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The four sections of the Wilderness Trail

The Wilderness Trail consists of four sections, each between 18 and 25 kilometres in length. This makes it easy to complement your hike with a few “lazy days off”, slotted in before, during or after the hike. You can find out what awaits you along the trail and at the relevant starting points of the sections in the descriptions of the individual sections.

What is the difference in elevation on the hike, and where is the steepest stretch? Where are the highest points on the trail? You will find the answer to all these questions with the help of the elevation profiles for the individual sections.

Can’t be bothered with bulky maps? Then try using a satellite: with so-called GPS hiking, you can find both your position and the right way with the help of the “Global Positioning System” (GPS). Via the relevant GPS navigation device, satellite signals from space will show you the way. Download the relevant data for the individual sections of the hike. They are based on the eGoTrek map, with a scale of 1:2000.

Further information on GPS hiking in the Eifel, maps and lots of GPS data showing sites of interest to tourists are available on the eGoTrek website.

The first section of the Wilderness Trail leads from Monschau-Höfen to Simmerath-Einruhr.
The second section leads from Simmerath-Einruhr to Schleiden-Gemünd.
The third section leads from Schleiden-Gemünd to Heimbach.
The fourth section leads from Heimbach to Hürtgenwald-Zerkall.

 
 

Section 1

On the 24.7 kilometre section between the National Park Gate in Monschau-Höfen and Simmerath-Einruhr, you will pass the following:

  • the free, fully accessible and multilingual exhibition at the National Park Gate in Höfen on daffodil meadows and changing forests 
  • romantic valley meadows that will enchant you in spring with their yellow sea of wild daffodils, and in summer with their fragrant wild herbs
  • the idyllic Erkensruhr valley
  • the natural forest reserve "Im Brand" 
  • the beginnings of the broad Dreiborn plateau 
  • the breathtaking high altitude path near Hirschrott 
  • the magnificent view over the Obersee reservoir 
  • the National Park Information Point in Einruhr

The section from Höfen to Einruhr is the most challenging of the four sections of the Wilderness Trail. As well as being comparatively long, this section involves a significant climb.

Tips for a lazy day off in Monschau-Höfen

  • Take a stroll through the old part of the former cloth-making town of Monschau with its historical half-timbered houses, or try the famous mustard from its mustard mill.
  • Another interesting free visit can be made to the National Park Gate in Höfen. The exhibition on daffodil meadows and changes in the forest is multilingual and fully accessible, i.e. also suitable for people with disabilities.
Eifel National Park hosts for hikers in Höfen and surroundings:

Tips for a lazy day off in Simmerath-Einruhr 

  • The National Park Information Point and hikers' refuge in the Heilsteinhaus in the centre of the village is worth a visit. 
  • Many a local swears by the iron-rich water of the Heilstein spring, which bubbles from the ground in the courtyard of the Heilsteinhaus. Why not try it yourself?
  • Take a refreshing dip in the natural lido. 
  • From April to October you can take a trip on one of the electric ferries of the Rursee shipping company on the Obersee reservoir or the Rur Lake. 
  • You can for example reach Rurberg, with its National Park Gate and free exhibition on "Arteries of Nature", by electric boat - without expending any of your own muscle power!

Eifel National Park hosts for hikers in Einruhr and surroundings:

 
 

Section 2

On the second section of the hike you will cover 20.5 kilometres from Simmerath-Einruhr to Schleiden-Gemünd:

  • The National Park Information Point and hikers' refuge in Einruhr (start).
  • Here, narrow paths along the steep slopes around the Obersee reservoir exude a natural tranquillity. 
  • Enjoy the view from the Urft dam, once Europe’s largest. 
  • Visit the deserted village of Wollseifen. 
  • Visit the former Nazi training centre, Vogelsang. It is possible to take a tour here with certified guides who will give you an insight into Vogelsang’s military past.
  • You can admire a beautiful view over the Urft and Gemünd from the Kickley viewing point. 
  • From the Eifel viewing point "Modenhübel" there is a panoramic view over the Kermeter hills.
  • The National Park Gate in Gemünd (end).

Tips for a lazy day off in Schleiden-Gemünd
(Tips for Simmerath-Einruhr are to be found under Section 1):

  • Visit the free exhibition at the National Park Gate in Gemünd on "Gnarled oaks, brightly coloured woodpeckers and the thrilling history and tales of the forest". 
  • Take a refreshing dip in the "Rosenfreibad" open-air swimming pool. 
  • The art gallery displays the works of artists from the Eifel region.

Eifel National Park hosts for hikers in Gemünd and surroundings

 
 

Section 3

The third section will take you 22.4 kilometres from Schleiden-Gemünd to Heimbach. Along the trail you can enjoy:

  • the National Park Gate in Gemünd (start)
  • the impressive beech and oak forests of the Kermeter hills 
  • a wonderful view over swaying treetops from the fire service watchtower in Wolfgarten 
  • local cuisine at the "Kermeterschänke" hotel restaurant (a National Park host)
  • a visit to the only Trappist monastery for monks in Germany, where you can also take a break for refreshments
  • the impressive "Wiegelskammer" natural forest reserve
  • the National Park Gate at Heimbach station (end)

Tips for a lazy day off in Heimbach
(Tips for Schleiden-Gemünd are to be found under Section 2):

  • Visit the National Park Gate at Heimbach station, with its free exhibition on the secrets of the beech forest and walk-in audio exhibit. 
  • Visit Hengebach castle in Heimbach. 
  • Do a kayak or canoe trip from Heimbach to Hürtgenwald-Zerkall on the River Rur (available from 15th July to 28th February). 
  • Visit the Jugendstil power station; the tunnels of this power station still transport the water from the Urft Lake to Heimbach.

Eifel National Park hosts for hikers in Heimbach and surroundings:

 
 

Section 4

From Heimbach it is a relatively easy 17.7 kilometre hike to Hürtgenwald-Zerkall. So you will enjoy the following things all the more:

  • the National Park Gate at Heimbach station
  • the Hetzinger forest, a diverse mixed forest, with its many gnarled oaks
  • the beautiful Schliebach valley
  • the National Park Information Point in Zerkall

Tips for a lazy day off in Hürtgenwald-Zerkall
(Tips for Heimbach are to be found under Section 3):

  • Do a kayak or canoe trip from Heimbach to Zerkall on the Rur river (available from 15th July to 28th February). 
  • Visit the National Park Information Point in Zerkall
  • Visit Nideggen castle. 
  • Visit the National Park Gate in Nideggen, with its fully accessible exhibition on "Nature's Treasure Chest". Audiophones are available to allow you to experience the exhibition in German, Dutch, French or English. 

Eifel National Park hosts for hikers in the surrounding:

 
 
 



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