Rathen station – Elbe ferry – health resort of Rathen – lake Amselsee and back
This little tour takes us through the health resort of Rathen, at the foot of Bastei, to lake Amselsee, a jewel in the gorges of the Elbe sandstone.
Distance: 3.5 km
Narrowest point: no restrictions
Obstacles: none, but large sandstone pavement
Accessibility in wet conditions: yes
Transport connections: S-Bahn station Kurort Rathen, left of the river, then ferry across the river Elbe, by car to car park of Kurort Rathen, left of the river
Parking: S-Bahn arrival recommended; car park of Kurort Rathen on the left of the river, no cars on right-hand side of river
Refereshments: various within Rathen
From the S-Bahn station Kurort Rathen (or car park) you can reach the Elbe ferry quickly along the street. During high season there may be delays due to longer queuing times as many tourists want to visit the famous Bastei and open air stage.
On the other side of the Elbe River you have to make your way up a short, steep ascent. Afterwards you may leisurely continue your tour through the town to the junction of “Bastei / Felsenbühne”. Take a left and follow up another short, steep ascent to Amselgrund. Past the entrance to the Rathen Open Air Stage the path now leads to lake Amselsee and along its banks. The sandstone pavement along the lake can be bumpy but the views of the rocks in the background will pay off for it.
If interested, you can move further along the stream “Grünbach”. The path through the forest leads straight ahead, ascending slightly into the Schluchtwald forest and toward the Schwedenlöcher caves, from where you return by turning back at the second diversion and taking the same path back.
Dippers (Wasseramsel) may have given the lake its name – these swift, dipping birds are native to flowing waters. In the national park they breed along many of the streams, including the Kirnitzsch River and the Kamnitzbach. In some places one territory follows the next. The brown birds with the white throat like to catch insect larvae between the rocks. Even in the winter they do not mind diving into the cold water.