To the three mesas right above the resort Gohrisch

Gohrischstein, Papstein, Kleinhennersdorfer Stein –these are the names of the three mesas, which surround the resort. Our migration leads us through narrow crevices up to the top of the Gohrischstein and the Papstein, from where you have a fantastic panorama on the Saxony Switzerland. At the Kleinhennersdorfer Stein you will find some lovely caves.


Wanderroute: Kurort Gohrisch - Gohrischstein - Papststein - Lichterhöhle am Kleinhennersdorfer Stein - Hans-Förster-Weg unterhalb des Papststeins - Muselweg - Kurort Gohrisch

Aussichtspunkte: Gohrischstein***, Papststein***, Aussicht von der Wiese unterhalb des Kleinhennersdorfer Steins**

Schwierigkeit: mittel Länge: ca. 8 km Dauer: ca. 3,5 - 4 h

Einkehrmöglichkeiten: Gaststätten in Kurort Gohrisch, Papststein

IWe will start our trip right in the middle of Gohrisch at the parking lot and the bus stop, situating opposite from the former Erbgericht. Today it is the Annas Hof inn, whose former owner Adalbert Hauffe is considered as a founder of Gohrischs tradition "Sommerfrische". He was the first person who furnished his property for the well-off guests in 1869 and therefore layed the foundations of Gohrischs rise to a resort

A signpost points us the direction into the Stillen Grund and to the rock Gohrisch, marked with a yellow pointt . Along a market garden we move upward, straight ahead of us we can already see the steep northwest flank of the Gohrisch. In the flat meadow valley of the Stillen Grund we reach the forest corner. When looking back we see the Lilienstein rising over the resort Gohrisch.

We leave yellow point marker and go in into the dark Niederwald consisting of spruces and pines. Over wood steps it goes upward more steeply later, until we arrive at a broader trail. Here we find a board of a didactic exhibition, which pupils of a school in Papstdorf put on in 1997/98.


We stay on the broad way only a few meters to the right. A sand surface and several draining offs show that we reached the foot of the Gohrisch. We go to the left. Just 30 metres later a signpost guides us to left again, up to the Gohrisch. After two minutes we see the next signpost and turn right.

On our left side above us we notice the rising steep cliffs of the Gohrisch and the low forest now becomes higher with old beeches and pines. To the left we step into a rock angle. Two possible ascents can now be chosen: on the left of the more difficult, slippery way through the Falkenschlucht and on the right of the easier ascent.

We decide for the Falkenschlucht and go to the left. On our way to the entrance to the ravine we discover a stone bench, engraved with the name of the developer of the Gohrischstein, Oberfoerster Emil Grünewald, and which has been set up in 1992 on the occasion of the 100th day of his death. After overcoming a smaller rock we discern on the left side the climbing rock "Zwerg" at whom we can perhaps observe some mountain climbers. On the right we get into the Falkenschlucht. Using the wood ladders we climb up the ravine, which was artificially extended in 1886. Especially children might have alot of fun on this narrow and dark ascent.

Having arrived on the plateau, firstly we turn to the left toward the weather vane lookout. The plateau of the Gohrisch is strongly fissured, so we have to ascend several times before the lookout northwest corner arrives. Since over 100 years do the weather vanes adorn the top of this rock, five different vanes are verified with photos. Only a few were not durable enough to last. Now the sixth vane, artisticly designed with the summit greeting “Berg Heil” and set up in 1985, was manufactured by a friend of the Gohrisch region. The view from the rocky northwest trail is terrific: to the north right below us we see the resort Gohrisch, outshined by the high-rising Lilienstein and amongst them the bank of the Elbe. In the further north the rocks of the area Rathen and of the Brand join and in the northwest the Bärensteine rise behind the Napoleonallee.

Looking to the west we notice the Pfaffenstein with his broad east side, even the slim needle of the Barbarine becomes visible. Beside the Pfaffenstein join the flat Quirl and the Koenigstein fortress.

To the south we recognize the large forest around the Katzstein and the Hohen Schneeberg.

In the east the rocks of the two Hunskirchen at the Papststein loom up, left beside it the flat Kleinhennersdorfer Stein. When the visibility is good enough we can see the rear of the Saxony Switzerland: the Schrammsteine, Hohen Torstein and the Falkenstein are visible. Between the Hohen Torstein and the Falkenstein the Bloßstock looks through in the Affensteine.

On the same way we return to the exit of the Falkenschlucht, then continue over the rocky reef up to the refuge, which situates on the east side and has been reconstructed in 1998 (more about this you find in the Exkurs). Straight before us are the Papststein with the fire watch-tower ones before us on the Papststein with the fire awake tower, left beside it the big and the small Hunskirche.

