The impressive suspension bridge in the Harz Mountains at the Rappbode Dam has become one of the tourist highlights in recent years. Rightly so, I think, because a visit there is really impressive.
The Rappbode Dam is located in Saxony-Anhalt in the Harz Nature Park near the towns of Elbingrode, Blankenburg, Hasselfeld and Thale. We reached the access road via winding roads and although it was not even 10 a.m. yet, the traffic here gets noticeably heavier.
We passed car park 1. This is right next to the visitor centre of the suspension bridge in the Harz Mountains and was already full at this time of day and no more cars were allowed up there. So we drove on over the dam wall to car park 2. This is a bit further away and you have to walk about 10 minutes to the start of the dam wall.
Path over the dam wall of the Rappbode dam
The Rappbode dam, consisting of a dam, waterworks, hydroelectric power station and reservoir, was built between 1952 and 1959. It serves as flood protection in the eastern Harz region and secures the drinking water and electricity supply for the surrounding villages. The dam is an almost completely straight gravity dam, which is only able to withstand the pressure of the dammed water because of its own weight. The dam is about 415 metres long, about 78 metres wide at the bottom and tapers to 12.50 metres at the top.
The reservoir created here is the largest reservoir in the Harz Mountains in terms of volume and the 106-metre-high dam wall, the highest dam wall in Germany. I find the lake created here really impressive. If you walk along one side of the dam wall, you look out over a large expanse of water on which the sunlight refracts and the trees standing on the shore are reflected in the almost motionless water.
A dreamlike view and with the temperatures I was there, I would have loved to jump into the lake. I read that the lake is home to brown trout, rainbow trout, pike, perch, pikeperch, eels, vendace, carp, tench and numerous whitefish. Some of them are supposed to be quite big and I don’t know if I want to meet them while swimming.
If you go to the other side of the dam, you look into a valley with much less water, but still a really impressive view.
The suspension bridge in the Harz Mountains
The suspension bridge in the Harz Mountains that we wanted to cross runs parallel to the dam wall. There are barely 50 metres between the wall and the bridge and I think it looks so narrow and small. If you look down at the dam wall, you quickly realise that the 106 metres of the dam wall are quite high and the bridge does not hang much lower.
From the dam wall we reach our actual destination, the “Titan-RT”, via a few steps. On a forecourt there are food trucks, a playground, toilets and lots of people. We first look around and discover the entrance to the zipline, a cable slide that whizzes down into the depths of the valley.
To enter our actual destination, the suspension bridge, we need an entrance ticket. We discover 2 queues, one at a ticket machine and one at the entrance to the turnstile. Over loudspeaker announcements we learn that there is a ticket office in the visitor centre at the car park and the current waiting times are announced. We quickly abandon our first consideration of choosing the much shorter queue at the ticket machine. Even with the ticket purchased there, we have to join the very long queue for the bridge visit. So we split up. One gets in line already, the others get the tickets at the visitor centre of the suspension bridge in the Harz Mountains. After almost 40 minutes of waiting, we were finally at the entrance to the bridge.
458.5 metres long is the “Titan-RT”, which we were now going to cross. The rope bridge is anchored in the slate rocks of the Harz Mountains. Four main support cables and two stabilising cables hold it in place.
Only when I take the first step onto the bridge do I realise how delicate the construction is. A 120 cm wide grid forms the footbridge and looking down, one should not be afraid of heights and sturdy shoes are recommended. It is a strange feeling when you can look down like this. To the right and left, the walkway is closed off by stainless steel nets. The nets, which are about 130 cm high, are of course also so transparent that you can see everything clearly.
Even after the first steps, you notice that this bridge is “alive”. There is no rigid structure hanging here, the entire bridge swings slightly up and down with every step and sways from right to left in the wind. In between, I tried to squat down to take a photo from a different perspective. Keeping my balance was not easy!
At first, the bridge leads slightly “downhill”. Approximately in the middle hangs a platform with the “GigaSwing”. Here you can jump into the depths alone or roped up with a partner and then swing out. Unfortunately, there were no brave people who wanted to throw themselves from there into the depths.
But before all the looking on the bridge, you should not forget to look down into the valley from the bridge. The view is simply breathtaking and I would have loved to experience the sunset on the bridge. It must be really beautiful. But even without the sunset, I was thrilled and had the feeling that I could stand there for hours and look into the area. Fortunately, there is no time limit on the visit. Actually, the bridge can also be walked on in both directions, but in the summer of 2020, due to the situation, only the one-way principle was possible here. The number of visitors on the bridge was also very limited, which I found to be an advantage.
From the middle of the bridge, the path then goes “uphill” again until you reach the other side of the valley and leave the bridge through a turnstile.
We decided not to take the direct route back to the car park, but followed the signposted hiking trail into the valley.
The trail leads along well-surfaced, wide paths, especially past the downpipes of the pumped-storage power plant, to the valley floor. Here at the much smaller “remnant” of the reservoir, the dammed Bode, you can hire boats, eat fish or visit the Wendefurth Dam Visitor Centre. This is the “little sister” of the Rappbode dam and dams the Bode. Here, too, the visitor is offered not only an excellent view. It is also possible to walk down the wall on a rope.
The way back to the car park runs through the forest parallel to the main road on unpaved smaller paths.
38889 Stadt Oberharz am Brocken
Daily: 8-22 h
Opening hours visitor centre
January, 24.12., 25.12. and 26.12.: closed
February – March
Tuesday – Sunday: 10 -16 h
April – October
Monday – Sunday: 9-18 h
November – December
Tuesday – Sunday: 10 -16 h
Tickets can be purchased at the ticket machines all year round / daily from 8.00 – 21.30 h in cash or EC. However, children’s and group tickets are not available here!
Adults: 6 €
Discounts are offered.