From Bad Schandau S165 up the Kirnitzschtal, 13 km to the Neumannmühle, turn right to the Altes Zeughaus inn, Zeughausstraße 5, 01855 Sebnitz. On foot 2.5 km south through the Großer Tschand, turn left through the Hickelschlüchte 600 m. 45 min walk to the cave.
Currently not accessible due to trail closures caused by bark beetle infestation.
|Dimension:||L=14 m, W=45 m, H=10 m.|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Touristinformation, Weifbergstraße 1, 01855 Sebnitz OT Hinterhermsdorf, Tel: +49-3597-45210. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Hickelhöhle is the second largest cave in Saxon Switzerland, a 45 m wide and almost 10 m high portal, the cave reaches about 12 m to 14 m deep into the rock. The portal opens in the shape of a quarter circle, forming a kind of arena. This type of cave is called a Schichtfugenhöhle (stratum joint cave) in Saxon Switzerland.
According to theory, groundwater in the porous sandstone moves downwards by gravity until it meets a layer that dams up water because it is rich in clay. There, a so-called floating groundwater body now forms and distributes itself evenly. In the process, the water soon reaches the boundary of the mesa in the form of a rock face, and here the water emerges in a spring. The water dissolves soluble components from the sandstone, especially the matrix or binder, if it contains lime. This causes the rock to lose its cohesion and decompose into sand that is washed out. Since the layer is horizontal and water escapes over the entire width, caves are also formed over a considerable width. Such springs are called stratum springs, the caves accordingly stratum caves or Schichtfugenhöhlen (stratum joint caves). Since the strata in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains run horizontally, all such caves are at almost the same sea level, the unterer Höhlenhorizont (lower cave horizon). Very shallow cavities are called rock overhang or abri, if the depth of the cave is greater than the height it is called a cave.
The Hickelhöhle is located at the end of the Hickelschlüchte (Hickel gorge) and below the Hickelkopf (Hickel head), a climbing rock overhanging on almost all sides and standing only on three small pedestal feet. The area is called Thorwalder Wände and lies above the Großes Zschand, the longest dry valley in Saxon Switzerland, on the eastern side of the valley. The quickest access is from the Altes Zeughaus inn, it is about 3.5 km walk, walking time about 45 minutes. The cave lies in the core zone of the Saxon Switzerland National Park not far from the Czech border and is popular with hikers as a resting place before the steep climb towards Hinterhermsdorf or as a shelter from the rain. With the boulders in front of it, it forms a picturesque ensemble.