Fields and trees bathed in white glisten in the sun, it's crisp cold and the snow crunches pleasantly underfoot - five suggestions for a hike through Hessen's most beautiful winter worlds.

1

Winter World Willingen

Relaxed leisure pleasure - winter hiking around Willingen
Relaxed leisure pleasure - winter hiking around Willingen © Tourist Information Willingen

The region around Willingen is a popular winter destination for skiers, tobogganers and nature lovers who explore nature on foot. Among the most recommended hikes is the one on the Ettelsberg - Provided there is snow. The 837-meter-high mountain in the Rothaargebirge is known both for its ski area and for its Hochheide nature reserve. In summer, the Hochheide presents itself as a violet-green sea of blossoms, in winter as an enchanted forest with imaginative snow sculptures and rows of trees in glittering frost. The hike leads along well-signposted paths from Stryck up to the Ettelsberg, back via the so-called Paradise to the starting point at Stryck, a district of Willingen. A worthwhile stopover is the 1950 built Mühlenkopf ski jump, at that time the fourth largest ski jump in the world. The best vantage point is the 59-meter high Hochheideturm near the top of the mountain with its glassed-in viewing platform.

2

Usseln and the source of the Diemel

The hike from Usseln to the source of the Diemel can be comfortably completed in two to three hours
From Usseln to the source of the river Diemel you can hike comfortably in two to three hours. © Tourist Information Willingen

"Walking is the best medicine of man" - Hippocrates already knew this, so it's no wonder that the climatic spa and winter sports resort Usseln has included hikes and walks in the spa program of its guests. The best conditions to get healthy, enjoy the cure and fantastic views along the way is a hike in the Diemel valley and the wild nature reserve of the river Itter. The starting point of this ten-kilometer hike is the ski lift in Usseln (the snow surface is completely pressed if necessary to ensure a comfortable and safe step). The trail leads along the Uplandsteig into the Diemel valley to the picturesque source of the Diemel. From there, it continues on the Sauerland-Höhenflug long-distance hiking trail in the direction of Küstelberg, where a spectacular view of Medebach Bay awaits you between the mountain peaks of Auf'm Knoll and Krutenberg. The final point is the Alter Hagen nature reserve.

3

Altkönig in Taunus

Around the Altkönig there is an extensive network of winter hiking trails
Around the Altkönig there is an extensive network of winter hiking trails © Branko Srot / stock.adobe.com

Treadproof shoes and the knowledge The stairs and staircases, which are not easy to climb in the frosty winter months, are not easy to negotiate on a hike up the Old KingThe third highest mountain of the Taunus, indispensable. For this you can expect with its almost 800 meters not the highest, but according to mountain connoisseurs in any case the most beautiful Taunus summit. The 10.5 km hike starts in Hohemark at an altitude of 500 meters. One of the highlights is the view of the White wallan impressive sea of rocks made of Taunus quartzite, which in turn consists of solidified sandstone. The hike ends in Kronberg, from where you can easily return to your starting point by S-Bahn.

4

Wiesbaden pheasantry - sleeper head

In winter the Taunus shows its most beautiful side
In winter, the Taunus shows its most beautiful side © Circumnavigation/Shutterstock.com

Winter hike with urban character - the 10 kilometer tour from the Wiesbaden pheasantry to the Kaiser Wilhelm Tower on the Schläferskopf begins urban and ends with magnificent panoramic views over the Taunus. Families have to face the first challenge right at the beginning: The Wiesbaden Pheasantry is a charming animal and plant park with over 50 animal species. It takes some pedagogical skill to convince the younger members of the family not to linger too long with bears, wolves and golden pheasants. The difference in altitude to be overcome on this hike is easily manageable at 261 meters, and on the way you will pass the Eiserne Hand, a station of the Aartalbahn, before reaching the Kaiser Wilhelm Tower on the Schläferskopf, which is reminiscent of a medieval keep.

5

The Wisper Trails in the Wispertaunus

In the Wispertaunus you have the opportunity to hike through completely untouched nature
In the Wispertaunus you have the opportunity to hike through seemingly untouched nature © travelview - stock.adobe.com

Just behind Wiesbaden begins the WispertaunusThe area offers almost untouched nature, which is developed by 14 first-class hiking trails. The longest trails can be done on a short winter day, the shorter ones fit on Sundays between late breakfast and afternoon coffee. The German Hiking Institute has classified all Wisper Trails as premium hiking trails. You can park your car at almost all trails in hiker parking lots. Nevertheless, the area with its deep forests and wide fields is anything but crowded. The Wisper Trails are all excellently signposted and easy to master even for inexperienced hikers.

Cover photo: Ideally suited for extensive winter hikes - the Wasserkuppe in the Rhön Mountains © Michael Wolf / stock.adobe.com

In collaboration with Hesse tourism

Hiking through quiet low mountain ranges, old beech forests or orchards, paddling on the Lahn, looking at the most beautiful medieval half-timbered houses and soaking up the atmosphere of historic spas - Hessen makes romantic souls happy all around. But gourmets also get their money's worth on wine hikes, in Hessian butcher shops and with "Handkäs mit Musik", a pickled cheese. Reasons for a Vacation in Hesse there are enough!

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