Hainich Mountains and Werra Valley
Zwischen Creuzburg und Treffurt
Blick vom Baumkronenpfad im Nationalpark Hainich
The Hainich forest with its 16,000 hectares represents the largest single stretch of mixed forest in Central Europe. In the center of Germany, at the core of the triangle formed by the cities of Eisenach, Mühlhausen, and Bad Langensalza, a former military practice range has given way to this extraordinary landscape which keeps recovering and growing to approximate a primeval forest. The reforestation process has already produced a colorful mosaic of habitats, among them precious low-nutrient meadows and pastures, small streams and ponds, various undergrowth elements, and diverse deciduous forest with a high proportion of old or dead growth.
To the Southwest of the Hainich lies the Thuringian part – more than 100 kilometers in length – of the picturesque Werra Valley. Fed by two springs near the Rennsteig trail in the Thüringer Wald Natural Preserve, the Werra River flows towards the state of Hesse. Mountain and meadow sceneries, wide river floodplains, and narrow water gap valleys with limestone cliffs characterize the Werra. Along its course, it passes through pristine nature, picturesque towns with timber-framed houses, and castles.