The Kleine Wiesental in the southern Black Forest invites you on an expedition.
Come with us on a journey to small and cozy villages with traditions and celebrations and indigenous inhabitants, who love their landscape and nature and who appreciate good food and drink.
Come with us on a journey through green meadows where most of the year the native Hinterwaelder cows (a special breed in the Black Forest) are grazing, through shady forests where deer, fox, badger and grouse have their homes, on mountain tops and on lookouts, where you can take a break from everyday life.
The Kleine Wiesental is not the place for people needing hurly-burly, hustle and bustle, big cities and a high traffic density.
The Kleine Wiesental is the place for people enjoying life on the quiet, who love a delicious meal and nature, for the observant who keep their eyes open to discover by themselves all the scenic and cultural beauties of this landscape, for the individualists who prefer to spend their time on foot, bike or horse off the beaten tracks.
From the south, Basel or Loerrach you reach the Kleines Wiesental via Schopfheim or Steinen by following the road-signs to Wieslet. The valley is still wide here and Wieslet (with around 600 inhabitants a pretty big village) owns some objects of interest. Here you in the old parsonage you will find the Friedrich-Ludwig-Museum, with an exhibition of paintings from this regional artist. A very active association, called the KUK, have built up that exhibition and still operate it with heart and hard work.
On Sundays during the summer you can visit the valley of the Wiesental with the hiking bus, that starts in the morning from Schopfheim and drives along the valley's villages. Last stop is the hotel Haldenhof in Hinterheubronn. In the evening the bus drives back in reverse order again.
From the parking place we drive further on the sealed lane to the hamlet of Hinterheubronn and to the hotel Haldenhof. Here is the junction to the valley of Muenstertal and the start of hiking paths to the mountain of the Hohe Kelch (1264 m), the Belchen top (1414 m) or to the secluded farm restaurant Kaelbelescheuer, found high on a alpine pasture. We follow the road in the direction of Badenweiler up to the summit of the Kreuzweg pass. On the right there is a little(short) ski-lift to the Weiherkopf mountain (1149 m). On the left is a parking place with a lot of hiking paths. In wintertime this is the access point to various cross-country-ski runs and a place to have fun in the snow with tobogganing and snowball fights. The Belchen top is enthroned here impressive above the valley and you can view the inn Belchenhaus, a little white cube, underneath the summit.
Only a short walk away you will see the Streich-Mill, an old traditional craft enterprise, where still today the miller's work is practiced. The millstone is powered by an old waterwheel that grinds the corn. In the mill-shop next door you can buy cereals, flour, fresh bread and a variety of healthy and natural things to eat.
On the road to Weitenau there is a small turnoff to the tiny villages of Eichholz and Henschenberg. On sunny heights surrounded by quiet forests you will find a few houses and an idyllic spot to start a walk or have a break at the nice little barbeque hut near the road.
We return to Neuenweg to follow the winding road now on the other side of the village. Along scattered old farms of Vorderheubronn we reach in Mittelheubronn the junction to the Nonnenmattweiher-pond. A short time later the small paved lane changes to a gravel road and leads to a parking place in the forest. Only a short 400-m-walk and we reach the Fischerhuette, a cozy little tavern and another 200-m-walk later we can see the Nonnenmattweiher-pond, romantically nestled between forested hillsides and the towering rock of the Weiherfelsen in the background. Stately spruces are reflected in the deep blue water of this relic of the ice-age at 915 m above sea-level. Picnic and swimming area are on the western shore. Legend has it that there was a nunnery once, which one fine day sank beneath the waves and vanished forever because the nuns had sinned too often.
On our right hand side the road is climbing the pass of the Hau, with its parking place to start scenic hiking trips and with a wonderful view to the Belchen, to Neuenweg and to Grosses and Kleines Wiesental valleys. Only a short walk from the parking there are two ancient remains of field-works built at the end of the 17th century to defend the advanced Frenchmen. A small path leads up from the one star-shaped fieldwork over rocky terrain to the top of the Belchen, where great views over the valley are waiting for you.
Just a few kilometers onwards we reach Neuenweg, the third gold medal winning village at the end of the valley. The southern flank of the impressive, pretty woodless and soft shaped peak of the Belchen (one of the most beautiful and mystical mountain tops in the Black-forest) attracts our attention.
Only a few houses , a hostel and a youth-hostel huddle against the Belchen flank and in the center of the village reasonable inns are waiting to treat their guest to a meal of fine food.
Down in the now narrow valley, the road winds between steep and forested slopes and the river to Buerchau, another gold medal winning village. Here a big wooden waterwheel is the focal point and the valley opens up to a lovely wide and hilly scenery with rich green pastures. Nice houses spread over the hillsides and the valley floor, and here you can find a lot of quiet places to relax and to recreate. One such places is the cozy hotel and restaurant 'Sonnhalde' with its sunny terrace and the beautiful view, the comfortable rooms and the indoor pool and the tasty cuisine using fresh herbs and flowers. The annual organised garden-week with workshops and excursions has many excited friends and visitors.
Ried, is situated among sunny green meadows and is so lovely with its colourful farmhouse gardens, the village well in front of the old townhall. Here the long established inn 'Zum Adler' invites you to stay for a while. Following the road to Hohenegg and further on the curvy route down to Holl, is another hamlet with the country inn 'Hirschen'. We again reach the Kleine Wiese valley and follow the course of the river up along the few houses of Langensee to the turnoff to Elbenschwand. Steep and winding is the route through the forest to the village, where the farmhouses snuggle close up to the steep slope. From here you can start beautiful hiking trips to the wind turbine on the Ittenschwander Horn or to the village of Gresgen, or just take ashort walk to enjoy the view from the Buckhuette, a mountain hut, situated above Elbenschwand in the woods.
