The Ermstal is a valley on the Swabian Alb or Swabian Jura which forms the central part of the Jura that reaches out from France and Switzerland towards the Frankenjura. Here you can climb on limestone formations which are often located on top of the mountains and offer beautiful views into the surrounding forests. The dominating style is technical vertical to overhanging terrain often spiced up with shorter intense passages. A bus crosses the whole valley on an hourly basis, but it is also a perfect destination for the approach by bike. This is my home area where I spend as much time as possible with public transport. I open new routes (eco drilled 🙂 ) and love to discover and develop the area.
How to get there
You take the regional Train Mex18 from Stuttgart to Metzingen. You can take your bike with you, as every wagon has space for several bikes. Change the train in Metzingen and take the electrified train to Bad Urach. In the train, you can take your bike with you for free, except if you start during the week before 9 o’clock. Beware that the spaces for bikes are limited. The train journey takes in total 1 hour and 7 minutes.
From Bad Urach you have two options, you continue either by bike or you walk to the campground in Bad Urach. When taking the bike, you reach the campground in 10 minutes. By foot it takes about 20 minutes to reach the campground in Bad Urach.
Where to stay
How to reach the crag(s)
Without the bike, you walk 20 minutes through the historic city centre of Bad Urach reaching the Bus and train station. From here you have a hourly connection by bus X2 towards all the crags in the valley: The bus journey takes a maximum of 10 minutes until you reach the village Seeburg at the end of the valley from where you can access the last crags of the valley.
If you want to reach Geschlitzter Fels and Hockenlochfels with a huge variety of routes in all grades you leave the bus at the station “Bad Urach Kraftwerk”, which takes 6 minutes from Bad Urach. From here you have a 10 minutes walk up the hill to reach the crag. In order to go to the vast crag of linke Wittlinger, you leave the bus at “Hohenwittlingen”, which takes 5 minutes from Bad Urach. Then you have to walk about 15 minutes: At first you follow the street towards Wittlingen, and then you turn left on a small forest path and continue uphill until you reach the crag.
From the campground in Bad Urach, you can reach the crags in the Ermstal valley in 30-60 minutes by bike. Often you bike some kilometres on the beautiful “Green path” and then have a short approach by foot. You should not use a racing bike because the path sometimes is a gravel path. For reaching some of the crags, for example linke Wittlinger, you have to cross the valley and the river Erms on waypoint 4. Here, you see the cycling route from the campsite along the green path to Seeburg:
Likewise, as in the other areas of the jura mountains (like the Frankenjura), it is useful to take a set of nuts with you.
For information on temporarily closed crags due to bird breading visit this website.
In Bad Urach you have lots of options to buy everything you might need. You find a big supermarket opposite to the train station (20 min by foot from the campsite).
The area is quite calm and offers loads of possibilities for rest day activities like beautiful hikes for example the Hohenwittlingensteig. You can also visit the historical city and museums for example a museum for children “Entdeckerwelt Bad Urach” close to the train station. Here, you find more information on tourismus in Bad Urach.
If want to stay in surrounding towns like Tübingen, Reutlingen or Stuttgart you can also easily do day trips to the crags.
How to book the trip
Tickets for the whole journey including the bus can be bought here. Bus tickets can be baught directly at the stations or from the bus driver. For time reasons you might not want to buy your tickets on the station machine otherwise you might miss a train or the bus. In the train, you can take your bike with you for free, except if you start during the week before 9 o’clock.
About the author
Heiner Blonski, climber and developer of the area.