- Neukircher Zwieback GmbH (established in 1696) with a company store
Valtenberg (587 m) – the Wesenitz spring – Steinigtwolmsdorf – the border track – Dreiherrenstein (Three Lords’ Stone, 480 m) – Sohland
You can see Valtenberg (587 m) from Neukirch. Today, you will scale the highest peak in the Upper Lusatia Highlands. A 25 metre high lookout tower with a trig point crowns the summit. Saxony’s King Johann stood on the summit in 1865. Quartz used to be mined in the mountain. The Valentine main adit level (1752 – 1762) bears witness to this.
Down to Steinigtwolmsdorf, past the granite bridge near the Waldhaus pub and across the B 98. The Upper Lusatia Mountain Trail now follows the Great Circular Track around Steinigtwolmsdorf and on to the “Three Lords’ Stone” (Dreiherrenstein). It once marked the intersection point of three aristocratic estates.
The route continues directly to the border with the Czech Republic on the “Red Wood Ant Trail” up to Schluckenauer Street, which will take you Sohland.
- the Wesenitz Spring at the opening to the Valentine main adit level
- 200 Upper Lusatian houses in Sohland, including the local history museum in the “Old Weavers’ House” (around 1750)
- the Bruno H. Bürgel Observatory in Sohland
- the Sohland Forest Theatre with summer performances in the Upper Lusatian vernacular
- an excursion to Taubenheim: a sundial village with 17 historical sun dials
The Sohland Heaven Bridge – Stausee – Kälbersteine with a view of Bohemia – Beiersdorf, Bieleboh (499 m) -Schönbach
Your day begins with a walk along the Spree. You will pass the Heaven Bridge dating from 1796 along the way. Or will you dare to cross it? There is a saying that it will break, if a liar crosses it. With or without this test of courage, you will soon pass under a viaduct on the way to your next station, the Sohland Reservoir, a good six hectares of water for boating and fishing.
You will climb from the reservoir to Ellersdorf. The peak is called Kälbersteine (487 m) and there are granite rocks at the top. The farmers hid their livestock there during the Thirty Years War. Enjoy the view of Bohemia from the hilltop. Forest tracks will take you to Picka and Eichen, two settlements in the Municipality of Oppach.
Now, Bieleboh (499 m) will put your hiking fitness to the test. At the summit, there is a further 18 m climb to the top of the lookout tower. It is worth the effort. Those in the know say that this provides the best view of Upper Lusatia. From Bieleboh, the route leads downhill in the direction of the Beiersdorf Church. The route leads along the former railway line to the destination of Schönbach. There are Upper Lusatian houses there (there is even a thatched house in Niederdorf), while the church with a bronze bell and the disused stone quarry in Neudorf are also worth seeing.
- the Oppach Stream Path to the Oppach mineral water spring
- an excursion to Cunewalde: the largest evangelical village church in Germany
- an excursion to Schirgiswalde: the “Carl Svoboda” Local Museum, historical houses with arcades and a Baroque church with two neo-Gothic spires
- an excursion to Crostau: a Silbermann organ dating from 1832 in the mountain church, the easternmost surviving instrument made by this famous organ builder
Schönbach – Schmiedesteine – the Reiterhaus Museum - Neusalza-Spremberg – Kuhberg – Raumbusch – the source of the Spree – Kottmar (583 m) – Eibau
You now have some experience of the Mountain Trail. Your next destination is called Neusalza-Spremberg. On the way there, you will cross the Flößchen (also Flössel) Stream, hike through the Great Wood and pass Halmeberg (also known as Hahneberg, 410 m).
In 1920, Neusalza and Spremberg joined together into a town with a double-barrel name. The Lammweg track will take you to Schmiedesteine, a lookout point and climbing area. The jewel of the town soon follows: the “Reiterhaus” dating from 1660 is one of the oldest Upper Lusatian houses and it is also home to a nice local history museum.
The Eichbergweg track leads back into the greenery and up the Kuhberg hill (396 m). The Old Pond natural monument with a lot of reeds and diverse birdlife is a nice place to rest. Your route then leads through the Raumbusch forest area and follows the wide Lebeltstraße forest track. The trail then turns from the Lebeltstraße track to the Old Löbau Path, heads in parallel with the Lebeltstraße for a while and then comes to a small pond, which is fed by the young Spree. From there, it heads along a natural path to a stony bench and then further in the direction of the Spree spring. This is the highest of the three Spree springs. The Wolfsgrubenweg track then merges with the old course of the Upper Lusatian Mountain Trail. Kottmar (583 m) is calling you! You are ascending an extinct volcano.
