© Stefan Junghannß

Malerweg Stage 4

A spectacular view, an artificial waterfall and the largest rock gate in Saxon Switzerland awaits hikers on the fourth stage of the Malerweg.

Facts and Figures about the 4th Malerweg Trail stage

18,3 km

The 4th Malerweg Trail stage stretches over 18.3 km and is therefore considerably longer than the previous stages.

7:15 hours

For the 4th Malerweg Trail stage, seven hours and fifteen minutes should be scheduled not including detours and breaks.

553 m altitude difference

UPHILL. The 4th stage is ranked to be of moderate difficulty mainly because of its long distance and walking time. A good fitness level and surefootedness are preconditions. The path along the ridge of Schrammsteine Rocks (Schrammsteingratweg) is the high

662 m altitude difference

DOWNHILL. The trail runs down twice to the level of the Kirnitzsch Stream. Ladders and steps must be used occasionally.

Route description

The trail runs at first downhill from Altendorf Village via Dorfbachklamm Gorge to Kirnitzschtal Valley and continues along Flößersteig (Floaters Trail) up to Ostrauer Mühle Mill. From there the trail goes uphill again via paths marked as Mühlweg and Bauweg to Elbleitenweg which leads to Schrammsteine Rocks, an extended picturesque group of rugged rocks. Climbing over iron ladders on Jägersteig Trail you get to the path called Schrammsteingratweg. From there a short detour to an impressive viewing point called Schrammsteinaussicht is recommendable. There is a shorter but more strenuous alternative for the climb via the Wildschützensteig Trail. Then a path called “Zurückesteig” takes you through a rock enclosure named “Kleiner Dom” to “Sandloch” (Sand Hole), continuing along paths called Zeughausweg und Unterer Affensteinweg to Lichtenhainer Wasserfall (water fall) located at the terminus of the Kirnitzschtalbahn tram. Then another uphill section follows leading to the impressive rock cave called Kuhstall (cow stable) at Neuer Wildenstein Mountain.

Another look-out point can be reached by climbing up the “Stairs to Heaven” (Himmelsleiter). After that you walk downhill again into the valley to Neumannmühle Mill which is now a technical monument.

Accommodation along the Malerweg Trail

Gastgeber listed on this page are certified to be “Hiker-friendly at the Malerweg Trail”, they are prepared for Malerweg trail hikers. If you are looking for hotels, guest houses, hostels or camp sites along the 4th stage only, click on this button.

Good to know

The Editors Team’s Tips

Recommendations on the 4th Stage of the Malerweg

Mountain Inn at Kuhstall (Cow Stable) Rock Cave

Berggaststätte Kuhstall Gaststube© Yvonne Brückner

Located directly at Saxon Switzerland’s largest rock arch, the historic mountain inn provides a choice of snack meals including good and solid soups. After the long hike on Malerweg Trail you will be ready for a substantial meal, a refreshing drink or an ice cream as a treat. There are vegan and vegetarian options on the menu, too.

Bergwirtschaft »Am Kuhstall«
Kuhstall 1 
01814 Bad Schandau
Phone: +49 35971 838610

Bergwirtschaft Kuhstall



Getting to the Malerweg Trail by Kirnitzschtalbahn Tram

Kirnitzschtalbahn© Andreas Balko

From Bad Schandau you can take a historic tram into Kirnitzschtal Valley. It stops at “Ostrauer Mühle” (11 min travelling time) and” Lichtenhainer Wasserfall” (30 min travelling time), with both of these stops directly at the Malerweg Trail. Kirnitzschtalbahn is run by the smallest tram operation company in Germany and is the only tram crossing a National Park. The historic one-metre-gauge vehicle has been in operation for passengers since 1898.




Detours and Highlights along the Malerweg Trail

 Kirnitzschtal Valley

This is one of the best-known valleys of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.  The Kirnitzsch itself is a tributary to the Elbe River and used to provide energy for many mills. Today, the former mills in the valley are used for touristic purposes. Every year on the last weekend of July the Kirnitzschtal Festival takes place, an atmospheric event featuring lots of entertaining themes.

© Iven Eißner

Schrammsteine Rocks

Schrammsteine Rocks are probably the grandest and most exciting rock formations in Saxon Switzerland. The rugged cliffs rise along the Elbe River between the village of Schmilka and the town of Bad Schandau. The trail running right along the ridge of the rugged rocks provides new sceneries at every turn.  Schrammsteinaussicht viewing point is not situated directly at the Malerweg Trail but should definitely appear in each Malerweg Trail photo album.

(Distance to viewing point: 150 m | 5 min)

© Philipp Zieger

Carol’s View

Carolafelsen (Carol’s Cliff) is the highest summit of so-called Affensteine Rocks and offers a magnificent view. At an altitude of 458 metres, there are great perspectives from here in the direction of Schrammsteine Rocks including the distinct pinnacles that form a kind of gate called Schrammsteintor, to Falkenstein and Hohe Liebe Mountains. In clear visibility, even Lilienstein Mountain can be seen directly behind Falkenstein Mountain.

(Distance: 1.3 km | 45 min)

© Kenny Scholz

Kuhstall (Cow stable) Rock Cave

This rock cave is the largest in Saxon Switzerland. The imposing rock arch is 11 metres high, 17 metres wide and 24 metres deep. There are several explanations for the name “cow stable”. One story is about robber knights hiding stolen cattle in this cave, another one tells of farmers taking their cows to this safe place in the Thirty Years War.

(Distance 1.3 km | 45 min)

© Andreas Balko

 Himmelsleiter und Schneiderloch - “Stairs to Heaven” and “Schneider Hole”

Squeezed between two cliff sides directly at the „Cow Stable“Rock Cave is a long staircase leading to the plateau above the cave. Here, Wildenstein Rock Fort was situated in the 15th century. It was razed in 1442 as their owners, the Berka von Duba, made trouble in the area as robber knights. It is worth the effort to climb up the steps to enjoy the view. Afterwards, back down at the foot of the rock you can creep into the narrow “Schneiderloch”, another small rock cave.

© Andreas Balko

Neumannmühle Mill

What was once a saw mill today houses a technical museum focusing on the mechanical production of wood pulp for paper making. The mill is still in its original condition and therefore quite remarkable. Even 200 years ago the mill building was a motif admired by painters. Since that time up to today, patrons of the mill have earned an extra income by providing food to travelers.

© Andreas Balko

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