Karlstein - our Base Camp


N 50° 02,569' E 009° 02,092' (our house) 


 113,0 m over sea level


Karlstein is located at the north west border of a natural region which is called Spessart. Our village is about 15 km north west of the district town Aschaffenburg. The lower frankonian village, which was founded in 1974 during a conclusion of the two independend villages Dettingen and Großwelzheim has about 16.000 citizen. Because the village is located to at the eastern border of the economic center of Germany which is called Rhein-Main-Area the connections to Frankfurt and the other cities of this area are quite good in the same way than you have here an ideal location to visit countryside places, go cycling or hiking at Spessart or do paddling on the river Main.

More informations, like something about history, you can find here:

Village of Karlstein
Natural Park Spessart


The climate is moderate, a typical middle europe climate with oceanic based influences. Main wind direction is west. Because Karlstein is located in the Main valley the climate too is a bit more warm than other parts in Bavaria. Because of that Aschaffenburg is called too the bavarian Nice. See below the climate data from the german weather service in Offenbach am Main:

(1) Middle annual temperature in ° Celsius

Mainvalley (Kahl 116 m over sea): 9,0
Valleys at about 200 m over sea: 8,5
Hills above of 400 m over sea: 8,0

(2) Middle temperature movements in ° Celsius

Mainvalley (Kahl 116 m over sea): 18,3
Hills at about 330 m over: 17,7

(3) Middle annual Rainamounts in mm

Mainvalley (Kahl 116 m over sea): 680
Hills at 330 m over sea: 820

(4) Mid date of the first and the last frost

Mainvalley (Kahl 116 m over sea): 8. May, 15. October
Hills arround 330 m over sea: End April, Mid Oktober

Current Weather 


-- Lower Main Valley --

In the area of the Lower Main Valley, those are the regions close to the river Main, you can find the following geological units:

(a) Pleistocene aeolian sands and dune sands
(b) Pleistocene terasse brashs
(c) Redlying (german: Rotliegendes, Perm)
(d) Zechstone (german: Zechstein, Perm)

(a) Pleistocene aeolian sands and dune sands

The aeolian sand has, specially northern and southern of the river Kahl a big extension. During Quaternary a lot of sands was blowing out of the terasse brashs and accumulated at the so called lower terasse (german: Niederterasse). Close to the town Alzenau, specially northern of the town, the sand carpet reach far until the higher areas and cover parts of the mid terasses (german: Mittelterasse) and of the so called Rothen-Berg-Terasses. Zechstone and Redlyings are enframed as well and partly covered too. At many places on top of that you will finde dune sands.

(b) Pleistocene terasse brashs

Pleistocene terasse brashs you can find in the region eastwards of the river Main in large areas. But most of them are covered with big amounts of the aeolian sands.

(c) Redlying

At the northern border of the area of the town Alzenau there is a big area or Redlying located. This extension is a young palaeozoic sedimentation, consitent of Quarz, Quarzit and Limonit. The redlying stones are light red until violet colored and can be identified with that colors easyly. This colors come partly from the climate during sedimentation time, partly from the diagnestic transforms. The ceiling of this sediments is partly unclored. Such generations are called "greylyings", but can be found only in less parts. The redlyings are, with only few exceptions, covered with the aeolic sands.

(d) Zechstone

The sediments of the Zechstone you can see at some small places at the border of Spessart. It is shown as Zechstonedolomit or as a Zechstonepsephite. Those sources are very often covered by aeolian Sandceilings.

The informations above I took during my job training at the Forest Office of Aschaffenburg from the so called "Standortoperat" of City Alzenau i. Ufr. and was added with informations of the geological Map, Map 5920, with descriptions

-- Spessart - Odenwald --

Spessart and Odenwald are part of, on the border of the so called lifting region of the Rhein Valley, the northern saxonian-thuringaen Hillzone (Paleozoikum). The area is, because of that, from a geolocial perspective, one of the oldest regions in bavaria. The shown part of the surface is, like the name shows, the cristal, metamorphic basic stone underground and will be separated to the following stone zones after authors like BÜCKING (1892): 

