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Brocken, 1,141 m (3,743 ft) above sea level is the highest summit in the Harz mountains and in the northern part of Germany. Brocken is the German word for boulder and when you see the mountain you realise where the name comes from, as the mountain rises like a cake above the landscape.

Brocken seen from the Grenzklippe area above Schierke


The sensitive, ecologically valuable Brocken massive is protected and part of the Harz National Park. Staying on the marked roads and paths is mandatory - you may not walk around in the woods wherever you like. The mountain is visited by around 1.4 million tourists every year, and the trip up and the views are often the high point on a trip to the Harz.

Popular ways of getting to the summit are on foot or by the historical Brockenbahn steam train from Wernigerode or Nordhausen to Drei Annen Hohne and on to the Brocken. However, be aware that the mountain is shrouded in clouds for about 300 days a year and at those times the amazing views are covered up. To enjoy them you need some luck or be prepared to adjust your travel plans quickly according to weather conditions.


The Wolkenhäuschen. The first small mountain hut that was built already in 1736.


Benno Schmidt (born in 1932) from Wernigerode, nicknamed Brocken-Benno, has as of 2022 climbed Brocken more then 8000 times. This huge number of climbs is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records and he has received several awards including the federal decoration of Germany, the Bundesverdienstkreuz in 2020.

  • 293 million years ago: The mountain was formed, according to research in the early 2000s by the Senckenberg Natural Historical Collections in Dresden.
  • 1572: The earliest recorded climbing of Brocken, when the physician Johannes Thal from Nordhausen described the flora of the mountain in a book.
  • 1736: Count Christian Ernst zu Stolberg-Wernigerode has the "Wolkenhäuschen" (lit. cloud hut) built on Brocken, a mountaineer hut equipped with a fireplace. The hut is still standing next to the larger buildings on the summit.
  • 1743: The first summit station named Brockenhaus is built.
  • 1777: Author Goethe hikes from Torfhaus to Brocken, arriving on 10 December 1777. The path he took is nowadays known as "Goetheweg".
  • 1800: The first inn is built.
  • 1850: The Prussian military measures the height of the mountain as 1,141.1 metres above sea level, which is still the official height.
  • 1859: Brockenhaus burns down.
  • 1862: A new Brockenhaus is opened.
  • 1890: Professor Albert Peter from Göttingen opens the Brockengarten.
  • 1895: The first weather station is set up.
  • 27 March 1899: The Brockenbahn opens.
  • 1935: A mobile transmitter with a power of 10 kW transmits the first television broadcasts from Brocken.
  • 1937: Brocken becomes part of the nature protected area "Oberharz".
  • 1939: The present weather station is built.
  • 17. April 1945: The Brocken Hotel is destroyed by an American air bombing towards the end of WWII
  • 1961: The Berlin Wall is built and the inner German border is strengthened, and Brocken (close to the border) is closed to visitors. The mountain is sealed off by a 3 m high wall. For the rest of the Cold War, Brocken houses a signal interception station by the East Bloc militaries.
  • 3 December 1989: - As the East German regime is withering away, hundreds of people demand access to the mountain and it's reopened to the public.
  • 1 October 1990: - The Hochharz National Park is founded (today known as just Harz National Park).
  • 15 September 1991: - The Brockenbahn is reopened after a renovation and many discussions about whether there should be active rail services in a protected area.
  • 30 March 1994: The last Russian troops leave, and the summit is restored to a more natural state to become part of the surrounding national park.


View to the north towards Ilsenburg with fir trees. The granite blocks are below the Brockenhaus

As a kind of Alpine island, the mountain has since the end of the last ice age been a retreat for some animals and plants that one would otherwise encounter in the high mountains. The first scientific book about the plants of the Harz, Sylva Hercynia: sive catalogus plantarum sponte nascentium in montibus & locis plerisque Hercyniae Sylvae quae respicit Saxoniam, was written by physician Johannes Thal from Nordhausen in 1577. Unlike other flora books of the day, it described all the flora, not just medical plants.

In the 19th century Brocken had become a popular destination, and hikers were commonly given a bouquet of Brocken flowers by the inn owners as a farewell gift. This meant the hillsides were often emptied of flowers, and many flowers went extinct. Nowadays picking flowers is prohibited as the area is a national park. If you're interested in the Alpine flora of the mountain, take a guided tour through the Brockengarten park.

Some iconic flowers of the Brocken include:

  • Alpine pasqueflower (Pulsatilla alpina subsp. alba), in German: Kleine Alpen-Kuhschelle, or Brockenanemone (earlier also Brockenblume – "the Brockenflower")
  • Crowberries (Empetrum), in German: Krähenbeere or locally Brockenmyrte
  • Brocken hawkweed (Hieracium negrescens), in German: Brockenhabichtskraut
  • Alpine hawkweed (Hieracium alpinum), in German: Alpenhabichtskraut


Several animal species have adapted to the conditions of life on the Brocken. For example, the water pipit (Anthus aquaticus) and the ring ouzel both breed in the area around the summit.

The viviparous lizard occurs on the Brocken in a unique, dark-coloured variant, Lacerta vivipara aberr. negra. The common frog (Rana temporaria) can also be found here. Insects are very numerous. There are many beetles, including ground beetles such as Amara erratica, and hundreds of species of butterfly. The cabbage white here produces only one generation per year compared with two in the lowlands.

Some mammal and bird species that occur here are relics of the ice age, including the northern bat (Eptesicus nilssonii), the alpine shrew (Sorex alpinus) and the ring ouzel.


The top part of the mountain has a harsh Subalpine climate, and the tree line goes at 1110 m. The location in the Middle German mountains, the easy access from Wernigerode and by the Brockenbahn often cause visitors to underestimate the mountain and its risks. Brocken has an extreme microclimate influencing the weather conditions, which can change quickly just like in the Alps.

In the summer heavy thunderstorms and storm winds may emerge quickly. In the winter there are frequent snow storms dropping large amounts of snow that can block roads and make hikers lose orientation. Another risk during the winter is ice falling off the masts and buildings.

As a hiker, you should always take along weather-resistant clothing and sturdy shoes and follow the weather forecasts. Also consult the Stay safe section in this article, especially if you're an unexperienced hiker.

