The Hohneck is the second highest summit of the crystalline Vosges after the Grand Ballon (1424 m). The summit can be reached by car and a hotel is buit on his top, but the Hohneck Massive is nevertheless the wildest of the whole Vosges.
The Vosges are an old hercynian massive situated in the east of France. They are the twin massive of the Foret Noire (Black Forest) in Germany. A long time ago, the two massives were together before the collapse of the rhine ditch.
As most of the summits of the Vosges, the Hohneck is situated on the water sharing crest between the vogesian side cut by the river Vologne and the alsatian side cut by the valley of the river Fecht (Vallée de Munster). The two valleys communicate at the col de la Schlucht (1139 m) in the north of the Hohneck.
This mountain has the characteristic morphology of a balloon; its a heavy round mountain with a flat summit. The forest covers the sides but the summit is droped by peaty meadows : the "Hautes Chaumes".
The last glacial eras of the Quaternary covered the summit with an icecap and digged the cirques, giving to this old granitic massive an alpine aspect : the interest for hikers in this massive is to travel up and down, and not to reach the summit althought the view is amazing.
Nearest airports :
- Strasbourg Entzheim
Nearest stations :
- Metzeral and Muhlbach sur Munster on the railway Colmar-Metzeral
By road :
- From Strasbourg or Basel, highway to Colmar. From Colmar D 417 to Munster and Col de la Schlucht (33 km from Colmar). At the left D 430. After 4 kms, a little road leads to the summit.
- From Nancy N 59 to Saint-Dié, N 415 to Anould, D 8 to Gérardmer. 2 kms before, turn left D 417 to Col de la Schlucht.
The Hohneck massive is situated in the Parc des Ballons des Vosges where the nature is protected.
From Gaschney to the Hohneck
From the Gaschney (park), walk to the startpoint of the chairlift to Little Hohneck (disused lift).
Take the track on the left side and conturn the south face of the little Hohneck. You reach higher the farm-inn of Schiessroth. Continue in NW direction on the path to Schaeffertal.
From the Schaeffertal collar, climb left upright (GR 5) to the summit of the Hohneck (1,5 hours from the Gaschney)
This route is advisable also in winter (with snowshoes). You must then walk back the same way.
In summer, you can walk back by using the path leading from Schaeffertal collar through the north face of Little Hohneck (this route is dangerous in winter : avalanches). You cross some gullies and then the forest and you arrive at Schallern hotel. A nice rocky path leads down to Gaschney.
Alpine Trek in the Hohneck Massive
GASCHNEY - HOHNECK (summit) - SPITZKOEPFE - SCHIESSROTHRIED - GASCHNEY.
This trekking takes place in a wild ambiance. The crossing over the Spitzkoepfe (= pointed heads) is also interesting for climbers (difficulties up to III +) but the thoughful crossings of the peaks can be avoided.
From Munster take the road D10 to Muhlbach sur Munster and then to the Gaschney on the right after the church.
Take the path direction Schallern (Hotel) which conturns by the north the Petit Hohneck (little Hohneck) you see in front of you.
You cross the forest an then some gullies and arrive at the Col du Schaefertal. 50 meters at the right, beautiful view over the Frankental and the Hohneck precipices.
Return to the collar and climb upright (GR 5) to the summit of the Hohneck (1,5 hours from the Gaschney, Hotel). Amazing view over the whole Vosges, vallée de Munster, Grand Ballon, Petit Ballon, Lac de Longemer and by clear weather over the Alps (Berner Oberland, Mont-Blanc = last summit on the right).
Follow the crest toward the south to the collar of the Wormspel. Go up again 200 meters : the Spitzkoepfe you want to cross are to rocky, indented crest at your left.
Climbers will follow that crest all over to the first Spitzkopf (difficulty III, rope necessary).
For the hikers, I describe here the way to avoid the principal difficulties. The first rock must be conturned by the left, and the little wall of the second and third peak by descending on the right on poor tracks. You follow then the crest mostly on the left side some meters lower. You pass near a rock called "Little Matterhorn". Interesting views on both sides (Wormspel on the left and Ameltal on the right with the last snowfields of the Vosges in the early summer, the Hohneck and the lake of Schiessrothried.
