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The trail along the Horschbach tributary hike feeds into the river Murr near Murrhardt. It showcases twisting trails and small waterfalls along the way.
The trail along the Horschbach tributary hike feeds into the river Murr near Murrhardt. It showcases twisting trails and small waterfalls along the way. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)
The trail along the Horschbach tributary hike feeds into the river Murr near Murrhardt. It showcases twisting trails and small waterfalls along the way.
The trail along the Horschbach tributary hike feeds into the river Murr near Murrhardt. It showcases twisting trails and small waterfalls along the way. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)
Horschbachschlucht, a river trail near the town of Murrhardt in Baden Wuerttemberg, is an interesting place for a weekend hike. The area is about 30 miles northeast of Stuttgart.
Horschbachschlucht, a river trail near the town of Murrhardt in Baden Wuerttemberg, is an interesting place for a weekend hike. The area is about 30 miles northeast of Stuttgart. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)
A rocky waterfall provides a nice place for kids to explore and climb about at the end of our hike along the Horschbachschlucht, northeast of Stuttgart.
A rocky waterfall provides a nice place for kids to explore and climb about at the end of our hike along the Horschbachschlucht, northeast of Stuttgart. (John Vandiver/Stars and Stripes)

The endless German coronavirus lockdown has resulted in a mind-numbing blur of excursions to woody hiking trails for trudges through the muddy springtime slop.

For me, all trails merge into one dreaded feeling of gloom. So when it was suggested that I, on a gray wet April Sunday, pack up the family for yet another hike into some forgettable wood, I balked.

After some words of encouragement, I relented. And off we went, to Horschbachschlucht, a river trail that I suspected was as unappealing as the sound of its name.

Upon arrival at the trail site, which is located just outside the town of Murrhardt, there was a pleasant surprise: friends mysteriously parked nearby. With coronavirus rules restricting the size of gatherings, it was prohibited for multiple families to meet up together. But accidents do happen.

With the sun peeking through the gray sky, things were looking up. And as we walked, my mood lifted thanks to a narrow walking path that twisted and turned along the Horschbach, a tributary that flows into the Murr river.

Because of heavy rainfall in the days before, the path was slippery in places, which meant everyone had to be on alert. It was a pleasant distraction and offered a challenge. Along the way, the children ran down to investigate a small waterfall after hearing its sounds in the distance.

The way did get tougher as we got pelted with rain. Luckily, it passed before turning into a downpour and we pressed on, jumping over rocks and trying not to slip down the muddy banks.

Finally, we made it to a larger waterfall that dropped 40 feet. It was a good stop for the kids to climb and run around. We eventually walked out of the gorge, where there were places to sit or set up a picnic.

There also were other trails to continue hiking and paths for mountain bikers. After resting up, we headed back in the direction of our starting point, opting for the high ground instead of following in our footsteps back down along the river.

If the coronavirus lockdown proves endless, this is a trail I would hike again. If not, I will bid Germany’s damp trails adieu.

vandiver.john@stripes.com Twitter: @john_vandiver

Address: Schwarzenmuehle 1, Murrhardt 714540

Hours: 24 hours

Costs: Free

Directions: Parking for trail is about a one-hour drive from Stuttgart. Take the B-14 heading north for about 25 miles. Then continue on Umgehungsstrasse to Maerchenstrasse and then to Berliner Strasse and finally to Schwarzenmuehle.

Parking: there are multiple parking lots near the trails.

Food: Pack your own.

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