97753 Karlstadt (Main)
A hike through the Grainberg-Kalbenstein-Saupurzel nature reserve on the banks of the Main. Enjoy the panoramic view from the summit of the Kalbenstein on a trip by train.
A hiking tour for nature lovers and families
Our tip: Please make sure to check your train connection and the expected capacity before you start your journey.
The starting point is the railway station in Karlstadt. Just behind the subway you will find the signs for the K1 hiking trail, which you will follow the entire way.
You walk through eastern Karlstadt and pass the Karlstadt-Saupurzel airfield. At weekends and in good weather conditions, you can watch the planes take off and land here.
You cross Eußenheimer Straße and are now already in the middle of the Grainberg-Kalbenstein-Saupurzel nature reserve.
The Grainberg-Kalbenstein-Saupurzel nature reserve offers one of the richest plant and animal worlds in Bavaria. East of Karlstadt to Gambach, this area is characterised by different habitats and geological formations, from shell limestone bastions, red sandstone terraces and vineyard walls.
Due to the climate, the soils provide a habitat that only special animal and plant species are able to cope with, including many that are otherwise more commonly found in steppe regions or the Mediterranean. It was only in 1998 that the Karlstadt saxifrage was discovered here as one of five endemic plants.
Enjoy the natural hiking trails amidst this unique vegetation.
Next you will reach the Edelweiss, where your gaze is no longer on the flora and fauna at your feet, but can wander off into the distance.
This unusually shaped, unofficial summit cross of the Kalbenstein lies 300 metres above the Main.
From here, the view extends far into the Main valley, over Karlstadt and across to Karlsburg Castle.
In just a few steps you will come across a board with the number 9, which explains the background to the area around the edelweiss. It belongs to your next destination, the geological nature trail, but you don't want to start from the back, because the tour will take you right back to its starting point.
First it is your turn to descend to Gambach. The trail leads you downhill along the rock face.
Soon a small shelter appears, here you turn right and follow the path into the village. Gambach is an old winegrowing village and was first mentioned in a document in 1237. It lies on the so-called "Grenzwinkel" of the Franconian wine country. The baroque church of St. Bartholomew, which was restored only a few years ago, is particularly worth seeing here.
After your detour to the winegrowing village of Gambach, return to the hiking trail. Turn right again after the stairs and follow the path that leads you directly to the entrance to your next destination, to panel 1 of the geological nature trail.
A little hint beforehand: You will follow the nature trail to the point where you just turned off to Gambach. This time, keep straight on, because you don't want to go back to Edelweiss. You already know the last signs from the way there.
For all those who want to learn more about the extraordinary geological conditions of the region, about local rock and dinosaur species, the geological nature trail offers all kinds of interesting information.
It leads over a good 2 kilometres and a difference in altitude of 130 metres through geological outcrops of the Triassic period, in which the Buntsandsteine, Muschelkalk and Keuper were formed from sediments. The shell limestone of the Main-Franconian Plates in the southeast meets the red sandstone of the Spessart at this point, providing a comprehensive insight into the earth's history 200 to 250 million years ago.
Two prehistoric amphibian and dinosaur species - Mastodonsaurus ingens and Saurichnites gambachensis - have also been found here.
At more than five metres long, Mastodonsaurus is one of the largest amphibians in the history of the earth. The lower jaw of Mastodonsaurus found at Kalbenstein is now on display in Munich in the Bavarian State Collection of Palaeontology.
To explore the geological nature trail, you followed the information boards with the picture of a mastodonsaurus. You may have stopped at the winegrower's hut and enjoyed the view into the Main valley.
A little further on, at the geological border between red sandstone and shell limestone, you leave the geological nature trail. Once again, follow the signs for the K1. This time, keep to the right below the rock face so that you do not take the same path as on the way there.
Here you will also find the Gambacher Grotte. The Gambacher Philipp Mehler vowed to build a place of devotion during the 1st World War. He brought the statue of the Virgin Mary back from a pilgrimage to Lourdes and kept his promise. In 1958, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions in Lourdes, he and his helpers built this grotto in the former quarry on the vineyards.
Continue straight ahead to reach the folding hut. You are now just below the Edelweiss. You will remember the view from below up the steep rocks of the Kalbenstein for a long time, just like the Maintal panorama from the Edelweiss before.
The Faltes Hut on the Kalbenstein below the Edelweiss belongs to the Würzburg Section of the German Alpine Club and has a via ferrata, the Lenzsteig. It can only be used with suitable climbing equipment.
The large steep slope between the Grainberg and the Kalbenstein was formed by the eroding force of the Main River during the ice ages over millions of years. The wavy limestone, which is around 90 metres thick in the Edelweiss area, got its name from the mostly wavy surface structure of the rock.
The imposing, almost alpine-looking rock face of wavy limestone was mostly formed in 1784 by a large landslide, which is associated with a millennium flood of the Main River. A few more landslides have been reported as far back as 1975. The particular susceptibility to landslides has geological causes. There are large fissures in the limestone at this point, which run almost parallel to the slope, so that rock fragments can break off again and again.
Gemündener Str. 102
The tour continues straight ahead and you follow the K1 signs as before, also along the railway line for a bit, until you reach the station.
By the way, the station is right on the edge of Karlstadt's old town.
Perhaps you would like to explore the medieval centre of "Karscht", as the town is called by the locals, or drink some Franconian wine before you leave?
97753 Karlstadt (Main)