The peak lies between two natural environments. One of the three Spree springs bubbles up on the western slope of Kottmar. The 400 kilometre long Spree River is also fed by two other springs in the area.
The descent follows the Löbau Track, which offers hikers a wonderful view of the environs at the edge of the woods and takes them directly to Eibau.
The pearl of the municipality is the so-called Faktorenhof with a number of Baroque stately rooms. One more tip: be sure to taste an Eibau black beer at journey’s end!
- the village church in the suburb of Spremberg with portal edging dating from the 14th and 16th centuries
- the Bohemian “Exulant” church dating from 1679 in the suburb of Neusalza
- the Spree Park in the Spree’s Kerbsohlen Valley
- the border stones from 1834 at the Old Pond
- the Eibau Local and Humbolt Museum
- the Beer and Traditions Festival in Eibau (the last Sunday in June)
- an excursion to Obercunnersdorf: a heritage site with around 250 Upper Lusatian houses
- an excursion to Herrnhut: the demonstration workshop of Herrnhuter Sterne GmbH and the Folk Art Museum of the internationally renowned Unitas Fratrum
Eibau – Oderwitz – Bleichteiche, Großer Stein (471 m) Spitzkunnersdorf – White Rock – Großschönau – Lausurtal – Herrenwalde – Weberberg (670 m) – Lauscheborn – Waltersdorf
You will walk around the foot of Beckenberg (409) to Oderwitz, a windmill and weather village. Three windmills dating from the 18th and 19th centuries and the Oderwitz Weather Cabinet stand within its cadastral district. The rail underpass will take you to Bleichteiche and further to Leutersdorf. The bandit chief Karasek, who lived there, has made this area famous.
The path passes over Großer Stein (471 m) to the lookout point at the Emma bench and along a meadow path. Take a closer look at the smaller of the two summit rocks. It is called the Goethe Stone. Can you find the poet’s face? Yet another “prominent” rock follows soon after: the six-meter-high White Rock is known as the Karasek Cave.
Forest paths lead through Hofebusch to Hutberg (371 m). You can see the weaving village of Großschönau (origins: Große schöne Aue = large beautiful meadow) in the Mandau Valley. The first terry loom in Germany was established there in 1856. Near Neuschönau, you will reach the Old Road and the village of Herrnwalde via the Lausurtal Valley.
Pause for a moment and take a deep breath! Your ascent into the Zittau Mountains begins now. It is the 100th nature reserve in Germany. From Weberberg (670 m), the Kammweg path winds along the border with Bohemia to Lauscheborn. Donkeys used to lug drinking water from there to Lausche (793 m).
It is the highest mountain in Upper Lusatia and it impresses hikers with an almost 360° panoramic view. The way down leads to the Old Guardhouse. Nowadays, this former customs house marks the unhindered crossing to our Czech neighbours. After just a short descent, you will have arrived in the spa town of Waltersdorf.
- 450 Upper Lusatian houses in Oderwitz
- the German Damask and Terry Cloth Museum in Großschönau with a demonstration workshop
- the Großschönau Textile Path
- the Antique Motorcycle and Technology Museum in Großschönau
- the Großschönau townscape with 650 Upper Lusatian houses
- the Upper Lusatian house heritage trail (baroque grandeur with sandstone portals dating from the 18th century) in Waltersdorf
- the Lausche Moor on the Czech side of the border
- the Folklore and Mill Museum in Waltersdorf
- the nature reserve with an experiential exhibition and nature reserve garden
Waltersdorf – Jonsdorf Nonnenfelsen (537 m) – the Jonsdorf forest theatre – Oybin-Hain – the Hochwald panoramic mountain (749 m) – Kammloch Oybin/Lückendorf
Your new hiking day begins at the Old Guardhouse, which you already know. From there, the trail leads along the Hohlsteinweg Track to the Nun Cliffs (Nonnenfelsen). In the past, the locals saw “two nuns with veils and habits standing together” in the rugged sandstone formations. A via ferrata on the rock massif enables experienced climbers to overcome a height difference of 95 metres based on examples from the Alpine region.
You will come to the climatic spa of Jonsdorf. It was the second municipality in Saxony to acquire this state title in 1991. You will cross a medieval trade route under the Johannisstein hill. At that time, the Old Leipaer Road connected Central Bohemia and Zittau.
The route climbs from the hamlet of Hain up to the next peak, Hochwald (749 m). You will ascend part of the way along the old toboggan run dating from 1909. At one time, King Friedrich August III of Saxony tobogganed down this run. It was the longest and fastest natural toboggan run in the former East Germany.
