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Mummelsee, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany

Also known as: Mummel Lake

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Map: Mummelsee, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany

Legends swirl around Mummelsee (see=lake) in the northern Black Forest. The Black Forest, in Germany's Baden-Wurttemberg region, is a land of fairy tales and enchanted forests, and Mummelsee is a small jewel tucked away in the midst of the mystical land. Stories tell of the King of Mummelsee and his water nymphs that live in the lake. Quiet during the day, the king and nymphs are said to rise to the surface of the lake at night. Some stories say the nymphs or mermaids are actually the nuns that lived at the bottom of what is now 55-foot deep Mummel Lake. Legend says a monastery once stood on the site of Mummelsee. The nuns helped local farm families and cared for their children. When one nun fell in love with a farm boy, however, everything changed, and black water bubbled up from the earth to swallow the monastery. According to tales, the monastery still stands at the bottom of the lake.

Mummelsee, also known as Mummel Lake, is a glacial cirque lake (referring to its concave amphitheatre shape) created during the last ice age approximately 10,000 years ago. It is hard to know exactly how legends start, but the lake and surrounding area are inspiring. In fact, the famous Brothers Grimm visited Mummelsee in 1845, collecting stories for their fairytales. Mummel Lake sits on the western side of Hornisgrinde which at 3,819 feet is the highest mountain in the northern Black Forest. A lookout tower on the top of the mountain provides spectacular views over the forest and can be reached by making the short climb from Mummelsee. The round trip journey takes about an hour, and during the summer a bus runs from the lake to the tower.

There are several trails for walking and hiking around Mummelsee. Visitors can enjoy the lake itself from one of the paddle boats that are available for rent on the lake's shore. A lakeside cafe provides a great place to have coffee and watch the boats on the water, and gift shops sell souvenirs, Black Forest meats, and cuckoo clocks. The lake freezes in the winter, and the Black Forest is known for its winter sports. Cross country ski trails and downhill slopes are all accessible from Mummelsee, making it a great year round destination. Mummelsee sits between Ruhestein and Unterstmatt on the SchwarzwaldhochstraBe or Black Forest Highway, one of the most popular scenic routes through the forest. Holiday cottages, vacation rentals and resorts can all be found in the area.

In nearby Ruhestein, the Nature Conservation Centre has a nature camp and a visitor's center explaining the area's mining history. Visitors interested in the history of the Black Forest can spend the day at the Vogtsbauernhof, the Black Forest Open Air Museum. Established in 1964, the 12-acre museum illustrates what life was like in the Black Forest over the past 400 years. It includes six furnished farmhouses from the 16th through the 19th century and about 15 outbuildings. The farms have heritage breeds of animals and kitchen gardens, and visitors can see demonstrations of crafts and other homemaking skills. The Vogtsbauernhof celebrates and protects the cultural heritage of the region and is a fantastic day trip from Mummelsee.

In the local dialect "mummel" means water lily, and the lake has much in common with the flower. Small, beautiful and precious, Mummelsee seems to unveil her mysteries one petal at a time. Nestled amid the pine and fir forest, it is a hidden treasure in a magical region.

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