Peonies and orchids along the trail
Peonies and orchids along the trail

Beutnitz – Tautenburg (short route 11)

In Beutnitz, the SaaleHorizontale leads across meadow orchards as it ascends to the edge of the forest. There the trail turns east and runs along the slope, past gardens and meadows. In May and June the wild peonies are in bloom here. These bright red flowers are the remnants of large-scale commercial peony cultivation. Before the peonies, the slopes of the Gleistal valley used to be covered in vines.

The SaaleHorizontale drops a few metres into the Zietschgrund valley and then follows this uphill. After crossing a lovely meadow, which is covered in orchids during May and June, the trail climbs up into the large woodland area of Tautenburger Wald. On the plateau, the SaaleHorizontale runs along a fence, behind which lies the Karl Schwarzschild Thuringian state observatory. It takes advantage of the secluded location with little light pollution to explore the cosmos.
The trail continues through Kriegsgründchen and dense deciduous forest to Vogelgrund, where it crosses a cycle route before following a path leading up Tautenburger Schlossberg hill. At the top of the hill sit the ruins of Tautenburg Castle with their unusual pentagonal tower. Below the ruins lies a picturesque village, which was a popular summer retreat in the 19th century, enjoyed by Friedrich Nietzsche, Carl Zeiss and Ricarda Huch, among others. The trail leads down to the restaurant.


By car: Car park at Zum Gleistal restaurant in Beutnitz, then 5 mins walk to the church

By train: Porstendorf station, approx. 30 mins walk

By bus: No. 430 or 431 (JES Verkehrsgesellschaft) to Beutnitz turning loop, then 5 mins walk to the church


By car: Car park in Tautenburg, with direct access to the walking trail

By bus: No. 432 (JES Verkehrsgesellschaft) from Tautenburg Ort, with direct access to the walking trail

Start point – finish point (km) 36.2km – 42.2km
Distance 6.0km
Highest point – lowest point 320m – 140m
Places to eat Zum Gleistal restaurant in Beutnitz, Zur Tautenburg restaurant in Tautenburg


[Translate to English:] Orchideenwanderer

A lovely meadow that is covered in orchids during May and June. Some 30 types of orchid can be found on the slopes of the Saale valley around Jena.

Photo credits: source: Thüringer Tourismusverband Jena-Saale-Holzland e. V., photos by: Mark Schmidt, Jens Hauspurg, source: JenaKultur, photo by: Andreas Hub