In Bad Bertrich, a special kind of natural monument is waiting to be discovered: the Elfengrotte (grotto), which is popularly known as the cheese grotto.
During the last great glacial period, the worm period, which dates back around 115,000 to 10,000 years, the lava from the volcanoes flowed into the Üssbach valley to the Römerkessel and also pressed into the side valleys to a height of 21 meters. Basalt lava has the property of solidifying in a columnar manner when cooling. During the cooling process, pillars formed in the area of the cheese grotto, in which horizontal stress cracks developed. The weathering of the following years started precisely at these tension cracks, so that in the end a structure was created that resembled stacked cheese wheels.
The course of weathering can be followed well in the Elfengrotte: About seven meters before the passage, basalt columns torn to the left can be seen, these will also round off from the cracks over time. After crossing the grotto, instead of the relatively slowly cooling columns, there are now basalt blocks that have arisen from faster cooling. After crossing the bridge, about ten meters further to the right on the slope, you can see an approximately one meter wide, probably tertiary volcanic production column, which was only discovered at the end of the penultimate century.
Various walking and hiking trails lead past the volcanic witnesses. The entrance to all local circular hiking trails is at the GesundLand Tourist Information Bad Bertrich (Kurfürstenstrasse 32, D-56864 Bad Bertrich).
The approximately three-kilometer “Elfengrotte” walking path leads upstream of the Üssbach to the grotto and a picturesque waterfall.
The trail "Auf den Spuren der Moselbande" tells of wild fellows who once lived in the Kondelwald. The hike follows a wide circular path that increases by a total of 270 vertical meters in the first six kilometers. From there, the path leads downhill back to the starting point.
There are many ways to explore the Elfengrotte/ Käsegrotte, which is always accessible.
Parking: There is a sufficient number of parking spaces on the hiking car park diagonally opposite the petrol station and on the parking deck opposite the GesundLand Tourist Information.