Located in Northern France, near the German border. Standing tall as the 3th highest mountain in the region, surrounded by thick green forests. A Perfect place for a multi-day hike as preparation for a trip to the Alps later this year.
Camping on The Rainkopf
Arriving around 7 P.M at the start of out route in Wildenstein, we had about 2 hours of light left. So, we quickly strapped on the backpacks and set foot into the green and thick forests surrounding Le Hohneck. As we followed a small river upstream through the thick woods, we made it to the treeline just before sunset. On a small field near the top of the Rainkopf, we called it a day, and under the orange skies of the setting sun, we made camp.
Chamois, Cows & Snow!
The next morning, we went onto the top of the Rainkopf to get a glimpse of Le Hohneck. Enjoying the silence and the sun, we slowly wandered over the green hills of The Vosges. Spotting some Chamois in the distance, and some cows (with their bells) up close. Further up our route towards Le Hohneck we encountered some snow packs which we had to cross, making this trip a bit more special.
Around 11 O’clock we arrived at Restaurant du Sommet du Le Hohneck were we sat down and had a good lunch before we would continue our route down towards the Frankental and back up towards Le Petit le Hohneck.
After a good lunch, we continued our route northbound until we found the little trail heading down into the valley of “La Réserve Naturelle du Frankenthal-Missheimle”. Just before we would enter the woods, we were given a nice panorama of the valley itself with Le Hohneck as the backdrop. The trail itself was a steep traversing descent through a thick forest, and it took about an hour to drop down some 350m in 2km. Down in the valley there was a small field that was perfect for another short break. Surrounded by the steep slopes of Le Hohneck with its 1363m, it made us feel tiny.
It was time to head up the mountain again and find a suitable spot to camp for the night, so we continued the trail. About a half hour into the climb we saw a small sign pointing us towards “La Grotte Dagobert”. Curious as we were, we decided to check it out in the hopes to finally find that big bowl filled with gold, but unfortunately, we were given a 10m deep hole in a cliff. The cave seemed to have been used as a hideout during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Our part of history lessons during our hike.
Le Petit Hohneck
We continued through the forests up towards Le Petit Hohneck and started searching for a suitable place to stay for the night. Only problem with The Vosges is, that it’s so extremely accessible there are so many people around. Finding a quite spot outside the views of the Auberges and from the walking tracks can be a bit tricky. Keeping in mind that it’s prohibited to camp inside the natural reserves, but we managed to find a nice spot. By the time the sun was about to set, and it started to get quiet, there were only a few small groups left in the area that were also staying for the night. It became a game of waiting, to who would put up their tent first. As soon as someone did, the others quickly followed.
Village of Mittlach
Waking up the next morning, we found out we were surrounded by Chamois grazing the grassy hills. Quite a special thing, knowing these animals are quite shy of humans. We quietly ate our breakfast, and silently packed our bags and left Le Petit Hohneck as we were never there. Descending, again, into the thick woods. This time down towards Lac du Schiessrothried and Lac de Fischboedle and from there, following the stream down towards the village of Mittlach.
The descent took a lot longer as we expected, and the temperature down in the valley rose to about 28°C, and by the time we reached the village of Mittlach we were exhausted and ready have a good lunch. Stupidly enough we forgot that it was Sunday morning, and basically every place to eat was closed, so we were forced to hike up the next mountain until we reached a place to eat.
After a good hour of climbing and about half way up the mountain we stumbled onto a shed, that surprisingly had a kitchen. We quickly sat down and ordered ourselves some Flammkuchen and a Pizza. Regain that energy!
Going for a nightwalk
By the end of the day, and after a good long climb we reached the top of the Rothenbachkopf and we decided to stay here for the night, putting our tent close to the summit’s pile of stones. While preparing for the night, the weather slightly started to change, but as there was no rain in the forecast we decided to take our chances and stay on the summit. As everyone who ever hiked in mountain knows, the weather can change, even while the forecasts are not predicting anything. And so, around 1 A.M it started to rain, and in the distance there seemed to be a thunderstorm going on.
Taking the guess that it might not even come near us, we still went for a nice, wet, night walk to get ourselves to a better position near the treeline. After 30 minutes walking in the pitch-black with headlights, we settled near the location of day one. And ofcourse, the thunderstorm remained in the distance.
The next morning, we descended back down towards Wildenstein, where this good trip started. Overall, we discovered that The Vosges, on only a 6-hour drive from The Netherlands, is a great place for a multiday hike. The altitude and the green nature makes this trip something totally different than a hike in the Alps, but also a very good preparation for it. Only downside on the region is the accessibility. Don’t expect to walk alone, as it might be crowded during holidays.
- Total Distance : 46,71 Km
- Total Ascending : 2,171 Meters
- Highest Point : 1,363 Meters
- Total Moving Time : 15 Hours and 15 Minutes.
- Total Time : 61 Hours and 45 Minutes.
2 Place des Verriers,
There are plenty of parkingspots in Wildenstein.
Best to park near the Restaurant “Le Flocon”