A Highlight of a Harz Visit The Brocken ( 1 )
A walk up the Brocken can begin at many of the landmark’s geopoints, or one can take the Brockenbahn from Wernigerode or Drei Annen-Hohne via Schierke up to the highest mountain of the geopark (1,141 meters a.s.l.). On a walk around the Brocken summit, located above the natural timber-line, we encounter granite rocks called the Teufelskanzel (Devil’s Pulpit) and the Hexenaltar (Witch’s Altar) which were described by JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE (1749 - 1832). The “Dachgranit” (roof granite) of the Brocken massif is a biotite granite composed of medium sized crystal grains; the rocks are characterized by flatlying joints dipping to the south. The exhibition in the Brockenhaus invites visitors to a voyage through time with manifold impressions of the magic of the highest mountain in northern Germany. Over four floors of exhibition space, we are presented with interesting facts about the history and nature of the mountain area with its unique geology, flora and fauna. The tour begins with a virtual flight on a broomstick and follows the tracks of famous Brocken hikers, such as HEINRICH HEINE (1797 - 1856) or HERMANN LÖNS (1866 - 1914). Further themes of the visitor center include the military history as well as the building’s function as an interception post of the GDR secret service Stasi – technology of this time is still installed within the building. Moreover, the Harz National Park is present in the center with valuable insights into the complex ecologic connections of the Brocken area. The value of the worldwide national park system is also presented for all age groups. On the way out to the dome’s terrace, German broadcasting and television history is documented in a series of original exhibits from the time when “pictures learned to move”. With a visit to the multimedia show and then the cafeteria, our tour in the Brockenhaus visitor center comes to an end.

Opened daily. |
Grown Up Since the Last Ice Age Bogs in the Upper Harz Region ( 2 )
The western Brocken shoulder belongs to the most rainy locations in Germany. The weather side is clearly of maritime character as a result of the westerly winds that drive the clouds into the area, leading to rainfall on the Brocken. Because of reduced evaporation rates as a consequence of the low mean annual temperature of 3oC and the given topographic characteristics of the area, excess waters are produced, a precondition for the development of rain bogs. Like an hourglass, these areas are arched upwards towards their centre; for this reason they are called “raised bogs”. In the region of the Brocken and its neighbouring Bruchberg there are nearly 3,000 hectars of bogs and bog spruces forests. In order to get an impression of this beautiful bogland we drive to Torfhaus, with a large parking area beside the Federal Road B 4. A tour is best begun with a visit to the National Park visitor center; here one receives information about the bog area through exhibitions, instructive films, a column profiling the progressive phases of the evolution of the bog and suggestions for excursions. We begin with a short walk along the Goetheweg in the direction of the Brocken. On the left, we arrive at the Radauborn-Moor, also called Großes Torfhausmoor. Wooden footbridges provided by the Harz National Park enable visitors to experience all the beauty of this unique raised bog. This region is the headwater source of the Radau, a tributary creek of the river Oker. The parallel Goetheweg and Abbegraben establish a man-made demarcation of the bog. The formation of the bog area began at the end of the last period of glaciation, and approximately 3,000 years ago the bog structure had already taken on its present dimensions, making it one of the oldest extensive raised bogs of the upper Harz range.
In the Headwater Region of the River Bode Feuersteinklippe and “Ahrensklint” ( 3 )
The small village of Schierke, a health and winter sport resort, is located southeast of the Brocken massif in the valley of the Kalte Bode (Cold Bode River). It is the ideal point of departure for excursions into the National Park Harz. The village has been a stop on the Harz narrow gauge steam railroad since the railway began service from Wernigerode to the Brocken in 1899. From the Schierke train station we begin our geological tour, starting with a short trip to a famous rock called the Feuersteinklippe. Already in 1784, GOETHE was fascinated by the reddish granite rocks. On winding foot paths, or, in winter, preferably along a winter hiking trail starting at the Schierke train station, we walk towards the Erdbeerkopf, following the trail signs to the Ahrensklint rock, 822 m a.s.l. The rock was originally known also as Arneklint or Adlerfels. On January 28, 1411, the count of STOLBERG-WERNIGERODE acquired in an exchange with the township or Wernigerode the identically named forest in order to expand his hunting ground. Like the Feuersteinklippe rock, the Ahrensklint shows intense vertical and horizontal jointing, which came about during the cooling of the granite magma after its taking place in this mountain about 293 million years ago. Along these joints, weathering processes were at work, splitting the rock into rounded pieces which resemble so called “wool sacks”. This type of weathering – onion skin weathering – is typical for the local granite formations. The Ahrensklint rock is located near the Glashüttenweg, which indicates that in the Harz mountains the granite debris, rich in quartz, was converted into glass in early times. From the top of the rock, there is a panoramic view to the Brocken, the Wurmberg, to Schierke, to the limestone quarries of Elbingerode and the Hohnekamm. We return to Schierke (2,3 km) by way of the Pfarrstieg.
