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Highest peak Ellerspring ( 657.5  m above sea  level )
location Rhein-Hunsrück district , Bad Kreuznach district ; Rhineland-Palatinate ( Germany )
part of Hunsrück
Soonwald (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Coordinates 49 ° 55 '  N , 7 ° 37'  E Coordinates: 49 ° 55 '  N , 7 ° 37'  E
rock quartzite -back

The Soonwald in the Rhein-Hunsrück district and in the Bad Kreuznach district is up to 657.5  m above sea level. NHN high part of the Hunsrück low mountain range in Rhineland-Palatinate . The Soonwald in the narrower sense (“ Big Soon ”, as opposed to its “little brother” Lützelsoon) is a quartzite crest that is about 20 km long and stretches northeast . The Soonwald in the broader sense also includes the Lützelsoon , which adjoins to the southwest, and the Binger Wald in the northeast, as well as the dividing valleys of Simmerbach and Guldenbach . It comes to about twice the length of the ridge and represents the easternmost ridge area of ​​the Hunsrück, which is continued beyond the knee of the Rhine through the Hohe Taunus .



The Soonwald lies in the east and south of the Rhein-Hunsrück district and in the west and north of the Bad Kreuznach district . The Soonwald in the narrower sense lies completely in the Soonwald-Nahe Nature Park and is orographically completely enclosed by rivers from its river system , except to the south, where the Nahe passes about 10 km away . The Simmerbach separates the Lützelsoon in the southwest, the western northwest , which is towards the Simmerner Mulde , is flanked by the Lametbach and finally the Brühlbach . In the northeast, the Guldenbach separates the Binger Wald, in the western north the Neubrühlbach borders on the Simmerner Mulde.

To the southeast, the landscape merges into the Soonwald preliminary stage with the Gauchswald , which is part of the Saar-Nahe-Bergland , in the southeast near Stromberg and south of the Binger Wald directly into the Lower Nahe hill country, which leads into the Upper Rhine lowlands .

Centrally between the two main ridges of the Großer Soon, the water flows like a channel either to the southwest to the Lametbach or to the northeast to the Graefenbach . The Lametbach is the only body of water that crosses the northern main ridge, the Graefenbach the only one in the southern one. In the extreme southwest, beyond the Lametbach crossing, the water flows over the Asbach directly to the Simmerbach.


The ridges of the Soonwald are Taunus quartzites . The Lützelsoon starts in the southwest, offset slightly to the south compared to the southernmost ridge line of the Black Forest high forest , which begins in the Dollbergen , on the border with Saarland, reaches 722.6  m at the Butterhecker Steinköpf and almost 3 km northeast of the 670.7  m high Wildenburger Kopfs breaks off at about 9 km from Lützelsoon near Mörschied (see natural space map - the last two peaks mentioned are shown there). From the Hahnenbachtal at around 230  m , the ridge of the Lützelsoon rises evenly and almost like a ridge up to the 599.1  m high Womrather Höhe , only to descend all the faster and no less evenly to the Simmerbachtal again to around 240  m . In the Großer Soon there are two more ridges parallel to the south, of which the middle one even reaches the highest height here, but only that of the Lützelsoon makes it into Binger Wald and Taunus.

The northern ridge, which continues the Lützelsoon, rises beyond the Simmerbach, initially at the Koppensteiner Höhe to 554.9  m , then flattens out again to Landessstrasse 229 Gemünden - Langenthal to 495.9  m , to reach 575.2  m at the Gemündener Höhe . At the Lametbach the ridge line then flattens to only 390  m in order to rise continuously (the L 108 Tiefenbach - Winterbach crosses the rising ridge) up to the Simmerkopf at about 654  m . On the L 242 Argenthal - Dörrebach the ridge falls again slightly to 603.6  m , but reaches 643.5  m again at the Schanzerkopf . Now the ridge line flattens out very quickly to L 239 to a good 570  m , but finally rises again to Hochsteinchen at 648.3  m .

