Hünenteich Walking Path

Hiking trail Hünenteich

Along the way, you will experience the many facets of the Hainich National Park - a true mosaic of habitats. The unspoiled beech forest features countless old trees and deadwood structures, melting ponds in spring and open spaces where shrubs and hedges are allowed to spread again.

The Hünenteich hiking trail is suitable for the whole family: Along the way, young hikers also have plenty of opportunities to play and discover at the Wildcat Children's Forest adventure playground, the environmental education station and the Hünenteich pond. If you also want to solve tricky puzzles, you can combine your excursion with a geocache search along the hiking trail.

The Hünenteich hiking trail is a “Quality Trail for Hiking Germany” in the “Natural Pleasure” category that has been awarded by the German Hiking Association (DWV). A path is only certified if it meets strict quality criteria. The DWV checks whether at least 35 percent of the total route consists of natural ground, whether the signposting works and whether the path offers a variety of natural attractions. In 2016 it was the first quality trail under 20 km long with a thematic focus in Thuringia.

Frog - This symbol is representative of the frogspawn, which is still wobbly in spring, and the tadpoles in the Hünenteich, which later start to wriggle. The frogs and their vocal concerts are a real experience.

5.5 km

Starting point
Possible from three hiking parking lots: "Fuchsfarm", "Rüspelsweg" and "Am Zollgarten". We recommend starting at the "Fuchsfarm" hiking parking lot, two kilometers southwest of Mülverstedt

Trift Chaussee
99947 Mülverstedt

Difficulty level

A special feature of the Hainich: the Hünenteich pond

The Hünenteich - a dammed up sinkhole - is one of the few standing bodies of water in the Hainich.

250 million years ago, the whole of Central Europe was covered by the Tethys. The former inhabitants of this primeval sea can still be found today as fossils in the shell limestone in the Hainich. Rainwater penetrating limestone dissolves the lime and creates fissures in the subsoil. If such a cavity collapses, a sinkhole is formed on the surface.

In karst areas such as the Hainich, there is a lack of water as the surface water quickly seeps into the ground. In the past, the lack of water also prevented people from settling permanently in the Hainich. Geological and cultural aspects have contributed to the fact that the Hainich is now a large, unfragmented forest area - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Old orchard meadow
First you walk through an old orchard meadow that has not been used since the establishment of the national park. Enchanted by thousands of blossoms in spring, the fruit ripens over the summer and fall, and in winter the almost 100-year-old, gnarled trees stand bare and frozen.
Species such as green woodpeckers, redstarts, juniper thrushes and hedgehogs live here, while roe deer and red deer also enjoy the fallen fruit in the fall.

Erosion ditch
In May, a white sea of wild garlic flowers lures you further into the forest. An erosion ditch runs wide and deep through the forest. The path leads past a copper beech, which is covered all around with the fruiting bodies of the tinder fungus. There is plenty of lying and standing deadwood along the path.

Open area
Coming out of the forest, you can see a former shooting range that was set up here for military use. At some point, the beech forest will have reclaimed this area.
The national park does not interfere with natural processes. Nature can develop according to its own rules. Roses, blackthorn and hawthorn colonize the open land. The red-backed shrike peers from its thorny perch for insect prey, the tree pipit starts to sing and the yellowhammer calls. In summer, you can discover pink centaury and the pink and white spotted flowers of the fox orchid.

The path winds its way past the "Kellerloch", a sinkhole. If you look closely, 50 m further on you can see the still visible ramparts of the Hünenburg, a late medieval fortification. Deserted sites such as the Graverode settlement and megalithic graves deep in the forest are only visible to the experienced eye and bear witness to the early human use of the site, which was never permanent.

Hünenteich pond
The Hünenteich pond is an important habitat: in early summer, the magnificent bright yellow flowers of the water iris appear along the shore. Alpine newts and other amphibians use the Hünenteich as spawning grounds. Fragrant water mint lines the banks.

Alder quarry
This area is too wet for the copper beech; black alder and gray alder can survive here. The stilt roots formed due to the changing water level have a special feature: in the spherical root nodules, ray fungi live in symbiosis with the alder, which can bind atmospheric nitrogen. Well supplied with nitrogen and with their "feet in the water", their leaves are gloriously green and bursting with strength in summer.



More information about the hiking trail can be found in the leaflet.


A feast for the eyes in every season Impressions from around the year from Jens Fischer Start slideshow