(a) Quarzit - Glimmerslade - Series
(b) Zone of staurolith containing Paragneis
(c) Zone of corny - fibered Muscovit - Biotit - Gneis
(d) Glimmerslade - Biotitgneis - Complex
(e) Corny - striped Paragneisseries
(f) Diorit (Quarzdiorit) - Granodiorit - Complex
(g) Gneises at the Northwest - Prespessart


In the closer surrounding of Karlstein you will find just the following stone zones, who will be explained more in Detail. (The declarations are from the geological Map, Page 5920 Alzenau i. Ufr from OKRUSCH, STREIT und WEINELT):

(b) Zone of staurolith containing Paragneis
(c) Zone of corny - fibred Muscovit - Biotit - Gneis

(b) Zone of staurolith containing Paragneis

All metamorph stones in the discussed area are sorted in to the varistic Orogenesis. After its composition the Staurolithgneis consists of Plagioklas, Silicium, Biotit and Muscovit as main parts, Staurolith and Granat as characteristic side parts. It is a common thesis that the stone before metamorphosis was a chalkpoor, pelitical (loose stones of poor and plotter's clay fraction) Sediment, like plotters clay.

The metamorphosis of the discussed Gneis has mainly the character of a kinetic Recristallisation Metamorphosis (isochemical run, means without chemical changes).

The geographical deviation of this zone in the area includes the area from the border of the city forest Alzenau-Hörstein in the northwest, so the village forests of Karlstein, Rückersbach and Kleinostheim until Steinbachvalley in the south.

(c) Zone of corny - fibered Muscovit - Biotit - Gneis

By timeline of the discussed area it must ranked prevaristic. The naming Gneis and most found one too is a middle corny fibred Gneis with Kalifeldspat, Plagioklas, Silicium, Biotit and Muscovit as Mainparts.

Because there are still rests of the Granit fabric are shown, this Gneis is nearly save a mesozonic minted, passive formed Granit.

Geographical the zone comes after the area we described before at its southern borderline. This means it is the area surround a bit southern from the village Glattbach and parallel to the Steinbachvalley. Local it can be found in the area surround of the hill Plattenberg (Karlstein) and eastwards of the so called Heißer Ackerhof.

Further there are at the so called Spessartborderbreak, the change over of the both growing areas (those are vegatational and geolocial parted regions) in small parts, often just as a relict, the following geological units we want describe only because of getting a complete overview, but not because they are important for the area.

(a) Sedimentations of the Palaeozoikum
(b) Sedimentations of the Kaenozoikum

(a) Sedimentations of the Palaeozoikum

The whole Perm sedimentations who are described or shown in the map, so Redlying and Zechstone, are shown very seldom only as alteration relict. Because of that it must not be described more in detail.

(b) Sedimentations of the Kaenozoikums (here loam)

Loam is only shown in few parts who reach in the Spessartborderbreak like fingers.

Normal profile through the Coloured Sandstone of the bavarian Spessart

by P. CRAMER (geol. shot: Highwayprofile a. Drilling Trennfeld),
WI. WEINELT (geol. shot: Highwayprofile a. Page Nr. 6021 Haibach, 1962) 
and O. WITTMANN (geol. shot: Page Nr. 6022 Rothenbuch)


Soils and types of the location

Because the author had no other data, than the ones he took during his forest job training, this describtions are based on the so called Location description (Standortsoperat) of the city Alzenau i. Ufr. and few soil samples he took to that time at the forest of the village Karlstein am Main.

- Lower Main Valley --

The soils you can see in this area are most time podsolbased Brown Soils until really Podsols with a oecological wet level from try until moderate try until moderate fresh. As trophic level oligotroph until mesotroph will be reached. At the few locations which reach to the lower Main Valley you can find too Pseudogley-Brown Soils or Gleys with a oecolocial wet level of changing wet over fresh up to wet are from the trophic level "only" mesotroph.

-- Basement Rock Spessart --

In this area you will find nearly invariably Brown Soils consisting of more or less sandy mud with an oecological wet level of moderate fresh. Because they are rich of minerals from the alteration process of the based stones I classify this Soils to a mesotroph (+) trophic level. At the tops of the hills there are partly Ranker, where the wet level might be a bit more bad and the trophic level might be a bit more bad too, what is shown with bad growing of the beeches there.