Granite and Hornfels Oderteich and Rehberg ( 4 )
Starting from the Oderteich on B 242, we walk southward along the Rehberger Graben to Sankt Andreasberg. The Oderteich, with a capacity of 1.7 million cubic meters, and the 7 km long Rehberger Graben were constructed in order to supply the Sankt Andreasberg mines with the water necessary for operating mining machines. After few minutes, we arrive at a geological outcrop manifesting granite weathering. During the Tertiary period, warm, humid climates partially turned the potassium feldspar into kaolinite through the incorporation of water, which reduced the hardness of the granite and brought about its process of decomposition. This transformation did not take place uniformly, however, and parts of intact granite blocks were separated from those portions where the rock was already decomposed into grains of sand. The granite fabric has disintegrated to such an extent that only singular, large granite blocks float in a sandy ground mass. We continue our walk and reach the Goetheplatz. The rocky cliffs to the right of the Rehberger Graben display the upper edge of the granite intrusion. Here older, metamorphically altered sedimentary rocks – “hornfels” – overlay the granite, which later intruded. This outcrop was visited by GOETHE in 1783. From the Grabenweg our view descends into the deeply carved, steep-walled valley of the Oder river. On the opposite slope, large boulder fields – Blockmeere – are visible. At the bottom of the valley, the presence of moraine deposits as well as of blankets of debris, barrier silts and sands indicate that the Harz mountain range was, to some extent, affected by glaciation processes during the Pleistocene. The trail continues to the restaurant Rehberger Grabenhaus built in 1772. From here, we cross the Jordanshöhe on a footpath which has been converted into a petrographical educational trail leading to Sankt Andreasberg.

Tourist-Information Sankt Andreasberg
Tel.: 0049 5582 – 80336
Gaipel, Shaft, Tunnels, Water Wheels & GeoPark Infopoint Samson Mine & National Park visitor center ( 5 )
Sankt Andreasberg is known as the mineralogical “treasury“ of the Harz. There are approximately twenty, for the most part narrow, ore veins that appear here in which, in addition to sulfuric lead, zinc and copper ores, silver ore of a complex composition is to be found. This renowned region has yielded up a total of over 320 t of silver. The mining museum Samson consists of the entire complex of the above ground mining plant, closed in 1910 after long operation in a shaft for silver ore at a depth of 810 m. With the only Drahtseil-Fahrkunst, a cable elevator, still in duty in the world, the plant has been designated an international machine monument. Two giant water wheels convey a vivid impression of highly developed usage of water-driven technology. The mining shaft serves not only as a museum but also as a source of regenerative water energy. The Gaipel – or shaft house – also contains a museum for Harz canary birds. More hands-on technology of mining can be experienced in the adjacent mining museum Catharina Neufang. A learning trail for geology and mining history along the Beerberg with its information panels leads us to numerous mining relics and helps introduce us to this cradle of silver mining. Here, in 1520, the first rich silver ores were discovered in Sankt Andreasberg. Near the Samson mine, at the Erzwäsche, a site where the Samson ore was washed and concentrated, we are invited in the Sankt Andreasberg National Park visitor center to a journey through time. A film transports us back millions of years to the period in which the Harz originated. We can experience how the forests and waters resources were exploited in the past and learn how the natural environment is now beginning to recover in the National Park Harz. “Let nature be nature” is the motto of the park. A collection of ore minerals and rocks manifests the geological diversity of the Harz.
