Hainich and its surroundings are steeped in history. Important trade routes once went along the ridge's crest. Numerous deserted settlements, penitence crosses, remnants of a medieval rampart and several old forest names bear witness to Hainich's settlement history.
In the 1960s, the last remaining buildings of the village of Ihlefeld were demolished to make space for the former military training ground in an area that is part of the National Park today. Remains of wells and walls can still be seen.