North Pagan Wall Hike around Mont Sainte-Odile

By Léa
Updated on 2024-04-23

A mysterious old wall with moss-covered stones, impressive castle ruins, a magnificent view of the Alsace plain, animal sculptures to be found along the way... The path of the northern pagan wall, around the Mont Sainte-Odile on the heights of Ottrott, is really one of my favorite hikes!

As a journalist in real life, and a blogger for pleasure, Léa has always enjoyed tracking down little-known gourmet addresses, unusual activities, off-the-beaten-track hikes and places with history and soul... And Alsace is full of them!

This 6.5 km loop, about 3 hours of walking and breaks, is not very steep and accessible with children. For those who have never heard of the pagan wall, it is an archaeological relic that is still very mysterious: we don’t know who built it, nor for what purpose, nor at what time! He would have been qualified of “pagan” by Leo IX, pope native of Alsace. The name then stuck.

The panorama of Dreistein Castle

Shall we go? Park on the parking lot 3 of the Mont Sainte Odile and take the path marked with a yellow easel, just to the right of a large information panel. In a few meters, you are already snaking next to the wall. About 1km further on, at a crossroads, make a small detour to discover the ruins of Dreistein Castle. It takes 20 minutes round trip following a path marked with a red easel.

And then surprise! We discover not one but three ancient castles built on three rocky promontories. You can walk around it, enter the ruins to enjoy a beautiful view of the Vosges, ideal for a break.

On the way back to the “northern pagan wall” (yellow easel), you will come across other relics such as the Koeberlé gate and the Hagelschloss. After the latter, take a sharp right to reach the North Gate. At this point, which crosses a forest road, continue straight ahead on a small path to the left of the directional sign.

The original Wonder Trail

Here you are on the Path of Wonders. It takes its name from the many wooden sculptures of animals and plants that are found along the route. I love to look for foxes, eagles or other mushrooms more or less hidden in the forest!

The sculptures will guide you to the Oberkirch rock, where a gap between the trees offers a very nice view of the Alsace plain. Be careful, don’t get confused at this place: there are many hiking trails. You have to take a steep path, on your left, hidden behind a rock. The sign “Sainte Odile along the pagan wall, picturesque path”, hanging high on a tree, will help you to find your way.

Once you arrive at the Grossmatt crossroads, a large area quite suitable for a small picnic, a small but beautiful climb awaits you to reach the Mont Sainte Odile (signs with the same name).

Take your time to discover the monastery of Mont Sainte-Odile and its magnificent view of the Vosges, the Alsace plain and the Black Forest. Then take the same path as on the way out to return to the Grossmatt crossroads. Continue along the yellow easel trail to return to your starting point in a few minutes. If you feel like it, you can continue the walk with the loop of the south pagan wall, which is 6 km long.

  • A short and charming hike
  • The ruins of the castles
  • The view on the Alsace plain
  • Nothing!

My pictures of the North Pagan Wall hike