Into Former Borderlands Ecker Valley Dam and Eckergneis ( 6 )
South of the Radau Falls, we enter the Radau valley and can leave the car at the end of the public road. Hiking to the Ecker Dam, we pass the geological site of the Kohlebornskehre, where an information panel identifies and explains this point as an exposure of harzburgite – an ultramafic rock type of the peridodite group. Harzburgite is composed predominately of serpentinized olivines and orthopyroxenes. Because of the intense reflexion of the orthopyroxen minerals, this rock is also called Schillerfels (glitter rock). The Ecker Valley Dam forms an artificial lake with the highest altitude of the lakes managed by the Harzwasserwerke. The dam wall, constructed of heavy concrete, is 235 meters long, 65 meters high and resists through its own weight a water pressure of up to 420,000 tons. The lake’s storage capacity is 13.3 million cubic meters. The dam was finished in 1942. At that time, the Ecker river divided the Prussian province of Saxonia in the east from that of Hannover in the west. As a consequence of World War II, this dam became part of the inner German border, and the frontier troups of the GDR erected a wall on top of it. One of the concrete border columns has been left standing as a reminder of these times. Along the the Ecker Reservoir, metamorphic rocks are exposed: the Ecker gneiss. These rocks were once considered to be the oldest rocks in the Harz, but according to new geological researches these gneisses are just of normal hercynian (variscan) age. They are part of the Harz basement rocks, but were metamorphically changed by high pressures and later the high temperatures of the rising gabbro melts here. Information panels near the barrage wall provide geological details. At the Ecker Dam wall we find a stamping station for the Harz Hiking Pin.
In the Ilse ValleyNational Park Community Ilsenburg ( 7 )
Ilsenburg is situated immediately on the Northern Harz Boundary Fault bordering the Harz basement geologically to the north. OTTO III. (980 - 1002) had donated his fortress Elysynaburg to the diocese of Halberstadt. A cloister church constructed of Rogenstein was built 1078 - 1087 as a threenaved cruciform romanesque basilika on the grounds of the castle. The church contains unique fragments of a gypsum composition floor. Because the monks and the garrison troups were perpetually quarreling, members of the garrison erected a new citadel on the opposite granitic rock of the Ilsestein. In 1106, this building was destroyed. From this point on, the Ilsenburg monastary evolved undisturbed into a cultural and economical centre of the northern Harz foreland. Depending on the iron ore mines in the Harz, BOTHO III., count of STOLBERG-WERNIGERODE (1467 - 1538), founded the Fürst Stolberg Hütte in 1530. In 1546, the first blast-furnace was constructed in Ilsenburg. Because of the fame of Ilsenburg’s metallurgical industry, Tsar PETER I. (1682 - 1725) made a short detour to here during his legendary voyage to Holland. For 200 years, the Ilsenburg foundry was one of the most important producers of pig and cast iron amongst the German states. The hydropower of the Ilse river and the forests were other essential resources of this place. HANS DIETRICH VON ZANTHIER (1717 - 1778), head forester of the counts of STOLBERG-WERNIGERODE, recognized impending exploitation danger for the forests and initiated sustainable restocking programs. The Technical Museum of Ilsenburg gives information about the history of the iron foundry and models of how the technology functioned. It also houses a rich collection of ornamental ironcasting from the 16th through the 20th centuries. In addition, the new Ilsenburg Industry Trail and the National Park visitor center Ilsetal are also to be recommended.
MotivTourist-Information Ilsenburg
Tel.: 0049 (39452) 1 94 33
In the Fluvial Region of the Holtemme River To the Ottofelsen ( 8 )
The Holtemme river drains the north-east Brocken area passing through the towns of Wernigerode and Halberstadt and finally flowing into the Bode river. Starting from Steinerne Renne train station, we accompany the Holtemme river along its main stream up into the mountains. Near the train station of the Harzer Schmalspurbahnen, we find a historical crane replica demonstrating granite work stone production. We follow the Holtemme through the Steinerne Renne up to the hotel of the same name. On sunny days you can sit on a terrace here and listen to the rushing fall. The waterfall itself is a good example of “retreating erosion”. The granite cliffs, created by the effects of weathering, give the valley its wild, romantic character. We leave the valley and follow the signs towards the Lochstein and Ottofelsen. The Lochstein, also “Gebohrter Stein”, is a granite rock exhibiting advanced onion skin weathering so that you can look through the rock. We finally reach the Ottofelsen. Stairs lead upwards to a rock plateau at the top of this rock. As a reward for your efforts, there is a spectacular view of the Brocken and the Harz foreland. For the way back, we choose the forest road in the Thumkuhlen valley. To the left, we soon see an abandoned granite quarry. From here, gravel and rocks were transported by an electric field train to a loading station finished in 1898. From this point we walk along the tracks of the Harzquerbahn, through the Beerberg area where mining also took place. In 1707, Prussia founded the Royal Mining Authority Wernigerode. We soon reach the entrance of the König Friedrich mine, which attests to the fact that King FRIEDRICH II. of Prussia (1712 - 1786) supported the mining business by giving it special privileges. Our excursion ends at its starting point.
