The Saar River rises in the Vosges mountains on the border of Alsace and Lorraine, in France, then flows northward through western Germany to its confluence with Mosel river, near Trier. Within Germany the Saar River pursues a winding course until it reaches a barrier in the form of Hunsrück, a low mountain range made of hard quartzite rock. Quartzite is a hard, metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression. The river, unable to carve a way through the rocks, makes a full 180-degree turn and cuts a deep U-shaped gorge through the thickly wooded mountains. This remarkable hairpin bend located above Mettlach is called the Saar Loop or Saarschleife in German, and is one of the most famous sights of Saarland. The river flows parallel for a long stretch in the opposite direction before turning left and continuing its northward journey towards Mosel river.
The best views of Saarschleife are to be had from Cloef, a rocky lookout point at the apex of the Saar loop about 180 meters above the river. A panoramic viewpoint has been built here for the sake of tourists.
On the wooded ridge within the Saar loop, lies the Church of St. Gangolf and the ruins of the 12th century Montclair Castle. The castle is located about 290 metres above sea level on the high ridge of the Saar loop, the so-called Castle Hill. It can be reached by boat. Both on the inside as well as on the outside loop, runs a continuous walking and bike path .
The Saar Loop is also known as the Great Saar loop at Mettlach, for further downstream in the municipality of Taben-Rodt, the Saar river makes another loop called the Small Saar loop, although not as spectacular as it’s bigger brethren.
The lookout at Cloef near Orscholz. Photo credit
Montclair Castle within the Saar Loop. Photo credit
View of the Small Saar loop with the district Hamm. Photo credit
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