Germany: Up to the Kuhstall (Himmelsleiter)

Another popular but totally worth wile tour in Saxon Switzerland is the hike up to the Kuhstall. In order to avoid the crowds we started the tour around 8 am at the Lichtenhainer Waterfall parking lot. At that time we were the only car. It is important to start this tour early, as there is not only a huge parking lot but also the last station of the Kirnitzschtalbahn. The train starts in Bad Schandau and can be used to avoid taking the car.

The hike to the Kuhstall leads over wide forest trails and went mainly uphill. The hike starts at the Lichtenhainer Waterfall, crossing the bridge to the other side. The Kuhstall is the second largest rock gate in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains after the Prebisch Gate in the Czech Republic. It is located on the Neuen Wildenstein, a 337 m high rock which was dominated by Wildenstein Castle in the 15th century.

After crossing the Kuhstall, the entry point to the Himmelsleiter can be found. It is a steel staircase through the narrow dark crevice to the summit and the upper view of the Neu Wildenstein. There should be 108 levels. The Himmelsleiter can be done without climbing experience. Same is true for the descent on the other side of the Neu Wildenstein. The Himmelsleiter itself is a one direction climb.

Overall the tour is easy, for that reason mainly popular. The Shortest round is about 5 kilometers. A restaurant at the start at the Lichtenhainer Waterfalls and a restaurant at the top at the Kuhstall is attracting even more people. Both restaurants are opening around 11 am. The first Kirnitzschtalbahn train arrive around 8:40 am.

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