Useful Information

Location: At the southwest foot of Kleiner Bärenstein. Thürmsdorf on the Bärenstein road K8734 towards Weißig. Turn left on Hermann Schneider Weg, after 100 m signposted trail to the left. From the road 200 m, 15 minutes walk.
(50.942236, 14.045231)
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyTectonic cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Günter Schweizer (2019): Zur Geschichte des Berggasthauses auf dem Kleinen Bärenstein in: Landkalenderbuch Sächsische Schweiz-Osterzgebirge 2020, SEW-Verlag, Dresden 2019, S. 107–110, ISBN 978-3-936203-37-0
Sächsisches Höhlenkataster: Diebskeller (Götzinger-Höhle), Katasternummer 5050 PW-15.
Address: Touristinformation Kurort Rathen, Elbweg 8, 01824 Rathen, Tel: +49-3502-470422.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1548 Kleiner Bärenstein first mentioned in a document as "im Behrenstein".
1847 Mountain inn at the Kleiner Bärenstein opened.
from 1851 The district forester Wilhelm Mahn makes the Bärenstein accessible to hikers.
1867 Mountain inn is expanded.
12-SEP-1886 Gebirgsverein für die Sächsische Schweiz puts up a Götzinger memorial plaque in the Diebskeller.
1943 Mountain inn closed.
2004 Forest area around the Bärensteins acquired from private owners.


Like other caves in Saxon Switzerland, the Diebshöhle (Thiefs Cave) on the Kleiner Bärenstein probably served - at least according to legend - as a hiding place for a thief. It is also called Götzingerhöhle in honour of Magister Wilhelm Leberecht Götzinger (*1758-✝1818), who made this landscape world-famous with his descriptions. He had grown up in nearby Struppen. Probably to avoid confusion with other thieves' caves in the area, the cave has in recent years preferably been published as the Götzinger Cave. The cave is the result of a rockfall that created a fissure widening downwards. The two blocks tilted until they touched at the top, creating a high, pointed cave hall. This very rare type of cave is called a tectonic cave because movements in the rock are called tectonics in geology. Tectonic caves usually consist of only a single hall or a long, narrow passage.

When in 1639 the Swedish general Panier took the town of Pirna and the militia went out to rob it from time to time, a single maiden had taken refuge on this rock for fear of being violated. But when the soldiers saw her and wanted to pursue her to the top of the rock and seize her, she fell to her death from the heights to save her chastity and was subsequently buried by the local inhabitants on the spot where the cross is carved into the stone wall.

The Jungfernsprung at the southern end of the Kleiner Bärenstein is simply an overhanging rock. The name is based on the story that a girl threw herself from the rock here, pursued by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years' War. To commemorate her, a cross, still visible today, was chiselled into the vertical wall at this spot. This is a fairly widespread legend, but a great many such things certainly happened during the Thirty Years' War, so one can assume that the story really happened.

The Kleiner Bärenstein (338 m asl) is a typical craggy table mountain in Saxon Switzerland. It lies between the villages of Naundorf, Weißig and Thürmsdorf. The district forester Wilhelm Mahn was committed to developing the area in the 19th century. The two Bärensteine are only 350 m apart in the same forest area. The Kleiner Bärenstein (Small Bear Stone) is obviously the smaller of the two, but it is 9 m higher than the bigger one. It is best reached from the south side, leaving Thürmsdorf on the Bärensteinstraße K8734 towards Weißig. The Hermann Schneider Weg branches off to the left and leads past the Kleiner Bärenstein to the Großer Bärenstein. After 100 m, the path to the Kleiner Bärenstein and to the Diebshöhle branches off to the left, signposted.