Vogts Grub

Useful Information

The sinkhole from a greater distance, Vogt´s Grub, Germany. Public Domain.
View into the sinkhole from the north, Vogt´s Grub, Germany. Public Domain.
Location: Pichlerstraße 76, 89150 Laichingen.
On the outskirts of Laichingen, on the bypass road. Best reached from the Laichinger Tiefenhöhle.
(48.488563, 9.706149)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstDoline
Light: n/a
Dimension: Ø=55 m, VR=10 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Helmut Frank (1967): Vogt's Grub Laichingen, Laichinger Höhlenfreund, 2(3), S. 14–15.
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-MAY-2003 declared a natural monument ND8425086.


View into the sinkhole from the west, Vogt´s Grub, Germany. Public Domain.
View into the sinkhole from the east, Vogt´s Grub, Germany. Public Domain.

With a depth of 10 m and a diameter of 55 m, Vogt's Grub is one of the largest dolines on the Swabian Alb. Dolines are not uncommon in karst areas, but the Swabian Alb has been populated since the 7th century and the farmers were dependent on their arable land. So sinkholes were very frequently filled in so that the land could be used again. However, Vogt's Grub is so huge that this was not possible. Nevertheless, it was probably used to dispose of stones and rubbish, and it was probably also used for carcasses, in ignorance of the fact that pathogens would enter the groundwater. In any case, it can be assumed that the sinkhole was originally much deeper than it is today. According to local lore, it was originally about 60 m in diameter and almost twice as deep. However, there is no written evidence of this.

A doline like this is called an Erdfall (pronounced Aidfall) in Swabian. This name also already explains how it formed, the earth fell down. Such relatively steep-sided sinkholes are formed by the collapse of a large underlying cavity, a cave chamber. They are thus called collapse dolines.

The size of the sinkhole depends not only on the size of the collapsed cavity, but also on its depth. Even the collapse of a large cavity can hardly be visible on the earth's surface if it happens deep enough. The rock that follows breaks away from the ceiling forms debris with large and small mostly angular blocks that wedge against each other to form small fissures. The volume of the former cave space is thus distributed over many small crevices. But here at Vogts Grub, a very large cavity must have collapsed, and relatively close to the earth's surface at that.

The doline is today a protected area, and since it is not cultivated, hedges and trees grow undisturbed. Due to the stony subsoil, which hinders growth, and due to maintenance work by the town of Laichingen, it is kept free to such an extent that one can look into the sinkhole from several places along the edge. It is better to visit it in winter, when the view is not obstructed by vegetation. The sinkhole is officially part of the Laichingen Karst Trail, but it is not on the circular route. Rather, it is located at a side branch which starts at the Tiefenhöhle, one-way distance 1.5 km. This is also the easiest access. If this is too far a walk for you, you can park at the end of Gottlieb-Daimler-Straße or at the end of Pichlerstraße, cross the bypass road on the bridge and then turn left. From here it is about 500 m/10 minutes walk.

Panorama, Vogt´s Grub, Germany. Public Domain.