The 7 Hügel Weg, or 7 Hills Route, takes you on a hike through the countryside and past seven hills in the Ries Crater Geopark.
7 Hügel Weg Hike Route Map
Get the route by downloading the .gpx or .kml file below. For navigation with Maps.me on your mobile phone, simply download the .kml file and open to add it to the Maps.me bookmarks.
This walk starts from a small car park by a track near Hoppingen, roughly halfway between Donauwörth and Nördlingen. Google Maps won’t take you to the correct place because the road is too small (and gravel), so instead set it for Hoppingen, just off the highway. In the middle of Hoppingen, turn left on Rollenbergring, which leads you past a football field. Continue along the road as it becomes a gravel track and take the second track on the right, about 400 metres past the end of the football pitch. About 120 metres up here, there’s a little parking area on the right with a nature protection sign.
- It’s best to walk this route when the weather is clear, so you have nice views from the high points.
- Bring enough water and food for the entire walk, as the route doesn’t pass any cafes or shops.
- This walk is in the Ries Crater Geopark – the entire hiking route is within a meteorite crater that formed roughly 14.5 million years ago.
- There are several information boards on this route. They are all in German, but you can see from the pictures what they’re about.
- Offline maps app Maps.me works well for this walk.
- While in the area, explore Donauwörth, walk around Nördlingen, or hike from Donauwörth to Harburg Castle.
- Find other great hikes on our Germany Hiking Page.
Hiking up and over Rollenberg
From the parking place, head up the small path between the continuing track and the rocks. Turn right when you rejoin the track, then when it bends the corner, take the smaller path just to the right of the track. This path leads fairly steeply up to the Rollenberg. It was very misty when we started the hike, but when we returned here there were great views all around (see photos near the end).
Continue around to the right at the top, walking along an embankment. This is actually an ancient fortification, and most of the hills on this hike had a fort and castle (or still do). Artefacts have also been found from much earlier, tens of thousands of years ago, when neolithic hunter-gathers lived in the area and probably lived on these hilltops.
Just after a collection of rocks, take the small, steep path heading down the hillside towards the next town. Near the bottom turn right and the path leads through a small tunnel underneath the railway. The route continues towards and through the town. Note the 7 Hügel Weg hiking signs on the post. These will guide you around the route (though occasionally they are missing at a few junctions).
Walking through the Countryside
Walk straight onwards, past the church and over a small river. Turn left at the next road, then almost immediately right under the highway bridge. On the other side, the route gradually heads uphill. This hill is Kratzberg, and from here there’s a nice viewpoint over to Rollenberg, the first hill (if it’s not misty).
Continue following the signs onwards, and down to a road. After a short distance, the walk heads left along the side of another hill. You’ll soon reach a signpost about the Hexenküche (Witches Kitchen). This is a little passageway in the cliff behind the sign. You can walk in a little way, into a hole surrounded by broken-up rocks. The sign tells you that nobody knows why was called Witches Kitchen.
Continuing onwards, you pass through another small village. Look out for the castle gates on the left (Schloss Lierheim), owned privately. Walk along the road through another village, and the route heads back to the country and upwards.
At the top you can see another of the seven hills on your left. This is Hahnenberg, and you can see another old fortification ring circling the top. Don’t forget to check out the views from the other side of the road, over to the current-day castle of Schloss Alerheim where this hike heads next.
Walk down the road as it begins to descend, and turn right and then left right towards the white walls of Schloss Alerheim. Turn right to walk through the tiny village (called simply Schloss), passing the castle on your right. This castle too remains in private hands. Heading onwards, you walk through the town of Alerheim and then turn right.
Walking up Wennenberg
Soon you’ll reach a car park and another information board. Turn left along the track up to the sixth hill, Wennenberg. Turn left where the trees start to walk around the back of the hill for lovely views over the countryside to the north. Make sure to look out for the ridge of hills that form the outer rim of the crater. The path continues back around the front of the hill, where there’s an ideally positioned sunny bench looking over the farmland to the south.
Just past the bench take the sharp left, as the path leads down the hill on the edge of a field. Turn right and you’ll reach a road. Follow the road left across a river and then right along the path. Just over 1 km later, you cross back over the river to a cute town with a nice church. Turn left here and parallel the river until you reach the next village, Schrattenhofen.
Hiking back to the Car
Follow the road through the village and take the left on the far side through a field and across a little stream. Head straight across the first road, then left, and you’ll soon reach the signpost where this loop started.
From here, return the way you came, up and over Rollenberg. You can choose a slightly different route at the top and spend time admiring the lovely scenery. You can really get an idea of the meteorite impact that formed the Ries Crater from here. When you’re ready, make your way back down to the little car park. This is the end of the 7 Hügel Weg hike.