The Tropical Island of Ruhla - Geological hiking route No. 9

Blick über das Altensteiner Riff

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 Dripstone Cave of Kittelsthal (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

Other geological hiking routes

Geological hiking route No. 1:
Great Haderholz route Floh-Sehligental
Duration: 5-6 hours (11 km)

Geological hiking route No. 2:
Mühlberg Mountain panoramic route
Duration: 6-7 hours (19 km)

Geological hiking route No. 4:
Apfelstädt “Way of St. James” route
Duration: 1-day tour (35 km)

Geological hiking route No. 6:
Saurian Adventure trail Georgenthal
Duration 2.5 hours

Geological hiking route No. 7:
Mining Trail of Friedrichroda
Duration: 3-4 hours (7 km)

Geological hiking route No. 16:
Geology- and mining educational trail Trusetal
Duration: t.b.a.