Possible Black Forest off-road tour, ideas, thoughts and comments

chriswoody

Legendary Member
Location
Northern Germany
So after lots of prevarication, I'm looking at possibly heading down to the Black Forest for a four or five day off-road ride. I was looking at the area of forest to the South of Freiburg and creating a four day loop through the heart of the Black Forest.

I've tried CGOAB, but from what I can see, they are all on road routes and I'm keen to keep to the forest tracks as much as possible. I've found some rides on Komoot and incorporated them into my plans, but some of my route I've made up. Aside from one sneaky bivy in a hut, the other days end at campsites.

I was just wondering if any one had any experience of the area or thoughts about my idea? Am I mad? are there any must see places I'm missing out on? any tourist traps I should be avoiding? Any thoughts or insights welcome, thanks in advance.

My route is here:

Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
 
So after lots of prevarication, I'm looking at possibly heading down to the Black Forest for a four or five day off-road ride. I was looking at the area of forest to the South of Freiburg and creating a four day loop through the heart of the Black Forest.

I've tried CGOAB, but from what I can see, they are all on road routes and I'm keen to keep to the forest tracks as much as possible. I've found some rides on Komoot and incorporated them into my plans, but some of my route I've made up. Aside from one sneaky bivy in a hut, the other days end at campsites.

I was just wondering if any one had any experience of the area or thoughts about my idea? Am I mad? are there any must see places I'm missing out on? any tourist traps I should be avoiding? Any thoughts or insights welcome, thanks in advance.

My route is here:

Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Unfortunately that's a bit further south than I've managed to ride so far, although I have cycled from Lörrach a short distance up the valley, along the old railway line.

On the other hand, you probably can't go far wrong in that region, unless you are hoping to avoid tourists: with lockdown ending I expect it will be rammed everywhere this year...
 
Last edited:
I can't really offer any views since I took the roads down there. In my defence it was April and there was lots of snow!^_^

I haven't a clue why you'd think your mad?^_^ @Andy in Germany is right - Down there is pretty darn beautiful!

However, he's right too in that it could be busy too.

I'm sure you know of the Trans Germany route in that area?
https://bikepacking.com/routes/bikepacking-trans-germany/
Sometimes the route creators have local knowledge or the comments can be useful.

Possibly try iOverlander for stealth camping spots?

Sometimes a little poking around on RWGPS can throw up some routes and hints for places to stay.

If you're taking the train down I once had an incident (going to Berne via Basel) where the bike spot was double booked.

A big, thick unabridged and unsanatised, hardback Grimm's Fairy Tales will take on a life of its own in the forest! ^_^

Do it! You'll only regret it if you don't.

Looking forward to the write up already!
 
OP
chriswoody

chriswoody

Legendary Member
Location
Northern Germany
Thanks @HobbesOnTour and @Andy in Germany for the thoughts.

I was thinking about the ludicrous amount of ascending each day has on my proposal when I was questioning my sanity! It really is quite hilly down there, especially compared to up here on the German plain.

I had seen the trans Germany and was pondering riding some of it, the problem is it loops around the Southern edge of the black forest and in the short time frame I have available, I can't really do the route justice, maybe one day though.

I'm probably going to drive down, I'm going to ring around a few campsites today and try and gauge the lie of the land, especially with the amount of tourists and wether there is the possibility of leaving my van in a campsite for a few days. Luckily Germany has staggered school holidays, so here in the North, the kids are still in school when I'm proposing going, which may mean that there aren't quite so many folk, or I may be living in dreamland!

I'll have another poke around ioverlander today as well, I hadn't seen that site before and there are some useful tips on it, maybe it will throw something interesting up. The planning is all part of the fun as well though.
 
Ah, I had a look at the climbs and they're only about 2000 meters most days^_^

If you're using regular campsites would that reduce what you need to bring in terms of food?