At the few loam locations on the break you will find few Parabrown Soils with wet and trophic levels like the locations with Brown Soils.



-- Lower Main Valley --

1. Natural Forest Communities

On the poor sand soils of the lower Main Valley, would, depending on the water household and geology, grow beech-/oakforests (mostly with mountain oak), beech forests, birch-/oakforests, beech-/oakforests (mostly with common oaks), common oak-/hornbeam forests and beech-/birch-/common oak forests. 

Parts at the so called Stift Striet and at the private forest Emmerichshofen let you see that formarly forests.

2. Current Forest Communities

Today at lover Main valley pine trees are the leading trees. Often you will find pure pine tree forest. Mixed forests with pine tree and beech (pine trees are the upper part of those forests and beech grow just beside) you can find as well.

3. Forest historical reasons of this Communities

The forests in region lower Main valley was owned in the 17th century by the so called Freigerichter villages. The citizens owned Woodrights and rights for pasture lands (written down in Forest regulations).

Those historical forests consist nearly complete of oak- and beech forests

. Because of to much lumber and pasture, because of the 30 year war, those forests was fully destroyed and partly transfered to fields.

By removing and destroying of the humid surface of the forest soil, the sands was blown away and the fields beside was destroyed too.

With raising complaints about the situation of the forest, begin of the 19th century first plants was set to recultivate the destroyed forests. At the begin additional to the pine trees Acacias, Willows and Poplars was planted. Because this hardwood was used to feed animals of the ones who had pasture rights more and more crops of pine trees was brought out.

Result are the pine trees you see at lower Main region. But meanwhile the forest officers do and did a good job so slowly you see much more hardwood in that forests.

-- Basement Rock Spessart --

1. Natural Forest Communities

On the Silicium and Gneissoils, and on the loam covered soils of the Hahnenkamm region as well, would grow, depending on the water household and geology, mountain oak tree-/beech forests, pure beech forests, beech-/oakforests (mainly with common oak) with pass over to common oak tree/hornbeam forests, beech-/hardwood forests (with ash trees and maple trees) and ash tree/elder tree forests.

2. Current Forest Community

The current Forest Community is more or less like the natural one. Only in the parts which was reachable very good for humans (in the river valleys, lower parts with less declination) you will find forests with Larch, Pine trees (often with beech) and common spuces and douglas fin mixtures.

3. Forest historical reasons of this Communities

The forests at the Hahnenkamm region was partly owned by the Freigerichter villages too. Because they was more far away from the villages and because of there strong declinations they was not so intersting for human use.

But you will see here forest destroying as well. After the 30 year war and the intensive growing of the people more and more wood was needed and beeches and oaks cannot recover that fast, so more pine trees and common spuces was planted.

On some parts you can see the using of leaves for bring to the staples of the people to this time.


Sorry, but our region has from a faunistic perspective nothing special. The animals here are typical for middle european areas. Biggest mammels are the wild pig and the red buck with all the typical problems of cultivated landscapes. But there are some projects, like in other parts of germany too, who take care that gone animals can come back to the regions they live before. A good example for that is the repatriation of the european wild cat. At the deeper Spessart regions you can find meanwhile hints that the cat comes back.

Project rescue net wild cat

Finally you will find in our region too some animals which came from other countries, like the Racoon. So you can see, best is, walk a little bit through our fields and forests and look for the animals.

Other interesting places surround Karlstein

What should I tell you more about our really intersting landscape, villages and towns. Maybe you will discover more by yourself. Examples are the Pompejanum in our district city Aschaffenburg, the Stiftbasilica, one of the prettiest castles of the Renaissance, the castle Johannisburg. For the ones who are not so interested with villages and towns maybe hike a bit through our grape hills and enjoy a glas of wine.

But below we will post here some guides for cayaking, hiking, roller blading and so on. Have fun and enjoy.

Some pics from our house and the changes, which happened

Link to our "Basecamp" Gallery