Karstlehrpfad Breitscheid-Erdbach

Karst Trail Breitscheid-Erdbach - Karst- und Höhlenlehrpfad

Useful Information

Location: Near Erdbach.
A 45 (Sauerlandlinie) exit Herborn West, B 255 to the turnoff Amdorf/Uckersdorf, turn right towards Amdorf, next turn left to Erdbach.
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave KarstDoline KarstPonor KarstKarst Trail Devonian/Carbon reef limestone.
Light: bring torch
Dimension: Große Runde (Big Loop): D=4 h, L=8 km, yellow marking.
Kleine Runde (Small Loop): D=2 h, L=3 km, red marking.
Guided tours: after appointment by certified Geopark guides.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Dr. Uwe Peters (2005): Museums- und Karstlehrpfadführer, pp 43, 4€, avaliable at the museum, in the Vogelpark Uckersdorf, and from the author.
Address: Gemeindeverwaltung Breitscheid, Postfach 43, 35767 Breitscheid, Tel: +49-2777-9133-0. E-mail: contact
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.


1965 first exploration of the Erdbachhöhle.
1991 discoveries in swalow hole 3.
1993 Herbstlabyrinth-Adventhöhlensystem discovered during quarry works.
1996 1,000 m of cave explored.
29-DEC-1999 connection between Erdbachhöhle and swallow hole 3 discovered.


The Karstlehrpfad Breitscheid-Erdbach (Karst nature trail Breitscheid-Erdbach) is a geological hiking trail with various stations explaining different aspects of a karst landscape. The village Breitscheid is located in a small karst area on the western slopes of the Westerwald. The limestone of this area was formed by a reef during the end of the Devon and the beginning Carbon period (400 Ma ago), and is surrounded by insoluble sedimentary rocks like sandstones and siltstones. It is heavily karstified, with several rather deep caves, and the border between the soluble and insoluble rocks shows impressive swallow holes and karst springs. There is one show caves called Herbstlabyrinth, a karst trail and a museum about geology and speleology.

The Erdbach Höhlen (Erdbach Caves) are named after the small river Erdbach, which vanishes into the ground through several forming caves, and reappears after 1,200 m in a spring. The cave is famous for being 96 m deep, which makes it the deepest cave north of the Alps. However, it is not possible to visit this cave unless you are an experienced caver. The Große Steinkammer and Kleine Steinkammer are two caves which may be visited on special tours after appointment or self-guided. They are rather small and easy to visit, but have a long history. Archaeologists discovered human bones, jewelry, tools and pottery, which are now on exhibit in the museum at Breitscheid.

The karst trail allows visitors to see many interesting karst features on the surface, and even some small caves or cave entrances. This trail was made by the geologist Dr. Uwe Peters and the community of Breitscheid. The beautiful landscape was explained on 15 plates, karst features like the Steinkammer caves, the swallow holes of the Erdbach, the resurgence of the Erdbach and a closed quarry are stops on the trail. In the meantime, however, the Herbstlabyrinth show cave has been opened and the area is now part of the Westerwald-Lahn-Taunus Geopark. The karst trail has been greatly revised and is now called the Karst- und Höhlenlehrpfad (karst and cave trail). It now has two routes of different lengths with a total of 24 information boards; the short loop roughly corresponds to the old karst trail, while the long loop additionally offers sinkholes, ponors and viewpoints.