Aufberger Loch

Useful Information

Location: 72805 Lichtenstein.
L230 between Traifelberg/Engstingen and Genkingen, Aufberg car park.
(48.404179, 9.244968)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstDoline
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=45 m, W=40 m, VR=15 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: J. Scheff (1978): Das Aufberger Loch (7521/05) und Breitensteinhöhle 1-3 (7521/30-32), Schwäbische Alb, Beiträge zur Höhlen- und Karstkunde,11,S. 7–9. Deutsch - German
Address: Parkplatz Aufberg, 72805 Lichtenstein.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Aufberger Loch (Aufberg Pit) is one of the largest sinkholes in the central Swabian Alb and is very easy to visit with a 5-minute walk. It is an almost circular collapse doline with a diameter of 45 metres and a depth of 15 metres. Although there is no path down, the descent on the south side is actually very easy. At the bottom of the doline there are limestone blocks covered by humus and foliage and two small cave passages that are easy to navigate. The first is of the ice cellar type, which means that it goes downwards and then ends. This is actually rather unimportant, as the sinkhole is already an ice cellar in itself, but it adds to the effect. Cold air is heavier than warm air, and so in winter, when the outside temperature is lower than in the cave, the outside air flows into the cave due to its weight. This causes dripping water to freeze into icicles, ice stalactites and ice stalagmites.

The Aufberger Loch is not signposted, nor does the car park have a name sign. From the roundabout at Traifelberg, follow the road to Genkingen (L230). Ignore the turn-offs to Lichtenstein Castle and two hikers' car parks; after almost 3 km you will come to the third hikers' car park, called Aufberg, on the right-hand side. This is a simple rectangular tarmac area that is crowded on Sundays and rather empty the rest of the week. A tarmac track leads uphill from here. After 300 metres, turn right across the meadow and into the forest, where there are footpaths but no real hiking trail. Be careful, it is sometimes steep and slippery.