Also, if you're bringing your own car what about the possibility of a hub and spoke type trip? Base yourself in one place and do circular day rides. Or move from place to place with the car.
It probably wouldn't "feel" the same as getting from A to Z via b,c & d but it might mean better riding as the car gives you greater range.
 
OP
chriswoody

chriswoody

Legendary Member
Location
Northern Germany
So I've contacted a few campsites and ended up with one campsite happy for me to stay at the beginning and end of my tour and during the middle i'm able to keep my van there for a small daily fee. Can't say fairer than that, more secure than leaving it in a random town back street. I do feel a bit guilty about the environmental impact, but ultimately it is a lot cheaper and much more convenient than trying to lug a bike long distance on the trains here.

@HobbesOnTour I had thought about a hub and spoke, but to be honest I'm too drawn to the idea of a round trip and seeing a bit more of the area. Also the topography of the area lends itself more to a round trip. Unfortunately though, the campsite is in a different place to where I'd hoped to find one, so I've had to re-jig my plans. No big stress though, I actually start a lot higher than I'd envisaged so saving a killer climb at the beginning of day one.

The idea behind aiming for regular campsites where I can, was more to reduce the stress of finding a good wild camp spot. I need to keep in mind that there are a lot of settlements and villages around and technically wild camping is illegal. If the situation presents itself though, I may well still have a sneaky camp rather than use a campsite, we'll just have to see.

Food wise, I don't envisage having to carry more than an emergency supply, it looks like I should be able to re-supply from time to time quite easily. The one dark cloud, literally, on the horizon is the weather. It's been terrible these last days, lots of strong heavy rain, in particular in Baden Wurtenburg as well as here in the North. Lots of localised flooding, so I need to see how that pans out.
 
So I've contacted a few campsites and ended up with one campsite happy for me to stay at the beginning and end of my tour and during the middle i'm able to keep my van there for a small daily fee. Can't say fairer than that, more secure than leaving it in a random town back street. I do feel a bit guilty about the environmental impact, but ultimately it is a lot cheaper and much more convenient than trying to lug a bike long distance on the trains here.

@HobbesOnTour I had thought about a hub and spoke, but to be honest I'm too drawn to the idea of a round trip and seeing a bit more of the area. Also the topography of the area lends itself more to a round trip. Unfortunately though, the campsite is in a different place to where I'd hoped to find one, so I've had to re-jig my plans. No big stress though, I actually start a lot higher than I'd envisaged so saving a killer climb at the beginning of day one.

The idea behind aiming for regular campsites where I can, was more to reduce the stress of finding a good wild camp spot. I need to keep in mind that there are a lot of settlements and villages around and technically wild camping is illegal. If the situation presents itself though, I may well still have a sneaky camp rather than use a campsite, we'll just have to see.

Food wise, I don't envisage having to carry more than an emergency supply, it looks like I should be able to re-supply from time to time quite easily. The one dark cloud, literally, on the horizon is the weather. It's been terrible these last days, lots of strong heavy rain, in particular in Baden Wurtenburg as well as here in the North. Lots of localised flooding, so I need to see how that pans out.
Technically it's not illegal to "remain in a forest" if you don't have an "enclosed shelter" so an open sided tarp or a hammock gets around that law.

If you are near Emmendingen feel free to say hello, by the way, I forgot to say that before...
 
I've always found German campsites to be very accommodating when I showed up on spec on my bike. Admittedly, I sometimes ham up the chaotic Irishman angle. ^_^

I'm not sure if it's the same in Germany but Covid era wild (in every sense of the word) camping has caused problems and greater vigilance. Or at least that's what I see online.

I agree that a hub and spoke is different.

Bummer about the rain. I guess that could mean a lot of mud, even afterwards.

But once you're on the bike, things have a way of working out.^_^

Have a great trip!
 
OP
chriswoody

chriswoody

Legendary Member
Location
Northern Germany
Technically it's not illegal to "remain in a forest" if you don't have an "enclosed shelter" so an open sided tarp or a hammock gets around that law.
I was pondering my bivvy bag and tarp like last year, because as you say it would circumvent the legality side of things. I'm a little put off by mosquitos though, I had a rough night last year when thousands of the blighters tried to eat my face throughout the night.

