International travel enthusiast and expat from New Zealand, currently living in Germany. https://indie-road.com
Published March 5th 2017
On the southern border of the city of Eisenach in Thuringia is an attraction called the Drachenschlucht, or Dragon's Canyon. It consists of a short and easy section of hiking through a rather surreal environment.
You begin the walk next to a small stream, close to a road and in amongst the forest, but shortly afterwards the stream starts to flow beneath a metal grid underneath your feet as you enter the canyon. The canyon consists of large boulders blanketed in a thick green moss and sparkling with thousands of water drops either side of you, often forcing you to walk single file through the narrow crevices which tower up far above your head. The sound of the stream echoes off the canyon walls (it is probably not a good idea to do this walk if you need the bathroom) and the sound of water dripping from the trees above creates a very atmospheric experience. If you are walking with friends, as you try to talk to them you will hear your voice bounce back in multiple directions amongst the sound of rushing water.
The canyon can either be completed as a short walk through to the other side and back again, or as part of a longer hike, all of which is detailed on maps at various locations in the forest. There are two car parks; one at the top of the hill at Hohe Sonne and one at the bottom of the hill, closer to the gorge on Mariental. There are rest huts at both locations which provide toilets, hot and cold drinks and a basic menu so you can enjoy a beer and bratwurst at the top of the hill. The walk sometimes closes during times with snow, just after a storm or when there is black ice, so it is worth checking with the tourist information office before you go.
Location screenshot from google maps
There are a number of short walks, all of which are an easy-to-medium difficulty, around the forest, some of which are also suitable for cyclists. The loop track takes 3 to 3.5 hours and is well worth it on a sunny afternoon.