On the summit there's an information sign describing the weather conditions. Weather averages from 1960–1980:

  • Average temperature: 2.9 °C (37.2 °F)
  • Yearly rain: 1,814 mm (71.4 in)
  • Snowy days in a year: 176
  • Cloudy days in a year: 306

Weather extremes since 1895, when record keeping was started:

  • maximum snow height: 3.8 m (12 ft) on 14–15 April 1970
  • farthest view: 230 km (140 mi) on 11 January 1998
  • strongest wind: 73 m/s (263 km/h, 163 mph) on 24 November 1984
  • highest temperature: 29.0 °C (84.2 °F) on 20. August 2012
  • lowest temperature: −28.4 °C (−19.1 °F) on 1 February 1956
  • most rain in a year: 2,725 mm (107.3 in) in 2007
  • most rain in a month: 515.3 mm (20.29 in) in December 1974
  • most rain in a day: 154.5 mm (6.08 in) on 17 July 2002
  • most sunny hours in a year: 2004.5 h in 1921
  • highest number of cloudy days in a year: 330 days in 1958

If you have a lot of luck, you can see a Brocken spectre on a cloudy or foggy day. It's an optical illusion composed of your own shadow cast on clouds, but the shadow is huge and often surrounded by halos.

Current weather and forecasts[edit]

Get in[edit]

Ways to the Brocken

Other modes than hiking, which has its own section right below.

By road[edit]

From Schierke, the Brockenstraße circulates the mountain up to the summit. Private motorised vehicles are banned on the road though it is open to bikers and pedestrians. Pedestrians have the right of way, and on days when there are lot of pedestrians it can be challenging to ride a bike.

There are also horse carriages transporting tourists up the mountain from Schierke, as well as guided Segway tours but riding your own electric ride is not allowed in the national park.

If you come by car, there are parking lots in Schierke, Torfhaus or Oderbrück near the B4 highway, or at all railway stations.

By train[edit]

Steam train on the Brockenbahn going up the mountain

The Brockenbahn is a narrow gauge (1000 mm) railway used by steam trains operated by Harzer Schmalspurbahnen (HSB). In 2011 about half of the visitors to Brocken used the railway. It starts at Drei Annen Hohne, 540 m ASL (has a parking lot), and the 19 km-trip up to the Brocken station, 1125 m ASL takes about 50 minutes. Drei Annen Hohne is on the Harzquerbahn between Wernigerode and Nordhausen, and steam trains also operate on this railway. There are through trains from Wernigerode to Brocken taking one hour and 40 minutes. From Nordhausen you usually have to change trains in Eisfelder Talmühle and Drei Annen Hohne, and the trip will take around three and a half hour.

The ticket price (known as Brockentarif) to Brocken or back down is the same, no matter where you get on (or off) the train. If you come by car, it's a bad idea to drive to Schierke (the last station before Brocken) as there aren't enough parking space for the demand. Instead you can board the train for instance in Wernigerode at the same price.

The Brockentarif as of Nov 2022:

  • adults: one-way: €34, return: €51
  • children aged 6-14: one-way: €20.50, return: €30.50
  • mobility impaired persons with documentation ride for free
  • going by train from Wernigerode to Schierke (to hike up to Brocken) costs €14 for adults one-way, and €21 return, and for children 6-14: €8.50 ons-way, €12.50 return
  • for more ticket types (family and group discounts etc.), consult the HSB website

By horse[edit]

As mentioned above, you can travel up the mountain in a horse-pulled carriage. The trip from Schierke takes about two hours.

Some companies offering such trips:

By bike[edit]

On the way in Ilse Valley, at the lower Ilse falls, towards Brocken. The route from the north is a beautiful trip onto the Brocken.

More details about the routes in the Hike section

Brockenstraße from Schierke[edit]

The paved road is the only way to ride a racing bicycle to the Brocken, and the best and easiest route for touring bikes.

The Brockenstrasse was renovated between 2008 and 2011. Between Schierke and Gelber Brink/Ilsenburger Chaussee on 900 m altitude the route was paved anew. Bikers don't need to worry about the road, but there are often a lot of hikers and sometimes gravel chunks. Further up the road was patched up, and there are even more hikers. There are also horses and carts carrying tourists on the road.

As a biker approaching hikers you should ring the bell early, pass them at a moderate speed and at enough distance. As a pedestrian, don't block the road by walking side by side. If you're walking a dog, keep it at short leash. There's space for everybody if you take others into consideration.

Through the romantic Ilsental from Ilsenburg or Bad Harzburg[edit]

From Ilsenburg you can ride up Brocken on a touring bike, on the route is a gain in elevation of about 1000 m. The route between Ilsenburg and Brockenstrasse goes along good or decent gravel paths along the valley. The roaring Ilse will accompany you on the way. In the upper section it gets a bit steeper, and if you're on a bike without an electric motor you need to be quite fit. If you're riding an electric bike, it's good if it has a battery with a capacity of at least 500–600 Wh.

There are two routes from Ilsenburg. The easier one goes through the forest along the Bremerweg to the Ilse Falls, past the Rote Brücke and Gelbe Brink where you will get on the Brockenstrasse. The more demanding route - the "Brocken Nordrampe" goes to Scharfenstein and along a rather steep road paved with concrete bricks to the summit. Here, a mountain bike with suspension and sturdy tires is recommended to climb the mountain comfortably, and going down would be unsafe as it's really steep at some places. This is a former border road, and there are more details about it in the Hike section below.

From Bad Harzburg you can also get to the Brocken Nordrampe (following the route in #From Bad Harzburg over the Eckertalsperre and the Hirtenstieg). Beware that there is a long flight of stairs to get up a dam, and a section with tree roots on the path.

From Torfhaus or Braunlage[edit]

The relatively fine gravelled Goetheweg from Torfhaus is now also rideable by bikes in its entirety (the bike ban on the section along the railway was lifted in 2021). Much of it can be done on a touring bike, but the section at the Brockenbahn is covered by coarse concrete plates with some loose gravel on them here and there. When going downwards along that section, even mountain bikers should better get off and push their bikes.

From Braunlage you can take the routes along the Grosse Bode described in #From Braunlage along Dreieckigen Pfahl, joining the Goetheweg along the road. The last part follows the paved Brockenstrasse.

Fees and permits[edit]

There are no fees or permits required, however you have to stay on the marked paths (see #Closed routes below).


Don't go unprepared

While this isn't exactly an expedition to Mount Everest, Brocken can still present some challenges that may come as a surprise especially to novice hikers. See the Stay safe section below to know what preparations you should make.

A day hike to the Brocken is part of many peoples' journey to the Harz. If you're a beginner, it's best to start in Torfhaus of Schierke. Seasoned and fit hikers can also start the journey in places like Wernigerode, Ilsenburg, Bad Harzburg, Altenau, Braunlage or St. Andreasberg. Alternatively you can split the journey into two days and stay overnight at the summit.

The routes in the national park are well signposted and you need to stay on them. Despite the good signage, it's good to bring a map for instance a printout from OpenStreetMap.