Another big issue at the moment though is the rain and looking at the forecast there appears to be some severe warnings out for next week in the Black Forest. I'm completely out of wiggle room with regards dates for this trip and it needs to happen this coming week if it does happen at all. I'm not adversed to touring in the rain, but with the waterlogged rivers and ground, they are warning that there could be severe problems with flooding in the Southwest.

https://www.wetteronline.de/wetterticker/7d256a97-4ec9-4de4-8f4c-35a65c424775

I'm watching the forecast and waiting before making a decision.

If you are near Emmendingen feel free to say hello, by the way, I forgot to say that before...
Thanks, if I make it down I may well do!
 
Another big issue at the moment though is the rain and looking at the forecast there appears to be some severe warnings out for next week in the Black Forest.

... but with the waterlogged rivers and ground, they are warning that there could be severe problems with flooding in the Southwest.
Thanks, that's cheered me up...

Thanks, if I make it down I may well do!
Tea (alas, Lidl) will be available provided my cellar apartment isn't flooded.
 
Good luck for the trip!

In all sincerity, in this post ‘military using Germany for a training ground’ world, what’s the likelihood of encountering serious wildlife if wild camping?
High: Germany has a lot of wildlife, especially in places like the Black Forest.

I'd regularly encounter deer and foxes on commutes.There are also wild pigs, and the amount of birdsong at the moment is deafening, Buzzards, Hobbys and Red Kites are commonplace, as are Sparrowhawks and Kestrels, and even wolves are returning.

Local hunters have their work cut out. It isn't just about shooting things here: the hunters have rights over a specific area and have to look after animals in the winter.

Personally the wild pigs put me off more than anything; I know someone who keeps pigs and they (the pigs) can be vicious even when the domesticated variety. The ones in the forests have tusks and attitude...
 
OP
chriswoody

chriswoody

Legendary Member
Location
Northern Germany
Good luck for the trip!

In all sincerity, in this post ‘military using Germany for a training ground’ world, what’s the likelihood of encountering serious wildlife if wild camping?
It depends on the definition of serious wildlife.

Here in the North we have quite a few wolf packs roaming around and not long after I completed my trip in the Lüneberg heathland this spring, there was a news report of a wolf that came right up to a lady whilst out walking her dog, not far from where I'd wild camped on the first night.

We also have a lot of wild boar, which generally are very shy and elusive like the wolf, but there is evidence of them around and I have had them sniffing around me at night whilst wild camping.

Generally, you can't but help being a little concerned in the back of your mind, but you just need to be careful where you pitch up.

Edit: Just found the news report of the wolf and the dog walker:

https://www.focus.de/regional/niede...f-verfolgt-video-zeigt-szene_id_13201086.html
 
OP
chriswoody

chriswoody

Legendary Member
Location
Northern Germany
So the weather has got the better of me. As I mentioned earlier, I only have until the end of this week and storm Bernd is currently raging in the South West of Germany. Whilst I don't think the Black Forest has been hit as bad as the Rhine area, it's still very wet down there and I really didn't want to be cycling in it.

So this morning I bought a last minute train ticket for Berlin and will be heading over there for several days for some forest bashing and hopefully some nice weather. All going well, I'll pop up a trip report with some pretty pictures next week.
 
So the weather has got the better of me. As I mentioned earlier, I only have until the end of this week and storm Bernd is currently raging in the South West of Germany. Whilst I don't think the Black Forest has been hit as bad as the Rhine area, it's still very wet down there and I really didn't want to be cycling in it.

So this morning I bought a last minute train ticket for Berlin and will be heading over there for several days for some forest bashing and hopefully some nice weather. All going well, I'll pop up a trip report with some pretty pictures next week.
Shame you won't be coming down here, have fun in Berlin...
 
Top Bottom