Rocher de Dabo and Some Interesting Places Nearby

Rocher de Dabo

Today, we embarked on a scenic hike around Rocher de Dabo (Dabo Rock) nestled in the French Vosges, straddling the border between Alsace and Lorraine.

The area around the village of Dabo boasts many intriguing and beautiful places, a few of which we will be exploring. Some of these locations have a proven or evident Celtic heritage, while for others, such a connection can only be speculated.

Rocher de Dabo

The Rocher de Dabo, also known as Dabo Rock, stands as a landmark of the region, a towering 664-meter-high solitary sandstone cliff with a distinctive shape that rises above the surrounding hills and is visible from afar.

Evidently, it served as a sacred site in Celtic times before a castle was built on its plateau in the Middle Ages, becoming the seat of the County of Dabo.Today, no traces of its past remain. Now, atop sits a chapel dedicated to Pope Leo IX, the Chapelle Saint-Léon. Unfortunately, it’s locked, preventing any interior photography.

The views of the surrounding landscape are breathtaking, and what is usually a spot bustling with visitors, is on this freezing day, a place of solitude.

Rocher de Dabo and Chapelle Saint-Léon
360-degree panoramic view from the top of Rocher de Dabo

Le Rutschfelsen

The Rutschfelsen (translated to Sliding Rock) is a large flat sandstone block located just a few kilometers from Rocher de Dabo near Col de la Schleif, sitting solitary beside a hiking trail. It features 11 basin-like indentations, which are believed to be ritualistic in nature.

Legend has it that this stone boosts fertility. Women who slide down it are believed to increase their chances of becoming pregnant. Judging by the wear marks, many women seem to have embraced this belief. According to another theory, the hollows were carved by soldiers in 1679 to mold cannonballs during the siege of Dabo.

The question arises as to what is more plausible: myth or theory…

Le Rutschfelsen or Sliding Rock

Rocher du Backofenfelsen

The Baking Oven Rock, as its name literally translates, stands as a magnificent viewing platform offering a direct view of the Rocher de Dabo. The origin of its name remains a mystery.

At the very edge of the platform, another one of these basin-like depressions is noticeable. It is likely that this formation too is artificial and served ritualistic purposes in the past. It is conceivable that both this depression and the Backofenfelsen have a spiritual connection with the Dabo Rock.

Rocher du Backofenfelsen
360-degree panoramic view from Rocher du Backofenfelsen

Grotte des CADS

Little is known about the history of this grotto near Rocher du Backofenfelsen. However, the origin of its name seems to be decipherable. It derives from the abbreviation for Commandants des Armes et Des Services, a unit of the French army that conducted hikes in this area in the late 1980s and early 1990s, always taking a break here. Before that, the cave apparently had no name.

A wooden cross, standing just a few meters away, serves as a memorial to a forester who was murdered here in 1831. Incidentally, this is a pattern that I’ve encountered repeatedly. Frequently, near mysterious or, let’s say, mystical places, one can find memorials or crosses dedicated to individuals who have passed away in those areas. I’m not sure if this is merely a coincidence. In this instance too, the memorial inspired me to detour to the grotto. However, I have found no traces suggesting it once held significance as a sacred site.

Grotte des CADS

Rocher du Rosskopf

Another spectacular natural viewpoint is offered by Rocher Rosskopf, which translates to “Horse Head Rock.”

View from Rocher du Rosskopf

Steinerne Maennel

The final stop of the day features the Stone Manikins, what I guess is the best translation for “Steinerne Maennel” into English. In reality, the name probably refers mostly to a singular, uniquely standing isolated rock tower. In its immediate surroundings, you can vaguely discern the remnants of ancient stone settings or toppled menhirs. Though honestly said, this could also be a product of one’s imagination.

Here too, I haven’t found any records suggesting that this place held spiritual significance in the past. Nonetheless, it possesses a unique ambiance, making it a beautiful conclusion to today’s hike.

Steinerne Maennel or Stone Manikins
60-degree panoramic view of the Stone Manikins area


Impressions from the visited places around Dabo


Locations of the visited sites

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High up on the ruins of Château d`Ochsenstein near the municipality of Reinhardsmunster in the French Vosges.
The panoramic view from up there is fantastic, provided you are not afraid of heights. However, I wasn`t actually here because of Ochsenstein alone. Besides other spots with fabulous views, you can find various relics from Celtic times along the mountain ridge. That`s what I was looking for.

#ochsenstein #chateaudochsenstein #chateauochsenstein #panoramicview #castleruins #mysticplace

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