The trail follows the Kleine Nister River past the 'Deutsches Eck der Kroppacher Schweiz' in Heimborn, where the Kleine Nister and Große Nister rivers meet, and through alpine terrain to Marienthal Abbey.
From Limbach, the trail heads along the Heunigs Höhlenweg path to the viewing point on the Hohe Ley rock, where you can visit a small slate mine. The trail continues to follow the River Nister, passing Astert and Heuzert to reach Heimborn, where the Kleine Nister and Große Nister meet. It continues to the Spitzen Ley rock, with its view of Steinwingert. The highlight of this stage of the trail is the narrow Weltende ('World's End') path, which is a difficult climb. The trail then continues on more gentle paths past Racksen and the state forest at Altenkirchen down to Marienthal Abbey.
For explorers: visit the medieval 'Assberg' slate quarry (open all year round; free) For romantics: picnic at the 'Deutsches Eck der Kroppacher Schweiz' For adventurers: 'Weltende' ('World's End') nature trail For culture vultures: visit Hamm/Sieg (birthplace of Friedrich-Wilhelm Raiffeisen, a founder of cooperative banks and rural credit unions) or Wissen
Limbach (238 m)
Geogr. 50.701609 N 7.801763 E
UTM 32U 415383 5617328
The Westerwald-Steig trail leaves Limbach on a meadow path along the Kleine Nister in the direction of the Heunigs Höhlenweg path (an educational river trail) to the viewing point on the Hohe Ley rock. Walking on natural forest paths, you can enjoy the legendary silence of the Westerwald to the fullest. You can also visit a medieval slate quarry. The trail then descends 200m on some uneven steps to the River Nister. You need to watch your step here. The trail continues to follow the river, passing Astert and Heuzert to reach Heimborn, one of the most beautiful places in the Westerwald, where the Kleine Nister and Große Nister meet – the so-called 'Deutsches Eck der Kroppacher Schweiz'. Here, the two river valleys widen onto a beautiful plain, where you can take a well-earned rest. Both rivers have their source in the High Westerwald and flow at first through a wide undulating plateau, before they carve their way deep into the steep Devonian slate rocky ridges of the Rhenish Massif, giving the landscape of the Kroppacher Schweiz its particular charm. The trail continues past the hikers' car park at Heimborn and across meadows as far as Ehrlich, where there is a restaurant by the river. It then leads over the Spitze Ley rock, with its view of Steinwingert, to another highlight of the Westerwald-Steig trail, the Weltende (World's End') path. This path is a nature trail which leads through one of the most beautiful parts of the Kroppacher Schweiz and through the romantic silence of unspoilt forest. It gets its name from a gift – in 1451, Wilhelm, Lord of Reichenstein, left Marienstatt Abbey to the village of Flögert. As there was only one path to the village, it became popularly known as 'At the end of the world'. Today, the 'World's End' path is an attractive, challenging hiking trail, where sure-footedness is a must. For less experienced hikers, there is an alternative route on the less spectacular Marienwanderweg path, which continues past Racksen and leads downhill on easy paths through the state forest at Altenkirchen to Marienthal Abbey. Access paths (marking: green W on a yellow background)
Oberwesterwaldbahn train from Au-Limburg to the train stop at Hattert and then by taxi to Limbach Return journey from Marienthal Abbey to Limbach: with the Oberwesterwaldbahn train from Au-Limburg once again to the train stop at Hattert and then by taxi to Limbach www.vectus-online.de
From Hachenburg (south east): via the B414 until the end to Betzdorf/Nister and then continue on the L288 to the Limbach exit From Altenkirchen (south west): via the B414 until the Gebhardshain/Limbach/Mörsbach/Heimborn exit and then continue on the L265 to the Limbach exit From Betzdorf (north east): via the L288 to the Limbach exit From Wissen (north west): via the L289 or L265 to the Limbach exit
- Abenteuer Westerwald-Steig, hiking guide with detailed route outlines and elevation profile, 224 pages, ISBN 978-3-93569-064-5, €12.80
- Westerwald-Steig, Schöneres Wandern Pocket, 17 half-day and full-day walks in a pocket-size map, publisher: ideemedia-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-934342-25-5, €10.95
- Rother Wanderführer Westerwald-Steig, publisher: Bergverlag Rother GmbH, from Herborn to Bad Hönningen, 112 pages with 58 colour illustrations, 16 elevation profiles, 16 1:50 000 scale hiking maps, 6 street maps, one small-scale map, ISBN 978-3-7633-4376-8, €10.90
Author’s Map Recommendations
- Wanderkarte-Leporello Westerwald-Steig, hiking map with GPS data and tips for day trips, rest stops and leisure activities, map size (w x h): 18 x 20 cm, 39 pages in total, including 29 pages of maps, ISBN 978-3-89920-461-2, €8.95
- Official WesterWaldSteig trail map for hikers and holidaymakers, 1:50 000 scale map, LVermGeo Rheinland-Pfalz, ISBN 978-3-89637-406-6, €8.50