It was not difficult to choose this trail. We were in the area and were easily convinced when seeing the photos on the internet. The only worry we had was the possible crowds. We bought a trail map at home and that’s about as much preparations as we did.
The moment we drive to the Sächsische Schweiz national park the sun appears and it will remain shining until we arrive back home. Genuinely beautiful weather this week. We park the car near the beginning of the route in Liebethal at a “hiker’s parking”. The trail is diversified. We walk through forests, meadows, steep valleys, along creeks and via viewpoints. We pass many steps, passageways and ladders. There are unpaved roads and small hiking trails. Elevation is quite low, but throughout the day you walk a lot uphill and downhill.
The route passes a number of tourist attractions like the Bastei rocks and Bastei bridge, the Kuhstall and the Königstein fortress. It is also possible to visit the Prebischtor just across the border in Czech republic. These are the most crowded places, beautiful sights in combination with restaurants and pubs.
When we want to ask for water at the closed pension Hocksteinschänke the landlady offers us a room. Tonight there will be no dinner, but she can offer us a few white beers, nice! The two next nights we spend on a camp site. The first night at camping Ostrauer Mühle near Altendorf and the other night at the nice camping Thorwaldblick near Hinterhermsdorf, a little off-route. At kilometer 80 we want to eat and sleep in pension Liethenmühle. All rooms occupied, the owner says, and all hostels nearby are also occupied because of the Easter weekend. When we leave, he chases us and says there is one room left. Nice! The last night we spend near the village of Weissig at a very ugly ‘campsite’ used by big RVs only.
At some stretches the trail is crowded, a couple of days it was nice and quiet. The crowdiness must have to do with the popularity of the sights near the trail. And also that the weather was beautiful and a part of Germany was already having holidays. The trail is discouraged by the officials to be hiked in winter, but I think it will be beautiful and quiet during that time.
The official trail is divided into eight days carrying only a daypack. We hiked with multi-day packs in about six short days till Pötzscha. From Pötzscha to Pirna seemed a bit boring to us so we took the train to Pirna. From there we could catch a bus to the start in Liebethal. Public transport is abundant, starting or stopping somewhere else is no big deal. Wild camping is prohibited, especially in the National Park Sächsische Schweiz. We didn’t do this, as there is plenty of opportunity to spend the night and eat. Planning is handy but not necessary. The area is amazingly beautiful and well worth it. If you don’t like crowds, plan accordingly.