After the ridge line at the Guldenbachtal has dropped to 340  m , it rises fairly quickly to 638.6  m again up to the Kandrich , now in the Binger Forest . After only slight flattening and without interruptions by public roads, the Salzkopf ( 627.6  m ) and the Franzosenkopf ( 617.3 m ) join until the Rhine lowers  the ridge line to 70  m . Beyond the Rhine, heights of over 600  m in the Hohe Taunus (or in the Rheingau mountains ) are only reached again at the Kalten Herberge ( 619.3  m ). The Jägerhorn ( 537.8  m ) is located closer to the Binger Forest, but north of the ridge line on the Taunus side as a quartzite mountain . The original north-east direction of the ridge has changed to east-north-east between Simmerkopf and Hochsteinchen and finally to east in the Binger Wald and is finally continued again in east-north-east direction in the Hohen Taunus.

The second main ridge of the Großer Soon rises from the Simmerbachtal near Kellenbach (below 220  m ) horizontally for only about 5 km by 400 meters in altitude to the Alteburg at 620.5  m . Up to the Ellerspring it becomes 657.5  m in a steadily rising, slightly counterclockwise (to the north) curved line . The state roads 229 and 108 have to cross the rising ridge immediately due to the lack of recesses. Now the altitude drops first - the L 239 crosses the ridge line on Graefenbach to around 455  m  - to quickly reach 649.3  m again on the Opel . Meanwhile, to the northeast of this summit and significantly southwest of the Guldenbachtal, the height disappears much faster than that of the northern ridge.

The second ridge line gradually disappears completely in the Binger Forest. Apart from the capercaillie head ( 574.2  m ) in the center of the partial mountain range, there are only three quartzite mountains in its extreme south-east, side by side, in north-south direction, which hint at this line:
The Veitsberg ( 391.3  m ) as the northern one, the Druidenberg (approx. 386  m ) in the center and the Stöckert as the southern mountain of the trio and equally northeastern city mountain of Waldalgesheim as well as northwestern municipality mountain of Weiler near Bingen . Its line is extended beyond the Rhine roughly from the Niederwald near Rüdesheim with the 346  m high spruce head , but further east this quartzite line does not find any extension.

The third and southernmost ridge is more of a side ridge of the middle one. It branches off to the southwest of the Alteburg and remains a little flatter, so that its ridge line is crossed by the source of the Gaulsbach , by three different source arms of the Ellerbach and of course by the Graefenbach. On the Karchrech it reaches 564  m , beyond the Ellerbach then another 563.9  m on the Steineberg , until the ridge line on the Graefenbach falls to 370  m . It reaches its highest height further northeast in the 584.3  m high Kesselberge , east of it and already at the edge of the Soonwald the Schöneberger Höhe reaches 491  m . However, the ridge in the lower Nahe hill country continues as a Horetriegel beyond the Nahe: Immediately east of the Guldenbach 328.7  m , beyond the A 61 then at Galgenberg 329.1  m , at Horetberg 332  m and at Butterkopf 326.8  m ; beyond the Krebsbach then at the Münsterer Kopf 300.8  m and finally, across the Nahe in Bingen , at the Rochusberg 246  m .

Natural structure

Soonwald (northwest), Soonwald pre-stage (adjoining it to the south) and Lower Nahe hill country


In the work on the manual of the natural spatial structure of Germany , the Soonwald was identified as the main unit within the main unit group of the Hunsrück, which was further subdivided in the individual sheets 1: 200,000 138 Koblenz and, above all, 150 Mainz :

  • (to 24 Hunsrück )
    • 240 Soonwald (276.6 km²)
      • 240.0 Binger Forest (54.4 km²)
      • 240.1 Great Soon (192.2 km²)
        • 240.10 Guldenbach breakthrough (17.3 km²)
        • 240.11 Great Soon (160.5 km²)
        • 240.12 Simmerbach breakthrough (14.4 km²)
      • 240.2 Lützelsoon and Hahnenbach breakthrough (30.0 km²)

The Soonwald preliminary stage is not included in Soonwald and Hunsrück, but is listed here for the sake of completeness - especially since the valleys are not shown separately between the two main units (see below):

