Germany’s National Parks: Kellerwald Edersee National Park

Kellerwald-Edersee National Park — Photo by bluecrayola/
Castle Waldeck at Edersee — Photo by Tobias Arhelger/



Sometimes, the best trips reveal a wonderland in a place that at first seems like the middle of nowhere. Kellerwald Edersee National Park, which is located in the lovely forested state of Hessen, is one of those places. From spring until summer, especially, the park provides a brilliant experience. You’ll find beautiful lakes, an excellent treetop adventure, a dam walk, an amazing castle hotel, and a wonderful sense of tranquility. Here are five tips for making the most of Kellerwald-Edersee National Park.

Skip the Visitor’s Center

German and American national parks differ in one big way: Driving access to Germany’s national parks is free. While this is great news, the same can’t always be said for visitor centers – most of which charge a fee (€6.50 for adults, in this case) – to enter.

While the Kirchlotheim visitor’s center does look like a flying saucer and has a cool exhibit about trees, it isn’t necessarily a must-see. Entering the park at Kirchlotheim is a good idea, however. Because it puts you on the road to where the real action is.

Stop at the Edersee Dam

Okay, it has to be said: This is a dam good place to stop, especially during the summer. The Edersee Reservoir is Germany’s second largest hydroelectric dam, which is pretty incredible considering it’s more than 100 years old and that this is one of the greenest countries in the world.

You’ll reach it after about 30 minutes of driving from the visitor center. Stop at one of the parkplatzes just before you reach Edersee Dam. Then get out and walk across the dam. It’s a marvelous experience, and not just because the dam wall kind of looks like it belongs on a castle. The view looking out toward the lake is well worth the walk. Best of all, your choice of ice cream and coffee shops awaits you in the little village of Edersee on the other side. Make sure you eat and drink well. You’ll need the sustenance for what’s up next.

Edersee dam and surrounding area. — Photo by bluecrayola/


Take the Treetop Walk

Germany does love to build hiking trails in the tops of forests, and the Treetop Walk is an excellent one. Located about 15 minutes away from the Edersee Dam, it is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last admission at 5 p.m.) and is well worth the price of admission (€8.90 for adults and €4.90 for kids aged 4-17).

Though the trail is only 750 meters long, plan to spend at least an hour up there. You’ll find loads of information and pretty much every step you take provides an excellent view (or at the very least, a different perspective). And it also gives you a really nice overview of the place you’ll be heading next.

Explore the Kellerwald

Another short 15-minute drive brings you to Bringhausen. Here, you’ll find jumping-off points for some of the best hikes in the national park (and you’ll get into the Kellerwald part of the park). For a leisurely stroll, try the Urwaldsteig-Forsthaus loop, which is absolutely gorgeous during almost any season. You’ll wind through quiet forest and along the banks of the Eder.

For a slightly (but not much more) strenuous alternative, you can hike south toward Daudenberg, which is a lovely 1,500-foot wooded peak. Or you can just pick a well-marked trail and go. Either way, plan for one to two hours.

Splurge on an Overnight Stay at Waldeck Castle

After all the dam sightseeing, exploring, and treetop walking, why not treat yourself and your loved ones to a night in one of the most atmospheric hotels in the country? You’ll remember your stay at Waldeck Castle for a lifetime.

Even if you’re not into saunas and fine dining (both of which are available), the views from the hotel are absolutely magnificent. The inside of the castle is pretty epic, too. Plus, you’ll get to spend a little more time in one of Germany’s most beautiful national parks!

Castle Waldeck at Edersee — Photo by Tobias Arhelger/

Getting to Kellerwald-Edersee
National Park

By car, the park is about 2 hours and 45 minutes from Kaiserslautern, 1 hour and 45 minutes from Wiesbaden, and 3 hours and 45 minutes from Stuttgart.