About three kilometers from Ilsenburg rises high above the Ilsetal the legendary Ilsestein. This steep and almost vertical sloping granite rock is very popular as a hiking destination and easy to reach from the valley of the river Ilse. From the Ilsestein you have a magnificent view of the Brocken massif, the Ilsetal and the surrounding mountains, the city Ilsenburg and much of the northern Harz foreland.
In the High Middle Ages was on the rock, a castle, which served the German emperors to protect the surrounding imperial ban forest and to monitor the nearby monastery in Ilsenburg. By order of the Pope, the mountain fortress was stormed and destroyed in 1107. Today only a few remnants of the wall are reminiscent of this structure.
At the top of the rock, 474 meters above sea level, stands a large cast-iron cross. In 1814 Anton Graf zu Stolberg-Wernigerode erected it in memory of his friends and acquaintances, who had died in the wars of liberation in 1813 and 1814. With a little skill, you can climb up to this cross and take a look into the valley of the Ilse, which lies 150 meters lower, as well as various other striking terrain points.
The ascent to the cross is not without danger. Be sure to pay attention to your safety and that of your escorts. On top of the rock next to the cross, there is no railing or similar protection.
The poet Heinrich Heine visited in the course of his Harz trip in 1824 also Ilsestein. He also climbed up to the cast-iron cross. Through him, the rock found high above the Ilsetal entry into classical German literature. In the area of the lookout point are various small boards with quotations to Ilsestein from Heine's "Harzreise".