|The highest point in the Harz - the Brocken|
We come ever closer to reaching the highest point in the Harz, the Brocken. The higher we go the more dwarfed the spruces become. We have reached the "battle zone" of the Brocken forests, the elevation at which it is difficult for the spruces to exist in the extremely harsh weather conditions. Geologically, the Brocken is a vast mass of granite, which originated in the paleozoic age. The climate at the summit is extremely harsh and is similar to that of the Alps at 2,000 m above sea level. On the Brocken 300 foggy days are recorded yearly and the average temperature is a cool 2.6°C. One result of these weather conditions is that the timber line of the Brocken occurs at about 1,100 m, whereas in the Alps it is at least 800 m higher. It is therefore quite natural that no forests exist on the Brocken peak, but rather mainly sub-alpine heath.
Now we, too, have reached the forest-free mountaintop. Since the opening of the inner-German border, up to 30,000 visitors a day come here. For this reason it is necessary to protect the most sensitive areas with guard fences. The attractive Brocken walkway guides the visitors around the entire mountaintop these days. This area is designated as an education and rehabilitation zone of the High Harz National Park.
We recommend a visit to the Brockenhaus building, which operates as a National Park Visitor Centre and is open daily (www.brockenmuseum.de). The numerous interesting presentations here provide information about the Harz National Parks, their flora, fauna, and geology as well as the climate and the changing history of the Brocken. From here we begin our descent, using the same trail.
- more information:
- Start - The Goethe Trail to the Brocken Summit
- The Great Torfhaus Moor and the Quitschenberg Mountain
- Brocken Narrow Gauge Railway
- Goethe Moor
- Harz National Parks, Hiking Tips and more
- Video - Brocken Narrow Gauge Railway