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A vineyard along the Rheinsteig in Eltville, Germany. The Rheinsteig hiking trail runs along the east banks of the Rhine River. The trail route stretches about 200 miles between Bonn and Wiesbaden.

A vineyard along the Rheinsteig in Eltville, Germany. The Rheinsteig hiking trail runs along the east banks of the Rhine River. The trail route stretches about 200 miles between Bonn and Wiesbaden. (David Edge/Stars and Stripes)

A vineyard along the Rheinsteig in Eltville, Germany. The Rheinsteig hiking trail runs along the east banks of the Rhine River. The trail route stretches about 200 miles between Bonn and Wiesbaden.

A vineyard along the Rheinsteig in Eltville, Germany. The Rheinsteig hiking trail runs along the east banks of the Rhine River. The trail route stretches about 200 miles between Bonn and Wiesbaden. (David Edge/Stars and Stripes)

Shady trees line the path of the Rheinsteig trail in Eltville, Germany, near the banks of the Rhine River.

Shady trees line the path of the Rheinsteig trail in Eltville, Germany, near the banks of the Rhine River. (David Edge/Stars and Stripes)

A babbling brook on the Rheinsteig trail in Eltville, Germany.

A babbling brook on the Rheinsteig trail in Eltville, Germany. (David Edge/Stars and Stripes)

A farmhouse on the Rheinsteig trail in Eltville, Germany. The Rheinsteig, stretches about 200 miles along the Rhine River, from Bonn to Wiesbaden.

A farmhouse on the Rheinsteig trail in Eltville, Germany. The Rheinsteig, stretches about 200 miles along the Rhine River, from Bonn to Wiesbaden. (David Edge/Stars and Stripes)

While many of the attractions near Wiesbaden remain closed due to the coronavirus, it remains a great jumping-off point for spring hiking.

Just a quick 25-minute drive from Hainerberg is the Rheinsteig hiking trail, which runs along the banks of the east Rhine River. The trail route stretches 200 miles from Bonn to Wiesbaden.

There are 21 stages of the Rheinsteig that offer hikers a wide range of views and experiences. The trails run through hillside forest, narrow valleys, up mountains, through vineyards and along the river itself, which provides a cool respite on a hot day.

I chose to hike the part of the Rheinsteig that’s on the hillside near my home.

Once I arrived at my starting point, I was immediately struck by how vividly green the forest is this time of year. As I followed the trail deeper, I noticed a babbling brook that ran beside the trail. It reminded me of my days as a wild child, running and playing in the woods in Maryland.

About two miles into my hike, the forest opened into a clear view of a vineyard. During my five-mile roundtrip, there were a few other hikers, but for the most part it was just me and nature.

Another popular route includes the Baroque-style Biebrich Palace in Wiesbaden. From Wiesbaden-Biebrich train station, follow the path leading to the Rheinsteig to the castle grounds, which takes about 30 minutes.

For hardy hikers, a 10-mile trek will then take you through the Frauenstein vineyard district, give you a view of two castles and into the Erlenbach Valley, where an ascent to the Monstrazenbaum, or “monster tree” in English, awaits after a moderate ascent.

This trail is one of Germany’s most scenic and beautiful trails. If you’re going a little stir crazy, it might just help.

edge.david@stripes.com Twitter: @DavidEdge96798393

DIRECTIONS: The trail can be accessed from many locations. To reach the Eltville portion from Wiesbaden, take the A66 ramp toward Rudesheim/Bingen for 12 km until you see the Eltville exit. Turn right onto Hauptstrasse and follow for 200 meters, than take the third exit at the roundabout. After 1.5 km, turn right onto Wiesweg and follow to a dead end at the Rheinsteig.


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