Goethe and the Kickelhahn
The little wooden hunting lodge called the Goethehäuschen. On its inside wall, Goethe inscribed one of his loveliest poems, reflecting on nightfall and old age:
"The Wandrers Nachtlied".
Hushed lie the hills;
Hardly a breath stirs,
The treetops barely whisper:
Silent now are the birds.
Hushed shalt thou also be,
Wait only, rest will come to thee.
The "Goethe Hut" is always open and in it can be found Goethe's words in 16 languages. In 1870 the original hut went up in flames because of the carelessness of people picking berries. It was restored four years later.
Rock called the Großer Hermannstein
The Goethe Trail leads down from the Kickelhahn to the Großer Hermannstein, a huge block with cliff-like sides. Climbing up them, one is rewarded at the top by a breathtaking view. Then the (Short) Goethe Trail will return you to the hunting lodge and museum (Museum Jagdhaus Gabelbach) and the walkers' car park at Herzogröder Wiesen.
The cave in the cliff is certainly man-made and is thought to have served in the Middle Ages as the lookout post of a fort situated on top of the cliff.
Goethe visited it many times, describing it thus:
"(it is) my beloved place of sojourn,
a place to make my home."
Goethe worked and drew here. He also brought Frau von Stein here when she visited him in Ilmenau in the summer of 1776. When words failed him, he turned to drawing. He drew the cave in the Hermannstein, the cloud-hung vales leading to Ilmenau, the valley bottoms at Manebach.