Two fabulous places that can easily be visited from K-town are Burg Trifels and Teufelstisch – a perfect way to spend the day with visiting guests or family – and driving there through the Pfälzer Wald is half the fun!
The Pfälzer Wald
Driving to Burg Trifels and the Teufelstisch takes you directly through the famous Palatinate Forest – The Pfälzer Wald (pronounced „FEL-tsur VAHLD“). This area has been designated as the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve „Palatinate Forest-Vosges du Nord (when joined with the latter low mountain range in northern France, just across the German-French border).
That’s right! Residents of the KMC (Kaiserslautern Military Community) are living next to one of the biggest forests in Europe!
The most beautiful route I found goes right through the middle of the Pfälzer Wald and starts just east of K-town. Driving east on A6 from Ramstein, take the Enkenbach-Alsenborn exit, and go south on B48. As soon as you get off the Autobahn, you are in the Pfälzer Wald.
If you live south of K-town around Trippstadt, you are LIVING in the Pfälzer Wald! From here, navigate your way through the back roads and pick up the B48 in Johanniskreuz, and go south from here.
This stretch takes you directly through a beautiful, heavily forested area. On a warm day, you will see convertibles with the top down competing for the fresh air and motorcycles abound, partially for the scenery but also for the sport of taking the hairpin curves. Some of these curves do not have a guard rail, so it is important to constantly keep your eye on the road.
If you wish, stop off at the Hotel/Restaurant Johanniskreuz for lunch, refreshments, or ice cream along the way. They have a nice beer garden for those warm summer days.
If you want a GPS assist, dial in „Annweiler“ as your destination. Burg Trifels is adjacent to this town. As you approach Annweiler, you will exit B48 and get on B10 going east towards Landau. You will pass through the Stauffer Tunnel which is a nice treat for the kids.
Once you get in the area around Annweiler, there are signs everywhere to Burg Trifels
Burg Trifels (Address: Trifelsstraße 72, 76855 Annweiler am Trifels and pronounced „Boorg TRIH-felz“). In English, it is Trifels Castle, dating from the Middle Ages and located on the 1,600 foot peak known as Sonnenberg (meaning „Sun Mountain“ in German). Sonnenberg is made up of the red sandstone typical of the Pfälzer Wald. From the castle you can enjoy beautiful panoramas of the Pfälzer Wald and take a look at some of the imperial regalia from the Holy Roman Empire that are on display. There are numerous hiking trails around the castle.
The story for which the castle is most famous involves the imprisonment of King Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionhearted, who was captured near Vienna in December 1192 by Duke Leopold V of Austria. King Richard was on his way home from the Third Crusade at the time of his capture. Duke Leopold turned King Richard over to Emperor Henry VI of Hohenstaufen, who kept him prisoner at Burg Trifels for three weeks from 31 March to 19 April 1693. King Richard was released for a huge ransom.
See www.annweiler.de for castle opening times and prices.
Waldgaststätte Barbarossa (pronounced „VAHLD- gahst-STET-tuh bah-bah-ROH-sah“ and meaning „Red Beard Forest Restaurant) is next to the castle. This is a local restaurant with a beer garden, play area for kids, offers disabled access and a terrace for warm sunny days.
Teufelstisch (pronounced „TOY-fells-tish“ and meaning „Devil’s Table“) is a natural wonder located 20 KM west of Burg Trifels, a pretty 20 minute drive west on B10 in the direction of Pirmasens. It is next to the town „Hinterweidenthal“ (put this into your GPS).
The Teufelstisch is a well known landmark of the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz (or Rhineland-Palatinate in English) which has been depicted on German coins and stamps.
It looks like a one-legged, mushroom-shaped table, is about 45 feet high, and made of the characteristic red sandstone of the Palatinate Forest. It is an easy hike to the Teufelstisch (mostly with steps), and well-marked.
There are numerous possibilities for climbers and hikers here, and there is also an „Erlebnispark Teufelstisch“ (meaning „Devils’s Table Adventure Park“) which opened in 2009 and offers a giant slide, a rock pond, a maze that leads to a clock tower, and a cable car – perfect for the kids. And, best of all, there is no entry fee to hike to the Teufelstisch or to play in the park. However, you might have to pay a parking fee of €2.00.
There is a restaurant on the premises.