It’s impossible to avoid beautiful scenery here, no matter which direction you go. The first few times I went for a run, I spent 90% of the time rubber-necking and the other 10% tripping over myself because I was looking everywhere except down. There is a perfect bike/pedestrian path (mostly flat, and very safe) immediately outside one of Gate 1. According to the signs, you can take the path all the way to Kallmünz in one direction, and Parsberg in the other. I almost exclusively run the Kallmünz direction.
I prefer routes that run straight through without interruptions from traffic or intersecting roads, and this is why I always pick this trail. The first ~1.5 miles are very secluded. Although it runs parallel to the road, it’s slightly down a hill and separated by a guardrail. On the other side of the path is a densely wooded area with a rougher trail (I have seen a few people with mountain bikes riding through). It literally feels like you’re running through the forest from Shrek. The air is always cool and damp along the path, and bright green fuzzy moss grows on all the rocks and trees. Huge slugs are always crawling across the path, too. I’m sure this wouldn’t be an issue for most people, but I’m terrified of anything that crawls (worms, slugs, etc.) They are so big that you would probably twist your ankle if you stepped on one.
The wooded path turns into the main road that runs through Hohenfels. You can follow the sidewalk straight through town, but occasionally you have to stop for cars coming out of the side streets. The houses in town are built right up next to the road, so often you only have two feet of sidewalk to run on. I feel like I’m constantly pulling extremities in, because when a car comes tearing down the road, the last thing I want is for my arm to be hit because it was swinging out too far. This portion of the path seems to go by in a blink, which is a shame because it’s so beautiful. Hohenfels is built in the nook of a rocky cliffside, and you can look right up and see the castle ruins. And yes, it is every bit as picturesque as it sounds. The castle is so close that it feels like you could reach your hand out and brush it with your fingertips.
After leaving Hohenfels, the path takes you by a lumber yard (for your sniffing pleasure), a gorgeous sunflower field (during the summer), over some bridges, and through quiet farmland all the way to Kallmünz. It’s the perfect adventure for some tranquil peace and quiet, especially if you like to have your running route all to yourself. For the last three months, I’ve been running the path at least twice a week. The farthest I’ve run towards Kallmünz is about 8 miles before turning around, and the only people I see are the occasional old German man or small families passing by on bikes.
In the next two or three weeks I hope to make the 20-mile round-trip run to Kallmünz and back to cap off my marathon training for the season. I have been looking forward to that run since discovering the trail, and hope to write another post once I discover what that last portion of the trail is like.
Running here has been nothing short of a dream. Frankly, I feel a little spoiled–so many runners would kill for seemingly endless miles of Bavarian countryside in their back yard, and I had it handed to me. It has been great for my motivation, and has also been the perfect way for my husband and I to chat and “catch up” with one another. We may not always have a chance to sit down for a meal together, but there is always time for a run.