Ettersburg Castle lies on the edge of the forest on the northern side of the Grosse Ettersberg. This woodland has been the hunting ground for the Dukes of Weimar since the 17th century. Duke Wilhelm Ernst started building the castle at the beginning of the 18th century; the work was completed by his nephew Ernst August. From 1776 to 1780, the Dowager Duchess Anna Amalia of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach held her summer court in Ettersburg and became the centre of a circle of literary and musical figures.
A second golden age of culture began when the castle was taken over by Carl Alexander, Anna Amalia's great-grandson, in 1842. The young duke had the two castle parterres reconstructed in accordance with designs by Carl Eduard Petzold. Petzold also laid the six-hectare landscaped park at the west of the castle and the great forest house meadow which stretches east of the valley base from the old castle to the forester's house. In 1845, the castle avenue, one of the intersecting hunting trails, was widened with the suggestion and under the direction of Prince Hermann von Pückler-Muskau to form the so-called Pücklerschlag.