Mining Educational Trail Lossen Memorial & Thumkuhlen Valley ( 9 )
Short after leaving Wernigerode heading to Schierke, we arrive at the Lossen Memorial on the right hand side. Like the Memorial, the nearby parking space is located near a mining trail providing information on the natural history and geology. In 1896, the memorial was constructed in honour to the geologist KARL AUGUST LOSSEN (1841 - 1893). As a royal district geologist of the Prussian Geological Survey of Berlin and professor at the Royal Mining Academy of Berlin, LOSSEN won recognition for his geological research in the region. All various rocks of the memorial come from the Harz geological surroundings. Our short trip into the Thumkuhlen valley starts on a footpath beginning at the parking place and leading upwards alongside a creek. Soon we pass by a geological exposure of late Devonian age and then reach a mine entrance, all hidden from view behind a mining waste dump on which an old spruce tree grows. The entrance is evidence of the intense mining activity throughout the Thumkuhlen valley, which presumably was first initiated in response to the prospect of finding silver and other metal ores in the early 16th century. In the first half of the 17th century, mining here was concentrated on the excavation of cobalt ore (Hasseröder Blau) for production of blue colouring substances. At the end of the 18th century, a flooding of the mine devastated the plant. Further upstream, a demonstration plant with a functioning water wheel was reconstructed. The last phase of the Thumkuhlen valley mining took place in the 1950’s during the “cold war” with a search for uranium. Trace uranium mineralisations had been known in Sachsen-Anhalt since the end of the 19th century. In the Thumkuhlen valley, uranium minerals were detected in the former cobalt ore mine, but like the other occurrences in the Harz region, the ores proved to be not rich enough and thus spared the Harz the consequence of uranium mining.

Touristinformation Wernigerode
Tel: 0049 (3943) 63 30 35
Intrusive Rocks with Contact Zone Geological History of the Area
In the course of the Hercynian (Variscan) Orogeny, which began in the middle of the Carboniferous, sediments, for the most part marine, were folded, foliated and finally lifted up above sea level as a part of the large Variscan fold belt. As a result of these plate tectonic processes, hot liquid magma rose and became stuck in the rocks of the Harz, where it cooled down. This granite intrusion formed the present Brocken granite, the predominant rock type in the area of Landmark 4. Besides the granite, the Harzburg gabbro came up as another magmatic rock. These intrusions penetrated and melted the surrounding rocks, provoking a contact metamorphosis, through which the invaded rocks are stressed and altered. In the contact zones of the magmas with neighbouring sedimentary rocks, especially hard and resistant rocks known as hornfels developed under the influence of high temperatures. Examples of such hornfels are to be found all around the granite and gabbro rocks. The surroundings of the granite-gabbro massif is primarily composed of marine sediments deposited during the geological periods of the Devonian and the Early Carboniferous over a time span of about 440 to 320 million years ago. They consist above all of slate and greywacke, typical rock types of the Harz. In addition, there are intercalations of chert, sandstone and limestone. In the Devonian (about 390 to 370 million years ago), submarine volcanic eruptions formed the rock named diabase, a paleobasalt Only as the uplift and the erosion of the overlying sediments began did the intrusive rocks of the granite and the gabbro came up to the surface. In the wake of these processes, also the Ecker gneiss was exposed. The Brocken massif was sub sequently thrust up over younger rocks in the region of the n o r t h e r n margin in the course of the uplifting of the Harz, during which the rock beds were steeply elevated and partly overturned.
Selected Points of Information
Restaurants and Accommodations
MotivHotel Brockenscheideck
Schierke – Brockenstraße 49
Tel.: 0049 (39455) 268
MotivHotel König
Schierke – Kirchberg 15
Tel.: 0049 (39455) 383
Schierke - Brockenplateau
Tel.: 0049 (39455) 120
MotivCafe Winkler
Schierke – Barenberg 1
Tel.: 0049 (39455) 235
MotivRestaurant Grimbart’s
Tel.: 0049 (5520) 94310
MotivWurmberg Alm
Tel.: 0049 (5520) 7 21
Publisher: Regionalverband Harz e. V., Hohe Straße 6, 06484 Quedlinburg
0049 3946 – 96410, Email:
2., revised Editon, 10 – 25 k
© Regionalverband Harz e. V.
Quedlinburg 2012. All rights reserved.
Authors: Dr. Friedhart Knolle, Dr. Klaus George
Photos: Dr. Klaus George, Walter Wimmer
Graphic: Dr. Hans-Joachim Franzke (Sketch), Irene Joß
Translation: Dr. Torsten Steiger, Dr. Harriett Watts, Dr. Friedhard Knolle
Conception: Design Office Agentur für Kommunikation, Wernigerode
Printing: Creaktiv, Goslar