The track known as Ulmensteigweg will bring you to the summit. The high forest hut dating from 1938 stands to the south, while there is a round lookout tower dating from 1892 to the north. The entire mountain is known as the “Lookout Tower for the Zittau Mountains” in the vernacular. The route heads downwards to the Kammloch mountain pass and then follows the Floßbergweg and Alte Hainstraße tracks to the Oybin spa town. It is surrounded by mountains and forests.
Two enormous mushrooms stand just under a kilometre from the town centre. Kelchstein and Kleinsteinwächter are internationally unique mushroom rocks.
The town’s greatest attraction also lies right “on the doorstep”: the Mount Oybin castle & monastery (the 14th century). It once enchanted famous painters from the German romantic school.
- the Butterfly House in Jonsdorf
- the Millstone Quarries Nature Educational Trail in Jonsdorf with sandstone formations such as the “Three Tables” and the “Little Organ”
- the Jonsdorf forest theatre – the summer venue for the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Theatre from Zittau
- the mountain church (“wedding church”) on Mount Oybin with Baroque and rococo fittings
Kammloch – Scharfenstein (569 m) – Teufelsmühle – Eichgraben – Hartau – the tripoint on the Nisa – Zittau, the city of the tri-border area
This is your last day on the Upper Lusatian Mountain Trail. You will walk to the Kammloch Pass and then from there to the Lückendorf climatic spa. This is the only German town on the southern side of the Zittau Mountains. The route follows the Dorfstraße track for a while before turning left onto a narrow path – the hike now leads to Scharfenstein (570 m).
You can look back at Oybin from the panoramic plateau. White steam rises: the Zittau narrow gauge railway winds its way through the mountain valley. It has steamed leisurely on its twelve kilometre journey from Zittau to the spa towns of Oybin and Jonsdorf since 1890.
After the descent from Scharfenstein, you will come into close contact with the narrow gauge railway. You will hike a short distance in parallel with the railway line in the direction of Zittau, but then turn off to the myth-enshrouded Devil’s Mill (Teufelsmühle) which includes a conciliation cross dating from 1670. Biersteig and Wasserhäusel are the names of two further distinctive points on the way to Eichgraben and Hartau. Both settlements are now parts of the town of Zittau. This is the end of the certificated part of the Oberlausitz Mountain Trail.
Three border stones and three flags will draw your attention to the special place of the tri-border area. This is the spot where Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic meet. The route to the final destination now leads along the Lusatian Nisa: Zittau, the town of the Lenten veils.
- the baroque mountain church in Lückendorf, built using stone from the Karlsfried castle ruin
- the apparently 1500-year-old yew tree on Gabler Straße in Lückendorf
- the “Historik Mobil” event: the Lückendorf mountain run, antique car days and the narrow gauge festival
- the Large Cliff Lane (Große Felsengasse) near Oybin with a via ferrata and a viewing point
- an excursion: Töpfer (582 m) with the Töpfer Hut dating from 1903 and the Europe Cross dating from 2003
Congratulations! You have hiked more than 100 kilometres along the Upper Lusatian Mountain Trail. Nature takes its friendly leave of you in a city of culture. Perhaps, you will feel that the more than 750-year-old Zittau is the highpoint of your trip. Those in the know claim that it is one of the most beautiful cities in Germany.
The textile and trading city was once called “the Rich One”. It has remained rich in beautiful houses and special artistic treasures, places to tarry and an aura with Bohemian and Italian borrowings. The Green Ring, a promenade with trees, shrubs and flowers, surrounds the old town. The Zittau Cultural Trail will help you to discover 54 sights from several centuries within the historical city centre.
The late medieval Zittau Lenten veils are unique in Deutschland. The building of the Heffterbau impresses with its renaissance gable. The town hall is reminiscent of a Florentine palace. The Church of Saint John is a Schinkel building. And so on and so on … Would you also like to get a taste of historical Zittau? Call in at one of the old inns.
You have hiked a long way and experienced much – now, we wish you a safe trip home. We look forward to seeing you again!
- the three-storey Salt House (Salzhaus) dating from 1511, comprehensively refurbished
- the Fleischerbastei dating from 1633 as part of the former city wall
- the Franciscan Monastery Cultural History Museum
- the tomb of Mayor Nicholas of Dornspach dating from 1584
- the Zittau flower clock dating from 1907 with chimes made of Meissen porcelain
- the Gerhart Hauptmann Theatre with 400 seats