Themenweg Unterirdische Schandtauber

Useful Information

Location: Train Station Schrozberg.
(49.346849, 9.974799)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstKarst Trail
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=18.2 km, D=4.5 h, VR=11 m.
Schandtauberhöhle: L=1.103 m.
Fuchslabyrinth: L=14.261 m.
Schandtauberhöhle 2: L=3.616 m.
Schandtauberhöhle 1: L=1.103 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Andreas Hoydem (1987): Karst und Höhlen im Einzugsgebiet des Schandtauber-Höhlensystems, Beiträge zur Höhlen- und Karstkunde in Südwestdeutschland Nr. 31, S. 13-23, Stuttgart März 1987.
Michael Ross (2021): Der Themenweg "Unterirdische Schandtauber" zwischen Schrozberg und Rotherburg ob der Tauber, Mitt. Verb. dt. Höhlen- und Karstforscher, 67(2), München 2021, 42-48. pdf
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.


07-JAN-1973 Schandtauber Cave visited for the first time.
1984 Schandtauber Cave placed under nature conservation.
SEP-2021 Theme trail opened to the public.


The Unterirdische Schandtauber (Underground Schandtauber) theme trail between Blaufelden and Schrozberg is a karst hiking trail that follows the underground course of the Schandtauber. The Schandtauber is a river which is only about 13 km long, a left tributary of the Tauber. The name comes from Old High German, "Schantauber" means short Tauber. The Schandtauber rises on the Hohenlohe plain, about one kilometre south of Blaufelden-Gammesfeld in a small wood. Near Bettenfeld there is another karst spring which supplies the Schandtauber with most of its water. The water is dammed up at the spring, forming a typical blue-coloured spring pool. Due to the significantly larger discharge and because the upper course of the Schandtauber often runs dry, this spring is also often considered to be the actual source of the Schandtauber. The karst spring originates from a large cave system, the Schandtauberhöhle (Schandtauber Cave), which is completely filled with water and is not accessible from here.

The actual catchment area boundary of the springs differs greatly from the valley dividing lines, which can be seen in the landscape. These date back to the time before drainage moved underground. The Brettach tributary Wiesenbach loses water through seepage in the streambed, which flows into the Schandtauber, as does the Jagst. In total, 41 km² of the Brettach catchment area on the right and 87 km² of the Jagst catchment area drain at least partially into the Schandtauber.

The theme of the karst hiking trail is the underground course of the Schandtauber river before it emerges in Bettenfeld. The whole area is karstified, with various karst phenomena in the catchment area, some of which are stops along the trail. The most important of these, the Schandtauber cave, is not accessible for obvious reasons: the passage is rather small and half-filled with water, and it is strenuous and dangerous to enter. However, there is water in two sinkholes along the way, which is considered part of the Schandtauber. Cave entrances and shafts, as well as swallow holes, also always have a connection to the underground course of the Schandtauber.

The Schandtauberhöhle (Schandtauber cave) was discovered in 1972 during quarry work near Bettenfeld, or rather a dry entrance to the cave was discovered. On 7th January 1973, it was visited for the first time by speleologists from the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Höhle und Karst Stuttgart e.V. (Stuttgart Cave and Karst Association). They discovered a stream in the cave and were able to follow it in both directions. It soon became clear that this stream was the underground Schandtauber. In the meantime, various caves have been explored in this area, the Schandtauberhöhle 2 (Schandtauber Cave 2), the Fuchslabyrinth (Fox Maze), the Ölloch (Oil Hole), the Rohrbrunnenhöhle (Tube Well Cave) and the Gammesfelder Höhle (Gammesfeld Cave). All of them represent a part of the underground Schandtauber. The connection was proven by dye tracing, but could not be explored due to blocked connections. And although only parts of the cave system are navigable, the Fuchslabyrinth is 14 km long and the third-longest cave in Germany.

The theme trail was built by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Höhle und Karst Stuttgart e.V. (Stuttgart Cave and Karst Association). In addition to voluntary work, funding from the VdHK, LHK and LEADER, they collected €15,000 via the donation portal to finance the project. This made it possible to erect 8 storytelling stations, each consisting of panels with graphics and explanatory texts as well as a system for playing audio clips with explanations and accounts of experiences. That is why they are called storytelling stations. Not entirely coincidentally, the project took place in the International Year of Caves and Karst 2021, making the theme trail a documentation of over 40 years of cave research in the eastern Hohenlohe Plain that is accessible to the public at all times. A rather entertaining report about the various hurdles in the creation of the trail appeared in 2021 in the VdHK's association bulletins.