© Iven Eissner

Malerweg Trail – Stage 5

Here you will learn about the rich local heritage of historic mills, climb the second-highest mountain of Saxon Switzerland and experience Germany’s first eco-village.

Facts and figures about the fifth Malerweg Trail stage

13,6 km

The fifth Malerweg Trail stage is 13.6.km long. There are no catering facilities on the route.

7 hours

For the 5th Malerweg Trail stage you should plan seven hours plus extra time for detours and breaks.

587 m altitude difference

UPHILL. The fifth stage is challenging and requires a good fitness level. Winterberg is the second-highest mountain in Saxon Switzerland.

676 m altitude difference

DOWNHILL. There are several downhill sections on this stage. The most strenuous descent is from Großer Winterberg Mountain down to Schmilka Village.

Route Description

The Malerweg Trail starts at Neumannmühle Museum Mill and leads first up the Kirnitzsch Stream to Buschmühle Mill. There you turn left and continue in the direction of Arnstein Rock on a path called Neuer Weg,  to a turn-off marked “Abzweig Kleinstein” and further on to a road which you then follow until Räumichtmühle Mill. On the opposite side of the road you continue uphill on a path called Mühlschlüchte and then downhill again to the Kirnitzsch Stream and further on to the Zeughaus. From there the trail runs uphill via paths named Wolfsschlüchte, Roßsteig and Katzsteig to the summit of Großer Winterberg Mountain (556 m). Great, you made it! For the rest of this day you will only walk downhill now. The destination for this stage is the National Park eco village resort of Schmilka with its lovely location in the Elbe Valley.

Accommodation along the Malerweg Trail

Hosts listed on this page are certified as “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 fifth stage only, click on this button. Note: Connecting trails will take you to/from hosts in Hinterhermsdorf. This will extend the stage by 2-3 km.

Good to know

The Editors Team‘s Tips

Recommendations on the 5th Stage of the Malerweg

“Zeughaus” National Park Information Point

Zeughaus Nationalpark Infostelle© Christa Rödig

The old Zeughaus building, a former foresters’ lodge, houses another National Park information point. It focuses on the subject of historic game hunting such as capercaillie, lynx, wolf and stag. The Zeughaus also has toilet facilities, by the way.

Zeughaus Information Point


Schmilka Information Point

Nationalparkinfostelle Schmilka© Tourismusverband Sächsische Schweiz

The end of the 5th stage is Schmilka Village. As soon as you come across the first buildings, you can find a National Park information point to your right which provides interesting information about mountaineering in Saxon Switzerland. Climbing was in fact done as a sport for the first time in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and so, the area is considered to be the birthplace of free climbing.  In the exhibition you learn more about the compatibility of mountaineering and nature protection.

Nationalpark-Informationspunkt Schmilka
Schmilka Nr. 53
01814 Bad Schandau OT Schmilka

Schmilka Information Point

Detours and Highlights along the Malerweg Trail

Arnstein Rock

Arnstein Rock is colloquially known as the Ottendorfer Raubschloss (robbery castle). The remains of one of the area’s oldest forts (15th century) are a cistern, stairs, rock cramps and even a petroglyph. This legendary place also provides a wonderful view in particular in the morning hours.

(Distance1 km | 30 min)

© Britta Prema Hirschburger

Kleinsteinhöhle Rock Cave

It is definitely worth the detour to the second-largest rock arch of Saxon Switzerland. Further uphill is a look-out point providing more perspectives.

(Distance 0.2 km | 10 min)

© Bernd Grundmann

Großes Pohlshorn Rock

The impressive view from the summit of the extended Pohlshorn Rock formation justifies all the efforts of the detour. With a sharp eye, you can discover Kleinsteinhöhle Rock Cave from here and also the next days’ destinations of your Malerweg Trail hike.

(Distance 0.2 km | 8 min)

© Yvonne Brückner

Goldstein View

From this look-out point you enjoy a wonderful wide view to Outer Saxon Switzerland. In summer this is an ideal picnic spot, while in autumn, the foliage colouring is awe-inspiring and in winter the details of the rock structures are particularly visible. Here you are in the heart of the National Park and can glimpse true unspoilt nature.

(Distance 0.2 km | 8 min)

© Iven Eissner

Großer Winterberg Mountain

With its altitude of 556 m Großer Winterberg Mountain is the highest elevation on the right bank of the Elbe River. At its summit is a National Park information point (Eishaus), a look-out tower and a cosy restaurant and hotel. Please note that the Eishaus, the look-out tower and also the hotel are closed for the time being.


Kipphorn Cliff View

Near Winterberg Mountain a detour to the Kipphorn Cliff View (480 m) is very worthwhile. From here, a grand panoramic view opens up over Saxon and Bohemian Switzerland. The motif is particularly popular among photographers at sunset.

(Distance 0.4 km | 10 min)

© Rico Richter

Schmilka Village

Schmilka Village is situated at the border with the Czech Republic at the edge of the National Park. Before reaching the Elbe River, hikers find a National Park information point here and a refurbished mill including a bakery. Schmilka Village belongs to the town of Bad Schandau and is accessible by the S-Bahn train, bus and ferry.


© Achim Meurer

Little Bastei Rock

If you are not too worn out after your long Malerweg Trail hike, a climb up to a look-out point called “Kleine Bastei” (Little Bastei Rock) is worthwhile. It is a wonderful place to enjoy the sunset while admiring views to the Elbe River and to the Schrammsteine Rock formations. For the descent over stairs and steps, torchlight is helpful.


© Yvonne Brückner

Bad Schandau

The health resort Bad Schandau is located in the centre of the area. The small town with its typical medieval centre is a great place to browse the cafés, restaurants and boutiques. A visit of the National Park Centre or of the “Toskana-Therme” Spa is worthwhile, too.

(Distance 6 km | 1.5 h)

© Rico Richter

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