Goetheweg from Torfhaus[edit]

Goetheweg is one of the most popular hiking routes to the summit

In 1777, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe hiked in the Harz mountains arriving from Clausthal-Zellerfeld in Torfhaus and stayed at forester Degen. On 10 December, they walked up the mountain together. The very exact route is unknown but Goethe wrote down these notes about his trip:

„Früh nach dem Torfhause in tiefem Schnee. 1 viertel nach 10 aufgebrochen, von da auf den Brocken. Schnee eine Elle tief, der aber trug. 1 viertel nach eins droben. Heiterer herrlicher Augenblick, die ganze Welt in Wolken und Nebel und oben alles heiter. Was ist der Mensch, dass du sein gedenkst. Um viere wieder zurück. Beim Förster auf dem Torfhause in Herberge.“
(Early after the Torfhaus through deep snow. At quarter to ten we broke camp, from there we went up the Brocken. The snow was an elbow deep, but it carried us. Quarter past one we were up. It was a clear wonderful moment, the whole world in clouds and fog and above it everything clear. What is the human you think you are. Around four o clock back. Stayed at the foresters' in Torfhaus.)
Goethe: Schriften zur Geologie und Mineralogie

This wasn't Goethe's only visit, he returned on 21 September 1783 and 3 September 1784. Nowadays around 250,000 people take the Goetheweg route to the summit.

Get in: Start in Torfhaus at an elevation of 811 m: ca. 8.9 km (5.5 mi) distance, ca. 2–3 hr walking time, simple. The path is throughout widened to a width of 3 m. Where the path goes next to the rail tracks, biking is prohibited. Large parking lot.

If you start at the small parking lot at the B4 highway on the road to the Ehrenfriedhof cemetery, the route is notably shorter with only 7.1 km (4.4 mi) to the summit. Ehrenfriedhof is next to the B4 between Torfhaus and Oderbrück. Somewhat further is the highest point reachable by car for a hike (around 830 m ASL), i.e. less altitude to cover to get to the summit. However if you start at the Ehrenfriedhof you won't pass the Nationalparkhaus nor the bog at the Grosse Torfhausmoor. Another downside is that parking space is limited and it's not cleaned during the winter. At these times you can only get there by bus – take bus 820 between Bad Harzburg Bhf and Braunlage and get off at Ehrenfriedhof. In the DB routeplanner the stop goes by the name "Oderbrück Ehrenfriedhof, St. Andreasberg".

A comparatively bigger parking lot can be found in a bit further south in Oderbrück (790 m ASL) at the B4. From there the distance to the summit is 7.6 km. Go:

  • 1 Km 0: Torfhaus (811 m) – Parking lot (parking fee €1/hr, €5/day) and bus stop at the B4. Restaurant, view to Brocken, Visitor centre TorfHaus with movies about the national park screened on the upper floor. The visitor centre is open Tu–S 10:00–16:00.
  • 2 Km 1: Großes Torfhausmoor – The path goes next to the bog. From here, a log road goes into the national park, parallel to the main path and a bit into the bog. If you take the sidetrip, you have to stay on the log road – it's not just prohibited but dangerous to step into the bog.
  • 3 Km 2.3: Junction with the Kaiserweg
  • 4 Km 3.5: Quitschenberg (882 m) – Viewpoint to Brocken with dead forest and fallen trees. There's an info sign about the re-emergence of the forest. The trees have died partially because of pollution and partially because of bark beetles. Between the dead trees, the forest is slowly returning in the form of small spruces and rowans.
  • 5 Km 4.5: Eckersprung (ca. 890 m) – The source of the Ecker river; during the Cold War it was a border river between the Germanies. Today you will cross between the states of Lower Saxony and Saxony Anhalt. South of it is a refuge hut with stamping checkpoint 136 "Eckersprung" of the Harzer Wandernadel. The Harzer Wandernadel is a system of 222 points around the mountain range where hikers can collect stamps in a book and be awarded hiking badges when they've collected enough stamps. There are two toilets too, closed in the winter.
  • 6 Km 6.1: "Goethemoor" / Königsberg (ca. 980 m) – After a steeper section up to the Brockenbahn, the Goetheweg runs parallel to it. You will get a close up view of the train if it happens to pass. Formerly hikers walked up a stairway, now there's just a wide path (known as Neue Goetheweg). This section is closed to bicycles.
  • 7 Km 7.2: Brockenstraße / railway crossing (ca. 1030 m) – From here on, the journey continues along the steep road Brockenstrasse. As you're getting close to the summit, and many other hiking routes have merged together (e.g. five out of the seven routes described in this guide), expect to share the road with many other hikers as well as bikers. There are three info signs here too.
  • 8 Km 7.4: Refuge hut "Knochenbrecherkurve" (curve at 1060 m) – The last refuge hut before the summit. The hut is closed from the sides and offers good protection from wind and rain. The name translates to "bone-breaker curve" and you can read more about it below.
  • 9 Km 8.5: Brocken 1141 m / Gipfelstein (summit rock) – You've arrived! The stamping point number 9 can be found right of the Brockenhaus.

Knochenbrecherweg and -kurve[edit]

Part of the Brocken map by Nehse 1849: The Knochenbrecherweg is denoted "alter Fahrweg" (old road)

The name "Knochenbrecherkurve" (bone-breaker curve) dates from the times where horses were a common way for getting to the summit and before the current road (built in 1849 or earlier) was built. The old road went from this curve straight up to the summit. This section was extremely steep and went through rough terrain, horses frequently broke their bones here. In the 1950s the old road had grown over and wasn't recognizable any longer. In 2012 a local hiking club asked for the old road to be reconstructed for hikers, but the park authorities weren't too enthusiastic to carve up a path in a protected area. Moreover many visitors like seniors, families with small children and so on wouldn't be able to walk such a steep path safely.

But if you want to experience an uncomfortable path here, head for the rocky Eckerlochstieg from Schierke, part of which is known as the "kneebreak".

Some hiking history: Goetheweg throughout the ages[edit]

As there is a new Goethe way neuen Goetheweg, some people will ask what happened to the old one? The answer is that the paths, just as the mountain itself, have changed over the centuries.

If you have a look at for instance "Meyers Reisebuch" from 1901, there the historical Goetheweg is outlined: starting from the railway station, the path first crossed the railway, followed its steep routing uphill past the Hirschhornklippen (nowadays inaccessible). Then the path went along a log road through the Goethemoor bog, crossed the railway once more and went steeply straight up to the summit. As the mountain was closed to the public in 1961 and remained so for almost 30 years, the nature reclaimed the route.

In 1989 when it again became possible to visit the mountain, the number of visitors grew quickly and new paths had to be created to cope with the number of visitors. In 1990 the new Goetheweg was built in the area of the former border wall along the Brockenbahn. As the new path didn't cross the railway, two potentially dangerous points for hikers were removed. The section next to the Goethemoor was also improved. There's a memorial stone to the construction of the new Goetheweg near the junction of the railway and Brockenstrasse.

