Above the treetops: In the Bayerischer Wald

I always love to find ways of exploring, appreciating and experiencing nature and forests from new perspectives. One of the best places I’ve been to recently in this respect, must surely be the “Baumwipfelpfad” (Treetop Walkway) at the Lusen National Park Centre in the Bayerischer Wald, which is located in the south east of Germany on the border between Bavaria and the Czech Republic.

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The Baumwipfelpfad is one of the longest treetop trails in the world and winds for around 1,300 m through the forest canopy, at a height of between 8 to 25 meters above the ground. En route there are numerous interpretation panel, kids activities, wood sculptures, picnic stops, view points and places for visitors to simply “chill out” and immerse themselves in the wonderful forest environment – or “forest bathing” as it’s known in today’s hipster speak.

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The real highlight though, must surely be the “Baumei” (the Tree Egg), a marvel of engineering and timber construction, which is located near the end of the trail. A broad and gently ascending gallery slowly winds it’s way gently upward to the exposed top of the Baumei itself. From there, visitors can enjoy unique sweeping views out across the unspoiled natural and cultural landscapes of the Bavarian Forest, with its beautiful valleys and mountains – on clear days these views extend as far away as the Alps to the south.

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The Bayerischer Wald is indeed one of Germany’s most extensive nature areas, but remains largely off the radar for visitors from outside the country. It is an area of extensive forests, rolling uplands, colourful meadows, hidden valleys and scattered rural communities. Much of the area is protected as the Bayerischer Wald National Park; the country’s first and one of its most extensive. Here, nature has largely been left to follow its own course, through the result of deliberately non-interventionist conservation and forest management policies.

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As a whole, the region offers endless potential for outdoor exploration, hiking and mountain biking – including excursions to the higher peaks of the Großer Falkenstein, Lusen, and the Großer Rachel. Due to the unexpected intervention of the Corona pandemic last summer, we ended up visiting the region more or less by chance, after cancelling our planned trip to Scandinavia.

We were not certainly not disappointed and loved exploring the natural sights and hidden corners of this relatively unknown and unfrequented part of Bavaria. We spent our time walking, mountain biking, canoeing and exploring some of the area’s many historic and cultural attractions. We had a ball – It is certainly on our list of places to go back to…

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