Cycling or walking in the Haguenau Forest

Updated on 2024-04-23

Many people don't know it, but we are lucky to have in Alsace a forest labeled as an exceptional forest: the Haguenau Forest. This label is awarded to the emblematic forests of France. What if we went to discover it?

Laurène is the blog's creator. Originally from Brittany but now living in Alsace, she has fallen in love with her adopted region and loves exploring its every nook and cranny to unearth great ideas to share with you!

Where is the Haguenau Forest located?

Located in the north of Alsace in the Bas-Rhin, the Haguenau Forest extends north of the city of Haguenau, 30 km from west to east and 10 km from north to southeast. A very practical location which makes it a privileged place of relaxation of the locals as well as the visitors, because the forest is very easily accessible from the city

Where to walk in Haguenau? The Undivided Forest

You may have already noticed if you have heard of the Haguenau Forest, its exact name is Haguenau Undivided Forest. A term that intrigued me: in fact, it is one of the rare forests to be owned by both the State and a municipality, Haguenau in this case.

When we think of the forest in Alsace, we usually think first of the Vosges forest. Rightly so, but we must not forget that we also have a huge forest in the Alsace plain, and that it is also a magnificent playground to enjoy nature!

The Haguenau Forest covers more than 13,400 hectares, which makes it one of the largest lowland forestry areas in France! It is also the only French representative of the mixed forests of the medio-European type, characterized by a mix of native oaks and pines, and has several remarkable trees. In addition, it also plays an important role as an ecological corridor between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine forests.

The forest also possesses clay quarries, which are at the origin of the development of the traditional pottery activity in the neighboring villages of Soufflenheim and Betschdorf.

Various hiking and biking routes

The Haguenau Forest is the place to be for those who love sports in the forest! Various routes have been created and one can follow hiking, Nordic walking, mountain biking or cycling trails without fear of getting lost. An accessible route for people with reduced mobility (PRM) has also been created.

Different options are possible depending on the length of the walk and the places in the forest you prefer to discover. You can see all the paths on the map “Haguenau forest walk“, which lists the different routes and points of interest. Take the map or download the GPX tracks because it is not marked on site.

By bike, the routes are easy because they pass on asphalt roads, in the heart of the forest or on its edge. There is no difference in altitude and the area is therefore perfectly adapted to families, especially since most of the time we are on safe routes.

Bicycle tour ” Discovering the exceptional forest “.

I tested the bicycle loop ” A la découverte de la Forêt d’exception “, a 37km circuit (click here for the itinerary on VisoRando) allowing to make a very beautiful tour in this so rich forest. From the train station of Haguenau (very convenient to come directly by train), we quickly leave the city to reach the forest. A change of scenery guaranteed in a few minutes!

The route is always on paved roads (it is suitable for all types of bikes) and allows you to discover several points of interest in the forest, such as the pretty Hundshof washhouses, the Gründel Ponds, l’ornithological observatory or the Big Oak (a place well known in the forest for its inn, playgrounds and picnic tables). Don’t hesitate to stop in Betschdorf (the route passes by there) to go to visit the potters.

It is very pleasant to drive in this immense forest, even more if it is hot because we are enormously in the shade of the trees. We really fill up with greenery, it feels good!

To eat along the way, you can take the picnic option (always nice in the forest I think!) but also stop at the restaurant of La Poste in Schwabwiller (which I did not test but which was recommended to me) or at the Auberge du Gros Chêne.

A variety of activities for all audiences

If you would like to discover the Haguenau Forest, please also have a look at the program of activities. Animations called Hidden treasures of the forest are regularly organized, with a really interesting program because the city and the ONF collaborate closely.

We thus have a beautiful mixture ofvarious animations to discover the local fauna and flora, to learn how the forest is managed sustainably, to discover the job of a woodcutter, to participate in walks on various themes (war relics, Soufflenheim clay used for famous Alsatian potters.Everyone will find something to suit their interests!

Where to rent a bike?

The Ritmo agency offers bike rental at the station at very attractive rates, which is very practical when you arrive by train. I advise you to choose a classic bike and not an electric one, first because the itinerary is easy and there is really no need for an electric bike if you don’t suffer from any particular health problem, but also because their electric bikes are old and not necessarily pleasant… Especially if the assistance breaks down during the trip (I know from experience 😉 )

  • Beautiful forest of Haguenau
  • Bicycle and walking routes for all audiences
  • Varied animation program
  • Nothing!

My pictures of the bike ride “Discovering the exceptional forest” in Alsace