Johannesweg (St. John's pilgrimage route)
Tour and route information
- Starting place: 4282 Pierbach
- Starting point: public parking lot in the centre of Pierbach
- Destination: 4282 Pierbach
- Hiking trail
Most economical season:
Start and finish line of the Johannesweg are located in the municipality of Pierback. In the beginning, the path leads onto the Ramlberg and further on to the farm of the Irxenmayer family. This is where the Johannesbrunnen (St. John’s well) and the Engelskapelle (angel chapel) constitute the first station of the Johannesweg. If you like, you can visit the “Irxwasser” (Irx water) filling station and - after a short walk - the Kugelmühle (Kugel mill), and in the Engelskapelle, you can take a break for inner reflection.
Over meadows and along forest trails, you will hike gently up and down the mountains towards Schönau. Leaving this place, you will walk up to the Herrgottsitz (seat of the Lord). On this rock formation, where you will find a seat-shaped hollow, God rested contently after creating the Earth, or so the story goes. The next section of the Johannesweg leads you to the Burgruine Prandegg (Prandegg castle ruin) where you can enjoy a terrific view all the way to the Alps from its tower.
Afterwards you will walk to the Herzogreitherfelsen (Herzogreither rock) visible from afar. Steps chiseled into the rock and a climbing assistance allow you to ascend onto the vast granite rock formation and enjoy the view.
Then the Johannesweg continues on to St. Leonhard bei Freistadt. Here, the pilgrimage church is worth a visit. Its origins date back to the beginning of the 12th century. The next station of the trail is the Bründlkapelle (Bründl chapel) which was build on the village path from St. Leonhard to Ennsedt in 1728.
You will now hike up and over the Haiderberg to Langfirling and then to Waldfeld where you will soon have reached the Galgenbühel. Downhill, through the forest, and along the state road we will continue the hike to the Zwischenstromwiese (meadow in-between streams), which is located in the municipal district of Weitersfelden. Here, the Schwarzen and Weiße Aist (Schwarze Aist and Weiße Aist rivers) join together and form the Waldaist (Waldaist river).
Afterwards, the Johannesweg crosses meadows and forest paths to pass the Naturkino (nature cinema) and the town of Nadelbach. We will also pass the farms of the Silberberger Schnapsbrenner (Silberberg distillers) where you can prepare for the ascent to the Kammerer Kreuz (Kammerer cross) with a nice home-distilled or home-preserved schnapps. From here, the view of the alpine summits is fantastic.
Before you reach the Kaltenberger Marktplatz (Kaltenberg market square), the hiking trail takes you past the Ursprungskapelle (original chapel) and the Augenbründl (Augenbründl spring). Legend has it that once upon a time a shepherd’s boy sighted the Madonna at a linden tree. Downhill via the Kreuzweg (Stations of the Cross) with its 14 Steinbloß-style chapels, the trail continues to Unterweißenbach, the principal town of the Mühlviertler Alm region.
The parish church dedicated to St. Nicolas with its delicate net vault is worth a visit in Unterweißenbach. Once you have crossed the town, you will hike steeply uphill to the Wegererstein. Your reward for the arduous ascent onto the highest elevation of Unterweißenbach is the beautiful view of the town and of Kaltenberg.
The trail continues past the Almhütte (mountain hut) of the Jagdmärchenpark Hirschalm (Hirschalm hunter’s fairy-tale park) to the Einsiedlerklause (hermitage). The entire hill has special energies. No wonder that there is a Himmelsleiter (Jacob’s ladder) on which heaven and earth meet in close proximity to the Einsiedlerklause.
Then the trail goes on to a Naturplattform (natural platform) on which you will find the Harlingsedter Gipfelkreuz (Harlingsedt summit cross). From there, you can enjoy yet another terrific view over the landscape of the Mühlviertel before your hike downhill to Königswiesen. Next on the list is the town of Mötlas, a walk around the Bischofberg, and the hike back uphill to the Ruine Ruttenstein (Ruttenstein ruin). This formerly enormous high castle with seven ring towers and a history dating back to the 12th century is still considered one the most impressive ruins of the country and evidentially is the largest weir system in Austria. You should definitely enjoy the magnificent view from the tower and a nice glass of cider at the nearby shelter before embarking on the final trip back to Pierbach.
Length: about 84 kilometres
Walking time: three or four day trips, the continuous up and down of the landscape is rather demanding. Please allow yourself four days for the hike.
Accessibility / arrival
from Linz >> A7 >> take the exit >> enter traffic circle >> Königswiesener Straße (Königswiesener street) >> Pierbach
Travelling by public transport
Route planner for independent travellers
- Suitable for groups
- Suitable for families
- Suitable for seniors
- Suitable for single travelers
- Suitable for friends
- Suitable for couples
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4.Special for mountain bikers – Fair-play rules:
Mountain biking is one of the most wonderful outdoor leisure-time activities. Whilst biking or on a mountain biking tour, mountains and lakes, meadows and cabins are re-discovered in new ways. A couple of rules for fair play in the forest help to avoid conflicts whilst mountain biking.
a.Pedestrians have the right of way: We are accommodating and friendly to pedestrians and hikers. Upon encountering these fellow travellers, we alert them by using the bicycle bell and slowly overtake them. We avoid paths with heavy pedestrian traffic altogether. Take nature into account: We do not leave refuse behind.
b.The braking distance should be half of the total distance visible: We ride at a controlled pace, are ready to brake and maintain a braking distance half as long as the total distance visible, especially in curves, because we always have to count on obstacles on the path. Damage to the path, stones, branches, wood piles, grazing livestock, cattle grids, barriers, tractor-type forestry machines and authorised vehicles pose dangers that we need to be ready for.
c.Don’t drink and drive!: Do not drink alcohol when mountain biking. Take care at stop-off points (dealing with bike racks, dirty shoes or clothing).
It is obligatory to provide first aid!
d.Marked routes, closed paths and blockades: Keep to the marked routes, observe the blockades and accept that these roads are primarily for agricultural and forestry use!
Blockades can often not be avoided and are in your own interest. Biking beyond the intended path and outside of opening times is punishable and turns us into illegal bikers.
e.We are guests in the forest and behave accordingly, including vis-à-vis forestry and hunting staff. Whilst mountain biking, mobile telephones and music players are forbidden! Biking requires your full attention.
f.Avoid unnecessary noise. Out of consideration to the animals living in the wild, we only bike during full daylight. As a principle, we always wear our helmet (even when riding uphill)! Don’t forget emergency supplies: We always have a repair set and bandages along.
g.Don’t overestimate your skills: We should not overdo it when it comes to biking technique and physical fitness. Take the level of difficulty posed by the route into consideration and make a precise estimate of your experience and skills as a biker (braking, bell, lights)!
h.Close gates: We approach grazing livestock at a walking pace and close every gate behind us. We should avoid causing escape and panic reactions in the animals. Nothing stands in the way of the fun and athletic challenge in the mountains and forests!
i.Traffic rules: The general traffic rules (StVO) apply for all the mountain biking routes and we adhere to them. Our bike therefore needs to be in perfect technical condition and equipped in line with the traffic rules, including brakes, a bell and lights. We inspect and service our mountain bikes regularly anyway.
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Length: 84 km
Metres of altitude: 2010m