The donkeys' path

( History of a former salt path 111 km across the Spessart forest )

The donkeys' path is a long distance hiking trail in Hessians and Bavarians Spessart. He has a length of approx. 111 km and leads from Schlüchtern (Hesse) to Großheubach (Bavaria) near Miltenberg.

The donkeys' path is an example of the old roadways systems (these are historical streets, ways and paths which are still recognizable in the predominant part of her course today) which were of great importance for more than two thousand years. Celtic warriors, Roman traders, imperial couriers, bishops, earls and knights were using this path in days of yore just like poor farmers and honorable glass makers. The Donkeys' path has reached fame through the "Orber-Caravans" named after the donkeys carrying heavy loads of salt originating in Bad Orb (Bad means spa). The path winds through dense forests of leaf-trees in elevations of 400 to 600 meters (1,200 to 1,500 feet) avoiding the valleys and villages, starting in Schlüchtern in the North-West and criss-crossing the Spessart via Heigenbrücken, Weibersbrunn, Hundsrück, Monastery Engelberg to Großheubach in the south-west. From here the salt (the "white gold") was transported to the south (e.g. Nürnberg and Augsburg, both distant cities located in today's Bavaria).
(Source: Harald Rixgens