FAQ

Please select a topic
Where do I find accommodation in the vicinity of the national park?

We recommend staying with one of our certified National Park Partners. You also find a list of different types of accommodation on http://www.welterbe-wartburg-hainich.de/.

What are National Park Partners?

They are local entrepreneurs (primarily accommodation and gastronomy), who are certified according to uniform German quality and environmental standards. They relate to Hainich National Park in a special way and put strong emphasis on regionality.

Where can I get a bite to eat when walking in the national park?

We recommend our certified National Park Partners, whom you can find on the map.

Are there such certified partners also in other national parks?

Yes, the project "Partner der Nationalen Naturlandschaften"  exists throughout Germany. Partners come from the accommodation and gastronomy sector, but also include certified tour guides, regional marketers and other service prodivers.

Foto: Luftaufnahme vom Baumkronenpfad im Nationalpark Hainich
Where in the national park do I find the Canopy Walk?

The Canopy Walk is located only about 200 m from the National Park Centre Thiemsburg, a popular starting point for walks in the national park. Thiemsburg is 10 km west of Bad Langensalza. You find a big ramblers' car park, a restaurant, public toilets and a bus stop here.

What do I put in the satnav to get to the Canopy Walk?

The coordinates for the satnav are: latitude 51.081297° and longitude 10.517646.
The postal address is: Germany, 99947 Schönstedt OT Alterstedt / Thiemsburg.

How do I get to the Canopy Walk from the A4 motorway?

Take the exit Eisenach-Ost (40a), then the B84 towards Bad Langensalza, in Reichenbach take the turn to Craula, in Craula follow the signs to Bad Langensalza.
The ramblers' car park Thiemsburg is directly by the road. Both the Canopy Walk and the National Park Centre are just a few minutes' walk away from there.

Can I get right up to the Canopy Walk by car?

You can't take your car right up to the Canopy Walk – it's in the forest! But not to worry, cars can be left at the ramblers' car park Thiemsburg, which is only 300 m away (parking fee is 1 € / day).   

How do I get to the national park and the Canopy Walk by public transport??

The "Wunderbare Wanderbus" ("Wonderful Ramblers' Bus") runs a regular service between Hainich National Park and Wartburg Castle, the two neighbouring UNESCO World Heritage sites, from Easter to 31 October. Nature lovers and those with an interest in culture can use this bus service between Thiemsburg and the town of Eisenach and visit the Canopy Walk and Wartburg Castle without having to use a car.

Passengers from Eisenach can ask for a stop at the Wildcat Village Hütscheroda and travel on to the Canopy Walk with the next bus.

You can buy a single or return ticket on the bus. If you want to visit the Canopy Walk, then buy the "Umweltticket" on the Wanderbus: It included return travel from Bad Langensalza or Eisenach to Hainich National Park and admission to the Canopy Walk.

PDF timetable and prices 2016

What are the opening times of the Canopy Walk and the National Park Centre?

Make sure that you have enough time for your visit, since your ticket for the Canopy Walk also includes admission to three exhibitions in the National Park Centre that are very much worth seeing: "Discover the secrets of Hainich", changing temporary exhibitions and the "Wurzelhöhle" (root den).

The Canopy Walk and the National Park Centre have the following opening times:
(Please note that the last admission is 1 hour before closing.)

1 April to 31 October
open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

1 November to 31 March
open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(closed on 24 December and 31 December)

Please note! Stormy and icy weather may lead to the Canopy Walk being closed at short notice for safety reasons. Dial +49 3603 834424 to get more information from National Park Centre staff.

Are dogs allowed on the Canopy Walk?

No, dogs are not allowed up on the Canopy Walk for safety reasons. They can be left free of charge in dog crates at the entrance to have a rest whilst you visit the treetops.

Is it possible to get a spontaneous guided tour of the National Park Centre and the Canopy Walk??

Unfortunately not.

Since there are many requests for guided tours, a central planning system is employed in order to make sure that the Canopy Walk is never crowded with too many groups so that every visitor has a relaxing and special experience up there. Therefore, guided tours always need to be booked (well) in advance.

You can book guided tours via:

KTL Kur und Tourismus Bad Langensalza GmbH
Bei der Marktkirche 11
99947 Bad Langensalza
Telephone: +49 3603 825843
Fax: +49 3603 825836
Email: info(at)baumkronen-pfad.de
Web: www.baumkronen-pfad.de

Is there a lift up to the Canopy Walk?

Yes, there is a lift that enables the elderly, wheelchair users and families with prams to explore the 20 m high and 530 m long Canopy Walk.
The 40 m high Tree Tower, however, is only accessible by stairs.

