Saxon Switzerland National Park

I felt like exploring outside of the United States this week. After all, we have a big, wide world with wonders to see everywhere. I decided to go to Saxon Switzerland National Park in Germany. It covers two areas of 36.1 square miles (93.5 square kilometers) and is the center of 274 square miles (almost 710 kilometers) of a
natural area.

More than 66 million years ago during the Cretaceous period, rivers flowing from the Ore Mountains left deposits of shells and sediment on their way to the ocean. The whole area was once completely covered by the sea. Thousands of years of wind and water erosion resulted in the rock formations seen today in the sandstone cliffs of the Elbe River.

Hikers have 248 miles (400 kilometers) of trails. Most of them are fully developed. They are marked to show which are local trails, regional trails, and interregional  trails. So you can walk and view the beauty of nature or do some serious hiking. Along many of them you will find historic mountain taverns. In addition to those trails, there are almost 10 miles (16 kilometers) of mountain trails. You need sure footing for these and they are recommended only for experienced mountain hikers.

Rock climbing is the most popular activity in the park. It is believed to be the place where "free climbing" began. That is when climbers use ropes and other equipment to protect them in case of a fall rather than as tools to assist in the climb. There are 755 climbing locations with approximately 12,600 possible routes. If you are a boofer (one who camps out under a rock overhang), make sure to register with park officials so that you boofe in a legal boofing area. (I like saying boofe.)

There are boat tours on the Elbe and many of the surrounding gorges. Or you can rent a kayak and stop to explore the gorges on your own. One of the world's oldest paddle steamers is in operation on the river for some romance. And there is the historic Kirnitzsch Valley Tram that takes you to the Lichtenhain waterfall.

Bad Shandau is the small village that might be a good place to stay while you are having your adventure in the park. In the village is a 100 year old botanical garden that has more than 1,000 species of rare and poisonous plants.

The forest and the sandstone cliffs are home to a wide variety of animals. You might get to see a rare eagle owl, dormice, or river otters.

Saxon Switzerland National Park is going to be an exciting adventure. I have no links for travel brochures but there are maps and other information on-line. I have a few links below to get you started. I want to just take a look at some of the scenery... the trees and wildflowers and maybe hop on a bike and travel one of the biking trails. There are 31 miles (50 kilometers) of them. Then I'll go visit Konigstein Fortress. At various times it has been an impenetrable fortress, a prison, a summer home for royalty, a repository for artwork, an arsenal, and a prisoner of war camp. When you get back from Germany, drop me line and let me know what you did.


Saxon Switzerland
Welcome To Saxon Switzerland Online
Saxon Switzerland National Park
Magnificent Natural Monuments
Konigstein Fortress