The slogan of the National GeoPark Thuringia proclaims: „walk along the footsteps of Pangea“. It combines cliffs, caves, springs, lakes, fossils, mines and museums for visitors to discover the geological history of Thuringia. The GeoPark is located between the western Thuringian Forest and the group of castles “Gleichen” with the cities Erfurt, Gotha and Arnstadt nearby. Along various geo routes visitors can discover geological sights and Geotopes. Many exhibitions about geology and mining are located in the GeoPark, as well as 3 different show caves and show mines that can be visited.
National GeoPark Thuringia
Geological hiking routes around Ruhla
Main tour: 52 kilometres (2-day tour)
Circular hiking trail Ruhla: 21.5 km (1-day tour)
Circular hike Bad Liebenstein: 20 km (1-day tour)
Caves tour: 29.5 km (2-day tour)
Did you know about the Tropical Island in the middle of the Thuringian Forest? Granted, you won’t find sandy beaches and palm trees in Ruhla today. The island of Ruhla was around 257 million years ago. At that time a shallow tropical sea covered the Central European region. Between Ruhla and Brotterode was an island that geologists call “Ruhlaer Insel”. Today there is little left of the former island. The former reefs shaped the mountains on the north and south edges of the Thuringian Forest. Now it is the forest itself that determines the landscape of this area.
The geological hiking route No. 9 leads from the Wolfsberg with the Kittelsthal Dripstone Cavel (near Ruhla) over the Thuringian Forest to the Altenstein Cave (near Bad Liebenstein). Both caves were formed in the Zechstein period in reef limestone. Along the hiking trail there are 42 information boards about geology, mining, the history of science and biology.
Visit former reefs:
In Ruhla, Thal, Seebach and Wutha-Farnroda: Hohle Stein on Schloßberg Mountain, Scharfenberg Mountain, Greater and Lower Wartberg Mountain, Greater und Lower Ebertsberg Mountain, Spitziger Stein, Krumtsberg Mountain and Wolfsberg Mountain
In Bad Liebenstein, Steinbach and Schweina: Schloßberg Mountain with Liebensteiner reef, Hattenbachsfeld and the Altensteiner reef