If you’re looking for a a slightly strenuous hike with beautiful panoramic views in the south of Alsace, look no further: I’ve got just what you need with this hike starting from Wolschwiller, in the Sundgau. This loop 11km, with 400m of ascent will take you to the Raemelsberg, the highest peak in Europe. Alsatian Jura.
This hike is a favorite because I found it very different from the Vosges sandstone (the limestone rocks typical of the Jura are very different from the Vosges sandstone) and because it allows to have magnificent viewpoints, both on the Alsatian and on the Swiss side! I also liked the fact that I made a small incursion into Switzerland, which added to the exotic side of the trip.
Climbing in the forest of Wolschwiller
Starting from Wolschwiller, the hike quickly leaves the village to reach the forest biological reserve where Great Horned Owls were reintroduced in the 1970s and which is home to a wide variety of birds, but also lynx and forest cats! Incredible, isn’t it? It is there that the walk is going to be the hardest since we go up in direction of the crest. But hey, you have to earn a view, right?
The Raemel chain, border between France and Switzerland
Once arrived at the top, we quickly notice large markers, which are in fact border markers marking the limit between France and Switzerland. This is also why this path is called the path of the customs officers or smugglers… One can imagine that goods could have crossed the border at this place in all discretion!
From there, I bet you will stop every 2 minutes to admire the view, especially on the Swiss side because it is the most open. The views of the surrounding area are just beautiful and it’s worth taking breaks to admire them!
The Raemelspitz, highest point of the Alsatian Jura
Walking along the ridge path, you reach the Raemelspitz, the highest point of the Sundgau and the Alsatian Jura at 832m. Ok, it is not very high, but the view is nevertheless crazy since we can admire the Vosges on the French side, the Jura on the Swiss side, the Black Forest on the German side and even, by clear weather, the Swiss Alps with in particular the famous summit of the Jungfrau.
If you want to get even more height, you can climb the concrete tower installed by the Swiss on the Raemelspitz before the First World War in order to keep an eye on the surroundings. We go up there by ladders, you must not be afraid of heights… I only went up to the first platform, I didn’t have the courage to continue, especially since the view was already fully satisfactory 😉
An amazing sculpture on the Rittimatte
Continuing towards the village of Burg-im-Leimental in Switzerland, we pass by the Rittimatte, a large clearing where there is an amazing sculpture. At first glance, it looks like a cheese, but make no mistake, it is… an LSD pill! Yes, I’m not kidding! This one was indeed installed in homage to Albert Hofmann, a chemist from Burg who discovered LSD. Really amazing!
We then quickly arrive at the village of Burg, in Switzerland. (Again) a surprise awaits you: a beautiful castle suddenly seems to appear from nowhere! Then you just have to cross the village and take a path in the forest to come back to the starting point.
No more Alsatian Jura?
If you want to explore the area further, I have tested a wonderful 4-day loop hike: the Circuit des 3 châteaux du Jura alsacien.
- Magnificent panoramas
- The exotic side of the Alsatian Jura
- Small passage in Switzerland
- A bit sporty
I liked a little less
My pictures from the Raemelsberg hike
This idea of hike is part of the Sundgau walking circuits. You can find the route directly on the website of the Tourist Office (where you can also buy the paper topoguide with 17 routes)
Departure and arrival
The departure and arrival are in front of the town hall of Wolschwiller.
- Distance: 11km
- Elevation gain: about 400m
- Duration: about 3h30
In the neighboring village of Lutter, the Auberge Paysanne is a good address!
Wolschwiller is located in:
- 53km from Mulhouse (about 45 minutes)
- 82km from Colmar (about 1h)
- 153km from Strasbourg (about 1h45)
By public transport
This is not possible :-/