168.3 kilometres may sound overwhelming at first, but when divided into short segments, the Rennsteig become a great trail for beginners and experienced hikers. As 8-day hike or individual section, you can discover the Rennsteig trail according to your wishes. There are various service providers which take care of luggage transportation, organizing the trip or booking accommodations. Don’t hesitate to ask the Team of Tourist Information Ruhla, if you have any further questions about hiking along the Rennsteig trail.
CLASSIC - a Rennsteig Hike in 8 days
From Hörschel to Blankenstein
1st day: Individual arrival in Eisenach Arriving in the city of Eisenach, you can take your time for a stroll through the city and visit some of the sights, like Wartburg Castle or Luther House.
2nd day: Hörschel - Grenzwiese, approx. 34 km According to the tradition, a Rennsteig hike starts in Hörschel by picking up a stone from Werra River and carrying it all the way to the end, to throw it in Saale River. Following the Rennsteig trail, passing the village of Clausberg and the Vacha Stone, you reach the stone crossing “Wilde Sau”, where you can take a rest at a rustic hiking lodge. While continue hiking, you pass “Hohe Sonne” and reach “Ascherbrück” near Ruhla. The Rennsteig trail runs in a semi-circle around Ruhla and leads uphill to Großer Inselsberg, a mountain with a height of 912 m. above sea level. Climbing up the lookout tower on top of the mountain, you can enjoy a magnificent panoramic view over the Thuringian Forest. After walking downhill, the end of the first segment, Grenzwiese, is reached.
3rd day: Grenzwiese – Oberhof, approx. 32 km Starting at Grenzwiese, the trail passes Dreiherrnstein and leads to Ebertswiese, a beautiful mountain meadow with an adjacent lake. On a hot summer day you can take a refreshing dip in the lake, a former quarry, which was filled in 1900. The trail continues with less steep climbs as passing Große Ausspanne, Krämerrod, Wachsenrasen to Oberhof, the well-known centre for winter sports. Nearby is Grenzadler, a century old border stone and the destination for the second segment.
4th day: Oberhof - Neustadt / Rennsteig, approx. 25 km Before starting the next segment of the tour, the park Rennsteiggarten, with its unique mountain flora, invites to stroll and discover. An obelisk nearby is guiding back to the Rennsteig trail. At “Plänckners Aussicht”, one of the most beautiful viewpoints of the Rennsteig, you have reached the highest point (973 m. above sea level) of this tour. It is dedicated to Julius von Plänckner, the initiator of the Rennsteig hiking trail.
5th day: Neustadt / Rennsteig – Limbach, approx. 22 km Leaving the Thuringian Forest, you now enter the Thuringian-Vogtlandian Slate Mountains, with its typical slate-tiled houses. Crossing Schwalbenhauptwiese you reach the town of Masserberg, after walking through a deep ravine, which was formed by washouts and weathering. Following the trail it leads you from the lookout tower Rennsteig-Warte to the town of Friedrichshöhe. A detour to the source of Werra River is worth a visit before proceeding the hike to Limbach, the end of the fourth segment.
6th day: Limbach - Steinbach am Wald, approx. 29 km The destination for today is Steinbach. Near the village of Ernstthal, part of the well-known Glass-blower Town of Lauscha, you can take a ride with an Alpine slide. The hiking trail continues by traversing the town of Spechtsbrunn.
7th day: Steinbach am Wald – Blankenstein, approx. 29 km Many well-known personalities have walked the Rennsteig trail in the past, amongst them Martin Luther. Following the trail he went once to preach a sermon in Lehesten, you pass various viewpoints, like Lauenhain or the old slate quarries. Crossing the former inner-German border, which divided East and West Germany until 1989, you come across information boards about historic boundary stones in this area. The Rennsteig leads you through the small village of Grumbach to the viewpoint “am Beerholz”, where you can enjoy a beautiful view to the Franconian Forest. With light and easy steps you overcome the very last part of the Rennsteig trail until you arrive in Blankenstein.
8th day: Individual departure from Blankenstein Congratulations, you’ve done it! We wish you a pleasant trip back home and are looking forward to seeing you again.