Foto: Erlebniswanderungen im Nationalpark Hainich
Can schools make use of the offers of the national park authority free of charge?

Yes. There is no fee for booking activities for school classes. You need to make your own travel arrangements.

When do schools need to register for an activity offered by the national park authority?elden?

Due to high demand, we recommend that you register two months in advance. Please register online with our environmental education team. Click here to register.

How long is our visit likely to take?

Our educational programs are varied, adapted to age, correspond to the curriculum contents for the respective class levels, and follow the concept of an education for sustainable development. Depending on the content of the event, the duration is 3 – 6 hours.

What should we bring for our walk?

Please advise your pupils to wear sturdy footwear and weatherproof clothing, which may also get dirty. They should have the following items in their backpack belong: provisions and drinks bottle, maybe pen and paper  writing instruments, sun protection in the summer, rain protection.

How do we get to the agreed meeting point?

The ramblers' car park "Am Zollgarten" is a request stop on the bus route (Please register with the Regionalbusgesellschaft UH- and Kyffhäuserkreis mbH). The meeting points "Mallinde" and "Craulaer Kreuz" are 20 – 30 min walk from Berka vor dem Hainich or Craula. The Canopy Walk near Thiemsburg and the Wildcat Village Hütscheroda can be reached directly by public transport.
All meeting points are marked on our map.

Find information on how to get to us by public transport here:

www.regionalbus.de and www.kvgeisenach.de. The Regionalbus-Gesellschaft Unstrut Hainich- und Kyffhäuserkreis mbH is responsible for the correctness of the information.

Travel expenses have to be paid for by the participants.

Which rules and regulations are there in the national park?

In order to be able to enjoy the "Primeval Woodland in the Heart of Germany" also in future, each visitor needs to abide by certain rules in the national park. Please inform your pupils in advance about the correct behavior in a large protected area, even if we mention them at the start of every activity again (e.g. take any rubbish back home with you; no fire or smoking; no disturbance of animals; no damage to plants; stay on designated paths; keep quiet).

What else is there to know?

The national park is characterised by a cycle of growth and decay. We carry out regular route safety checks, however, deadwood carries certain risks, which can not be foreseen. Insect bites, tick bites and other minor accidents can also occur. Please inform parents and other accompanying persons that for reasons of liability, your visit to the national park is at your own risk!

How am I as the teacher involved in activities?

You select an activity from our school programme and when registering you can inform us of any specific topics you would like to focus on. Our environmental education team will prepare the content and route of the activity. During the activities, teachers are responsible for motivating their pupils to actively participate, and also for ensuring discipline.

Foto: Eine Rangerführung im Nationalpark Hainich
Do I need to register in order to participate in events and activities?

In general, you don't have to register. However, there are a few exceptions. When you see the word "Anmeldung" (registration), it is necessary to register at least two working days before the event takes place.

What do I need to pay for events and activities?

You are very welcome to participate in the activities of the MITMACHEN Programme, which are generally free of charge. If a fee is being charged, it will be advertised.

Foto: Buche mit Baumpilz
Is foraging for mushrooms allowed in the national park?

Collecting mushrooms in small quantities for personal (non-commercial) use is permitted in Zone 2 of the national park from 1 July until 15 November. We are appealing to visitors though to support a 'no-picking' code in the interest of an undisturbed development of forest life.

We appeal to you to look at the beauty and diversity of mushrooms and other fungi in the national park, but don't pick.

Find further information on mushrooms and toadstools in the national park here.

Is camping allowed in the national park?

Nature shall be able to develop as freely as possible here. Once the visitors have left at the end of a lovely day of exploring the woodland, it is only fair that the animals and plants have their forest to themselves for the night. It is therefore forbidden in the national park to camp, to stay over night, to light fires and to disturb the peace of nature by being noisy. There is, of course, the possibility to stay at the campsite near the national park or with one of our National Park Partners.

May I pick flowers or dig out flowers in the national park?

As stated in the National Park Act, all actions which can damage, alter or permanently disturb the national park, its natural balance or individual components are prohibited in the national park. Of course, this also includes digging out plants and picking flowers.

May I let my dog run off lead?

As stated in § 6 of the Thuringian Forest Act, dogs are not allowed to run free in any forest in Thuringia, and this includes Hainich. Numerous extremely rare and protected species live in the national park that could be disturbed by free-running dogs. So, please always keep your dog on a lead!

May I leave the designated walking paths?

