Nature Parks Gravel Crossing: The No. 1 bikepacking adventure through Baden-Württemberg

690 kilometres of bikepacking, gravel and nature enjoyment - that's the promise of the "Naturparke GravelCrossing" bike route from Mannheim to Basel. This article tells you everything you need to know about the route. Lots of tips and information to help you plan your own perfect gravel adventure through the centre of Baden Württemberg.

Cover photo:

General information

The “Naturparke Gravel Crossing” leads from Mannheim to Basel. You will pass through the Neckartal Odenwald, Stromberg-Heuchelberg, Central/North Black Forest and Southern Black Forest nature parks. The start and finish are at the respective railway stations – perfect for a gravel stage ride without a car.

Along the bikepacking route through Baden-Württemberg, picturesque views and a multitude of sights invite you to pause for a moment and savour the beauty of the surroundings.

The first stages lead through the Neckartal-Odenwald Nature Park, where the majestic Teltschikturm offers an impressive view over the Odenwald and the Rhine Valley. Also along this route is the imposing Guttenberg Castle, which towers high above the Neckar and fascinates visitors with its history.

The journey continues through the Stromberg-Heuchelberg Nature Park, where you will find the Ehmetsklinge lake in Zaberfeld, surrounded by an idyllic nature park centre. Another highlight on this route is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Maulbronn Abbey, which impresses with its architecture and cultural heritage.

What I think was really cool was that you immerse yourself so deeply in the woods. You are travelling on paths where it seems as if no one has been here for five years.

Angelika Hinteregger,

The route then leads through the Central/North Black Forest Nature Park, where the unique high moorland landscape on the Kaltenbronn and the enchanted cirque lakes cast a spell over travellers.

In the Southern Black Forest Nature Park, the imposing Triberg waterfalls are just waiting to be discovered. Next on the programme is the ascent of the Feldberg, the highest mountain in the Black Forest, which rewards you with its panoramic views.

You can also find more information about the Gravel Crossing Nature Park on the official website of the route. And of course in our magazine #23: We spoke to Angelika and Reinhard from, who rode the Naturparke Gravel Crossing in 2023. In this interview, they talk about what they experienced on their eleven stages through four nature parks.

The route

You can expect 690 kilometres and a whopping 14,000 metres in altitude. You often “feel” that you are travelling far away from any civilisation – but the next village is usually not far away. Most of the time you’ll be riding on gravel. However, as the route uses former mountain bike trails, there are also a few more challenging sections and single trails.

The name of the route naturally says it all. You will pass through many nature parks on the way:

Neckartal-Odenwald Nature Park

We have already travelled here ourselves. On this page you will find detailed information, from the beautiful trekking spots along the route to local shopping opportunities.

Stromberg-Heuchelberg Nature Park

We’ve already travelled here too. You can find out more about the land of 1,000 hills here.

Black Forest Centre/North Nature Park

Southern Black Forest Nature Park

The “technical data” for the route alone give you an idea of how challenging it is. The crux of the matter is the numerous metres in altitude. So it’s better to plan shorter stages. And prepare a plan B – just in case you run out of time on the road, which can quickly happen if you experience a puncture, for example. You can always shorten the route or replace steep climbs with detours. This way you can save time and/or energy. It is also often possible to shorten sections by train. The good railway connection opens up another option: you can divide the gravel crossing into smaller “chunks”. From Mannheim to Heilbronn on a weekend and then from Heilbronn to Bad Wildbad the following week? All small problems.

As you can see, a real adventure awaits you on the Naturparke Gravel Crossing – but without the risk of falling by the wayside. And if you want, you can turn the big adventure into a micro-adventure.

The route is almost 700 kilometres long and has an elevation gain of around 15,000 metres. That says a lot about the character of the route.

Reinhard Maxbauer,

Catering/overnight stay

Along the way, you will regularly pass through places where you can shop, stop for a bite to eat or stay overnight. From hotels to campsites, some of which are also official trekking spots, a wide range of offers awaits you. With a little planning (especially important in the high season) you can easily realise your perfect “overnight concept”.

Our tip for bike-friendly accommodation: The ADFC’s Bed & Bike portal.

The trekking spots in the Odenwald are a real highlight, even if they are a little off the beaten track.

You can also find all kinds of tips and information on the websites of the respective nature parks, which we have already linked above. The basic rule for riding and camping in the countryside is: be considerate of other forest dwellers! Only ride in daylight and don’t camp in the wild. Have a look here if you are looking for more information on how best to behave in a nature park.


You can get lots of great impressions of the route in Angelika and Reinhart’s video.

And of course in our lifeCYCLE Magazine #23:

Cover 23 shop web | lifecycle magazine
Nature Parks Gravel Crossing: The No. 1 bikepacking adventure through Baden-Württemberg
Lifecycle fahrradpost | lifecycle magazine

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