Hiking diary: a weekend in the Vosges

Written by: Enora Gelot



Time to read 6 min

Hiking alone, with family, as a couple or with friends: each mountain outing is unique and precious. This time, a group of friends formed on Facebook to take advantage of the Pentecost weekend by embarking on a hiking trip. Destination: the Vosges.

Getting to the start of the hike

The hiking group met at the Gare de l'Est in Paris: 11 young active people between 25 and 30 years old ready to discover the Vosges forests for a weekend.

We all converged on Strasbourg to begin our journey. From Paris, the journey is quick: 1h45 by train, with a departure at 7:16am on Saturday morning . Once in Strasbourg, we took the TER towards Saverne, leaving at 9:23 a.m. Excitement was building as we got closer to the starting point of our hike.

Lagoped Vosges hike
Lagoped Vosges hike

Day 1: From Saverne to Wangenbourg-Engenthal


1000m D+

We arrived in Saverne mid-morning, just in time to take advantage of the market. This was the ideal opportunity to stock up on local and fresh products before leaving the town to reach the forest for the start of the hike.

Lagoped Vosges hike
Lagoped Vosges hike

Leaving the city to enter the forest was a magical moment. We quickly climbed to reach the heights, following a path marked by the Club Vosgien, whose distinctive markings differ from the classic GR with their own color codes and signs.

Indeed, the Vosgien Club was created in 1872 under the leadership of Richard Stieve, a German magistrate. The tourism company is founded under its German name Vogesenclub. To celebrate its 25th anniversary in 1897, a route crossing the Vosges massif was created and marked with a red rectangle. It is this marking that we find today throughout the hiking trail.

In 1946, the 430 km which connect Wissembourg to Fesches-le-Chatel in the Territoire de Belfort will finally be labeled GR5.

Lagoped Vosges hike
Lagoped Vosges hike

The forest gradually revealed magnificent views of the valley. All along the hiking trail, we have the chance to learn more about the rich and varied flora, through signs and panels. A total immersion in nature.

Our first major stop was the Château du Haut-Barr , an impressive 12th century construction, offering an exceptional panorama of the Northern Vosges, the Middle Vosges and the Rhine plain. We obviously climbed to its heights, amazed by the views this hike offers us.

Lagoped Vosges hike
Lagoped Vosges hike

As we progressed, the group of 11 people got to know each other. The presentations were going well: our jobs, our hiking levels, our connections with each other. Nothing to get bored on the trail!

We reached the Brotsch Tower (542m) , a structure erected in 1897, which marked an ancient protohistoric site. An ideal stop for the first refueling of the hike.

Lagoped Vosges hike
Lagoped Vosges hike

The next point of interest is the Geissfels Rock . From there, the view of the valley and the Dabo rock was striking. The group took the opportunity to take some souvenir photos of the hike.

Lagoped Vosges hike
Lagoped Vosges hike

Later, we had lunch behind the Owl Rock , a large rock that rises in the forest, a moment of conviviality and well-deserved rest.

The hike continued at the group's pace: between forests, viewpoints over the valley, a stopover town and private gardens.

After the Col du Valsberg (652m) , one of the highest points of the day's hike, we finally reached Wangenbourg-Engenthal, a charming health resort.

Just before the storm, we accelerated to set up camp at Les Huttes campsite. Myriam welcomed us warmly. The campsite is particularly well equipped: WC, shower, water, friendly space and well located. 15 minutes walk from the village center.

While the downpour was beating down, Myriam kindly offered to drop us off by car at the Auberge du Château. We were able to enjoy a delicious dinner with regional specialties on the menu such as kneffes (g nocchi from the Vosges, prepared from flour, egg and milk)

Day 2: From Wangenbourg-Engenthal to Urmatt

Part 1: from Wangenbourg-Engenthal to Nideck Castle


330m D+

On Sunday morning, we left the campsite late. With the bag lighter, we chose a gentler route, avoiding passes so that everyone could enjoy the hike without too much difficulty.

The alternative for this day of hiking would have been to go via the summit of Schneeberg (961m) .