Driving downhill past lovely houses with colourful floral decorations towards Ried, we make a short trip up to the widespread farms of Oberhaeuser and further to the nice parking place in the forest, called 'Ebnets'. Here you find a nice barbeque and picnic area and several marked hiking tracks. In winter time there is a prepared cross-country-ski run, the 17 km loop of the Nonnenmattweiher-run
Above Raich, in the shed called 'Lindenhalle', some interesting events take place every odd year. One is the so called 'Brauchtumsfest', where traditional farm-working is shown, for example ploughing with horses, cutting grass with the scythe, destilling cherry schnapps, making shoes from straw and many more. The other is an international old timers meeting, where old and young people assemble to present their wonderful, passionately restored old motorbikes, cars and tractors. But beside this, you can appreciate the beautiful view above the villages Raich, Ried and Hohenegg and yearlong can enjoy the changing seasonal colors.
We drive back to Wies and continue further in the direction of Tegernau and on our way we pass the hydroelectric station, which through ecofriendly methods produces a major part of the electricity needed in the valley. We take a left turn after the granite quarry and snake our way up to Schwand. In the building 'Rosenhof' various artists hold dance-, theater- and music performances as well as workshops from time to time. And the neat inn 'Sennhuette' invites you with its shady terrace to stay for a while and to enjoy a good meal with local products and a cozy bed in the comfortable, family-run hotel in a quiet surrounding. As we follow the road, little villages string together like pearls on a lace. If you turn left, you come to Demberg, where old but well-preserved farmhouses are standing like colorful dots on the green hillsides.
But we go straight ahead to Raich, which won a golden medal for one of the most beautiful villages in Germany. Here you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Rhine valley with the Jura-mountains chain and if the weather is clear you can see the snowcovered heigths of some alpine peaks: Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau, the well-known mountains in the Swiss Alps.
Driving along the road through sappy green meadows found near the creek, we reach Fischenberg. A small village with a few large old farmhouses down at the end of the little valley. A short way before we come to Fischenberg, there is a junction leading uphill to Kuehlenbronn, another tiny village. In both hamlets the sealed roads end and you can start your hike here off the beaten tracks.
The road downhill leads to Marzell in the Kandertal valley or along the top of the Hochblauen (another beautiful viewpoint, 1164 m) down to Badenweiler in the Rhine-valley. We go back to Wies and pass the Guesthouse 'Zur Krone,' the church and find the village shop, the 'Dorfladen'. Built by village volunteers in 2009 and now cooperatively managed , you will find the things for the daily supply here ( a cup of coffee, fresh bread and meat as well).
Again we are on the main road through the valley of the Koehlgartenwiese. Where the valley expands, we reach the village of Wies with its big shed beside the road. Here the cattle market takes place annually in October, and is a well-known attraction in the surrounding communities. Only a short way further, a little road turns left up the hill to Wambach, a tiny village, and you can go no further with the car.
But we follow the winding main road to Stockmatt, another little village where you find a riding-stable, the Grusiloch-Ranch, and further to the pass of the Lipple. Here, the parking place is an excellent point to start an extensive hiking trip, on foot, horseback, mountain bike or snow-shoes and cross-country-skis in wintertime. Nearby, a good meal or a bed to sleep in can be found at the hostel 'Wanderheim Stockmatt'.
When we follow the road through Sallneck towards Kandern we reach the little village of Kirchhausen with its Farmhouse Museum Schneiderhof. The farmhouse built in 1696 serves as an agricultural museum today. In autumn of 1999, its original straw-thatched roof was restored. We can learn about former life in this typical old farmhouse. There are various activities and presentations of traditional customs such as spinning, weaving, baking bread in the old stove, making butter, destilling cherry schnapps, smoking bacon and many more activities during the summer months.
As we leave the idyllic Sallneck on the road to Wies, you pass the hotel and restaurant 'Zum Hirschen' and on a small road downhill to the shady parking place at the little reservoir beside the road. The creek of the Koehlgartenwiese and the reservoir are nice places for a picnic or to let the children splash around. Not far away a hiking path leads to the picturesque little canyon of the Heissbachschlucht.
Now we turn off left into the tributary valley of the Koehlgartenwiese and turn left again, only a short way after we left Tegernau, heading up the hill on the small and winding road to Sallneck. Sallneck is situated on a mountainside and you have wonderful views of the valley and the surrounding mountains including the top of the Belchen, one of the Black Forest's most beautiful viewpoints.
After this side trip we go further along the valley, passing some restaurants, the houses of Niedertegernau and come to Tegernau, a kind of center of the valley. The municipal administration, the postoffice, the elementary school and a bank (Sparkasse) are located in this village.
Near the restaurant “Zum Ochsen,” where you can get good traditional food for reasonable prices, you will find the Wirtshausmuseum 'Zur Krone'( a museum-inn). Affectionately restored by the local community it is the place ideal for Sunday morning get-together, poetry readings, local music, singing and traditions. Guests are warmly welcome.
So go on a journey and start your holiday here for there is a lot to discover in the valley of the Kleines Wiesental.