  • (to 19 Saar-Nahe-Bergland )
    • 195 Soonwald preliminary stage (124.9 km²)
      • 195.0 preliminary stage of the Great Soon (110.5 km²)
        • 195.00 Seesbach-Spabrück plateau (70.1 km²)
        • 195.01 Gauchsberg ridge (32.4 km²)
        • 195.02 Wingerts grounds (8.0 km²)
      • 195.1 Hennweiler plateau (14.4 km²)

Sheet 150 Mainz does not divide the valleys of Simmerbach and Hahnenbach into Soonwald and prepress, contrary to the conventions of the former Federal Institute for Regional Studies , but ascribes them completely to the Soonwald. As a result, the flowing water would stay longer in the low mountain range than objects moving parallel on land. However, since the valleys change direction significantly after the actual breakthrough and also become significantly wider and meandering, they are divided into the two main units in the adjacent map. This also makes the Soonwald preliminary stage simply coherent , as it corresponds to the conventions of the Federal Institute.

Mountains and altitude

The highest peak in the Soonwald is the Ellerspring ( 657.5  m ). On the other hand, its lowest point is at 210  m at the exit of the Simmerbach near Kellenbach . Its mountains and elevations include - sorted by height in meters (m) above sea level, unless otherwise stated according to (without objects in Lützelsoon ):

Flowing waters

The Nahe flows south of the Soonwald, which flows into the Rhine at Bingen and in whose catchment area the Große Soon lies completely. The two main and marginal rivers, Simmerbach (confluence with the Nahe south of Kellenbach near Simmertal) and Guldenbach (confluence with the Nahe near Bretzenheim / Nahe) have their sources north of the Großer Soon, on the Hunsrück plateau . All the other streams that leave the Soonwald were also created there.

In the Soonwald the following rivers originate from the Nahe river system:


Places that frame the Soonwald:

These larger towns are located a bit away from the Soonwald:


Lee effect on the Soonwald, seen from the north

Due to the difference in altitude of around 500 m, the annual average temperature on the peaks of the Soonwald is almost 7 ° C, more than 2 ° C lower than in the Simmerbachtal near Kellenbach (over 9 ° C), at the same time, at over 800 mm, there is a quarter more precipitation than in the lowlands (according to the German Weather Service , 1999).

In addition, leeward effects can arise due to the topography of the Soonwald . Such weather conditions are only possible in the autumn and winter months.

Flora and fauna

The Soonwald and its "little son", the Lützelsoon adjoining to the south-west , together form a largely closed forest area of, according to various reports, 20,000 to 35,000  hectares . This makes it one of the smaller forest areas in Germany, but one of its larger contiguous areas.

The flora of the Soonwald is characterized by diversity and character. Plants with very different habitat requirements grow next to each other in a small space. It includes, for example, around 850 (!) Species of ferns and flowering plants. The main types of useful trees in the Sonnwald are spruce and beech . There are also oaks , alders , firs and Douglas firs . The traditional monocultures are giving way to more and more species-rich mixed forests , mainly due to windthrow damage .

Seven nature reserves were designated in the Soonwald and Lützelsoon in order to preserve biodiversity. These are mostly extensively used, moist forest meadows that have been placed under protection because of their occurrence of rare plants and insects - for example the "Hirtenwiese" in Lützelsoon and the "Waldwinkel" near Dörrebach.

Fauna : Decisive for the award of leading bird protection organizations (eg "Birdlife") are the occurrences of the following bird species: black woodpecker , great gray shrike , kingfisher , gray woodpecker , middle woodpecker , red- backed killer , black stork , red kite and buzzard . Nevertheless, the state government has not yet reported the Soonwald as a bird sanctuary to the EU Commission in Brussels. Huntable wildlife in the form of deer , wild boar , roe deer and red fox comes in Soonwaldsteig common.

On the Rennweg


The name Soonwald is mentioned for the first time in a document from the Prüm monastery from 868 "silva sana". Later spellings are 1128 "nemus sane", 1190 "waldt San", 1438 "off dem Sane", then "San" and finally Soonwald. Numerous attempts at interpretation bring the word into connection with Senn = pasture or Sone = herd of pigs and thus point to the centuries-old function of the Soonwald as a pasture forest.