As years went by, the number of visitors grew and the path became more and more congested. In addition, the stairway built next to the railway was slippery when wet or snowy, and when there was plenty of snow, walking became impossible. Hikers often walked on the railway instead, as it was ploughed during the winter, which was dangerous. In 2008–2009 the Goetheweg was rebuilt; it got a gravel surface and was widened to 3 m throughout so that it can be ploughed and stay open around the year.

Eckerlochstieg from Schierke[edit]

The Eckerlochstieg: with a terrain like this it's no surprise that it carries the nickname Kniebreche – "kneebreak"
The Gipefelrondell has been reached. At the amazing February day when the photo was taken, hikers were awarded by an overwhelming view far to the horizon

Get in: Start in central Schierke, about 610 m ASL. Length of the walk about 6 km (3.7 mi), 2–2.5 hr of walking, easy, altitude gain about 530 m. Parking in Schierke costs. For this path you need sturdy shoes, like mountaineer boots, because the terrain is rocky. Walking sticks with adjustable length can also be a good idea to help you keep the balance. If you start from Schierke you can also use the Brockenstrasse, which in practice is car-free but can be busy with bikers and other hikers. In addition it's notably longer, 11 km in length.

Alternative route to the Brockenstraße in Schierke: At the northern end of Schierke, stay on the sand path along the Warme Bode stream. To the right there's a bridge across the stream with the access path to Eckerlochstied (it's signposted). In maps the route is marked. The text below describes staying on the Brockenstrasse as this route is somewhat shorter.


  • 1 Starting point : Schierke church (ca. 610 m ) – Head uphill along Brockenstrasse, past the 2 info point and ranger station (Schranke)
  • 3 Km 2.3 : Junction Wasserwerk Schluftwasser - Eckerlochstieg – After the bridge on Brockenstrasse, turn right to the rocky footpath Eckerlochstieg and follow it until it crosses the Brockenstrasse again.
  • 4 Km 3.7: Street bridge Schluftwasser - Eckerlochstieg – Get off the road before the bridge, and follow the rocky path uphill.
  • 5 Km 4.4: Eckerloch – Cross the Brockenbahn and continue for about 300 m to reach Eckerloch (ca. 880 m), where you can take a break in the hut. Here's also stamping checkpoing 11 of the Harzer Wandernadel. Next comes the steepest section of the rocky path, known as Eckerlochanstieg, and to the left you can see corridors cleared of forest, which are part of a ski jumping arena, demolished in the 1970s. About 200 m further you can see a large clearing to the right, the former site of some buildings related to the ski jumping facilities. As you move on, the trees are getting smaller and smaller in size.
  • 6 Km 5.5 Junction Eckerlochstieg / Brockenstraße (ca. 1010 m) – The Eckerlochanstieg part ends where the path meets Brockenstrasse. Turn left and follow the Brockenstrasse to the summit.
  • [7] Km 5.7: Brockenbahn crossing – Brockenstrasse crosses the Brockenbahn and right afterwards Goetheweg with its hikers joins. Now, expect the road to be busy for the remainder of the itinerary. A more detailed description of the next points can be found in the Goetheweg section above.
  • [8] Km 5.9: Hut at the "Knochenbrecherkurve" (ca. 1060 m) – The last hut before the summit.
  • [9] Km 7.0: Brocken 1141 m / Gipfelstein – You've reached the summit.

Heinrich Heine-Weg from Ilsenburg[edit]

Mountain stream tribute to Ilse in a deciduous forest at a lower altitude (below the Ilse falls)

This route was used by poet Heinrich Heine in 1824 to descend from the mountain, he hiked up from Bad Harzburg (see below) and stayed overnight at the summit.

Heine wrote the following about the upper end of the climb:

"Wenn man die obere Hälfte des Brockens besteigt, muss man an die deutsche Nationaltragödie von Dr. Faust denken. Ich glaube, auch Mephisto muss mit Mühe Atem holen, wenn er seinen Lieblingsberg ersteigt, es ist ein äußerst erschöpfender Weg und ich war froh, als ich endlich das langersehnte Brockenhaus zu Gesicht bekam."
("When one climbs the upper half of the Brocken, one has to thing about the German national tragedy of Dr. Faust. I believe that also Mephisto had to make an effort catching his breath when he climbed his favorite mountain, it's a very demanding way and I was happy to finally catch sight of the Brockenhaus.")
as per an info sign on the former border path

Heine wrote the following about his overnight stay at the summit:

"Ich fand das Haus voller Gäste, und wie es einem klugen Manne geziemt, dachte ich schon an die Nacht, an die Unbehaglichkeit eines Strohlagers; mit hinsterbender Stimme verlangte ich gleich Tee, und der Herr Brockenwirt war vernünftig genug einzusehen, daß ich kranker Mensch für die Nacht ein ordentliches Bett haben müsse. Dieses verschaffte er mir in einem engen Zimmerchen, wo schon ein junger Kaufmann, ein langes Brechpulver in einem braunem Oberrock, sich etabliert hatte."
("I found the inn was full of guests, and as a smart man, thinking about an uncomfortable night in the hay storage, I asked for some tea with a dying voice. The innkeeper was smart enough to understand that a sick man has to have a real bed for the night. He put me in a small room where already a young salesman in a brown coat had established himself")
Heinrich Heine: Die Harzreise, Verlag Philipp Reclam jun, Leipzig 1972, S. 46

Get in: The itinerary starts at an altitude of about 300 m. The itinerary is about 10 km when starting from the Ilsetal parking lot, and about 13 km when starting from the Ilsenburg railway station. The path will follow the Ilse river valley and there are many pedestrian bridges enabling you to cross between the sides of the river.