Wenn you notice a lonely rock in the forest below on the left you must move in his direction and more down through the forest (prudence, very slippery, telescopic sticks are required). Don't try to conturn the last peaks on the right (rotten rocks, danger).
You reach after a few minutes the path and the first Spitzkopf which provides a plunging view over the Val de la Wormsa and the Fischboedelé (lake far below). Time to cross the Spitzkoepfe : 2 hours.
Take the path on the left to the lake of the Schiessrothried. Cross the dam of the lake and take the path direction Sillaker, Gaschney. You reach your startpoint after 1/2 hour.
Martinswand : climbing eldorado
The Martinswand is one of the most beautiful and most climbed granitic cliffs of the Vosges, the most known also.
Situation: Matinswand is a cliff which is in the Vosges of the south, between Colmar and Gerardmer, It is located below the large crest, at the Alsacien side , at 1200m of altitude. More precisely, it is located approximately at 1km in the north of the Hohneck, 2 km in the south of the collar of Schlucht and 100m downwards of Falimont.
Climate: Martinswand is located at 1200m altitude, so the climate is alpine and relatively continental; the winters are cold, often very snow-covered, the summers are hot and stormy. The south-eastern orientation of the cliff allows after midday the shade of the sun and the shelters of the wind. You can climb from May to October. I advice against climbing in winter (go skiing !).
Ecology: Martinswand is downwards thatches (or what remains of them) which constitute a very fragile biotope: a few centimetres of humus on the granite. This ground is strongly exposed to gullying, Don’t leave the traced paths, those are already sufficiently broad. Moreover, a natural reserve begins with the collar from Falimont and goes down to the small valley from Frankenthal. It is a splendid place and I ask you in particular not to camp there (it is prohibited in addition); on the other hand you can meet chamois in the paddle and in the twilight, which go up on thatches to graze.
Access to Martinswand: You can reach the cliff by the GR5; from the basis of Schlucht (great possibility of carpark) then one hour of walk, or since the Trois Fours (firm inn and refuge CAF, few places), then 15 minutes by the path (southern direction). You can also park at the foot of Hohneck (restaurant) and join the collar of Falimont by a path which leaves on the left GR5 (N) until the top of Falimont. There, a panel announces the presence of a school of climbing. You can always locate with the characteristic rattling of the eight…
The climbing in Martinswand: Martinswand is a school of climbing entirely re-equipped at the beginning of the years 1990. As it is granite (has coarse quartz grains), the points in place are concrete (spit + plate). The rock is excellent, a bit abrasive and not patinated at all (granite),what limits the use of magnesia : the exposure to the sun and the wind make it possible. On the other hand it permits to climb a half hour after the rain. You will find much “gas” : the cliff is under Germanic influence even for the climbing. The catches are primarily made up of cracks in a quite compact granite. It will be necessary to re-examine your technique of Dulfer with wedging of hands and feet .
The difficulties are: 3b to the 7c with what to have fun in the 4 and the 5. Attention, quotations are not offered and these "easy ways" are not overprotected : they are historical ways. Ever you are on the rock, you have a superb sight on the small valley of Frankenthal and all the valley of Munster.The total height of cliff is 100 to 120m. It is possible to join the foot of the cliff by circumventing it by the south, realising a small desescalation of 2 but it is more pleasant to make 3 recalls since the top. A cord of recall of 90m is adviced.
Topo: "Topo of Climbing of the Vosges of the South" published by the CAF of Mulhouse. It gathers all information to climb in Matinswand and in seven other sites of the corner. You can buy it at the Office Tourism of Munster in the centre town.
Informations.The closest camp-sites are at the bottom of the valley of Munster (Mittlach) or around the Lake Longemer. There has possibility of sleeping in the refuge of the Trois Fours,or at the Schlucht (hotels for hikers). The bivouac at the foot of the ways is impossible. In Frankenthal, it is prohibited; on the large peak, it is disadvised: many tourists the day and chamois the night.
