Altes Eisinger Loch

Neulinger Dolinen

Useful Information

Location: A8 exit Pforzheim Nord, turn north 75239 Eisingen.
A8 exit 44 Pforzheim Nord, B294 towards Bretten/Maulbronn 2.5 km, exit Stein/Eisingen towards Eisingen, roundabout turn right, after 1 km stop at road. 700 m/10 minutes walk. Near Eisingen, north of Pforzheim.
(48.9472799, 8.7020030)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: KarstDoline TopicGateway to Hell
Light: n/a
Dimension: Neues Eisinger Loch: L=14 m, W=7 m, VR=45 m.
Altes Eisinger Loch L=43 m, W=20 m, VR=21 m.
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Bibliography: Wolfgang Morlock (1978): Eisinger Loch (7018/01) und Neues Eisinger Loch (7018/02), Muschelkalkgebiet, Beiträge zur Höhlen- und Karstkunde in Südwestdeutschland, Nr. 15, Stuttgart Februar 1978, S. 23-25 Deutsch - German
Jochen Hasenmayer (1968): Das Neue Eisinger Loch bei Pforzheim, Mitteilungen Verband der deutschen Höhlen- u. Karstforscher, 14,1, 23-25, München 1968 Deutsch - German
Andreas Wolf (2000): Neulinger Dolinen In: Bezirksstelle für Naturschutz und Landschaftspflege Karlsruhe (Hrsg.): Die Naturschutzgebiete im Regierungsbezirk Karlsruhe. Thorbecke, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-7995-5172-7, S. 221–222. Deutsch - German
Address: Rathaus Eisingen, Talstraße 1, 75239 Eisingen, Tel: +49-7232-38110. E-mail:
Gemeindeverwaltung Neulingen, Schloßstraße 2, 75245 Neulingen, Tel: +49-7237-428-44. 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.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1527 Altes Eisinger Loch probably formed.
05-DEC-1966 Neues Eisinger Loch (New Hole of Eisingen) forms and is discovered by a shepherd.
01-JUL-1981 Naturschutzgebiet Neulinger Dolinen declared.
1985 Eisinger Löcher declared a Natural Monument.


The Eisinger Löcher (Holes of Eisingen) are two collapse dolines not far from Eisingen, north of Pforzheim. The Altes Eisinger Loch (Old Hole of Eisingen), sometimes simply called Eisinger Loch, exists for a long time. It was probably created in 1527, but the historical documents are not entirely clear and leave room for interpretation. According to Schöttle (1984), it formed in prehistoric times. Others claim that it collapsed in 1806 and originally had two cave passages, but this version comes from the realm of myths and legends. Surrounded by a group of trees and bushes, there is a 21 m deep oval collapse doline, a former cave, so to speak, whose roof has collapsed and now forms a pile of rubble at the bottom of the hole. At the foot of the Muschelkalk (Middle Triassic limestone) wall, a cave entrance opens up at one end. The portal is quite impressive at 3 m high, but the cave is only 16 m long.

The Eisinger Loch was created around 1806 and had two passages leading underground. One ended in the cellar of the Lammwirt inn in Göbrichen, the other in hell. The devil used to travel in and out through the latter, especially when he held witches' meetings at the hole on certain nights. A cooper from Eisingen, who had a covenant with the evil one, often climbed into the hole and knocked on the rock face with his keys. Then a door opened and the cooper was able to get money out of a box. One day, however, he told others his secret and since then he could no longer find the door, so he had to earn his living again through honest labour.

The Neue Eisinger Loch (New Hole of Eisingen) is much younger, it formed on 05-DEC-1966. It was discovered by a shepherd and was only 3 m in diameter at that time. During the next half-year it grew continually until it had a size of 5 m x 7 m and a depth of 45 m. The upper part was almost cylindrical, the lower part widened like a bell. However, this was not the end of the development. In the following decades, there were repeated landslides and today only a steep-sided sinkhole half as deep remains. It is possible that man has also helped, as sinkholes are often filled in by farmers. On the one hand to reclaim their farmland for cultivation, and on the other to dispose of all kinds of rubbish.

The sinkholes here in the Upper Muschelkalk and Lower Keuper (Erfurt Formation) are generally created by the leaching of gypsum and rock salt deposits in the Middle Muschelkalk (Heilbronn Formation) located over 100 metres below. Both gypsum and rock salt dissolve quite well in groundwater, which can lead to the rapid formation of large cavities. In most cases, as in the case of the Neues Eisinger Loch, the collapse occurs along a fault. A 45 m deep collapse suggests that the chamber was either even higher or significantly wider at the bottom, so that the collapsed material could spread to the side.

The Eisinger Loch doline is developed for visitors with no access restrictions. The path from the road is signposted, there are several viewing platforms with explanatory texts at the edge of the sinkholes, and steps lead down to the small cave. However, the stairs have been closed for several years due to the risk of falling rocks. Such closures are nonsensical, the probability of something falling down at the exact moment a visitor passes through is very low in reality. We guess it's simply the risk of being sued, which is too great for the responsible authority. If the risk of falling rocks was high, something would be falling all the time and the ground would have been covered with metres of rubble long ago. Above all, the sinkhole would have been completely filled in during the last 500 years if there was a considerable rockfall. So the danger is hardly any greater than walking across the road. However, you enter at your own risk.

There is no official hiking trail to the sinkholes, they are located at single lane roads and can therefore be easily reached from all surrounding roads on those. Unfortunately, there is no car park on the country road, so you are forced to park at the turn-off of the single lane. But please park in such a way that agricultural traffic is not obstructed. Alternatively, there is a mini car park with three or four spaces on the road to Eisingen. However, the walk is then about 1.6 km, 3.2 km round trip. We recommend a third alternative: if you do not leave the B294, you will reach a hikers' car park 700 m after the exit. From here it is 2.4 km to the Eisinger Loch dolines. The advantage of this route is that you pass the Neulinger Dolinen after about 800 m. Various alternative hiking routes can be found on the relevant hiking portals. When visiting, please note that all sinkholes are under nature protection.

The Neulinger Dolinen (Neulingen sinkholes) are much shallower and therefore not as spectacular. However, they are much more interesting from a hydrological point of view because a small spring actually rises in a depression in the north-west and then flows 500 metres to the south-east to be swallowed by the sinkholes. It is a meadow landscape with a drainless depression, the soil is damp, almost swampy, and the fauna and flora are therefore very different from those in the surrounding area. The sinkholes are named after the Wüstung Neulingen, which was first mentioned in the first half of the 12th century. Wüstung is an old Geramn term which means clearing, so the area was deforested to allow agriculture. The village was located near the spring, between two tributaries, and probably had 350 inhabitants, making it one of the largest villages in the region. However, it was abandoned around 1450. Today there is once again a municipality of Neulingen, albeit a virtual one, which is the name of the merger of the three neighbouring municipalities during the municipal reform in the 1970s.