We passed through the Lahn river valley on a longer drive and since it looked so lovely, we decided to take a break from driving and instead go on a short hike. We chose the "Premiumwanderweg HöhenLuft" (loosely translated "Premium-Trail Mountain Air") in the small historical spa town of Bad Ems.
Right when we started we took a wrong turn, missed the information sign that marked the trail and ended up walking the trail in the wrong direction. But we believe it's actually a good way to walk it, so here is a recap of our experience of the roughly 11km long trail.
Our walk first had a little suprise in store as the beginning of the route led us up a long flight of stairs in a public car park, and then across a roofed bridge onto a narrow footpath, the Baedeckers Felsenweg. This trail is fairly steep and leads up the mountain in small serpentines, passing the first highlight of the trail. The "Heinzelsmannhöhlen" are small caves that have been eroded through the rock. Their name stems from local folklore tiny men that live in the mountain. Further along the trail passes several nice viewpoints on the way up to the Concordia-Tower.
Passing the viewpoint Bäderlei and Mooshütte we reached the Concordia-Tower and the connected restaurant. As such places are most of the time, it was fairly crowded, so we didn't stay for long but instead continued on the more solitary part of the trail.
Now that we were far above the river valley the trail led through patches of woods and across wide open fields, every now and then opening the view onto the Lahn again. When we found a nice bench with a perfect view, we stopped for a short picnic in a wildflower meadow. Beautiful!
Further on the trail forms a big semicircle towards the small town of Kemmenau, which is also the hightes point on the tour. By that time we had ascended about 430m.
After we had passed by Kemmenau the trail immerses into the woods. The first section after the village is a very nice trail, but further down wood working machines had torn up the ground, which led to a very muddy path - even though it hadn't rained in days.
Further along there are some historical places reminiscent of the roman empire and the Limes Wall that once led through the area. Here the trail once again turned into a small footpath and gets more steep again, leading back down towards Bad Ems. Bevore reaching the town though, the trail first passes the Bismarck-Tower, where a nice Biergarten is located for those that want to take a break. Then it forms two big serpentines, crossing below the "Kurwaldbahn" twice, which is one of the steepest funicular railways in the world. At the Margaretenhöhe there is another nice view of Bad Ems, this time from the other side, and then the trail leads back into town. Through a very steep and narrow road we descended back down ot the town center, reaching the Robert-Kampe-Sprudel, which is the official starting- and endpoint of the trail.
All in all the "Premiumwanderweg HöhenLuft" is definitely worth a visit. For the most part, the actuall trail is really nice to walk and very diverse. We really enjoyed the fact that it has only very few sections along roads or forest roads. Especially the "Baedeckers Felsenweg" is a real treat. The views into the Lahn river valley are really beautiful and absolutely worth the strain of the hike.