Nearby the refuge some steps leads us downstairs to the Schwedenhöhle in just a few minutes. Not the narrow cleft cave but the small rock basin has been used as a hiding-place during war and was a safe refuge for the farmers at that time. The water, coming from a build-up horizon in the moist, green rock wall was collected in an artificially deepened, small basin. Still today you can see the basin filled with water during the mid-summer.

Back in the refuge, we encounter some small obstractions of a erosion renovation, which point out the negative effects of tourism in the region, because especially damage from footsteps weaken the sensitive nature. In 1887 a landlord from the Papststein reported that there were enough cranberries on the Papststein and the Gohrischstein to fill the need of the hotel. But today you can rarely find some.

Starting from the refuge a descent leads us through a ravine on the east side of the mesa and then downhill steeply across several steps which were carved out of the rock and wood steps. Right before street a way forking arrives. We keep left and the red point marker goes along with us a few metres until we reach a board referring to a basalt quarry which is left open. Around 1850 at this place they axed basalt which they used as gravel.

The approx 1100°C hot basaltic melt, which climbed in the sandstone during the tertiary, did not reach the surface of the powerful sandstone plate. To that approx.. 30 m in the diameter measuring basalt chimney adjacent sandstone was partly melted and cooled off again whereby it came to the formation of sandstone columns, which by having a diameter from 1 to 5 cm here at the Gohrisch are unusually beautiful and delicate. Unfortunately the place of discovery is accrete today. Regional occurrences of such a sandstone column are only well-known from the Hausberg in the rear Saxony Switzerland as well as from the "Orgel" in the Zittauer Mountains. The sandstone columns at the Gohrisch, being a nature monument, is under protection since 1979.

Only few minutes later, directly above the parking lot, we hit the stoma of the stoapstone lug. It is not accessible for visitors and locked by a metal door. Only the bats can slip through a hole to get to their wintering grounds inside.

We now cross the street and take the ascent to the Papststein. Constantly rising, first over long sets of steps, later over metal stairs between rocks, it goes up to the Papststein. Straight left two lookout pulpits are awaiting the rambler.

Right in front of us we see the detached, rugged rock of the Hunskirchen. The name, which also appears in Hinterhermsdorf, derives from the standard German word hunkerk, whereas hun translates to Höhe and kerk to Spitze. Still looking from the lookout pulpits, we see the Gohrisch, which we just mounted, next to the Hunskirchen, with its steep northwest flank and the widely apparent weather vane. Even the refuge is visible. The distant view to the north and west is similar to that of the Gohrisch. Near the lookouts we find a inscription in the rock, being from the royal measurement in 1863.

A unique "siege" of the Hunskirchen took place in the October of 1996, when the military exercise "Jäger '96" was accomplished at the Papststein. For this purpose the biological reserve had been chosen, which is of a lower value than the national park. Over 100 climbers clambered the Hunskirchen and uncoiled banners at the cliffs. Due to the unexpectedly intense protests of the climbers, ramblers, environmentalists and inhabitants against military maneuvers in the Saxony Switzerland, a further action was discharged..

Just a bit above, close to the mountain tavern, there is another lookout.

Not until an attendance of prince Friedrich August of Saxony in 1830, the Papststein became better known as a place of excursions. In 1858 a wooden pavilion was set up on the Papststein. Shortly after the year 1862 when a basic licensed housing had been established, a new stone look-out was build in 1883. Since 1889 visitors could have a view from the stage at the south point. After the stone look-out had to be broke down in 1936 due to disrepair, one year later the section Königstein of the mountain association commissioned the build of a new, wooden 9m high look-out on the Papststein. Today a fire station tower shapes the picture of the Papststein.

In a document of 1496 the Papststein is called "Bogersdorfer Stein", deduced from the nearby village Bogansdorf (1371), whose name was Bobisdorf (1530) and Bobstdorf (1548) and finally changed to Papstdorf.

From the mountain tavern, which is opened daily, we recommend to go on top of the Papststein (452m) and especially enjoy the view to the south and east. Next to the nearby Gohrisch we spot the Pfaffenstein. In the background we recognize the Hohen Schneeberg with the look-out, both of the Zschirnsteine, the more flat Lasensteine, the Kohlbornstein, Zorkelstein, Kaiserkrone, also the basaltic cone of the Rosenberg, the Kaltenberg in Bohemia as well as the Große Winterberg in between the rear of the Saxony Switzerland become visible. (also see panorama)

Directly under us lies Papstdorf with its bright church, surrounded by large fields. From here on the top it is moreover possible to suspect the forest hides, although the hides had been merged and reoresent large fields.

Perhaps we are able to see a common buzzard circling, the most frequent raptor in the Saxony Switzerland..

Looking from the Papststein over there to the Gohrisch and to the Kleinhennersdorfer Stein, then one can maybe imagine that the three Table Mountains once formed a connected sandstone plateau.

