With its 1316 meters, Rothenbachkopf is the sixth highest mountain in the Vosges. The sharp outline of this mountain is uncommon in the massif, where usually the mountains are round with gently slopes.
Nevertheless, the summit can be reached easily from the Route des Crètes (Crest road) in ½ h.
On the contrary, hike from the next valleys is highly commendable and needs most of a journey : steep escarpments, glacier lakes, and high pastures... so much natural wealth to discover along the many marked trails which alternate through forests and meadows.
Rothenbachkopf is located in the background of the valleys of Munster and Thann, between two other 1300 m peaks, Rainkopf (1305 m) in the north and Batteriekopf (1311 m) in the south.
Access is possible from the 3 closest valleys :
1) From Munster Valley : start point is Mittlach
From Colmar, D 417 to Munster, D 10 to Metzeral. At Metzeral, turn right to Mittlach (3 km)
Nearest stations : Metzeral, Munster, Colmar
2) From Thur Valley : start point is Wildenstein
From Thann, E 512 to Husseren-Wesserling, turn right to Wildenstein (D 13 b, Bramont collar road)
Nearest stations : Thann, Mulhouse
3) From La Bresse
From Gérardmer, D 486 to La Bresse
Nearest station : Gérarmer, Remiremont
No red tape.
Rothenbachkopf is located in the Ballons Parc.
The Machais pond is a natural reserve.
When To Climb
All the year. In winter with snowshoes or skis.
1) From Route des Crètes : easiest and shortest access from Rothenbach farm
2) From Mittlach - Kolbenwasen
- over Steinwasen
- over Leibeltal
- over Altenweier - Rainkopf
- over Herrenberg
3) From Wildenstein
4) From La Bresse - Moselotte Valley
- from Bramont Collar
- over Machais pond
- over Blanchemer Lake
IGN Le Hohneck-Gérardmer 3618 OT
Stop in the farmhouse inns of the High Vosges to taste an authentic meal : "REPAS MARCAIRE" with fresh local ingredients. Bite with gusto into a delicious blueberry tart !
Route des Crêtes La Bresse 88400 Gérardmer
Tel 0 329 632 613
- Steinwasen 1130 m
Route des Crêtes METZERAL
Tel 0 389 776 268
1300 meters peaks in the Vosges
1) Grand Ballon 1424 m
2) Storkenkopf 1366 m
3) Hohneck 1363 m
4) Kastelberg 1350 m
5) Klintzkopf 1330 m
6) Rothenbachkopf 1316
7) Lauchenkopf 1314 m
8) Batteriekopf 1311 m
9) Haut de Falimont 1306 m
10) Hautes Chaumes 1306 m
11) Rainkopf 1305 m
12) Gazon de Faite 1303 m
13) Gazon du Faing 1302 m
- Kruth-Wildenstein Dam : the largest stretch of water in the Haut Rhin.
- Blanchemer Lake. The lake is approximately 300 m long and 200 m wide (ca. 6 ha surface) and has a maximum depth of 18.5m.
- Machais Pond
Although the wild horses and the wild oxen disappeared a long time ago, and the last bear was killed in 1760 above the valley of Munster, chamois, stags, roe deer, wild boars, badgers, foxes, martins, and ermine are still present and abundant. Some wildcats haunt the forests; the lynx has slowly reappeared. The wood or great grouse, this splendid and vulnerable animal, has become an emblematic symbol of the Massif of the Vosges, in addition to the many predators from the sky, as well as more than 130 species of birds.
Certainly, one does not come across ermines and lynx with each turn on a path. But for those who know how to move quietly, it is always possible to observe a stag, a roe deer or a chamois.
At the top of the windswept peaks, in the shade of the beeches and the fir trees, the digitalis and arnica plants bloom. The lily and the orchid hide. Lichens and mushrooms grow, while in the hollow of the peat bogs the dreadful fruit fly reigns. The Vosges are generally covered with forests: birches. Mountain ashes and service trees are the main types. The maples push up on the rocky slopes; the elms have almost disappeared; and the fir tree survives with difficulty in the Vosges above a thousand meters, exhausted and broken by the ice and snow.
In the High Vosges, with short summers, the high difference in temperature between day and night makes life hard for the trees; and the frosts of the winter finish them off. Some, stunted, survive with difficulty. Man has removed the few remaining ones in order to transform the summits into pastures. In these meadows the flora is splendid; in addition to the arnica, the anemone of the Alps, the yellow gentians, and the martagon lilies tint them with spots of vivid colors.
In the 18 th century, Catholic forestry workers coming from Tyrol in Autria founded the village, the last in the Munster valley. Mittlach means "in the middle of the ponds".