Sentier des Roches
Startpoint is the col de la Schlucht, 33 km from Colmar through the vallée de Munster or 13 km from Gérardmer (D 417)
This trail starts 100 m below the pass of the Col de la Schlucht, on the D 417 towards Munster. This itinerary follows one of the most beautiful routes through the wild mountain country of the Hautes-Vosges. Partly cut through the rock, the path was traced by members of the Munster branch of the Club Vosgien in 1910. It is impracticable in winter. Even in early spring, the gullies are still blocked by snow and ice. The path goes along steep cliffs, crosses streams and, in the most difficult sections, follows stairways and crosses footbridges. It crosses granite scree and has a tunnel that opens onto fantastic viewpoints. The dangerous sections are equipped with handrails and barriers. The entire site is filled with exceptional flora, which is protected. The Vosges dairy cattle grazing in the meadows lends a real Alpine touch to the landscape...
With a hiking time of appriximately 3h30, this somewhat challenging loop offers a splendid panorama of the Vosges, the Alsacian plain and the Black Forrest.
Departing from the Schlucht pass at 1139m, the Sentier des Roches (Rock Trail) begins on the right side of the road 50 meters after the collar direction Munster (blue rectangles),You go down in the wood. The first meters of the forest path are very practicable but then the way becomes more broken. The path is chiseled into the rock up to the abrupt slopes of the Montabey and the Trois Fours. Cables are present at the most difficult places. The route still calls for constant attention and a sure-footed approach. After some "amusing" passages, you arrive at a table of picnic which overhangs with half the chasm. Perfect to pay a pause, but attention to the children! To semi-way, you must pass by a hole in the rock. After a waterfall, you climb a little up and at the crossway you take the path at straight, you follow the car-track to reach the Frankenthal cirque, between the Hohneck and the impressive climbing wall of the Martinswand. Climb on the right the Frankenthal, pass near the peat-bog and reach with a steep path the col de Falimont (snowfields until june, chamois at daybreak).
From the collar, you reach the summit on the left in 15 minutes.
From the Hohneck, return to the Schlucht over the Trois Fours by passing by the top of the Martinswand.
Start point is Saegmatt.
From Colmar, follow D 417 to Munster, Stosswihr. In a large bend, turn left to Ampfersbach. Follow the little road up to the end of the tar. Park here (traffic ban).
SAEGMATT - STOLZ ABLASS - FRANKENTAL - DAGOBERT CAVE - SCHAEFERTHAL - HOHNECK - FALIMONT COLLAR - FRANKENTHAL - SCHLUCHT COMB - SAEGMATT (4 h)
- Climb up :
From Saegmatt, follow the trail during 1 km. Take left, the path marked with yellow discs which leads you in bends to the Stloz Ablass water falls (water falls of the Little Fecht river) : cool mossy underwood site. Continue to Frankental (farm-inn) : nice views to the Hohneck north face on the left and Martinswand on the right. Cross the peat bog left, follow the blue rectangles. After 10 minutes, don't miss the path on the right. Go discover the Dagobert Cave (15 minutes detour) before you climb up the Schaeferthal (blue triangles).
Climb to the Hohneck with the path most northern situated (snowfields remain here in late spring).
- Walk down :
From the summit, walk in northern direction to the Falimont Collar. Turn right and follow the yellow discs down the steep Falimont Comb. Snowfields must be crossed. In winter, crampons are obligatory (many fatal accidents occured here). The views are nice over the peat bog of Frankental and Martinswand. Many chamois live here and can be seen easily.
Follow the yellow marks. Before you reach the waterfalls, take left (yellow cross marks) to the Schlucht comb : the wild path (donkey path) follows the base of the Krappenfels rocks beneath the Sentier des Roches. Follow the same marks to the start point.
Startpoint is the col de la Schlucht, 33 km from Colmar through the vallée de Munster or 13 km from Gérardmer (D 417)
This route doesn't climb on the summit of the Hohneck but crosses the wild Hirschsteine, a cable route much less busy as the near Sentier des Roches. Highly recommended !
