The highest peak in the Harz Mountains, the Brocken towers to 1,141 meters (3,743 feet) between the Weser and Elbe rivers in the far west of Saxony-Anhalt. It has long played a significant role in local folk legends, such as the tale of the child witch Bibi Blocksberg, as well as influencing Goethe’s acclaimed work “Faust”.
The Brocken is protected within the Harz Mountain National Park, which strad-dles the border between Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony. It protects extensive tracts of spruce and beech woodlands that provide a habitat for European wildcats and Eurasian lynx, as well as bogs that are frequented by rare black storks and peregrine falcons. It’s crisscrossed by themed walking trails that form part of the Harzer Wandernadel network, with many leading to the summit or along the slopes of Mount Brocken.
You can follow in the footsteps of Goethe along the Goethe Way, which leads through the Brockenfeld Moor to the summit of Mount Brocken or opt to hike from the charming village of Schierke to the top. In addition to the hiking trails that traverse Brocken’s slopes, you can also ride the narrow-gauge steam train that makes the journey to the summit. It was constructed at the end of the 19th century to not only promote tourism in the Harz Mountains but also connect this mineral and forestry-rich region to the rest of Germany.
After soaking up the spectacular views at the summit of the mountain, take time to explore the Brocken Museum that explores its natural and human history. Learn about the role Mount Brocken played during the Cold War and as part of the German Democratic Republic, as well as the myths and legends that have long been associated with it. The mountain is also home to the Brocken Garden where rare and hardy subalpine flora species from around the world are exhibit-ed.