On the way in the Ilse Valley, just before "Bremer Hütte" (above the Ilse Falls, around 550 m ASL) – there's a view to the Brocken as storms have cleared the trees


  • 1 Starting point Ilsetal (290 m) – Walk south-west from the parking lot along the road or the footpath through the lower Ilse Valley. Make sure you don't turn left too early as this will take you to Plessenburg, in the opposite direction. Instead continue along the Ilse, and turn left when it turns (at the path junction to Brocken).
  • Upper Ilse Valley – follow the path past the Ilse waterfalls (Ilsefälle), and 500 m later (after the bridge) a forest path turns right. 100 m uphill this forest path turns left and becomes narrow and rocky, follow it for about 1 km. (Check whether this description is true, there seems to be conflicting advice.)
  • 2 Bremer Hütte (550 m) – The Bremer Hütte (Bremen Hut) is named so because the first hut on the place was built by hikers from Bremen already in the 18th century. The present one is from 2008.
  • 3 Stempelsbuche (665 m) – after Bremer Hütte, the path turns right, gets wider, and after 500 m it reaches Stempelsbuche. Here's a hut and the trunk of an old beech tree (named the Stempelsbuche) as well as two planted beeches. Continue west on the wide path.
  • 4 Hermannsklippe (765 m)/junction of path to Hirtenstieg – The next point of interest is Hermannsklippe ("Hermann's cliff", not signposted) with views of all of Northern Harz. 50 m away is a junction, turn left to get towards the Hirtenstieg.
  • Hirtenstieg – The Hirtenstieg section is the steepest part of this itinerary, at some places as steep as 20% (i.e. 20 m gain in elevation for every 100 m walked). The road was built for the East German border troops and is paved with concrete bricks. It passes the 5 Bismarckklippe, a hut, and 6 Kleinen Brocken (Little Brocken, 1083 m ASL), and crosses the Brockenbahn before reaching Brocken from the north-west.

From Drei Annen Hohne along Glashüttenweg[edit]

The easy route, around 12.5 km (7.8 mi) long, starts at the railway station 1 Drei Annen Hohne, the lower terminus of the Brockenbahn. The gain in elevation is about 600 m, and the path is gravelled, except for the last 4 km on Brockenstrasse which is paved.

"The Wild Harz" - View from the Leistenklippe over the Grenzklippe to Brocken
  • Head west from Drei Annen Hohne, along the streams Zillerbach and Wormsgraben. From 2 Trudenstein, 2.5 km along the route you will get the first view of the valley.
  • Another place for a break is the Urwaldsteig to the 3 Bergurwald. It's a sidetrip along a log road to the Ilse sources at an altitude of 900 m. By this point you've already reached Brockenstrasse. Follow that road to the summit.

If you return to Drei Annen Hohne and want to take an alternative way back, a few hundred metres after leaving Brockenstrasse and getting onto Glashüttenweg, there's a 4 junction with the Forstmeister Sielz-Weg. Turn left and walk towards Hohnekamm. This takes you to the mountain path "wilde Hohnekamm" going along cliffs. The highest of them is the 5 Leistenklippe (901 m) with nice views of the valley below. From Hohnekopf, a bit further along the path, you can take smaller paths down to Trudenstein and the Glashüttenweg that you can walk back to Drei Annen Hohne.

From Wernigerode along Holtemme[edit]

View of the mountain stream Holtemme in the Steinerne Renne
The "Steinerne Renne" inn and Holtemme
The source of the Holtemme

Get in: Start in Wernigerode at around 250 m ASL. The distance is about 17.5-18.5 km and takes 4-5 1/2 h. The conditions aren't particularly demanding but the distance means that hiking to the Brocken and back to Wernigerode is demanding - something for fit hikers on a long summer day. There is a 900 m gain in altitude.

To "cheat" a little bit, you can take the Harzquerbahn to Steinerne Renne and save about 6 km of walking. There's also a guesthouse by the same name a few kilometres from the railway stop towards Brocken, if you want to stay overnight on the route and make it a two-day hike, or still better, you can stay at the summit as mentioned in the Sleep section - this will give you time for some sidetrips and if the weather is clear you can enjoy the sunset at Brocken (which is less crowded during the day). Yet another alternative is riding the Brockenbahn to the summit and hike down or vice versa.


  • 1 Km 0: Wernigerode railway station (245 m) - The hike as described here starts at the railway station. Follow the railway and the Holtemme river to the southwest.
  • 2 Km 6: Steinerne Renne rail crossing (330 m) - At Steinerne Renne you will have left the built-up are and arrived into nature. Hikers will cross the railway tracks next to the station. As described above, you can take the train to skip the less-interesting first 6 km of the hike and start here instead (as of 2022 a one-way ticket from Wernigerode is €4, roundtrip €6). There is a small hydroelectric plant between the station and the river with a small window where you can look inside.

The path now gets rocky and steep but goes through a beautiful landscape along the Holtemme with views to the railway. Here the river is a mountain stream with many small waterfalls. If you prefer to walk along a forest road, take the Bielsteinchaussee east of the river, it too will take you to the guesthouse.

  • 3 about Km 8.5: Gasthof "Steinerne Renne" (560 m) - The "Steinerne Renne" guesthouse is in a historical building next to the steep mountain stream, and a place to stay overnight at the route or have a meal or a beer. Next to the building you can find stamping checkpoint nr. 28 ("Gasthaus Steinerne Renne") of the Harzer Wandernadel.

From the guesthouse, the path goes moderately uphill. After about 2 km the path (signposted with a red circle in a white triangle) merges into the beautiful forest path "Höllenstieg" (though the name translates to "hell climb"). On the right side of it, at about 650 m ASL is a small bog which is the source for the Holtemme. Over the following 250 metres, the path gets steeper again.

  • 4 Km 13.5: Am Brockenbett (890 m), junction with Brockenstrasse - The path meets up with Brockenstrasse at the same point as Glashüttenweg. Shortly before that you can take a sidetrip along a path to the right to the Brockenkinder - forest cliffs albeit without a view. At a side path from Brockenstrasse "Gelber Brink" there's a table with benches where you can take a break. It also has a stamping checkpoint, nr. 22 ("Gelber Brink / Abzweig Brockenstraße"). Nearby is also the Urwaldsteg forest described in the Glashüttenweg section above.

Once you've reached the Brockenstrasse, there are around four more kilometres along the paved road to the summit.

  • around km 18.5: Brockensummit / Gipfelrondell - With 18.5 km on the path from Wernigerode, you've reached the end of the hike.

From Braunlage along Dreieckigen Pfahl[edit]

The lower Bode falls
The upper Bode falls
Bärenbrücke rest area
Dreieckiger Pfahl is a crossroads of many hiking routes
The three-sided border stone of the Dreieckiger Pfahl
Side view of the border stone
Rest area at the Dreieckiger Pfahl and the old border area
View from the border area up to Köningsberg with Brockenbahn and the Goetheweg, it's about to get steeper soon

Get in: This route starts in Braunlage at an altitude of 570 m ASL, next to the lower station for the cable car to Wurmberg. It's a moderate hike of 11.7 km with a altitude gain of 600 m. There's a big parking lot, with parking for a fee. If you arrive by bus, the nearest stop is at Trinitatiskirche, 7-10 minutes away on foot. This exact route isn't suitable for bikers as it follows the Neue Goetheweg next to the railway - where cycling is disallowed as per above.