The conservation purpose of the national park includes the protection of its animals and plants and their habitat and to keep them out of harm's way. (cf. National Park Act) Therefore, visitors should enjoy the nature from the designated walking paths. The eight adventure trails and twelve circular walks show you Hainich's natural beauty and particularly valuable areas. The Welterbepfad, for example, leads to the UNESCO world heritage area, the Wildkatzenpfad takes you to the Kindel with its pioneer bushes and young mixed deciduous forests – the habitat of the wildcat. Along the Betteleichenweg, you find interesting historical places and particularly interesting trees of the Hainich such as the Betteleiche, the Ihlefelder Kreuz and Ihlefeld.

Where can I get something to eat in the national park?

Within the bounds of the national park, you can eat in Forsthaus Thiemsburg next to the National Park Centre and the Canopy Walk. You also find a place for all tastes and budgets in the immediate neighbourhood of the national park at one of our National Park Partners. Directly by the Craulaer Kreuz ramblers' car park, there is the rustic "HainichBaude". A little more upmarket are the restaurants "Zum Herrenhaus" in Hütscheroda or the "Graues Schloss" in Mihla. Regional country food is available at "Schills Schenke" restaurant in Weberstedt or in the Rennsteig Hotel Rettelbusch in Kammerforst. The snack bar at the Ihlefeld in the heart of the national park has been closed since October 2015.

Is walking in the national park still dangerous because of its military past?

Walking on the designated walking paths is, of course, not dangerous.

Are there any dangerous animals in the national park?

Now, first of all the question is: What is meant by "dangerous animals". Predatory mammals such as bear, lynx or wolf, who once lived here, have not (yet) come back, although the lynx might not be far off. The shy wildcat, which lives in the national park, is not a danger to humans - not even very small humans.

The only dangerous animal in the national park is the tick, carrier of borreliosis and FSME. They live around woodland borders and glades, in tall grass and in the undergrowth. Therefore, for walkers who stay on the designated walking paths the likelihood of a tick bite is relatively low.

Ticks are particularly active after a rainy day in summer, because they love moisture and warmth. A hundred percent protection against a tick bite is impossible. It is therefore strongly recommended to search for ticks after your walk and, if necessary, to remove them with tweezers or special tick tweezers.

Can I explore the national park by other means than by foot?

The national park can also be explored by bicycle or with a charabanc on designated paths. When walkers and cyclists meet, mutual consideration is the top priority. A popular way to see the national park are charabancs. These can be booked through regional firms.

Is hunting allowed in the national park?

Hunting is permitted according to § 15 of the National Park Act, in consideration of the protection aims of the national park. However, hunting is of course an intrusion in natural processes and thus does not agree with the principle of "leaving nature to its own devices". In Hainich National Park, wildlife management is therefore only executed when there is a risk of disease from game for domestic animals or possible excessive damage to adjacent agricultural and forestry areas. Wildlife management therefore only takes place in the border areas of the national park. Preferred methods are those which ensure action that is rapid, effective and in accordance with animal protection laws. No wildlife management takes place in the world heritage area (about 1,500 ha).

Are the animals in the national park fed at all?

The National Park serves in particular to secure largely undisturbed natural processes and to conserve and regenerate of natural forest stands, abiding by the principle of "leaving nature to its own devices". Hunger and death are also part of life in the wild. Dead animals are an important part of the food chain in the natural cycle. Hard winters regulate wildlife stock in a natural way. Weak and sick animals die, healthy and strong animals survive. Therefore, no feeding takes place in the national park.

Can people with a visual impairment or walking disability also explore the national park?

Yes. The Erlebnispfad Brunstal, for example, was developed specifically for people with disabilities in mind. THe path is wheelchair accessible.

People with walking disabilities can access the 20 m high Canopy Walk via a lift. The tower, however, is only accessible by stairs.

In addition, the ground floor of the National Park Centre, the Adventure Trail Silberborn, the FairyTaleNaturePath Feensteig and almost all areas of the youth hostel "Urwald-Life-Camp" are accessible. Find more information here.

Foto: Ausstellung im Nationalparkzentrum
What are the opening times of the Canopy Walk and the National Park Centre?

Make sure that you have enough time for your visit, since your ticket for the Canopy Walk also includes admission to three exhibitions in the National Park Centre that are very much worth seeing: "Discover the secrets of Hainich", changing temporary exhibitions and the "Wurzelhöhle" (root den).

The Canopy Walk and the National Park Centre have the following opening times:
(Please note that the last admission is 1 hour before closing.)

1 April to 31 October
open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

1 November to 31 March
open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(closed on 24 December and 31 December)

Please note! Stormy and icy weather may lead to the Canopy Walk being closed at short notice for safety reasons. Dial +49 3603 834424 to get more information from National Park Centre staff.

