Germany / 280 Kms / 5870 mts of elevation / 90% tarmac 10% gravel
Have you ever heard of the Black Forest cake ?
After an intense and deep research on the internet (I googled it) I can confirm and asseverate my initial thoughts: The Black Forest cake originated in the Black Forest region. As a consequence, Black Forest cake in the Black Forest region is made with great pride and care. Without a doubt, having a piece of Black Forest cake every evening is a must do of this bicycle adventure.
Why is it called The Black Forest ?
At the beginning the name Black Forest made me think of an enchanted forest with talking animals, dwarfs, ogres, knights, princesses, belgian beer, magic mushrooms and all these sort of things. But nope, it's actually because of the dark green color of its trees.
What was covered in this trip
This "balade" of 280 kms starts at the german city of Karlsruhe, more or less the north end of the Black Forest, and goes south across the forest all the way down to Arau in Switzerland. This route was part of a larger epic trip of about 5000 kms that a group of friends accomplished in 2019. They decided to kindly share the Black Forest section with us.
Roads, towns and train stations
Most roads on this trip are cycle paths or small country side roads with little trafic, they pass through fields, villages, small train stations and mostly forested areas. Every few kilometers there is a small village or town where sometimes it's possible to find a pub full of that very well deserved beer to hydrate your soul. You'll also find grocery shops along the way.
The Black Forest mountain range
The Black Forest is a forested mountain range. When you cycle there you really get the feeling of being in a mountain range. You are always either climbing or descending. For some people this can be a pain in the rear end, whereas for others it means a great challenge and lots of fun.
The highest and largest lake of the Black Forest
The Schluchsee lake is an artificial lake or reservoir formed thanks to the construction of its dam during the 30's. The lake lays at about 1000 mts over the level of the sea. Keep in mind that the water stays relatively cold even in summer... Some body parts might shrink. The lake is a popular spot among local swimmers and sailors. It's definitely a nice place for a picnic break or camping.
In the same area and just about 10 kms North of the Schluchsee, there is another lake of similar beauty but smaller: the Titisse, also worth getting your swimming suit out of the bag.
Towards the end
The route finishes at Aarau in Switzerland but for logistic reasons it could be interesting to turn right at the border and follow the river Rhein west towards the city of Basel also in Switzerland but better connected with Germany and France by train.
The cycling gets easier in this last section between the lake Schluchsee and Arau. It is a downhill ride from 1000 to 200 mts above sea level. A well deserved happy ending.