Off the Papststein stone we descend now over stages, then the way runs somewhat below the highest ridge on almost same height. Directly under us the walls drop steeply. In January of 1972 an enormous masses of rocks went off at this place, and 4000qm rock fell into the valley. At the slope underneath the Papststein we notice big boulders scattered around, having been detached from the wall when it all came down and in between which young new trees began growing.
Before we finally descend steeply, still another last view is offered on the south side of the Papststein, showing us Papstdorf with the church. The Zschirnsteine show up from an unusual side.

The stages lead, at first in a damp rock ravine, which was made accessible in 1845, down there into a saddle with a way crossing. Here we leave the marker red point, also do not go to the left into the Suppelsgrund, but on the easily rising way toward Kleinhennersdorfer Stein up to the next, sandy crossing with a didactic exhibition board to the sandstone mining at the Kleinhennersdorfer Stein. To left hand we see the large Hunskirche sticking out at the Papststein. At the crossing the ascent to the caves starts, whose largest is the Lichterhöhle. (see excursion for details).

After having inspected the caves and back again at the sandy crossing, we follow the way left downward toward Kleinhennersdorf until we reach the edge of the forest. There we notice the red line marker, which we follow to the right toward Papstdorf.

We continue to move on same height along the promising edge of the meadow. A lay-by with bank and table invites for a little stay and look out.

Pretty close in front of us are the Lasensteine and the Kohlbornstein, the view reaches very far into the rear of the Saxony Switzerland. Especially the range of the Schrammsteine with the Falkenstein is very prominent. To the left we see forested Kleinhennersdorfer Stein (392m), which is only marked by a few rock spurs.

Now the small village Kleinhennersdorf lies directly in front of us in a hollow. The first mentioning of Kleinhennersdorf took place in 1439 as "Wyndisch Heynersdorff". In this case the Slavic word "wendisch" was connected with the name of the Franconian locator Heinrich or Heiner. Probably Wenden originally settled at this place .

Passing by a game reserve we move on to thenext way crossing which is only a little underneath the saddle between Papststein and the Kleinhennersdorfer Stein. To the left, now marked with a red point and red line , we proceed up to a small place near the first houses which belong the Rapsdörfel, a part of the Papstdorf. Here we are leaving the two red markers and take the narrow concrete route, turning half right, and have a view on the church of Papstdorf.

It is assumed that Papstdorf, which is situated in a hollow, was found by some Franconian settlers around 1250. 1371 it was mentioned documentary for the first time as Bogansdorf. The today's church was built in 1786/87.

At a left turn we find a signpost which shows us the direction to the Papststein and Gohrisch. We decide to return to the health resort Gohrisch on paths which lead through the south side of the rocks. At the signpost begins the Hans Foerster way, named after the important botanist of the Saxony Switzerland Hans Foerster (1896-1971), who lived in Papstdorf. Another name of the path, leading us along the south side of the Papststein, is Weinleitenweg. It reminds us of the cultivation attempts of wine in this south area.

On our left side we find a set of boundary stones, which electors swords or a crown. At the end of the Weinleitenweg, just before the road, we found the Lachternummer 32 with crown at a large rock. This rock with the strange name Schlickerschlacker comes from an early rockslide.

We pass the freight elevator of the restaurant and reach the road, which we follow downward up to the local entrance sign of Papstdorf. Now we keep to the right and go on the Wirtschaftsweg over the meadow, along birch grove with a bank. Above us we see the cliffy Papststein and Gohrisch.

We cross the road, leading from Gohrisch to Cunnersdorf, and then it goes on the yellow marked Muselweg through the forest toward the health resort Gohrisch. The name of this way is interpreted as Mus=Maus, thus meaning to creep. Passing the rural fields it once served as a mill way to the mills in Cunnersdorf. The last section before the edge of the forest leads along numerous old way inlets.

Arriving at the edge of forest, we just go a few metres to the right up to a way forking. From this point we have to possibilities for the way back to Gohrisch: Either following the yellow point marker , leading us along the look-out bank “Onkel Pauls Ruhe” down the Stillen Grund; or, and so we want to finish this trip, continuing the Muselweg along a grove over meadows and fields. The path routes us along the peace lime tree, which was planted in 1871 due to peace treaty in the French-German war. Apart of that the enjoy the unhindered view toward the Lilienstein. By advancing the path we note various chest nuts, which were planted in the eighties. Roofed by the plants, we then reach the Pfaffendorfer street, on which we proceed downward for a few minutes until we arrive at the starting point of the trip.

At "Annas Hof" we hit the Adalbert Hauffe monument, which was build in the year 1894 due to the 25th anniversary celebration of the beginning tourism.

Map: Sächsische Schweiz 1:30000, (Kartographischer Verlag, Rolf Böhm)
Text: "Wander- & Naturführer Sächsische Schweiz Bd.2" , Peter Rölke