Some shortcuts are possible. You can take the Wurmbergseilbahn cable car up to Wurmberg, from where the hike will be around 9 km and the altitude gain of 350 m. You do have to descend a little from the Wurmberg, but not to the level wher you started at. From Wurmberg there are nice views to Brocken, which is 4.7 km away as the crow flies. Then, head northwest for a 2.5 km comfortable downhill hike (170 m downhill) along the western valley of Kalten Bode river. You will eventually meet up with the trail from Braunlage, at the junction at the inner-German border.

If 25 km of hiking to Brocken and back to Braunlage seems too long, you can walk from Brocken to Torfhaus (8.5 km) or Oberbrück (8 km). From these places you can take the bus back to Braunlage.

On the other hand, fit hikers can take the "Drei-Gipfel-Tour" (three summits' tour) visiting the three highest view mountains in Harz in one day. After climbing Wurmberg or Brocken as described below, backtrack along the path to Dreieckigen Pfahl, and take the hiking path signposted by a red circle on white background going southwest instead of southeast. This will first take you to the viewpoint Bodebruch with views of the bog that is the source of the Grosse Bode stream which you should follow. When there's a path leaving the stream, follow it, and then turn right again at the next crossing and walk up to Achtermannshöhe (925 m ASL). From its tree-free summit there are wonderful views to the surroundings including the two other mountains. Walk down the mountain along the path signposted by a red circle on white background to the Bärenbrücke rest area (ie. backtrack to Grosse Bode, and follow it), and follow the stream further to Braunlage.


  • 1 Km 0 Wurmbergseilbahn cable car station parking lot (about 570 m) - Above the vallet station of the cable car there are signs pointing the way to Brocken/Dreieckiger Pfahl.
  • 2 Km 1.0 Bodeweg junction- Turn left across the bridge and then right and follow the Warme Bode stream along a wonderful hiking path, Bodeweg. If you prefer to walk along a paved but more monotonous forest road, stay on the left bank of the stream (still, follow it).
  • 3 Km 1.4 Unterer Bodefall (ca. 630 m) - The lower Bodefall is a cascade waterfall, with a height of about 2 m.
  • 4 Km 2.4 Oberer Bodefall (ca. 670 m) - The upper Bodefall is likewise about 2 m in height.
  • 5 Km 3.3: Bärenbrücke (ca. 720 m) - A bridge over the river with a picnic place (table and benches) and a hut ("Rieche Hütte"). Cross back to the left bank of the stream, and continue upstream along a gravel path.
  • 6 Km 4.7: junction at the "Böser Hund" curve (about 785 m) - Keep to the right and follow the signs towards Dreieckigen Pfahl, leaving the stream valley. To the left there are the ski tracks coming down from Achtermannshöhe. During the summer the section is closed to hikers.
  • 7 Km 5.0: junction at the former inner German border (about 795 m) - From here, there are two paths, about equally long, going in parallel to Dreieckigen Pfahl. During the Cold War this was the border between East and West Germany, now between the states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. Turn left in the junction to follow the Fahrweg on the Lower Saxony side, and turn right to follow the Kommenenweg on the Saxony-Anhalt side. The latter follows the East German border strip which still doesn't have much vegetation.
  • 8 Km 6.8 Dreieckiger Pfahl (ca. 875 m) - Picnic place, rest hut, a toilet (closed in the winter) and an info sign with a map. At the toilet building you can find the stamping checkpoint 168 of the Harzer Wandernadel.
  • 9 from Km 8.2: Neuer Goetheweg parallel to the railway (950-1000 m) - A little over a kilometre from Dreieckiger Pfahl you get on the Goetheweg, which you will follow to the summit together with hikers coming from Torfhaus. A more detailed description of the rest of the route is in the Goetheweg section above. The route will follow the Brockenbahn until Brockenstrasse, from there you should follow the latter to the summit.
  • Km 11.7: Brocken 1141 m / Gipfelstein - After the last section on the paved main road you've reached the finish line; the summit of Brocken.

From Bad Harzburg over the Eckertalsperre and the Hirtenstieg[edit]

"Brocken-Nordrampe" at the former border road. The mountain is calling
View back to the Eckertalsperre
The long-awaited view of the summit as seen from Kleine Brocken

The way from Bad Harzburg is not an easy one, but very rewarding. The varied route is about 14.5-15 km in length and you will gain about 1000 m in altitude.

Get in If you drive to Bad Harzburg to take a day hike, the best place to park is at the 1 Big parking lot at the southern edge of town, next to highway B4. From here, cross the highway on a pedestrian bridge to get on a hiking path at the foot of Ettersberg. From here the hike is about 2 km shorter than from the railway station but it doesn't matter much because the section in the town doesn't include any uphill sections and you will regardless have about 1 km to climb.

An easier and more varied alternative tour is to take the bus to Torfhaus, hike the Goetheweg up to Brocken and the Hirtenstieg and Eckertalsperre down - the route described below in reverse. There will be less gain in elevation for the uphill hike, and you will see the attractions of two different routes. Or you can do it the other way around, getting down along Goetheweg, and if you like you can walk down half the Goetheweg and along the Ecker river back towards Bad Harzburg (this trip would be around 20 km from Brocken to Bad Harzburg) - though such a trip would be better to split on two days with an overnight stay on the Brocken. Indeed, hiking up and back from Bad Harzburg along the route below (33-34 km and 1000 m gain in altitude) on the same day would just be something for fit hikers on a long summer day. For a more relaxed trip, stay overnight at the summit.


  • 2 Km 0: Bad Harzburg railway station (238 m) - Like the route from Wernigerode, also this one starts at the railway station with some urban hiking first.
  • Km 1: Bad Harzburg pedestrian zone - The hike takes you south along the pedestrianised Herzog-Wilhelm Strasse along the Radau. Also on hot summer days it's comfortably cool below the big trees lining the street. Bikers can easily get past the pedestrianised section on parallel streets should they wish.
  • 3 Km 2.3: Pedestrian bridge across B4 (307 m) - You'll cross the highway without problems over the bridge near the cable car to Burgberg. From here there are several paths to Molkenhaus. For instance you can go via Sennhütte or the hiking path over Ettersberg. The best route for bikers is the car-free route to Molkenhaus (from B4, follow signs towards "Märchenwald").
  • 4 Km 5: Molkenhaus (525 m) - Molkenhaus is a building in the forest that housed a restaurant and was a destination in itself until it closed in early 2019. Here the national park established a wild animal watching point and a playground (around 300 m to the south). From Molkenhaus a gravel road leads onwards to the Luisenbank rest area.
  • 5 Km 5.6: Muxklippe (550 m) - At a stone cross (memorial for the fallen in WWI) there's a small cliff with a view into the Eckertal. Further south, just before the rest area the high forest opens up, as storms have brought down many trees. From there, there are views to the Eckertalsperre, Scharfensteinklippe and Brocken. There's a shortcut path across the former forest to Luisenbank (signposted "Eckertalsperre").
  • 6 Km 7.1: Rastplatz Luisenbank (601 m) - Rest area with open hut and benches. From here the route is paved to Eckerstaudamm. Before you arrive at the dam there's a long flight of stairs.
  • 7 Km 7.5: Eckertalsperre dam (around 540 m) - The stairs take you to the top of the dam, and from there you can see Brocken. During the Cold War the border went across the dam, and there is a border marker left from these times. At the eastern end of the dam is stamping checkpoint nr. 1 of the Harzer Wandernadel.

