Spectacular views of the unique landscape of the Middle Saale valley
Spectacular views of the unique landscape of the Middle Saale valley

SaaleHorizontale Trail

The SaaleHorizontale Trail offers visitors 72 kilometres of pure hiking pleasure.

The narrow paths of the SaaleHorizontale extend along the steep slopes of shell limestone rising up on both sides of the river Saale between Jena and Dornburg. As you make your way up and along the slopes, you will face mild and steep ascents but be constantly rewarded by unique natural surroundings and fantastic views of the distinctive landscape of the Central Saale Valley.

Impressive ridges are the perfect place to stop and take spectacular photos, with bright carpets of early flowering plants, captivating orchids and the rich colours of the autumn foliage making their unique mark on the stunning surroundings. The landscape features a combination of meadows broken up by luscious green beech forests, traditional orchards and field boundaries. Sparse pine woods and a multitude of open valley slopes provide a clear view of small villages, castles and palaces, as well as, of course, the traditional university town of Jena time and time again.

In fact, the panoramic view that hikers can enjoy along the trails is often truly overwhelming. Highlights include seeing Leuchtenburg Castle from afar, viewing the whole panorama of the Dornburg Castles or observing the hustle and bustle of the city in the valley below, which seems so small and insignificant from so high up above yet still has a captivating effect.

As you continue your journey, you will discover romantic castle ruins, small sleepy villages and ancient stone structures, all bearing silent witness to times past. After an exciting tour tracing the footsteps of Napoleon, Emperor Otto the First, Goethe and Schiller, hikers can sit back and relax in Thuringia's friendly and welcoming restaurants and bed and breakfasts, which are famous for their wonderful hospitality.


Dornburg Palaces, Dornburg

The Dornburg Palaces, an ensemble of three palaces from different historical periods, the Old palace, the Renaissance palace with its Goethe monument and the Rococo palace with its historical treasures. They are surrounded by a landscaped park, a baroque garden and vineyards, and offer glorious views

At a glance:

  • Starts/Ends: Jena or any location on the hiking trail
  • Length: 72km
  • Number of stages: 4
  • Altitude variation: ascent 2,491m, descent 2,524m
  • Terrain: 68% unmade, 8% asphalt, 24% other, e.g. farm tracks

Best season

April - October

The Fox Tower (Fuchsturm)

The Fox Tower (Fuchsturm)

The Dornburg Palaces

The Dornburg Palaces: Rococo palace

Copyright: JenaKultur, Photos: Christian Häcker, Thüringer Tourismusverband Jena-Saale-Holzland e. V., Photo: Jens Hauspurg