by Susanne Hepp with contributions from Stephanie Barton
If you like to hike, the Pfalz is the place to be. There are 92 parking areas leading to hiking paths covering over 2,200 kilometers of beautiful territory. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the region, you can venture out with confidence: The signage is easy to understand and visible and it’s almost impossible to get lost.
You won’t need to take the contents of your fridge along for the hike because 45 cottages offer food and snacks along the way, as do 14 Friends of Nature cottages and 50 restaurants.
Over 400 animals and 15 species call Wild Park Silz home. Primarily these animals are native to the region and climate. The adven- ture playground and the petting zoo are two fun options for children. The website for Park Silz is available in English here.
According to Weiss, over 100 castle ruins sit on the land of the Pfaelzerwald. “It was the center of the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages.”
Kaiserburg Trifels (Emperors’ Castle)
The Kaiserburg was the favorite castle of Emperor Barbarossa, you can see it from afar as it towers over the town of Annweiler. The castle also was once a notorious state prison with an equally infamous prisoner: the English King Richard Lionheart. www.trifelsland.de
You’ll be hard-pressed to find an experi- ence of the Middle Ages that’s as gripping as Burg Berwartstein. The tour of this castle, which uses candles at times (spooky) will lead you through torture chambers and secret passages.
To get to the castle, you enter a vertical cave, which once made this castle almost impossible to conquer. Pay attention to the incredible architecture and sample some original hearty kitchen fare; visit the dark arms room to examine mighty weapons once used to defend this structure. www.burg-berwartstein.de
Ore Mine St. Anna-Stollen
At St. Anna-Stollen, you can learn all about ore mining by hand. Technical machinery, shafts and colorful ore ledges show how a mine operated. Information 06394-5354 www.nothweiler.de/erzgrube
The Kaiserslautern City website has an English section outlining the hiking trails in around the KMC.