The Rötenbach Gorge is part of the Wutach Gorge area located near Löffingen between Feldberg mountain and the city of Villingen-Schwenningen. This area is very rural and is a mix of woods and grassy fields.
The gorges in the area have a wild character with lots of rock cliffs, waterfalls and unexplored wooded areas. This is what makes hiking here interesting and diverse.
There’re many entry points to the gorges, but the one I used was near Rötenbach, which gave the gorge it’s name. When getting to Rötenbach, I parked outside the town at a parking lot in a little forrest. The hike starts right there.
After about 10 minute walk, I reached the Rötenbach creek, still very small and not much in a gorge. The trail follows the creek tightly and is a constant up and down while gorge gets deeper and the creek grows to a little river. I did the hike early morning and the forrest is so dense, that taking pictures without a tripod was a challenge. I did manage however 🙂
While following the trail, there’re lots of nice corners where the light is just beautiful, birds are chirping and the watersounds makes for a very relaxing athmosphere.
After about 5,5 km or 1,5 hours walking, I reached the mouth of the Rötenbach river where it flows into the Wutach river. That place is very quiet and has several fireplaces where you could gather for some barbeque. Getting all contents for a good barbeque there is for sure a lot of work so that the beer would then be well deserved.
The trail then follows the wutach river, but mostly high above the river, so that I could only hear the water, but couldn’t see the river. In general, the trail was now much better prepared and less up and down so that I could make good progress.
A good one hour later, I reached the place called Räuberschlössle. This is a small area that is surrounded on 2 sides by large rocks, on the other 2 sides there’re cliffs 200 ft down to the river. Only a very narrow path leads to the inside of the place. Apparently it was at some point a small castle which was destroyed. Afterwards the place served a hiding place for thiefs and other crooks. That’s what the name Räuberschlössle means – Thief Castle.
After the Räuberschlössle, it takes a good 2 hours through woods and over fields, back to Rötenbach. The hike from that point is not very strenuous and is a lot fun, as long as it is not too hot.
As mentioned above, there’re many other hikes in the area going from a few km up to hikes, several days long.
A word of caution: The trails in the area deteriorate quickly in times of heavy rain. So don’t do the hike immediately after a rainy period. Better wait for a few sunny days to allow for the trails to dry a bit.
Late spring is most likely the best time to visit the area. It is then, when most unique flowers to the area are in full bloom. According to the website about the Wutachschlucht, there’re more than 20 kind of lilies unique to the area.
Length of trail approx. 15 km
Time required approx. 4,5 hours
Good shoes and good condition required.
Parking free in the forest parking lot near Rötenbach