Is it possible to get a spontaneous guided tour of the National Park Centre and the Canopy Walk??

Unfortunately not.

Since there are many requests for guided tours, a central planning system is employed in order to make sure that the Canopy Walk is never crowded with too many groups so that every visitor has a relaxing and special experience up there. Therefore, guided tours always need to be booked (well) in advance.

You can book guided tours via:

KTL Kur und Tourismus Bad Langensalza GmbH
Bei der Marktkirche 11
99947 Bad Langensalza
Telephone: +49 3603 825843
Fax: +49 3603 825836
Email: info(at)baumkronen-pfad.de
Web: www.baumkronen-pfad.de

Foto: Wildkatze im Wildkatzendorf Hütscheroda
How many wildcats are there in the Wildcat Village Hütscheroda?

At present, four wildcats – two pairs of brothers – can be admired by visitors in the Wildcat Enclosure, an extensive compound. All animals are kept in individual enclosures that reflect their natural environment.

Directly at the entrance on the left is the enclosure of the animals who came here from the Biotopwildpark Anholter Schweiz (Nordrhine-Westphalia). The first enclosure is home to Carlo, the second one directly next to it is his brother Toco's kingdom. Both were born on 12 March 2011.

On the right-hand side live the animals from the Natur- und Tierpark Goldau (Switzerland). The wildcat who lives in the front enclosure is Oskar; his brother Franz resides in the rear closure at the front end of the Wildcat Enclosure. They were both born on 27 March 2010.

How big are the wildcat enclosures?

The enclosures have the following surface areas:

Enclosure 1: 160 m² (Carlo)

Enclosure 2: 160 m² (Toco)

Enclosure 3: 228 m² (Oskar)

Enclosure 4: 165 m² (Franz)

In the Wildcat Village Hütscheroda, the wildcats live in open-topped enclosures in close approximation to their natural environment. 

The Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture states the following minimum requirements for keeping mammals (as of 7 May 2014): external enclosures – at least 20 m² and 2,5 m high as connectable individual enclosures per animal. Internal enclosures, if required, should be 12 m² per pair of animals and dividible in two parts.

Why are only male animals kept here?

By keeping male animals only, the proprietors decide against the breeding of wildcats, since at present there aren't any projects in Germany to release wildcats back into the wild. Any offspring of the Hütscheroda wildcats would have to move to other zoological facilities, which is not in line with the principles of the Wildcat Village.

What and how much do wildcats eat?

The wildcats get 250 to 550 g of food daily, mainly mice, day-old chicks and beef hearts. In addition, the animals are fed rats, game and pigeon.

Feeding takes place two to three times a day at different times to avoid that the animals are getting used to a routine. The feed is hidden in the enclosure, so that the wildcats have to employ their senses to find it, thus remaining "mentally fit".

The animals that are used to feed them are are already dead when fed to the wildcats. These animals too must not experience considerable pain and suffering (as stated in the Protection of Animals Act). Feeding live animals is only permitted in exceptional circumstances.

Can I hand in any found animals at the Wildcat Village?

No. The Wildcat Village Hütscheroda is a private facility. It has no capacities and no legal obligation to take in found animals. The animal shelter in Mühlhausen is the place to hand in any found animals. Injured animals or supposed wildcats may be accepted by the Vogelschutzwarte in Seebach/Mühlhausen following prior arrangement.

Only a DNA test can prove whether a found cat is domestic, a wildcat or a hybrid. The cost for this are about  100 – 150 €.

What is the Wildcat Enclosure?

The Wildcat Enclosure is not a classic zoo. When you visit, you remark that there are wildlife protection fences and a model motorway with a wildlife crossing. These elements point out the threats to the wildcat as well as protection measures.

A house made of earth, a look-out, a large glass front and benches invite visitors to rest and enjoy watching the wildcats at play or being plain lazy.

Children and adults alike can also enjoy observing two mice terrariums – the "mice cinema". From spring into the autumn, house mice and fancy mice can be seen here before they start hibernating. The terrariums not only provide an insight for the visitors, but also for the wildcats. In unobserved moments they like to watch what the mice are up to behind the glass. The facility is approved by the local veterinary and nature conservation authority.

Is the Wildcat Village accessible?

The Wildcat Village is wheelchair-accessible. There are three disabled parking spaces at the Wildcat Barn. Driving to the Wildcat Enclosure is possible for those who are unable to walk. You need to pick up a transponder in the Wildcat Barn (security deposit required) to open an electronic barrier.

There is a disabled toilet in the Wildcat Barn.

Unfortunately, there is currently no exhibition material (such as subtitles, audioguides, cassettes) available for hearing-impaired, blind or visually-impaired people.

