From Altendorf to Neumannmühle
From Altendorf, you walk down through Dorfbachklamm Gorge into Kirnitzschtal Valley. You then continue up the Flößersteig on to Ostrauer Mühle. The Malerweg hiking trail then leads up the hill to the Mühlweg and the Bauweg paths, along the Elbleitenweg trail into the Schrammsteine; an elongated, heavily jagged group of rocks. You pass by the imposing Schrammtor. The Jägersteig ascent takes you across steel ladders to the Schrammsteingratweg trail, featuring the Schrammstein Viewpoint. A shorter, more challenging alternative ascent is provided by the Wildschützensteig. You then walk on the Zurückesteig, through the small cupola to Sandloch. The Zeughausweg and the Unteren Affensteinweg trails take you to Lichtenhain Waterfall, with the final station of the Kirnitzschtalbahn tram line. From Lichtenhain Waterfall, you then walk to the imposing Kuhstall Cave, and then up the Neuen Wildenstein. You then descend back into the valley to the Neumannmühle, a technical memorial to the production of paper from groundwood pulp.
Information and detours from the Malerweg
Taking the Kirnitzschtalbahn tram to the Malerweg
You can travel from Bad Schandau through the Kirnitzschtal Valley with a historic tram. The tram takes you right to the Malerweg; either at »Ostrauer Mühle« (11 min) or at »Lichtenhainer Wasserfall« (30 min). The Kirnitzschtalbahn is the smallest tram line running in Germany and is the only tram line to run through a national park. The one-metre lane tram has been serving travellers since 1898.
Kirnitzschtal is one of the most famous valleys in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. The River Kirnitzsch has been supplying numerous mills with energy since time immemorial. Nowadays the mills in the valley are used to serve the tourism industry. The annual Kirnitzschtalfest Festival takes place on the last weekend in July. It is an atmospheric event with lots of entertaining themes.
The Schrammsteine probably represent the largest and most thrilling rock formation in Saxon Switzerland. The jagged rocks rise along the River Elbe between Schmilka and Bad Schandau. A ridge walk runs across the jagged landscape. There are new views around almost every corner. The Schrammstein Viewpoint is not directly on the Malerweg trail, but it is a MUST for every photo album.
(Viewpoint distance: 150 m | 5 min)
The Carolafelsen is the highest peak of the Affensteine and offers magnificent views. Standing at 458 metres above sea level, it offers a great view of the Torsteine in the direction of the Schrammsteine, and of the Falkenstein and the Hohen Liebe. On a clear day, you can even make out the Lilienstein, directly behind the Falkenstein.
(Distance: 1.3 km | 45 min)
The Kuhstall is the largest cave in Saxon Switzerland. The imposing rock arch is 11 metres in height, 17 metres wide and 24 metres deep. There are various explanations for the name Kuhstall, literally "cow stall". It is said that robber knights once kept the cattle that they had stolen from Wildenstein Castle there. Another story claims that farmers brought their cows there for protection during the 30 Years' War.
Himmelsleiter and Schneiderloch
Lots of steps run between the two rocky walls by the Kuhstall up to the plateau over the Kuhstall Cave, to the site where Wildenstein Castle stood in the 15th century. The castle was razed in 1442, as its owner, Berka z Dubé, believed the area to be unsafe due to knight robbers. The view makes the climb worthwhile. Afterwards, you can crawl through the narrow »Schneiderloch« at the foot of the rock.
The former wood cutting mill now houses a technical museum and demonstrates the production of the groundwood pulp that is used in paper production. It is still in its original form today and, as such, is of special interest. Some 200 years ago, the mill was a popular subject for painters. Even back then, the mill owners were earning themselves some extra income by providing hikers with refreshments.
The town of Sebnitz does not lie directly on the Malerweg but it is easily accessible on foot. The Evangelic-Lutheran parish church is the oldest listed building in the town. Meanwhile, you can learn all about the Sebnitz tradition of producing artificial flowers in the Sebnitz Kunstblume.
(Distance: 7 km | 2.5 hr)