Johanniskreuz: A hot spot in the woods

If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, you’re probably either in heaven now that you live in Germany, or you’re intimidated. If you’re intimidated, don’t be. In fact, many of my friends say that riding in Germany feels much safer than riding in the USA because traffic feels more predictable. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want or that you don’t have to pay attention, but knowing that traffic rules aren’t as loose and carefree as other countries helps to relieve some of that additional pressure.

Photo by Andrey Armyagov /

If you’re on the other side of that line, your problem is probably more along the lines of where to go next? From Kaiserslautern, there are plenty of day trips. Johanniskreuz, located deep in the forest, about 25 minutes from  Kaiserslautern city center, is a popular hangout for motorcycles and sports cars — especially in the summer. Don’t expect a calendar or schedule because the size of the crowd appears to be totally determined by the weather.

To get to Johanniskreuz from Kaiserslautern, you can take B37 to B48 and you’ll run into it on B48. The roads are perfectly maintained with just the right amount of curves. You’ll be riding through a forested area so the trees provide necessary shade from the sun. As you wind through the hilly terrain, you’ll be tempted to look down. Play it safe and pull off at one of the many rest areas alongside the road.

Photo by WichitS/

Johanniskreuz itself is not very large. The “hot spot” is the large parking lot for the Hotel Café Restaurant Johanniskreuz. There’s a small imbiss (fast food stop) where you can pick up a cup of coffee, a slice of cake, or a cold drink. They don’t have a fixed menu so you take what they’ve got. Insider tip: if they have the cheesecake, order that. I promise it’ll help make your trip unforgettable!

An inherent part of motorcycle culture is taking pride in the machine you’re riding, no matter how young or old, scratched or shiny it may be. Riders on older bikes wax on about the reliability and character of their trusty ol’friend while riders on new bikes can’t help but show off some of the latest gadgets. Sometimes, you’ll see so many people crowding the lot that random drivers are tempted to stop and check out the makeshift roadside festival.

A lot of riders from northern locations make Johanniskreuz a must on their route because of the ideal road conditions and the near perfect scenery. My fiancé and I have met riders from Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, and all over Germany.

Riding motorcycles is about being present and enjoying the journey. If you’re looking for a destination point in the area, try Johanniskreuz. Don’t worry about the size of the crowd that will be there when you arrive. Just remind yourself that it’s about the journey, not the destination.