Is the Wildcat Village family-friendly?

Yes. There is a baby changing facility in the Wildcat Barn and a toilet seat for children. Your are welcome to aks for any baby food that you bring to be heated up.

While parents explore the exhibition area in the Wildcat Barn, a children's corner invites younger children to play or draw pictures. Please ask for colouring pages or a quiz on wildcats.

There is a small playground about 200 - 300 m away in the park of the Herrenhaus Hütscheroda.

Are dogs allowed in the Wildcat Village?

Dogs are very welcome in the Wildcat Village Hütscheroda. At the entrance you find a "dog bar" with fresh water.

You can bring your dog into the Wildcat Barn and the Wildcat Enclosure, but please keep it on a lead. There is no admission charge for dogs.

May I take photographs in the Wildcat Village?

Yes. You may take pictures for private purposes. In the enclosure, please make sure not to use flash-photography.

If you want to take photographs for commercial purposes, please contact the management in advance.

Free entrance to the Wildcat Village for members of the press is only possible if there is a fixed proposal for an article or report and a proposed publication date. In that case, you will be asked to fill in a small questionnaire at the till and, if possible, send a file copy.

What do I need to know when I made a booking?

The group rate applies to max. 30 people. Several groups can get a guided tour of the Wildcat Village at the same time.

Booked services can be cancelled up to 8 days prior to the arranged date free of charge. For cancellations made 7 or fewer days prior to the arranged date, 80% cancellation fees will be charged on guided tours / special services - excluding entry charge.

Should you arrive late for your booked tour, please give us a quick ring. Unfortunately, it is not possible to extend the tour after a late arrival or to shift the feeding times of the wildcats.

 

 

What are the opening times of the Wildcat Village Hütscheroda?

1 April to 31 October
open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

1 November to 31 March
open on Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(closed on 24 December and 31 December)

Last entrance 30 min. before closing.

Find out up-to-date feeding times on the Wildcat Village's website or phone +49 36254 - 865180/81.

For groups (min. 15 people), visits are also possible outside regular opening hours.

Foto: Buchenurwald im Nationalpark Hainich
Why are old, unexploited beech forests so valuable?

In exploited beech forests, the beech is generally felled when it has reached 120 – 160 years of age. However, beeches can grow much older, up to 250 – 300 years and sometimes even over 400 years old. It is only with increasing age that a beech's circumference increases, its trunk cracks, branches break off and tree hollows are formed. These are important habitats for fungi and lichens, small mammals, insects and birds. Dead trees or parts of them are host to specialised species and ultimately, when decomposed, processed in the cycle of nature. When an old tree dies in an unexploited beech forest, it makes room for new life. Having old and young woodland grow side by side makes these forests is what makes these forests so diverse and valuable.

What does the world heritage title mean for the region?

The world heritage title means an enormous image boost not only for the world heritage site itself, but also for the region. Visitors from the whole of Germany and abroad want to get to know the world heritage sites, and the region becomes more attractive for its present and future inhabitants. This generally leads to an increase in ecotourism and thus more regional added-value for trade and tourism.

 

 

Can the world heritage status be lost?

Yes. If an area no longer has the qualities, which is why it has been included in the list, the World Heritage Committee can first put the area on the list of endangered welfare and then - if no appropriate measures are taken to ensure quality - recognize the title again (what So far in 2 cases worldwide).

How many beech forests are there in Germany?

The beech would be the most common tree species in Germany if nature was left to its own devices. Two-thirds of Germany (66%) would be covered by beech forests if man had not been strongly intervening since the Middle Ages. Today, beech forests account for 15% by area of Germany's forests, which is only 5% of the country! Old beech forests are especially valuable for biodiversity, as old trees and deadwood provide habitats for many species. However, only a small proportion of beech forests is older than 160 years (6%).

Where else in the world do beech forests occur?

The genus Fagus (beech) is native in the northern hemisphere in temperate climatic zones and forms summer green forests. There are 11 species of Fagus. Seven of them are native to East Asia, two to North America and two to Europe/Asia Minor (Fagus orientalis and Fagus silvatica). Most beech forests were cleared to make way for arable land, settlements or roads. Only Fagus silvatica, the red beech, still occupies larger areas of Central Europe, especially in Germany, Romania and Slovenia.

Why are the beech forests in Europa globally important?

After the last Ice Age, the beech has been successfully colonised vast areas of Europe. This dominance has developed during the last 4,000 years – an extremely short period in geological and evolutionary terms. This ecological process is still going on; the beech continues to extend its area - a globally unique example of how a single tree species can establish itself and dominate in a large area.