The route crosses the natural reserve of Frankental - Missheimle
SCHLUCHT - SPITZENFELS - HIRSCHSTEINER - BAERENBACH - SCHUPFEREN - SCHANTZWASEN - TANET - HAUT FOURNEAU - GR 5 - SCHLUCHT
From the Schlucht collar, wald in northern direction on the steep GR 5 (red rectangles). At the first crossing, go to the right to the Spitzenfels (blue rectangles), a rock group in dominant position over the collar road with a beautiful view over the Hohneck Massif.
Follow then the yellow triangles to the Hirschsteine (Stag rocks). These rocks can be crossed with the help of cables and a huge metallic ladder.
You reach Baerenbach (peat-bog). Follow the yellow disc to Schupferen and the Tanet (ski-resort).
From here take left the path to the summit of the Tanet and hike back to the Schlucht by following the GR 5 (crest path)
Startpoint is Mittlach, the last village in the Vallée de Munster. Mittlach can be reached from Colmar over Munster and Metzeral.
MITTLACH - ERBERSCH - KOEPFLE - KERBHOLZ - AMMELTAL - FIRST SPITZKOPF - SCHIESSROTHRIED LAKE - FISCHBOEDELE LAKE - WORMSA - MITTLACH (5 hours)
Park in Mittlach in the center of the village near the Hotel Valneige. Cross the river Fecht and walk up the rue d'Erbersch. Near the Ferme Neff take at the right the path marked with blue triangles (Chemin du Kastelberg). Climb along a little torrent in the forest. Cross 3 times the little waterstream. Beautiful views on Mittlach. You pass near a 400 years old beech. Take the forest road to the Koepfle on the left on 50 meters and turn to the right. The path becomes steeper and crosses bilberry fields, furns and pastures. View on the Petit Ballon, Schnepfenried. At the edge of the forest take the path on the right (blue cross). Straight you can reach in 10 minutes the Ferme Auberge du Kastelberg. You arrive at a little collar with a chalet, the Kerbholz. From here you can contemplate the Hohneck and the rocks of the Spitzkoepfe. Take at the left the path direction Schiessroth (blue rectangles). This path crosses the Wormsawald and the Ammeltal, is wild, steep; the most difficult passages are securised with cables. You arrive at the basis of the Spitzkoepfe after crossing a big moraine. Pass quickly the fissure of the third Spitzkopf (danger of stonefall). On the right you can climb on the top of the first Spitzkopf (beautiful view on the Fischboedele lake). Follow then the path to the Schiessrothried lake and then at the right (don't cross the dam) the path to the Fischboedele lake (beautiful lake in a wild athmosphere). From here take the forest road and after 300 metres the path through the Vallée de la Wormsa at the right (red rectangles). This valley is a typical post glaciar valley with a U form and a lot of moraines. Cross 4 woodbridges (waterfall). After some sheperd huts, take the path at the right which leads you to your startpoint Mittlach.
Sentier des Névés
Start point is Gaschney.
From Colmar, D 417 to Munster. Take then left D 10 to Muhlbach and right D 310 to Gaschney.
Large car park
GASCHNEY - SCHIESSROTH FARM - SCHIESSROTHRIED LAKE - WORMSPEL - SENTIER DES NEVES - KASTELBERG FARM - KERBHOLTZ - FISCHBOEDLE - MOHRENLOCH - GASCHNEY (5 h)
Behind the chairlift, take the GR 5 to the farm of Schiessroth. From here the view are fantastic over the combs of Schwalbennest and Wormspel. Beneath the farm, take the path which leads down to the Schiessrothried lake. Cross the dam. Follow the blue rectangle marks and at the first cross take right the path marked with blue triangles. You arrive in the wild Wormspel, the high valley of the former Wormsa Glacier. The scenery is quite alpine. Between Spitzkoepfe on the left and Hohneck on the right you arrive on the Wormspel collar (snow in spring). From here the summit is at a distance of 10 minutes on the right. After having gazed at the large summit panorama, come back to the collar and follow the crest in southern direction. The path is called "Sentier des Névés", path of the snowfields which remain here in summer (till august). This path has then a special charm (yellow cross marks). At the Kastelberg farm take left along the blue rectangle marks to Kerbholtz (farmer hut). From here, follow the blue crosses step down to the Fischboedle Lake. From the lake a path leads up back to the Schiessrothried Lake. You can then walk back to the Gaschney with the easy GR 531 (blue rectangles).
