The Crest Road links up Cernay and Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines progressing over 77 kilometres. You may take the route on foot to access the Grand Ballon, the highest summit of the Vosges Mountains. The itinerary ends with a gift: a breathtaking view over the plain of Alsace, the Black Forest, Austria, Lichtenstein and the Mont Blanc. The place is very appreciated by ramblers mainly for its idyllic landscapes with slopes covered with fir-trees and beech-trees and lakes. The Crest Road also passes by the Markstein and the Col de la Schlucht. From the Hohneck, the third highest summit of the Vosges, you can admire the Upper Vosges, from the Donon Mountains to the Ballon d’Alsace along with the plain of Alsace, the Black Forest and much further away, the Alps. The road also passes near the Hartmannswillerkopf or “Vieil Armand”, one of the battlefields of the war 1914-18.
In some seasons, on the Crest Road, you may notice stubble fields used for Man’s pasture requirements. The latter extended the stubble fields around the “marcairies” which are properties belonging to mountain farmers, breeders and cheesemakers. Thanks to the development of tourism, these properties have become farmhouse inns thus combining agricultural activity and hosting guests on the farm. Access to the high-stubble is possible from each valley of the Vosges: the Doller, Thur, Florival, Munster, Weiss and Saintes-Marie-aux-Mines valleys.
The creation of this road was decided during the 1914-18 war by the French High Command in order to ensure communication between the various valleys on the Vosges’ front. For over a century now, it has enabled people to ramble through places where it is so enjoyable to head for heights!