They are resorts and attractions for Brocken and Bodetal hikes: the two neighbouring towns of Schierke and Elend.
Schierke: climatic health resort just before the summit
Situated in the valley of the upper course of the river Kalte Bode surrounded by granite blocks and between the mountains of the High Harz Mountains, Schierke has developed into a centre of hiking tourism in the Harz Nature Park. Its origins date back to the early 16th century, when a settlement was built around a sawmill. The townscape is dominated by stately houses on the main street, the neogothic mountain church from the late 17th century and the spa park with its water features. Particularly worth seeing is the historical and listed town hall from 1928, whose carvings in the half-timbered houses represent professions from the region.
A few kilometers to the highest mountain of the north
Schierke comes closest to the Brocken of all Harz cities, about eight kilometers and two hours hiking to the highest peak of the Harz Mountains – paths on the Brocken. If you have a good physical condition, it is best to take the steep and stony Alte Bobbahn path up to the mountain and through the Eckerloch. In the national park, the route leads through dark spruce forests and along the water-rich southern slope of the Brocken. Several water veins unite here to form the Kalten Bode.
Above the station of the Brockenbahn one gets through the forest on a short hiking trail to a landmark of Schierke, the Feuersteinklippen. Already Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was fascinated by the impressive rock formation. And, of course, Schierke offers many other routes around the village, including nature trails and differently challenging cure paths.
Hike from the mountain to the valley: Elend
A few kilometres from Schierke lies the resort of Elend to the south-east. His name comes from an old field name and probably means “foreign land”. Also Elend arose at the latest in the 15th century around a sawmill as well as a forester’s lodge. The place can boast of a real gem, the smallest wooden church in Germany from the 19th century. Since that time, tourism has also increased, making Elend an important place for those seeking recreation.
The Valley of the Kalte Bode
The cliff-rich river valley of the Kalten Bode is ideal for shorter hikes and links Schierke to the town of Elend. In the nature reserve Elendstal between Schierke and Elend, the original mixed forest of the Harz Mountains has been preserved and is worth hiking in every season. For example, the path leads through the mountainous Bodetal valley along the Bode riverbed lined with boulders. A place which, with its incomparable atmosphere, proves that the Harz is rightly considered one of the most legendary regions in Germany.