Originally a huge forest area stretched from southern Alsace over the Saarland, the Westrich, the Hunsrück to the Moselle. It was the Vosagus (Wasgenwald), a "Silva regis" (Royal Forest). In the course of time, clearing led to sub-areas that were given their own names.

Barrows , such as the old grave south of Argenthal , castle ruins and today's settlements and villages suggest that the Soonwald and its surroundings have been inhabited for a long time.

To secure the ore deposits and smelting sites such as the Graefenbacherhütte, numerous castles were built in the Middle Ages over the river valleys flowing south to the Nahe. The picturesque ruins of the Wildburg and the Koppenstein on the northern Soonwaldkamm were sung in the 19th century as legendary places by the Hunsrück poets Otto von Vacano and Peter Joseph Rottmann in romantic ballads.

When searching for a region in the Hunsrück to the creation of a national park by the Ministry of Environment Rhineland-Palatinate , the region Soonwaldsteig next to the stand Birkenfeld located Hochwald to the option. However, since the Soonwald extends over both the Rhein-Hunsrück district and the Bad Kreuznach district , the project required the support of both districts. However, since the Bad-Kreuznach district was rather critical of the project, the decision was ultimately made in favor of the high forest.


The Entenpfuhl Forestry Office near Bad Sobernheim

The Soonwald is almost predominantly used for silviculture, quartzite is mined in several quarries, mainly for the construction of traffic routes. Until the end of the 1990s, the Soonwald was managed by several forest offices in the area, including the Neupfalz , Entenpfuhl and Simmern forest offices . A structural reform created the Soonwald Central Forestry Office, based in Entenpfuhl, and the Neupfalz Forestry Office was converted into the Soonwald Forest Experience Center.

In 2010, a citizens' initiative against the establishment of wind parks in the nature park was founded. Nevertheless, the Ellern wind farm , located in the municipalities of Ellern , Dörrebach and Seibersbach , went into operation in 2012 .

The former horse field on the southern edge was originally designed as a military airfield . As part of conversion measures, the largest solar park in Rhineland-Palatinate was created.


The Soonwald can be reached via the federal highway 50 (junction Rheinböllen) branching off from the federal autobahn 61 (which runs in the north-east on the seam line to the Binger Wald in a north-west-south-east direction) . It can also be accessed via the B 421 , which runs through the Simmerbach valley at the transition to Lützelsoon, and via the B 41 , which runs through the Nahe valley.

Railway lines run along the B 50 in the northwest ( Hunsrückquerbahn ), through the Guldenbach valley in the northeast ( Simmern – Gemünden line ) and through the Nahe valley in the southeast (Nahe valley railway ). The Hunsrückquerbahn is currently shut down, but should be reactivated. The route in the Guldenbach has now been completely dismantled.

There are airfields near Bad Sobernheim (southeast) and Simmern .


Within the Soonwald, over whose main ridge a section of the European long-distance hiking trail E3 and the Soonwaldsteig, which opened in 2009, run, or at its edges are among others these sights and geographical destinations:

Many forest paths are also designated cycle paths; in the north, the Schinderhannes-Soonwald cycle path runs through the Brühl and Lametbachtal valleys.


