Hainich National Park

Hainich National Park


Location: Thuringia  Map

Area: 16,000 ha


Description of Hainich National Park

Hainich National Park is a nature reserve in North- western part of Thuringia region of Germany. Hainich National Park was found in December 31, 1997 and covers an area of 16,000 ha of mostly deciduous trees. It was formerly a training ground for the German military, but today converted to a protected area that is part of Eichsfeld- Hainich- Werratal Nature Park. A boardwalk and tower offer tourists a great way to explore the forest without damaging fragile recovering ecosystem. The park is mostly covered by beech trees that make home for wild boars, fallow deer, red deer, fox, badger, marten and many other animals that started to settle the region after the military has left it.
Hiking trails of Hainich National Park follow the medieval paths that range from 2 miles (wheel chair accessible) to 10.4 mile Rennstieg trail. The best place to start exploration of the forest preserve in Bad Langensalza, but you can also find paths from Eisenach, Kammerforst, Mihla, Muehlhausen, Seebach and Weberstedt.


The 75 km² park is located in the west of the state of Thuringia east of the Werra and is part of the Eichsfeld-Hainich-Werratal nature park. It is located in the city triangle Eisenach-Mühlhausen-Bad Langensalza in the south of the approximately 160 km² Hainich, the largest contiguous deciduous forest area in Germany.

Flora and fauna
The Hainich has a wide range of beech forest communities in which, in addition to the common beech, numerous other deciduous tree species such as ash, maple, linden and the rare service tree can be found. There are also mushrooms and large stocks of spring flowers such as Märzenbecher, hepatica and wood anemone.

Among the fauna of the Hainich, the European wildcat, 15 bat species, seven woodpecker species and more than 500 wood-dwelling beetle species are particularly noteworthy.

Purpose of the national park
In the Hainich National Park, a central European primeval forest is to be created again, in which nature is allowed to run free and the areas are not cultivated. This national park currently covers the area of ​​former military training areas with around 50 km², the largest unused deciduous forest area in Germany. In the future, the beech forest will prevail on most areas. This fulfills an important requirement of international nature conservation, since a typical habitat in Central Europe can finally be protected. The implementation will be strengthened by an enlargement of the core zone from 29 to 75 percent in July 2009.

East and center
The Thiemsburg forest house is located in the eastern part of the national park. Since August 2005, it has been possible to take a look at the crown region of a forest on a 310 meter long treetop path just below the tree tops (extended to 530 meters in May 2009). The University of Göttingen has been conducting geobotanical treetop research in this forest area for several years. This treetop path was only the second in Germany and enables scientists and visitors to find out about new botany findings. Such treetop paths are already known in tropical rainforests, for example in Costa Rica. (51 ° 4 ′ 59.6 ″ N, 10 ° 30 ′ 24.2 ″ E)

The southern part of the national park occupies a spacious area that was cleared for the requirements of the military training area in the early 1980s and later remained unused for forestry purposes; only individual, local open spaces were allowed to be grazed. This area can now be accessed again on the designated routes. Visitors will find a young forest that is already twenty years old as a special feature. The Hainichblick observation tower on Generalshügel, which opened in June 2011, provides a comprehensive view of the area. (51 ° 2 ′ 15.7 ″ N, 10 ° 26 ′ 11.3 ″ E)

The Urwald-Life-Camp was opened on the Harsberg near Lauterbach in 2006, offering numerous offers for school classes and young people. (51 ° 4 ′ 26.4 ″ N, 10 ° 22 ′ 38.2 ″ E)

Since March 2009 there has been a "Germanic Cult Path" in the area of ​​the Hünenburg - Hünenteich. These are replicas of sanctuaries that were discovered during excavations in the sacrificial moor near Niederdorla. (51 ° 6 ′ 39.6 ″ N, 10 ° 27 ′ 8.2 ″ E)

Around the park
The cooperation “Destination Nature” is jointly supported by the three large environmental associations BUND, NABU and VCD as well as Deutsche Bahn. Partners in the cooperation are 23 nature areas, including the Hainich National Park. All together are committed to environmentally friendly travel in the natural landscapes.

The “Wartburg Hainich World Heritage Region” is seamlessly linked to the regional and long-distance network of Deutsche Bahn. The Eisenach, Bad Langensalza and Mühlhausen train stations are easily accessible from all over Germany. Eisenach is served by several ICE or IC lines every 1 or 2 hours.

The route network of the transport companies should enable comfortable and fast travel. The Hainichbus (line 150) connects Eisenach with Bad Langensalza every day. The national park bus (line 154) operates as an on-call bus between Mühlhausen, the villages on the eastern edge of the national park and Thiemsburg. The cultural adventure bus (line 160) connects Eisenach with Mühlhausen via the villages on the west side of the national park.