Further along the eastern bank of the Ecktalsperre dam lake there are a lot of tree roots on the path. Pedestrians should watch their step, mountainbikers will have a lot of fun and riders of regular bikes should better push them. This kind of path will be the norm for the section to Scharfenstein. In a bigger path crossing you can see a larger meadow and the remains of the former cattle farm Scharfenstein. About 400 m further along the gravel road is the ranger station with the same name.

  • 8 Km 10.5: Scharfenstein ranger station (643m) - The ranger station has a small self service café for drinks and food, open during the warmer half of the year. If you're collecting stamps for the Harzer Wandernadel, stamp checkpoint nr. 2 is here. From the Scharfensteinhütte there's a 15 minute walk along a mountain path to the Scharfensteinklippe with beautiful views to the Eckertalsperre, Brocken and Torfhaus. Walking towards the Brocken, you will now get onto Grenzweg, the Cold War military road along the former inner-German border which is very steep at some places.
  • 9 Km 11.6: Heinrich-Heine-Weg junction (765 m) - About 1 km from Scharfenstein you'll encounter the Heinrich-Heine weg from Ilsenburg (described above). At the junction there's a picnic place with tables and benches. 50 m down the Heinrich-Heine-weg there's a path to the Hermannsklippe. From here on, there are about 3 km to the Brocken. The route is also described above, though it is pretty steep, you'll pass the Bismarckklippe, the rest place Eiserner Tisch at 970 m (with a table of iron from pre-WWII left, hence the name) and the Kleiner Brocken ("Little Brocken") at 1018 m.
  • Km 14.5: Brockengipfel 1141,1 m - You've reached your destination.

Winter hiking[edit]

This is how Goethe saw Brocken at his winter hike from Torfhaus in 1777. It's not known exactly where he drew this sketch.

Beautiful sunny winter weather with a few degrees below freezing and above all no or weak wind are the optimal conditions for a winter hike that can be an unforgettable experience. Especially during inversions (cold and moist air in the valleys and warmer air higher up) you can get blue clear skies with views to the horizon whereas it's cold and foggy in the valley below. This was known already in Goethe's time, two and a half centuries ago. The Brockenstrasse from Schierke is regularly plowed and sanded in the winter, as is the Goetheweg, and the Brockenbahn runs year-round too. It's also possible to begin a Goetheweg hike from the cemetery at Oberbrück.

When hiking in the winter, beware that some hiking trails in the area that are kept open in the winter also double as skiing tracks. There are no winter sports facilities on Brocken itself. For example the skiing tracks in the Eckerspring area end just before the steep section of Goetheweg up to the Brockenbahn. It may be possible to do some Nordic skiing on the Goetheweg itself as well if there are little hikers. But as there are snow walls on the sides of the plowed path it's uncomfortable or impossible for hikers to dodge skiers. And the Brockenstrasse is sanded, so at least here you have to take off the skis and carry them if you want to get to the summit.

Winter dream at the path around the summit. To the left is the weather station's tower. The small hut left of the weather station belongs to the Brockengarten that is "hibernating" behind the fence

Closed routes[edit]

Route map with the strictly protected sections of Brocken in light green - also elsewhere in the Harz National Park you must stay on the paths

If you take a look at old hiking maps from before WWII, you will see many hiking paths (particularly on the northern side of Brocken) that aren't described here. These routes have been closed by the authorities in order to protect the nature, together with all of Brocken itself except the few official routes described above and the summit plateau. These include the upper part of the historical Heinrich Heine-Weg, which on old maps may also be labeled Schneelochweg where snow could be spotted well into the summer. The closed areas act as a refuge for wood grouses, lynxes and other sensitive animals. Entering these areas is a crime and punishable by fines that can amount up to €25,000 according to Lower Saxony state law.

You are unlikely to do so by accident, though. The closed routes aren't marked on maps (protected areas are generally a marked as such on maps), and inasfar they're still visible in the nature there are prohibition signs. Finally, the official routes are well signposted - follow those signs and you'll have nothing to worry about.


Map of the summit and its attractions

At good weather you can see all of Harz and far beyond it. In the southeast you can see the Kyffhäuser and by excellent weather conditions beyond it the Thuringian Forest (Thüringer Wald) mountain chain. In the west there are the Weserbergland heights including the Solling. In the southwest you can catch a glimpse of the mountains of Northern Hesse including the Hoher Meissner, Kaufunger Wald, Reinhardswald and Habichtwald. In the north and northwest you can see the cities of Brunswick and Magdeburg.

  • 1 Summit roundabout with the Brocken Rock (Gipfelrondell mit Brockenstein). The summit is marked by a rock - the Brockenstein - with a plate stating "Brocken 1142 m" (1 m more than the real altitude). You usually have to stand in line for a little while to take a photo next to it. The Brockenstein is the middle point of a big, open area like a roundabout named the Gipfelrondell or Brockenuhr (Brocken clock) with 30 bronze plates embedded in the ground showing directions and distances to different viewpoints. It depends on the weather conditions if you will see the destinations - the furthest such one is Kahle Asten in the Rothaargebirge in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, 163 km to the southwest. The plates also show some destinations that are too far away to see like Rome.
  • 2 Brockengarten. Due to the exposed location of Brocken, the treeless subalpine zone begins already at 1100 m. For instance in the Alps similar conditions can be found above approximately 1800-2000 m ASL. These conditions makes it possible to have a garden with Alpine plants, presenting plants growing at high altitudes from all over the world. The garden was established already in 1890 by professor Albert Peter from Göttingen, and today it's maintained by the park authorities together with the universities of Halle and Göttingen. The park is visited by guided tours only. Year-round there's a daily tour of the Gipfelrundweg summit path (1.6 km or 1 mile and the route isn't equipped with ramps for the mobility impaired) starting from the Brockenhaus at 12:30 every day which also includes the garden. From mid-May to mid-October there are also tours of just the garden on weekdays at 11:30 and 14:00, starting at the weather station.
Brockenhaus and Wolkenhäuschen
  • 3 Brockenhaus. 9:30-17:00 every day of the year. The Brockenhaus is the visitor centre housed in a building that once was a signal interception station of the East German intelligence agency Stasi. There's a viewing platform on the roof, and many different exhibitions in the building related to Brocken's history, nature and geology. adults €7, children €3, discounts for retirees, groups and families.
  • 4 Wolkenhäuschen. The first building at the Brocken, the "little cloud house" is a rest hut built in 1736 and still standing. It's not used as a rest hut (instead head to the adjacent hotel) but more of a monument and dwarfed by the modern buildings around it.
  • 5 Old tv tower (Alter Fernsehturm). The 53 m high old television broadcast tower nowadays houses the hotel. It has a glasses viewing platform reachable by elevator. The semi-globe on the top houses a radar station of the German air traffic control authority.
  • 6 Steel tower (Stahlrohrturm). The steel tower is a 123 m high broadcasting tower built by the GDR.
  • 7 Weather station (Turm der Wetterwarte), +49 39455 58040, . The weather station tower was built in 1895. If you'd like to learn more about the station and weather observation, contact the German weather service beforehand and they'll be happy to give you a tour of the station.
  • 8 Devil's pulpit and Witches' altar (Teufelskanzel und Hexenaltar). These are two smaller granite cliffs at the southern side of Brocken. According to legend, at Walpurgis night (30 April) witches will gather there and the devil will preach to them. The cliffs are in the protected area so they can't be climbed but there are good views of them from the Gipfelrundweg.


