Endless hiking trails, great views of the Rhine plain and the hills, castle ruins, charming villages and of course great wines and food from the Pfalz - the Palatinate Forest / Pfälzer Wald is truly a paradise for hiking.
Pfälzerwald - the Palatinate Forest - is an area which is relatively unspoilt by tourism. It is popular in the region for hiking and outdoor sports, but hardly known among international visitors. The hilly region along the western side of the Upper Rhine plain is covered with seemingly endless forests. This is the largest forest area in the whole of Germany.
The Palatinate Forest has the status of a national park. Grünstadt, Kaiserslautern, Pirmasens, the French border and the Wine Road mark the borders of the protected area. The landscape is connected with the Vosges on the French side. The highest peaks reach an altitude of more than 600 m.
If you plan to do hiking in the Palatinate Forest, wear appropriate shoes. Ankle-high hiking boots aren't necessary (though no mistake if you have them) but you need soles that have a good grip. The paths can be steep and rocky, have loose stones and mud, and get slippery when wet or covered with leaves. Even the trails up to Trifels castle are unpaved, steep forest paths. Clumsy Me observed 999 tree roots but tripped over root number 1000 on the way down and bruised her knees badly... ouch!
The further west you go, deeper into the forests, the quieter and more remote they are. These rural areas are far off the beaten path.
The central part includes some quite spectacular sandstone rock formations. These are popular among rock climbers. My photos are just snapshots taken from the Pirmasens train, hence by far not the most impressive ones.
The majority of the trees in the forests are deciduous. This means autumn colours. In October the forests turn to rich golden colours. This is the most beautiful season for hiking, good weather provided.
Sweet chestnut trees grow wild in these forests, guess what many local specialities include. The Palatine is a region for foodies and wine lovers.
Hiking is more fun if you have a destination.
Several of the peaks along the Rhine plain carry the ruins of medieval castles, for example Madenburg, Burg Landeck, and the most famous of them, Trifels above Annweiler, or view towers and viewpoints.
Wide views down into the Rhine plain over to Odenwald, Kraichgau and Black Forest add to the pleasure.
Landscape view from Hambacher Schloss