Situated 25 kilometres east of Freiburg, Hinterzarten can be reached in 30 minutes on a scenic train journey through a gorge called ‘Hell Valley’ or Höllental in German. At the narrowest gap between the surrounding mountains is the “Hirschsprung” memorial. According to local legend a stag escaped hunters taking a massive leap across to safety. There is a bronze statue of the stag high on a rock which can be seen from the train or car, if you know where to look.
The train route is called the “Höllentalbahn” and rises at a steep gradient and 440 metres between the stations of Himmelreich and Hinterzarten. The train conductor has to sit with the driver as the train climbs in case of any problems, like heart attack to the train driver. I heard about this on a German documentary once and can vouch for the conductor travelling in the locomotive with the driver each time I have been on the trip.
Hinterzarten is famous to Winter Sport followers as it hosts a number of National and International Ski Jumping competitions both during winter and summer.
Set on the hill ‘Rothaus-Schanze’ above Hinterzarten is Adler Ski Stadium. Built in 1924 there are four different sized ski jumps with plastic matting landing used for summer competitions.
World class cross country skiing surrounds the town with the popular 6 kilometre track to Titisee for beginners. The surrounding slopes are floodlit at night in winter for skiing.
When the snow melts away there are extensive hiking trails and the 116 kilometre Black Forest Ultra Bike Marathon starts at Hinterzarten each year.
The town itself is small with less than 3000 residents. The main industry is tourism all year round with health retreats and all kinds of accommodation available from camping to five star hotels. It is very peaceful yet a short trip down the mountain you will find the University town of Freiburg with excellent shopping and nightlife possibilities, if Hinterzarten is too quiet to spend the night.
During the 2006 World Cup, the Holland football team hid themselves away at Parkhotel Adler in Hinterzarten, which has been owned by the same family since 1900. And a great choice it was considering the quiet lifestyle and surrounding nature to see.