Bodetaltour – through the "Grand Canyon" of Germany
When looking for things to do and see, we all agreed that at least one longer hike should be part of our trip to the Harz. And even though we usually try to keep away from the places where "everyone" goes, we decided that we did want to see the Bodetal, as it is said to be one of the most spectacular places in this region of the Harz. The Bodetal-Trail is also part of the "Harzer-Hexen-Stieg", a well known multi day hiking trail in the Harz that we've been wanting to do for a while, but never found the time so far.
It was a bit of a car ride from Altenau to get there, so we started fairly in the morning to be there before it would be too busy. We didn't want the "highlights" to be right at the start of our tour, but rather somewhere towards the middle or the end, to keep things interesting, so we decided not to start in Thale, but instead parked the car in Treseburg.
From there we planned a circuit, first through the Bodetal towards the Rosstrappe and Thale, and then circling around on the other side of the mountain, going by the Hexentanzplatz to then return to Treseburg.
Starting from Treseburg the river bode at first seems pretty calm. The hiking path follows the river but runs a few meter above it in most places. Gradually the walls of the valley keep getting steeper, until the first lookouts down below show how deep the river is already cut into the rock. Especially in the beginning the path is mostly relatively even, with few roots and rocks sticking out, but gets more rocky the closer you get to Thale.
The probably most impressive views from the Bodetal are across the river Bode towards the Rosstrappe. And that's also where most of the people are, of course. It's just a few kilometers from Thale and many people walk up just for the view, and then walk back down.
Here the trail starts to lead down towards the valley bottom again on a kind of stony stairs. It was very busy on that section, too busy for our tastes, especially with Corona going on. To avoid that, we would definitely start from Thale and go super early in the morning, if we were to walk this trail again.
Down towards the valley bottom, one can see the "Bodekessel" and then continues on to the other side of the river via the "Teufelsbrücke". Shortly after there is a restaurant and from there several routes can be taken - back to Thale, or up the other side towards the "LaViersHöhe" and the Hexentanzplatz. To avoid the crowds we ditched our plans to walk to Thale and instead continued right up the mountain side towards the LaViershöhe.
After a long and steep climb we finally reached the La Viershöhe, a crag from where you have yet another great view into the Bodetal but also towards Thale. From the La Viershöhe it is just a few meters to the mystic "Hexentanzplatz", which is yet another plateu with great views ;-). After we've seen the mass of people that was walking there, we decided to leave this one out. We probably could have known this, since up here you can explore the "Tierpark Hexentanzplatz", but more importantly also take the cable car down back to Thale.
Since we had parked our car in Treseburg the cable car unfortunately wasn't an option for us. So instead we turned around and walked over the the plateau along side the Bodetal back towards Treseburg. The walk up there was compeletly different to the one inside the valley. It led us over lots of larger forest paths and unfortunately didn't offer many views. But it was easy to walk and therefore it helped us heading back to the car a lot faster.
After walking probably for an hour on the plateau we reached another viewpoint called "Aussichtspunkt Weißer Hirsch". Albite its strange name, we enjoyed the marbeoulous views down onto the small village Treseburg, which was a welcome change compared to the "forest highways" we walked upon before. Enjoying this view we took the chance for a last break before we started our decent back down into the Bodetal valley.
Back at the car we realized that "starting early" was definitely the right decision. When we arrived there was only one car besides ours on the parking lot, now the whole place was cramped. So if you really want to enjoy the Bodetal somewhat on your own, you definitely should start early.