What are Siliphos Baelle doing down the street

Small giant tour

What to do when the longing for sun and vacation knocks louder and louder despite the cold spring and the corona pandemic? Then it is time for a tour on the Isteiner Klotz near Efringen-Kirchen, with its sunny and warm location, diverse flora and impressive history on the Rhine.

The Klotzenfelsen is an imposing limestone giant that the picturesque village of Istein clings to like a dwarf. The region lies at the so-called Burgundian Gate, a kind of climatic passage door between the Vosges and the Jura. Warm Mediterranean air from the Rhone Valley flows through it - that is why nature is further ahead in spring than elsewhere.

We notice that as soon as we get out of the car at the parking lot. All around it begins to green and bloom, the first crickets conjure up a touch of summer in the air. We stand below the rock chapel of St. Vitus, which seems to be stuck to the rock high above our heads. It's hard to believe: where we are now starting our hike, the floods of the original Rhine still tumbled over the rock faces until the middle of the 19th century. This is evidenced by the water level markings at the bottom of the Klotzenfelsen, which towers over us like a ship, a rocky ship made of coral and shell limestone. After the Rhine was straightened, the water level fell massively. Today one can only guess how the fishermen used to be able to go out with their boats directly from the village.

We start our tour on dry feet, go right, along the cemetery, and turn left at the "yellow diamond" sign onto a gravel path, go through a cool tunnel with a stream under the Rhine Valley Railway. To the right it goes a bit along the railway, and immediately to the left again, briefly on the road, and again to the left, on a gravel path. Signs along the way provide information about special features such as the dry stone walls with which the vineyards were terraced to make work on the slopes easier. On top of the wall, the gray-green, lance-like leaves of the blue iris can already be seen. She loves the light and gets along well in dry locations.

We continue uphill and choose the right path at the nature reserve sign, along the edge of the forest, and immediately follow the first path to the right into the vineyards. Ahead of us we see the buildings of the Weingut am Klotz. We walk relaxed along the slope and enjoy the view of gently rolling hills with vines, where the buds can already be seen as knobby balls. On the left the white limestone works ducks into the rocks, on the right the Rhine plain opens up and, shadowy, in the haze: the skyline of Basel. Our route now turns to the left, we follow the yellow diamond, up the gravel path, walk straight ahead at the intersection, then along a wild-looking bush and forest strip from which bird calls can be heard.

There are a few forks in the road, we always keep to the right and walk along the edge of the forest to a barbecue and picnic area. There is plenty of space here to play, romp and linger. We sit down at one of the tables with benches and enjoy, now even in a T-shirt, the snack we brought from our rucksack. The picnic area was a tip from the local conservation officer, Otto Ruppenstein. If you want to stay longer in this idyllic spot or come as a group, he asks you to register your stay in advance with the municipality of Efringen-Kirchen or the local administration in Huttingen.

As nice as it is there, we want to go on. Strengthened, we walk to the left into the forest, keep right and pass an old sports field, where balls no longer fly, but bees to and from the beehives set up there. At a signposted fork in the road, we switch from the Festungswaldweg to the left and down to the Klotzenweg, which soon leads into a beech forest. We always keep to the left, the path later leads slightly uphill at a fork.

Soon we come across the remains of thick walls on the left. They lie around there as if they had been rolled by an angry giant, slowly being overgrown by nature. These are remnants of the fortifications that were built on and in the Isteiner Klotz between 1902 and 1943 and were largely destroyed again at the end of the war, unfortunately including large parts of the old Klotzenfelsen.

We hike on, out of the forest into the sun, to our fork in the path there, now right and down the slope to the carnival fire place. Here you can rest with great views, as well as a little below, at the stone table, where we follow an enchanted path to the left until we meet the well-known ascent path, back to the parking lot.

Tour on the Isteiner Klotz

Route profile: 5.3 kilometers, approx. 2 hours, difference in altitude: 140 meters,
Demand: light, sturdy footwear is recommended.
GPX data: more.bz/isteintour
Directions: Parking lot below the Isteiner Klotz. Or by train to the Istein train station (15 minutes walk).
For families: watching lizards, picnic area, bunker ruins on the fortress forest path. Detour (by car) to cool off at the Isteiner thresholds on the Rhine: GPS data: 47 ° 38'50 '' N, 07 ° 32'33 '' E - Use of the bank areas at your own risk, also because of the weir above, therefore please note the signs!
Gold panning: http: //www.goldsucher.de