Gipfelrundweg with view to Wernigerode

The East German authorities built a 3 m high wall around the summit, which was torn down at the reunification when the mountain reopened for civilians, and the route of the wall was turned into a walking path, the Gipfelrundweg (lit. "way around the summit"), about 1.6 km in length. There are good views around all of the mountain but the view to the north is particularly impresive. There are ten information signs along the route where you can learn more about the views, nature and culture. There are daily guided tours along the path (see the Brockengarten listing above).


  • Walk around the summit plateau along the Gipfelrundweg.
  • Get married - since 2011 the civil registration office of Wernigerode has a presence at the Brocken, and thus it's possible to get married here.
  • The Faust - Die Rockoper auf dem Brocken was a rock opera performed in the Goethehall of the hotel running from 2006 to 2019 with a total of 387 performances. Chances are that it will return after the pandemic.
  • Take a tour of the weather station (requires prior appointment, see details above).

Hiking and running events[edit]

  • Brocken climb from Göttingen (Brockenaufstieg ab Göttingen). Next event 11-12 June 2022. Hiking event, where the 87 km from Göttingen is divided into two day hikes. It's not a competition of any kind but an event where you get to enjoy the hiking experience with a many other fellow hikers. Still, the distance means you need to be relatively fit.
  • Brocken run (Brockenlauf). Next event 3 September 2022. A running event from Ilsenburg to Brocken and back, first taking place in 1927 (most recently in September 2021). The main event is 26.2 km in length, and there are also shorter distances for beginners.
  • Brocken-Marathon. Also known as the "Harz-Gebirgslauf" (Harz mountain run) taking place since 1978. Since 1990 the event has taken the length of a marathon race (42.2 km in length) starting in Wernigerode. There are also shorter races, 11 and 22 km in length.
  • Brocken Challenge. Extremely fit runners can partake in the ultramarathon charity event Brocken Challenge. It's a run of more than 80 km from Göttingen to Brocken, twice the distance of a marathon race, with a gain in height of 1900 m combining all of the uphill sections and it takes place in the cold of the winter. The most recent event took place in February 2022, though then the race was even longer, going from Schierke up to Brocken and from there to Göttingen.


Gipfelstein (summit rock), with the Brocken Hotel in the background

There are three places you can buy souvenirs: in the Urian souvenir shop at the ground floor of the hotel, in Brockenhaus and at the Brockenwirt in the railway station.

Eat and drink[edit]

  • 1 Brockenwirt. 09:30-16:45. Brockenwirt in the railway station is the main restaurant on the mountain. It's famous for its pea soup with bockwurst (smoked sausage).

In addition there's a restaurant (Goethesaal) and café (Hexenklause) in the hotel, which is operated by Brockenwirt. Finally the Brockenhaus museum has a small cafe (Hexenflug).



There's an ATM at the hotel, near the entrance. Public toilets are next to the Goethesaal of the hotel (fee: 50 cents).


There's 4G coverage on and around the Brocken , in addition the hotel offers guests free Wi-Fi. If you for instance want to send a traditional post card, there are post boxes at the railway station.

Stay safe[edit]

From some viewpoints in the high Harz, Brocken might look like a small forested hill you can just walk up with no preparation

In a nutshell: a safe, enjoyable and successful hike to the Brocken requires at least moderate fitness, good weather, suitable gear, snacks and enough time.

Brocken is sometimes underestimated by hikers - it does not exactly appear like a rough high mountain environment but rather as a forested hill with good tourist infrastructure. However someone caught in sudden bad weather at for instance the exposed Hirtenstieg will disagree. The mountain is a very popular destination, also drawing visitors with little or no hiking experience who sometimes get into trouble because of ignorance and bad preparation.

Beautiful winter view at the summit
  • Fitness: Choose your route according to your fitness level and hiking experience. If this is the first time you'll be walking these kinds of distances and uphill, you should not use the Brocken to test if you could do it or not. Better to make longer training hikes in your home surroundings first. Nevertheless, should you during the hike notice you're not going to make it, stop and turn back. Cutting your trip short isn't a sign of weakness but of responsibility for yourself and others.
  • Equipment and snacks
Proper shoes: You should at the very least wear sports shoes with good grip, better still mountaineer or hiker shoes. Length-adjustable trekking poles are also good to have.
Clothing: Even on warm summer days it's good to bring some warm clothes, as a temperature difference of 10°C between the valley and summit is common, and the wind chill will make it feel even colder. During the winter you should always dress warmly. Dress in layers - if it gets too warm, you can always take off one layer. Rainproof clothing and spare underwear are also good to bring. On clear days, bring sunglasses, sun protection lotion and a hat.
Snacks: Always bring some snacks and enough water, particularly in the summer. If you're just walking around the Gipfelrundweg, a small bottle is good to have, on the other hand for a day hike in the summer, three liters could be necessary. During the winter, bring a thermos of some warm beverage that can warm you up on breaks.
  • Time: Take your time and don't rush it. Consider how far can you walk in an hour in a terrain like this, and remember that heat, cold and wind can slow you down. Take enough breaks and plan for enough time at the summit. Especially during the short winter days, start early as the trip may take longer than you first thought.

Go next[edit]

After visiting Brocken, your next destination would be one of the towns and cities the hiking routes above start/end in.

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