One Saturday morning Daniel was about to go biking as one of his neighbors approached him. During the chat she told him about biking in the Hessian Spessart. Up to then Daniel was biking in the Taunus (northwest of Frankfurt) mostly. Based on the recommendation he decided to give the Spessart a try.
The trail-business WhatsApp group was reactivated and we invited some friends from the area around Frankfurt to join in. Besides Dustin, the Spessart-biking-group grew by Andi, Georg and another Daniel. We asked Alex from the Bike School Bikeflow if he could guide us on his hometrails. He agreed immediately and we were ready to go!
In the planning phase, we had great support from Alex, who suggested trails and accommodation spots in the area of the Hessian Spessart. There was no complicated planning for us this time, as we were living in the area. The only thing we did is organize a campervan from roadsurfer for the long weekend, which turned out being a great decision.
As we were biking with many people our packing list came in handy. Moreover, the area in the Hessian Spessart has well infrastructure that we decided to take only the most important things and buy drinks and food on our way or even between our day trips.
Best travelling time
In general, you can biking in the Spessart all year round, if the conditions allow. The FlowTrail Bad Orb opens from April to October and is free to use for everybody. In wintertime or during bad weather conditions it gets cold, wet and muddy. It is appreciated to spare the trails to not ruin them.
The easiest way to get to the trails of the Hessian Spessart is by car.
Driving on the Autobahn A7 direction Fulda from the north or south simply change to the A66. Coming from Frankfurt enter the A66 directly. Depending on where you wanna start just use your car gps or maps.
By train / bus:
Reaching the Spessart trails by public transport is a bit more challenging. Search for a connection to Wächtersbach station with DeutscheBahn. From there you can take a bus to Bad Orb. The rest you have to go by bike following the signs to Flowtrail Haseltal.
If you are from outside of Germany take a connection Frankfurt am Main or Aschaffenburg. From there choose one of the above mentioned modes to get to the Hessian Spessart.
There are many options to spend the night in the Hessian Spessart. Campsites, guesthouses/airBnBs or hotels can be found in almost every town. Hence, it depends on your budget if you spend the night in a tent or in a 5-star hotel.
We chose a rental VW Bulli campervan from roadsurfer. This allowed us to explore multiple biking venues over the long weekend.
A selection of many mountain bike friendly hosts in the region can be found here.
Well, you are in Germany – even thought most Germans perceive the Hessian honor as a foreign language. 😉
No matter by which village or town you visit, there will always be a tavern or supermarket with delicious food. On the first evening we went to Jagdhaus Haselruhe, where we had regional dishes and fresh regional game!
In Rossbach there is a small hidden café called Café Koller. You have to know where to find it, to enjoy amazing handmade cakes and pies. Which piece of cake is the best you have to find out by yourself!
Another good choice is the Gasthaus Wiesbuettsee located at the L2905 road. You can power up before the last uphill followed by the long trail into the valley.
After our tour in Roßbach we were planning to prepare some pasta on the camp stove. The only thing in our way was a delicious kebab retaurant? To our suprise it had very tasty dishes – more like a restaurant and not only kebab.
For our next visit, Alex recommended to have the best burger in Spessart at The Orbärs. We have not been there, but you can trust Alex! 😉
First track: The Horseshoe Trail. A section maintained by the local bike club “Schlappe Waden e.V.” – translating to weak calves. Starting at the parking lot it is only a short uphill to entry of the track. There is a second entry a bit higher up the hill leading you onto the same track in the end.
The Horseshoe Trail starts out as a singletrack with relatively steep sections and a few curves. During the course the trail it becomes more technical with hand crafted obstacles. After crossing a forest road the track leads you into a section with small and medium jumps, a few gaps and some small adjacent curves. In case you are a beginner it is better to not jump the gaps right away. But those who are more advanced will have a lot fun here. After crossing the forest path for the second time, the trail runs flatter. Riding with high speed you are going to love this part of the trail! Before you reach the end of the Horesehoe trail there is a wooden ramp you can drop.
Going uphill again on a forest road you can get back up and start over again!
We woke up by two loud bangs that shook our bulli. The sound of a supersonic aircraft – or the beginning of the zombie apocalypse? Well, it turned out not being the second idea.
Unfortunately, during our breakfast it started to rain, so we extended the breakfast until noon. Around 12 o’clock it stopped raining and we jumped onto our bikes. But not our own bikes – Alex brought e-mountain bikes from NOX for us. Our first time cycling with battery support. Hence, we started a one day test drive on the “FlowTrail Bad Orb“! With electrical support the way up the hill seemed not that steep any more !
As soon as we arrived at the top, it started to rain heavily again. After about half an hour of rain, we where finally able to start our short descend. The ground was still slightly damp, so you had to be very careful with the wet roots. Following the 500 m long beginners track down to the parking lot we enjoyed small obstacles and nice curves. Perfect for beginners to learn biking slowly and safely.
