Great hiking is not far from home

Staff Sgt. Brian Hill
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***I was pleasantly surprised to find my new home, Rheinland-Pfalz, to be filled with so much open space and beauty. This is really such a nice location to be stationed and ideal for avid hikers and nature lovers. In the few months I’ve been here, I’ve found many peaceful and aesthetically pleasing trails to relax and enjoy my weekend hours.

Just a few steps from my front door, the massive farming fields behind Hütschenhausen open up before me. I’ve walked these paths many times and found some amazing views of Landstuhl, Ramstein Air Base, and – off in the distance – Kaiserslautern.

This past weekend, I found my first trail completely devoid of the sound of auto traffic. I found it just outside a village called Dunzweiler, which is just a short (and pretty) 15-minute drive from the base.

About a 45-minute drive east of Kaiserslautern is a city called Neustadt. The hike up to Wolfsburg Castle is not too strenuous and provides some amazing views of the area.

The castle was built in the 13th century to protect the route from Neustadt to Kaiserslautern. Today, it consists of some ruins and
some town walls.

The little tavern at the castle is open Saturdays and Sundays, when the flag is flying.

***image2***To get to Neustadt from the east end of Kaiserslautern (Panzer Kaserne), take B39 toward Hochspeyer, Frankenstein, Weidenthal, Neidenfels, Lambrecht to Neustadt. Before getting into Neustadt, turn left to Wolfsburg Castle. There are a few paths leading up to the castle and the surrounding hills.

Each season provides a new atmosphere for outdoor activities.
For me, winter hiking means a chill on my face as my body slowly warms to the activity. I’m enjoying these winter walks, and I encourage anyone with a slight sense of adventure and curiosity to get out and witness our spectacular little corner of Europe.