The Gorge of Margaret – The Highest Waterfall of the Odenwald
If Corona had anything positive for me, it was that I am now getting to know my own home country better! While I had not done a single hike in Germany until a few months ago, I think I’m now doing quite well with about 20 of them. Of course, I would like to share these hikes with you. I started with my blog post about the Felsenmeer a few weeks ago, then I continued with my blog post about hiking in the Odenwald and today my third post comes about a hike in this beautiful region: to the Gorge of Margaret where the highest waterfall of the Odenwald is waiting for me.
The Gorge of Margaret
The hiking trail in the Gorge of Margaret is a journey through the history of the earth. Information boards are placed along the trail to tell about the background of the formation of the gorge and to draw attention to special features of the flora and fauna. For example, it is explained that the humid climate ensures that many fern plants can be found here and that fire salamanders live in the area around the stream called Flursbach. Unfortunately, I did not see any, although I was particularly attentive after I saw the sign. But I advise you to look down – no matter if you are on the “hunt” for fire salamanders or not. Because there is quite a danger of stumbling in the partly narrow gorge.
In the gorge, you will also find the highest waterfall of the Odenwald, which is one of the highest in Germany! Over 110 meters the water of the Flursbach falls down in smaller cascades. The highest is 10 meters. The mountain is called Gickelberg by the way.
The Starting Point in Neckargerach
Neckargerach is a state-approved resort in a wonderful location, namely in the Neckartal-Odenwald Nature Park and the Bergstrasse-Odenwald Geo-Nature Park. Here – between Heidelberg and Heilbronn – those seeking recreation will find an ideal mixture of water, meadows, and forests.
The starting point itself is the train station of this pearl. This is super practical because you can either arrive by car and park there (like me coming from Frankfurt and having a relatively long journey) or, if you come from the surrounding area, by train. However, I found the station a bit hard to find: I had only entered the Bahnstraße in my navigation system. But since it’s around a corner again and the sign for the station is very faded, I went straight twice. Alternatively, you can also find a Park & Ride on the side where I was first – going straight instead of turning right.
On whichever of the two P&R you park, there are signs everywhere that are in better shape than the ones to the station. Finding the way to the canyon is therefore definitely no problem.
For your hike, you should choose a dry day if possible, as it can get slippery in the gorge. But still, you might want to choose a day after some rain because otherwise, the waterfall is going to be very thin. Here are a few facts in a brief and concise overview:
Difference in Altitude
After ten or fifteen minutes walking you will have a fantastic view of the Neckar valley. The river Neckar winds in a pretty perfect loop around the Zwerrenberg. This is an excellent first photo spot!
Then you reach the entrance to the gorge. A sign warns you that entering the gorge is at your own risk, that there is a danger of slipping and also that especially now in the time of Corona, the minimum distance is difficult to keep. Therefore, I would like to ask you at this point to act calmly and definitely not to push during this time. You should never do that, of course, but at the moment, even more, solidarity is needed than usual.
It won’t take long, you can see a first view of the highest part of the waterfall.
The waterfall is really a breathtaking sight. You should definitely have a camera with you to capture the tour. It is impressive how the water makes its way down into the valley and splashes on the rocks in front of my eyes.
I almost thought that was it, but then it turned out that the Margarethenschlucht path really does run through the gorge and over and over again over the Flursbach. So it goes back and forth for a while. On the rocks, there are partly wire ropes to which you can hold on to when the “step” is a bit high. Again and again, the above-mentioned information boards explain different things and so the hike becomes even more entertaining.
Except for a place at the very beginning, where you have to turn left to follow the course of the stream, you really can’t miss the path.
But to be sure, I would still recommend that you download Outdooractive or Komoot. Both are available as an app and there you can download the gpx data. Then, you really can’t get lost. You can also follow my tour here:
Basically, I think you should be able to cross the stream on dry feet. At least as long as you have shoes with good grip and don’t slip. But that probably also depends on how much water the creek carries. Further down, I recommend hiking boots, which are even waterproof in case you do slip or step next to a stone.
The gorge itself is about two kilometers long. Once you reach the top, it’s a short detour back to Neckargerach. You will pass a wild animal enclosure and another enclosure with goats.
After about 1.5 kilometers the path then meets the path you came from again. Turn right and you will return straight to your starting point – the train station of Neckargerach.
Other Destinations in the Area
If you like hiking and want to explore other regions, I can recommend you to visit the Pfälzerwald, the Spessart or the Taunus. Blog posts will follow for these regions. So far, I can only refer you to my blog post about the Staufen in the Taunus.
If you want to make a city trip in this part of Germany, I recommend the following cities:
- Aschaffenburg: Aschaffenburg is nicknamed the gate to the Spessart. Besides the (partly very photogenic) sights like the Aschaffenburg castle, which the town itself has to offer, you can also reach the forest quickly from here and can let off steam on many hiking trails.
- Heidelberg: Heidelberg is located directly at the Neckar and offers a picturesque backdrop with the river, the old town and the castle on the mountain. Here you will also find the ideal mixture of town and countryside.
- Lohr am Main: Lohr am Main was first mentioned in a document in 1295 and is generally known as Snow White town. Although this is not documented, it is quite possible, since the Brothers Grimm lived in Hanau and passed through the Spessart on their way to Bremen.
- Mannheim: The square city is worth a visit at any time. Whether inside or outside, there is always something to do or experience here.
- Michelstadt: The historical old town with the famous town hall and the half-timbered houses is simply enchanting. My tip: Take a photo tour at sunrise when you have the cobblestone streets all to yourself! Near Michelstadt there are a lot of hiking trails so that you won’t get bored.
- Miltenberg: The small town in Lower Franconia is located between Odenwald and Spessart and is a real gem. The old town is picturesque and even the starting point of several hiking trails. The Mildenburg and the museum of the city of Miltenberg offer the culturally interested among us the opportunity to quench their thirst for knowledge.
On my tours, I am mainly on the road with clothes and equipment from Decathlon. My hiking boots for example are waterproof half-height hiking boots. In general, if you are a regular hiker or outdoor enthusiast, I recommend that you buy some appropriate clothing and shoes. In the worst case, normal sneakers will do, as long as they give you a good grip and you can handle them if they get dirty. On hikes like the one in the Margarethen Gorge, this can happen faster than you can look.
I would also recommend protection for your phone. I got a nice scratch when I was hiking in Margaret Gorge. And that’s even though my phone didn’t fall off or bump into anything. At least not consciously. Therefore, I have now an outdoor case.
By the way, I take my pictures with a Sony Alpha 6500*. I usually switch between my two favorite lenses: a 10-18mm wide-angle lens* and a 30mm fixed focal length*. In case you’ve ever wondered how I take pictures of myself even though I’m often on the road alone: I have a Rollei tripod*.
The Gorge of Margaret is a really lovely destination! The waterfall is a great motive for amazing photos and through the signage, you can learn a lot about the (earth’s) history, the formation of the gorge, and its flora and fauna. The path is also not very difficult to walk. Personally, I didn’t have sore muscles at all, but that depends on how regularly you go on hikes.
All in all, I loved the trip.
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