Monument "Jäger aus Kurpfalz", forester's lodge Entenpfuhl

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h Map service of the landscape information system of the Rhineland-Palatinate nature conservation administration (LANIS map) ( notes )
  2. The Lanis map service shows 953.0 m, but the 653.75 m line is visible on a fine scale.
  3. a b GeoViewer of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Raw Materials ( information )
  4. Landscape profile of the landscape area 228.12 Horetriegel of the landscape information system of the Rhineland-Palatinate nature conservation administration ( notes )
  5. ^ Emil Meynen , Josef Schmithüsen (Ed.): Handbook of the natural spatial structure of Germany . Federal Institute for Regional Studies, Remagen / Bad Godesberg 1953–1962 (9 deliveries in 8 books, updated map 1: 1,000,000 with main units 1960).
  6. Heinrich Müller-Miny, Martin Bürgener: Geographical land survey: The natural spatial units on sheet 138 Koblenz. Federal Institute for Regional Studies, Bad Godesberg 1971. →  Online map (PDF; 5.7 MB)
  7. a b Harald Uhlig : Geographical land survey: The natural spatial units on sheet 150 Mainz. Federal Institute for Regional Studies, Bad Godesberg 1964. →  Online map (PDF; 4.7 MB)
  8. Landscape profile of the landscape area 240.0 Binger Forest of the landscape information system of the Rhineland-Palatinate nature conservation administration ( notes )
  9. Landscape profile of the landscape area 240.10 Guldenbach breakthrough of the landscape information system of the Rhineland-Palatinate nature conservation administration ( notes )
  10. Landscape profile of the landscape area 240.11 Large Soon of the landscape information system of the Rhineland-Palatinate nature conservation administration ( notes )
  11. Landscape profile of the landscape area 240.12 Simmerbach breakthrough of the landscape information system of the Rhineland-Palatinate nature conservation administration ( notes )
  12. Landscape profile of the landscape area 240.20 Lützelsoon of the landscape information system of the Rhineland-Palatinate nature conservation administration ( notes )
  13. Landscape profile of the landscape area 240.21 Hahnenbach breakthrough of the landscape information system of the Rhineland-Palatinate nature conservation administration ( notes )
  14. Landscape profile of the landscape area 195.00 Seesbach-Spabrücker plateau of the landscape information system of the Rhineland-Palatinate nature conservation administration ( notes )
  15. Landscape profile of the landscape area 195.01 Gauchsberg ridge of the landscape information system of the Rhineland-Palatinate nature conservation administration ( notes )
  16. Landscape profile of the landscape area 195.02 Wingerts grounds of the landscape information system of the Rhineland-Palatinate nature conservation administration ( notes )
  17. Landscape profile of the landscape area 195.1 Hennweiler plateau of the landscape information system of the Rhineland-Palatinate nature conservation administration ( notes )
  18. Map services of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation ( information )
  19. GeoExplorer of the Rhineland-Palatinate Water Management Authority ( information )
  20. National Park: District Administrator Fleck sees little chance for the Soonwald Rhein-Zeitung from May 17, 2012, on
  21. Hunsrück National Park - Concept of the state government ... , accessed on May 6, 2014, at (PDF; 2.78 MB)
  22. Landesforsten Rheinland-Pfalz: Forstamt Soonwald , accessed on December 18, 2011, on
  23. Landesforsten Rheinland-Pfalz: Neupfalz Forest Experience Center becomes the gateway to the Soonwald-Nahe Nature Park ( Memento of the original from February 22, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Press release from February 9, 2006, on @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  24. Links to the Soonwald, from the Soonwald initiative, on
  25. Soonwaldsteig - entire route . Tour planner Rhineland-Palatinate. Retrieved November 16, 2013, from


  • Erich Bauer: The Soonwald. On the trail of the hunter from the Electoral Palatinate. DRW-Verlag, Stuttgart 1974.
  • Uwe Anhäuser: The legendary Hunsrück. Rhein-Mosel-Verlag, Alf 1995, ISBN 3-929745-23-2 .
  • Uwe Anhäuser: Hunsrück culture experience. Literature publisher Dr. Gebhardt and Hilden, Idar-Oberstein 2000, ISBN 3-932515-29-3 .
  • Uwe Anhäuser: Schinderhannes and his gang. Rhein-Mosel-Verlag, Alf 2003, ISBN 3-89801-014-7 .
  • Uwe Anhäuser: The Ausoniusstraße from Bingen over the Hunsrück to Trier. An archaeological travel and hiking guide. Rhein-Mosel-Verlag, Alf 2006, ISBN 3-89801-032-5 .
  • Heinz Fischer: The Hunsrück. Portrait of a low mountain range. Heinz-Fischer-Selbstverlag, Koblenz 2009, ISBN 978-3-00-027955-3 .

Web links

Commons : Soonwald  - collection of images, videos and audio files