Start point is Retournemer lake
- From Colmar to Collet with the road D 417 over Munster and Schlucht collar. At Le Collet, turn leftD 34 and after 3 km right to Retournemer Lake. Park before the lake on the left.
- From Gérardmer D 417 to Xonrupt Longemer. Take D 67 on the right, follow the Longemer Lake and reach higher the Retournemer Lake.
This tour is not described in any walking guide of the region. It is an exclusiveness on SummitPost !
The tour of the Lake Valley makes you discover the west face of the Hohneck in the french "departement" Vosges but does'nt reach the summit. Surprising views over the Lakes Longemer and Retournemer. You are often alone on the steep paths of this tour and this contrasts with the busy lake banks of Longemer on week-ends. I advise you against realizing this walk on sunday.
RETOURNEMER LAKE - COL DES FEIGNES - BOULE DU DIABLE - COL DE FACHEPREMONT - ROCHE DES VIEUX CHEVAUX - LONGEMER - LES CHARBONNIERES - ROCHE BOULARD - COL DE LA BRANDE - BELLE ROCHE - COL DES HARENGS MARINES - COL DE MALAKOFF - ROCHE DU DIABLE - RETOURNEMER LAKE (5 - 6 h)
From your park, 200 meters before Retournemer, take the path marked with blue disks to Feignes Collar (955 m). 100 m before the collar, turn right (yellow discs) : nice traverse with views over the lake valley. After 1/2 h, turn left to the Boule du Diable, 1098 m (the Devil's bowl), a big rock in the forest. Follow right the red discs to Fachepremont Collar. Nice peat bogs. At the collar, turn right (red triangles) to the Roche des Vieux Chevaux (Old horses Rock, 894 m). Amazing view over the Longemer Lake, 160 meters below. Follow the red triangles steep down to the lake. Turn left and follow the lake to the car park of domaine de Longemer. Cross the road and follow the blue discs. The path climbs steep in the Brande Forest. Nice views from Roche Boulard (shelter). Continue along the blue discs on the forest track to Brande Collar (1035 m). Don't miss on the right the detour to Belle Roche (10 mn, nice view, yellow discs). Come back to the forest track. You reach the Col des Harengs Marinés (Marinated Herrings Collar !) and the Col de Malakoff. Follow righ the yellow discs to Roche du Diable (Devil's Rock). When you reach the road walk the road down on 200 m. On Devil's Rock nice views (the Devil's Rock is unfortunately a busy tourist stop on the road Gerardmer -Schlucht). Continue steep down the path which begins 50 m before the Devil's Rock to Retournemer Lake and your startpoint.
Lake of Lispach (905 m)
The lake and peat bog of Lispach near La Bresse on the western side of Hohneck occupies the bottom of the valley of the former Chajoux glacier at 905 m height between summits of 1100 m ( Tête des Cerfs, Boule du Diable, Saint Jacques, Grouvelin). 600 m long and 300 m wide, the lake is covered on his northern half by a floating peat bog.
Lake of Schiessrothried (928 m)
Built between 1887 and 1893, the dam is 150 m long, 12,50 m high with a thickness of 6 to 42 m. The dam was fulled with water for the first time in 1893 and provides the river Fecht with water in summer. Water volume : 325 000 m3, surface 5,8 ha.
Mountain Restaurants :
- Auberge du Braunkopf (Metzeral) 00 33 (0)3 89 77 60 53
- Auberge du Kastelberg 00 33 (0)3 89 77 62 25
- Restaurant Schallern 00 33 (0)3 89 77 61 85
- Auberge au pied du Hohneck - Route des Crêtes - 00 33 (0)3 29 63 11 50
- Hotel du Sommet du Hohneck 00 33 (0)3 29 63 11 47
- Hotel Obersolberg** 00 33 (0)3 89 77 36 49
- Hotel Verte Vallée** Munster 00 33 (0)3 89 77 36 49