At a glance
From the forest into the big wide world
Once around Frankfurt Airport! This doesn’t just mean coming very close to the aircraft, but also getting a feel for the dimensions of the airport grounds. At the same time, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a diverse forest landscape – it is impressive and loud!
In the RhineMain region, Frankfurt Airport is present almost everywhere – the aircraft can be seen and heard in the region, and many people work at the airport. Above all, however, it offers a connection to the whole world. From the observation point of the western take-off runway, the departing aircraft seem close enough to touch.
They are up in the air in no time at all, while we continue to pedal leisurely through the forest. Along a wide forest corridor, we encounter an extensive heathland that has developed on the sandy, dry soils of this area, because the ground is kept free of wood vegetation. Valuable habitats have been created here, including for rare bird species.
The southern part of the tour has a completely different landscape; the route passes through the wetlands of the romantic Mönchbruch nature reserve. We roam the former hunting grounds of the Landgraves of Hesse-Darmstadt and come across a wide, wet meadow landscape. In these idyllic surroundings, the airport is loud and impressive. You almost get the feeling that the planes are grazing the treetops.
In the past, it was difficult to get through this once inaccessible swamp area. The former town of Gundheim near Walldorf on the old road between Mainz and Aschaffenburg was therefore of great strategic importance in the Middle Ages. This ”Aschaffenburger Straße“ still exists, but it is now split by the ”Startbahn West“ take-off runway. All that remains of the former hamlet of Gundheim is the Gundhof, which has been run as a tavern for centuries.
The history of this landscape also has its dark sides – the outpost of the Alsace Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp was located here in Walldorf. In 1944, a total of 1700 women, some of them very young, were deported to the camp. On a small circular route, you can learn about the sufferings of these women, who were subjected to forced labour under terrible conditions at the former RhineMain air and airship port ”Flug- und Luftschiffhafen Rhein-Main“.
Another chapter in contemporary history is to be found at the eastern observation point of the airport. A copy of the Luftbrückendenkmal in Berlin can be found here. It is reminiscent of the supply of goods to West Berlin in 1948/49, when the Soviet Union had completely blocked off the city. Two restored raisin bombers stand there in remembrance of this time. The planes received this nice name because, among other things, the pilots dropped sweets for the children. After a short detour into the history of aviation, you can continue plane-spotting from this observation point and follow the hustle and bustle at the airport.
At the end of the tour, the Kelsterbach promenade along the Main is an ideal place to direct your gaze from the sky back to the earth or the river. From the open staircase directly at the water’s edge, you can see the steep banks of the Kelsterbach Terrace. The intensive tour with many impressions and quite a few demands on the (hearing) senses comes to an end here.
1. The TOUR STARTS at the train station Kelsterbach: Keep left in the underpass and then immediately turn left when you get to the top. One path leads to the Main. Turn left at the bottom and follow the river in the direction of Raunheim. After 2 km, the underpass opens to allow a view of the airport. The route is marked with red Regionalpark triangles. These will guide you around the Nordwestbahn (north-western runway), over the ICE-track and the A3 motorway. Shortly before the airport, the triangles will direct you to the right onto a forest path.
2. The WESTERN OBSERVATION POINT is just 100 m ahead. After the visit, return to the crossroads and turn left towards Groß-Gerau.
3. After crossing the power line, you will come to a crossroad with the signs of the Regionalpark Rundroute. Take a left here and follow the signs to Oberwaldberg and Stangenpyramide.
4. You will reach another crossroads, and the signs change again: the Rundroute turns right, but you take a left to Gundhof and the concentration camp info trail. After the Gundhof along the Schwarzbach, you will after 500 m see the reference to the concentration camp info trail:
5. the path leads to a MEMORIAL SITE. There, turn right into the Familie-Jürges-Straße. At the end, the route jumps a little to the right: continue along Farmstraße. At the roundabout, turn left and follow the path on the left-hand side along Aschaffenburger Straße.
6. At the WALLDORF BATHING LAKE, make a 180- degree turn: The cycle path 19 leads you around the lake, first to the right, then to the left on the Hundert-Morgen-Schneise towards Zeppelinheim. In town, take the Flughafenstraße to the left.
7. The EASTERN OBSERVATION POINT and the Luftbrückendenkmal: the trail leads to Terminal 2 and the crossroads at Hugo-Eckener-Ring: behind it, turn right towards the city. After the road crossings, you will come across the triangles again in the woods, following them takes you to the left towards the Wasserwerk Hinkelstein.
8. The tour leads around the HINKELSTEIN, then it turns left towards ”Rund um Kelsterbach“. The Rundroute can be reached via a bridge: the tour takes you right onto Kirschenallee and Höllenstraße towards the Main. Turn left from Mainstraße onto the Main-Radweg bicycle path, where turning left a little later will take you back to the train station.