Lagoped Vosges hike
Lagoped Vosges hike

We reached the Château du Nideck for lunch. A nice German hiker showed us the access to the stairs to enjoy the view. The simple menu of semolina and side dishes was enhanced by the beauty of the landscape. The weather was getting worse, but we were able to eat peacefully.

Part 2: from nideck castle to Urmatt


130m D+

After lunch I had to leave the group to reach Urmatt station. The path passed Nideck Waterfall , a popular site. The rain intensified, but my waterproof hiking jacket kept me dry.

Lagoped Vosges hike
Lagoped Vosges hike

The trails were muddy, and hiking alone after so much fellowship offered a strange but calming feeling. I observed nature, even seeing a deer. Arriving at Urmatt station to take the 5:23 p.m. train, I had just time to visit Strasbourg and have dinner before taking the train back to Paris.

Continue the hike

This circuit can be continued on the long-distance hiking trail 53 (GR 53), crossing the north of the Vosges Massif. 167 km long, it offers complete immersion in this magnificent region. It starts from Wissembourg and ends in Schirmeck. Its marking is the red rectangle mentioned in this article. Part of this long hike crosses the Vosges du Nord Regional Natural Park.

Distance: 164km

Cumulative altitude difference ascent: 5927m

For those who wish to explore it, detailed IGN maps are available to plan your hike:

  • Wissembourg Lauterbourg Soufflenheim Plaine du Rhin (3914OT).
  • Haguenau Wissembourg l’Outre-Forêt PNR des Vosges du Nord (3814ET).
  • Pays de Bitche PNR of the Northern Vosges (3713ET).
  • La Petite Pierre Niederbronn-les-Bains Northern Vosges PNR (3714ET).
  • Saverne Sarrebourg Rocher de Dabo (3715OT).
  • Mont Ste-Odile Molsheim Obernai Vallée de la Bruche (3716ET).
  • Le Donon Lac de Pierre-Percée (3616OT).

Our latest advice for a hike in the Vosges

Vosges weather in May

The month of May is an ideal time to explore the Vosges, with green landscapes and nature in full bloom. However, the weather can be unpredictable while hiking. In May, temperatures generally vary between 10°C and 20°C during the day, but can drop quickly, especially at altitude. Mornings and evenings are often cool, and showers are not uncommon. It is crucial to be well prepared to face these changing conditions.

equipment for a successful hike

1. Breathable first layer

A breathable base layer is essential to staying dry and comfortable. Choose clothing made from synthetic materials that wick sweat away from your skin, keeping you warm even in humid conditions.

2. Fleece

A lightweight or mid-weight fleece will give you the warmth you need on chilly mornings and post-hike evenings. It's easy to layer and store in your backpack when temperatures rise.

3. Waterproof hiking jacket

As showers are frequent in May, a good waterproof jacket is essential. Opt for a jacket with an adjustable hood and taped seams to effectively protect you from rain and wind.

4. Waterproof protection for the bag

To protect your belongings from bad weather, a waterproof cover for your backpack is strongly recommended. This helps keep your change of clothes, food and electronic equipment dry. An essential for hiking!

5. Sunglasses and sunscreen

Even on cloudy days, UV rays can be powerful when hiking. Protect your eyes with good quality sunglasses and apply sunscreen to your exposed skin to prevent sunburn. You will thank us.

6. Long pants

Long pants are useful not only for protecting you from the cold and scrapes, but also for avoiding ticks, which can be present in tall grass and wooded areas, even on hiking trails.

7. Good walking shoes

Investing in a pair of good hiking shoes is essential. They must offer good support, be waterproof and have a grippy sole to cope with the varied and sometimes slippery terrain of the Vosges.

We hope that this hiking story will inspire you to discover the wonders of the Vosges. Whether for a weekend or longer, adventure and nature await you!

Enora passionate about mountaineering

Enora Gelot

Marketing Manager at Lagoped since January 2024. Hiking, running, cycling and photographing moments spent in nature to share the beauty of wild places.