After this warm up for our batteries we cycled up the same way again (MTB-Route 5/19 – Beilsteinschleife with a section on the Eselsweg). We followed a relaxed natural section to the entrance of the “DonBosco-Trail” going downhill about 4 km. This trail runs along the contour line of the mountain taking xou over smaller and larger ramps. Important rule: don´t loose speed! Perfect area for the e-mountain bikes!
At the end of the “DonBosco Trail” we crossed the road and turned straight into the “Winterberg Trail”, one of the tougher singletracks in Bad Orb. The ground changed to more rocky conditions, being towel-wide with almost constant slope. Through fast bends and a few steps, it went down in the direction of Bad Orb. Great biking!
On the “Route 19” we pedaled to the parking lot Haselruhe. Luckily, there were a few short downhills on the way to play with.
We had a great day and our first ride on e-mountain bikes. The bikes give an amazing support uphill. Still, going downhill you have great control. Due to the weight and the low center of gravity they literally stick to the ground. One thing we found really cool is that you can push through light uphill sections as if you were riding downhill. Hence, the DonBosco Trail felt like a downhill single track. Unfortunately, Daniel´s battery was empty after only 35 km, due to the extra weight of the filming equipm,ent he had to carry. Well, that is what he says! 😉
Back to natural muscle power we started the day with an ascend. Our destination: the “Haseltal Trail” – a built trail going 2.6 km down into the Haseltal. The singletrack starts relatively flat with many adjacent curves. Soon, it becomes straight-lined with several jumps in a row. In the course of the trail, the terrain becomes steeper and steeper, so you have to push less and the bike roll.
Parallel to the forest road, which we cranked up at the beginning, the track offers jumps, open curves and sometimes adjacent curves. After crossing the forest road we entered the last section of the track enjoying a biking-park feeling. There you find larger adjacent curves and natural jumps with good air time.
Next stop: Roßbach! This year Roßbach was the venue for the Enduro-One, a mountain bike racing series for everyone.
Currently, there is activity in Roßbach to release permits for an official enduro downhill track – maybe even this year.
Alex´ buddy Ralf joined our group. As a local mountain biker and organizer of the Enduro-One he knows every rock by name. He was the one who showed us the secret Café Koller you can read above in the “food section” of our article.
During our ascend Ralf told us about the river Schwarzbach running in parallel to our path. We learned that the area had a lot of mining activity in history. Therefore, the name Schwarzbach (black brook) derives from the fact it used to spoiled and poisonous by all the waste material from the metal mining. The path we were cycling up the hill used to be an old railway line of the mining companies, which explained the continuous and quite pleasant slope uphill. If you want to learn more about the hsitory of the area you can stop by the information boards all over the area. Hence, this day trip was not only for the body, but also for the mind 😉
At that point of time we did not know there was a mean uphill section waiting for us. The last meters up to the Wiesbütt was a damn steep ramp. Hence, we rested a bit at the Wiesbüttsee before we tackled the last meters on altitude. Finally, we entered a forest road going down the hill. It slowly changed into small singletrack following the contour line of the mountain, slowly becoming steeper. The natural track is has a few small obstacles like old tree stumps leading you to the mini Bike Park Rosengarten in Roßbach.
What we learned
E-Mountain bikes – an experience worth riding on. You can cover more distance with less effort, allowing you to focus on the downhill sections rather than waisting your power uphill.
We only managed to cycle about 35km with electrical support, due to the fact we stopped a lot for filming and taking pictures. In addition we had to carry a lot of weight on camera equipment up the hill resulting in a much faster discharge of the batteries. Going downhill the NOX bikes behave almost like a normal bike. You can easily explore your limits on the singletrack!
Moreover, we learned that the hessian Spessart offers way more great biking than expected. The area has a lot of different tracks to offer. For beginners as well as for experienced riders.
E-mountain bikes are a great option for riders, who like to explore many spots in one region during a day. You do not waste your energy on the uphills and with good riding skills you can master almost every obstacle you can ride on a normal bike.
Besides the mountain biking, we learned that staying in a campervan is a cool way to explore different spots in short period of time. The VW California was equipped with everything we needed, from a stove to a shower. You can make the most out of your biking day, starting at dawn and coming back “home” at sunset.
Costs for one person:
For our long weekend with 4 people in the roadsurfer campervan:
~ 150 € / p.P.
including food, drinks and campsite costs.
We were surprised by the variety of different trails in the Hessian Spessart. For sure, the difficulty of the tracks are not comparable to those on the Azores or in the Alps. Anyways, we had a lot of fun and did not even grasp the full potential of the Spessart in only four days.
If you come from the Frankfurt area, the Spessart is a great bike region. In our opinion the Spessart is a perfect spot to start the season. If the weather in the Alps is not yet suitable for biking, you can have great start for mountain biking in the Spessart.