Bavarian Forest Overview

Bavarian Forest National Park, situated along the border between Germany and the Czech Republic, is a pristine wilderness that represents the beauty and diversity of Central Europe’s forests. Established in 1970, it was Germany’s first national park and has since been a pioneer in nature conservation and wilderness preservation. The park covers an area of approximately 243 square kilometers (about 94 square miles), making it one of the largest protected areas in Germany. It is part of a larger transboundary conservation area that includes the Šumava National Park in the Czech Republic, together forming one of the largest contiguous areas of protected forest in Central Europe.

The Bavarian Forest National Park is characterized by its dense forests of spruce, fir, and beech trees, which are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The park’s commitment to “Let nature be nature” allows for natural processes to occur without human intervention, fostering a wilderness where the forest can evolve freely. This approach has led to the development of rich ecosystems that support species such as the lynx, which was successfully reintroduced to the area, as well as otters, European bison, and numerous bird species.

Visitors to the park can explore its natural beauty through an extensive network of trails designed for hiking, cycling, and in winter, cross-country skiing. The park features several visitor centers, including the Hans-Eisenmann-Haus and the Haus zur Wildnis, which offer educational exhibits on the park’s ecology and conservation efforts. Additionally, the treetop walk at the Baumwipfelpfad provides a unique perspective of the forest from above, allowing visitors to experience the canopy at eye level.

Bavarian Forest National Park serves as a sanctuary for wildlife and a refuge for people seeking to connect with nature. Its landscapes offer a tranquil escape and an opportunity to witness the power of natural processes in shaping the environment. The park’s dedication to preserving wilderness not only benefits biodiversity but also provides a model for conservation and sustainable tourism.

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Park Map
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Bavarian Forest National Park Pictures

Bavarian Forest National Park Trails

Großer Falkenstein Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 7 miles (11.3 km) round trip, with an elevation gain of 1,600 feet (488 meters)

Description: This trail leads to the summit of Großer Falkenstein, offering panoramic views of the national park’s vast forest.

Hikers will pass through lush woodland and clearings, with opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy the tranquility of nature.

Baumwipfelpfad (Treetop Walk)

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 0.8 miles (1.3 km) one way, with minimal elevation gain

Description: Accessible to all, this unique walkway offers a bird’s eye view of the forest from above the treetops, culminating in a stunning view from the top of a large observation tower.

It’s an excellent way for families and individuals of all abilities to experience the forest.

Lusen Summit Trail

Rating: Moderate to Challenging

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3.5 miles (5.6 km) round trip, with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet (305 meters)

Description: This hike takes adventurers to the summit of Lusen Mountain, one of the park’s highest peaks.

The trail is known for its “sea of stones” – large fields of boulders near the summit. The view from the top offers a breathtaking panorama of the Bavarian Forest.

Rachel Mountain Trail

Rating: Challenging

Distance and Elevation Gain: 8.5 miles (13.7 km) round trip, with an elevation gain of 1,750 feet (533 meters)

Description: A demanding hike leading to the second highest peak in the national park, Rachel Mountain.

The trail passes through dense forests and offers stunning views of Lake Rachel (Rachelsee).

It’s a quiet route, perfect for those seeking solitude and a connection with nature.

Schwellhäusl to Lindberg Trail

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 6 miles (9.7 km) one way, with minimal elevation gain

Description: This picturesque trail is known for its gentle paths through the forest, passing by traditional Bavarian huts and crossing clear streams.

It’s particularly beautiful in autumn when the foliage is at its peak. The Schwellhäusl inn, located halfway, offers a perfect stop for traditional Bavarian refreshments.

Related National Parks

  • Bavaria, Through The Bavarian Forest with Ranger Kristen Biebl,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Britannica, Bavarian Forest,, retrieved April 2024.
  • National Park Bayerischer Wald, Bavarian Forest,, retrieved April 2024.
  • National Geographic, Bavarian Forest National Park,, retrieved April 2024.