The idea for the Geierlay suspension rope bridge was born in a sleepy village in the Hunsrück. Today it spans a nearby lonely valley near Mörsdorf. Below her, the leaves of the treetops rustle in the wind. At the bottom, a small stream meanders idyllically through the slate rocks covered with mosses and ferns. Old hornbeams and oaks line up on the slopes of the Mörsdorfer Bachtal and are home to birds of prey of all kinds. Most visitors are drawn to the tranquil village due to the pedestrian cable bridge. But it is also worth taking a look away from the highlights. Because there are wonderful hiking trails that run through the special flora and fauna of the Mörsdorfer Bachtal. The narrow paths lead away from the hustle and bustle, through quiet forests, past babbling brooks and bright glades.
A few years ago, the picturesque landscape attracted tourists from all corners to the hiking areas around Mörsdorf. Over time, the number of visitors decreased and an idea was sought to attract more travelers again. In 2006 there was the first thought of having a rope bridge built as an attractive attraction. At the time, this proposal was rejected with a smile. In 2010, three “bridge dreamers” took up the idea again, with the result: the bridge is realizable. A few more years passed before the construction, because the financing was still in the room. In 2015 the time had finally come – the “Hanging rope bridge” project got off to a good start. It was completed in just under six months and has thrilled young and old ever since.
Arrival and parking
The Geierlay suspension rope bridge is located between the municipalities of Mörsdorf and Sosberg, in the Hunsrück (Rhineland-Palatinate). There is no parking space at the bridge itself. It can only be reached on foot or by bike. In Mörsdorf there are therefore a total of four well-marked and paid parking spaces to choose from (2019).
The small parking lot at the visitor center is particularly popular. It is located right at the entrance to the approx. 1.2 km hiking trail to the hanging rope bridge and is therefore quickly occupied. If you still want to try your luck, you will find the address below, which leads directly to the visitor center with adjacent parking lot.
The fee-based time is between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The first two hours cost 4 euros, then billing takes place every 15 minutes for 50 cents (2019). The other parking spaces are on the outskirts of Mörsdorf and are subject to charges from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. There is a minimum parking fee of 2 euros. Then 4 hours cost 4 euros, and so on (2019). All information about parking can be found here here.
➤ The on-site parking facilities are reserved exclusively for residents with parking permits.
➤ The proceeds from the parking fees flow directly into the maintenance and safety of the suspension rope bridge. The money is also used to finance the cleanliness of the surroundings – sad but true!
In the municipality of Sosberg there is also the possibility to park your car (no motorhomes or buses). However, the number of parking spaces is significantly lower. Anyone starting from here will have to walk around 1.9 km.
Kastellauner Straße 23
Parking fees from 6.00 am – 22.00 pm
10 Minutes: Free of charge
2 Hours: 4,00 €
then every 15 Minuten: 0,50 €
All other parking spaces
Parking fees from 7.00 am – 21.00 pm
Minimum parking time 2 hours
2 hours: 2,00 €
4 hours: 4,00 €
The small visitor center is divided into three areas: foyer, restaurant and public toilets. Anyone looking for information about the suspension rope bridge and its construction is in the right place in the foyer. There is plenty of information about the vulture layout here.
A refreshment, before or after the march, is offered in the “Restoration Geierlay”. The restaurant spoils its visitors with regional delicacies.
The quiet little town in Mörsdorf is unfortunately very few and far between. There are only toilets at the visitor center and they also have to be paid for..
➤ For all bike enthusiasts, a rental is also offered at the visitor center. There are five different e-bikes to choose from and for families with small children, plus two trailers (2019).
Geierlay suspension rope bridge
From Mörsdorf you can reach the bridge in the north via a signposted path. The route first leads through the town and then over some fields. Up to the last 300 meters, the path is paved and easy to walk through. You should plan about 20 – 30 minutes for the 1.2 km.
If your hike starts in Sosberg, you will reach the bridge in the south after 1.9 km.
No matter which side you come from – the hanging rope bridge adventure can begin. From now on you should be free from giddiness and hold on to your hat and scarf.
A massive concrete structure opens the way to the bridge and there is a 360 m adrenaline rush right in front of you. At first you may not need as much courage, because the distance to the ground is still small and the bridge hardly wobbles. In the middle of the vulture layout the whole thing looks a little different. There is 100 meters of air between you and the ground and the bridge sways. How strongly it moves depends on the number of visitors on the vulture layout and how intensely the wind blows. But let me tell you: Even with little wind and only a few tourists / hikers on the hanging rope bridge, it wobbles quite a bit!
If you don’t dare, there are a few benches to wait.
➤ Bicycles can be pushed over the bridge.
➤ It is better to park prams in front of the bridge. The path is only 85 cm wide and the cars would block oncoming pedestrians.
➤ Dogs are allowed on the bridge. As a dog lover, I personally would not expect the vulture layout from any of my dogs.
The suspension rope bridge is accessible free of charge all year round. The visitor center is also free.
The bridge is open all year round. It can only be temporarily closed in extremely bad weather conditions (storm, strong thunderstorm). Entering the Geierlay is at your own risk.
The visitor center opened its doors daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (2019).
Free of charge
Visitor center: Daily
10.00 am – 16.00 pm
Suspension rope bridge: All year round
Finding a name
The name of the suspension rope bridge was determined in a public name competition. The proposal to name it after the field name of the district has won. Why the cliff is called “Geierlay” is not known for sure. It is believed that there is a connection to the nearby birds of prey.
The name is composed of the two terms “Geier” and “Lay”. The word “vulture” is still used today for a number of different types of birds of prey and “lay” means nothing more than rock or cliff and is an old German word.
Facts about the bridge
• Construction time: approx. 6 months
• Opening: October 2015
• Construction costs: 1.2 million euros
• Anchors: were drilled / pressed 25 m into the ground
• Running surface: 85 cm
• until 2017: longest suspension rope bridge in Germany (now Titan RT at Rappbode dam / Harz)
• Length: 360
• Height: 100 m
• Dead weight: 62 tons
• Wind tension: 200 km / h
• Load capacity: 50 tons (≙ 600 people à 80 kg)
• Visitors / year: approx. 230,000 (2019)
• is one of the longest suspension rope bridges in Europe
Guided tours or themed hikes are offered for hiking groups, company outings, company events or school trips. All information about the group offers can be found under Walderlebnis-Hunsrück and Abenteuer & Aktivurlaub.
Hiking trails around the Geierlay
A hike through the beautiful and varied Rhenish Slate Mountains is definitely recommended. Depending on the condition, different paths with different demands are offered. The length of the circular trails is between 3 km and 14 km and ranges from a leisurely Sunday walk to a day hike. The “classic” is the 6 km long vulture layout loop. For adventurers, the “Bergkreuz circuit” is offered with steep, partly rope-secured paths.
All paths start and end at the visitor center in Mörsdorf – and please remember that the only toilets are located there. You can find everything about the hiking trails at the tourist information Kastellaun.
➤ The Saar-Hunsrück-Steig also crosses the suspension rope bridge and leads under it. Hikes on the two dream loops “Masdascher Burgherrenweg” and the “Dünnbach-Weg” are also possible from the Mörsdorf visitor center. They are both in the immediate vicinity of the Geierlay.
You can find all information about the suspension rope bridge here.