Sankt Roman, nestling between the Westweg and Mittelweg

The classic route through the Black Forest from Pforzheim to Basel.

  • Trekking the Westweg, by Kat Morgenstern (Cicerone, 2016)
  • Schwarzwald Fernwanderwege, by Martin Kuhnle (Bergverlag Rother, 2020)

Here, we compare an English-language guide to the Westweg with a German-language book which also covers two other trails from Pforzheim, the Mittelweg and Ostweg. The latter two finish at Waldshut and Schaffhausen respectively.

Looking at the Westweg, the detail of the directions and the background reading are of pretty similar (high) standards — perhaps partly due to the fact that Morgenstern hails originally from Berlin, and thus has a German slant on the information. Kuhnle’s base is just outside Pforzheim. So if your only interest in walking the Black Forest is to head for Switzerland on the Westweg, there is not much to separate the two books, except the obvious difference of the language.

Kuhnle, of course, gives the reader two extra portions of Schwarzwaldtorte in the form of the two other routes, packed into a single, slightly thinner, book (the cost of the books is comparable). His logistics of each day are slightly more comprehensive than those of Morgenstern, and his maps are a shade easier on the eye. That said, I really would not want to be without the relevant maps at 1:50000 from the Baden-Württemberger Landesamt or (at a pinch) from Kompass, whichever book I was using.

If you read German (or can steel yourself to do so) at a simple technical level, then you are more likely to gravitate towards Kuhnle. However, though I am pleased to own both, this is one occasion when the monoglot anglophone may rest just as easily with only the English of Morgenstern.

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