One thing we haven’t done much of yet is explore the Black Forest (Schwarzwald). Train connections can be problematic, and our experience driving in Florida is hardly preparation for braving twisty mountain roads. But, we’re driving to Italy in less than a month, so we need to buck up. To the forest we go! Er, went…Triberg is nestled in the thick of the Black Forest, and its claim to fame rests in the waterfalls, touted as “Germany’s highest.” To be sure, they’re impressive. But, exactly three minutes prior to writing this post, our good friend Wikipedia informed me that these are actually the second highest in Deutschland. Doh!
As I put together the graphic for this post, I double-checked the tourist brochure that assured me, “Germany’s highest waterfalls are a splendid spectacle of nature.” I guess touting them as the second highest doesn’t exactly do wonders for ticket sales.
While we’re talking tickets, adults admission costs 3,50 euro and children under 8 are free. Entrance includes the use of patchily paved pathways and a printed pamphlet. Whoop – de – doo. Oh, right, and you get to see the falsely advertised waterfalls.
Highest or second highest, I still enjoyed listening to the furious roar of the foaming falls, feeling the wayward water droplets surprise my skin, and gazing out over the thickly forested valley. False pretenses may have drawn me here, but the scenery was still worth the drive.
The Triberg Waterfalls don’t go straight down. This might be a downer to some, but actually I appreciated the walkways built at various intervals in the falls that allowed for a unique perspective. When was the last time you walked over the middle of a waterfall?
My boys are usually game for whatever adventures I cook up. Unfortunately, this week they were exhausted from swimming and skipping naps, and they whined about everything, including the elevation gain.
The ADAC (like AAA) guide to Hiking with Kids in the Black Forest lists this as an “easy” and “pram-friendly” hike. Ha! In terms of length, sure, it wasn’t too bad. But the path did go straight up for most of the way. I saw several families with children in strollers; they must be crazy. It’s much easier to strap a kid on your back than it is to force a buggy straight up the side of a mountain, even if the walkway is paved.
Carry the kiddos if you must; you need to make it to the top! A fantastic panorama of the dense Black Forest and Triberg valley waits as your reward.
After you’ve taken it all in, what next? Follow the signs to explore one of three trails (Cascade, Culture, or Nature) that should take between 45 and 90 minutes to complete. The most kid-friendly is the red route (Culture). We explored half of the green route (Nature). Crazy people with strollers – the red route is the one for you.
The Culture Trail meanders out to a playground next to a small lake and a beautiful baroque church. It then runs parallel to the main road in Triberg, parading right past a handful of souvenir shops hawking Black Forest wares including cuckoo clocks for which this area is known.
Continuing on, the main street is completely overrun with tourist traps. Fill your shopping bag with Dirndls, Lederhosen, Black Forest Bollenhut hats, beer steins, and cuckoo clocks. Then fill your belly with Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. If you’re looking for one town that exemplifies Black Forest kitsch, Triberg is it.
By the way, if you’re super into cuckoo clocks, the world’s biggest one is only a few kilometers outside Triberg.
Though the town was a bit much for me, we really did like the fibbing falls. In winter, the whole area is frozen. Since neither Doc Sci nor I have seen a gigantic shards of ice jutting out of mountain rocks, we just might need to make another trip up to the kitschy capital of the Black Forest.