Lakes ©Christoph Gasse

The Wilderness Trail in Eifel National Park – right in the thick of it

The Wilderness Trail takes hikers on an 85 kilometre journey through Eifel National Park, situated to the south of Cologne. We hike through secluded, unspoiled forests near the Belgian border.

Our route starts near Monschau with its charming Old Town and majestic castle. We then follow the Rur river over narrow natural tracks and meadows. The Wilderness Trail is not wild enough to give us a fright, despite the wildcat we find staring at us on the wooden way-markers. Nevertheless, the trail is so named as our hike takes us through unspoiled natural surroundings. We see mostly forests or tranquil lakes rather than buildings, towns and cities.

The majority of Eifel National Park was turned into a military training area after the war. This created a high level of biodiversity in the region. We delight in the sight of wild daffodils in the meadow valleys and the woodpeckers in the unspoiled forests of oak and beech trees.

Shortly before Heimbach, the end of the 3rd stage, we visit Mariawald Abbey, the only Trappist monastery in Germany.

TIP: the National Park Gate in Monschau-Höfen

Manuel Andrack, editor, presenter, author and hiking blogger:
"The National Park Gate in Höfen is a fascinating museum where we experience the Eifel region's natural world with all five senses. We gather our strength for the wilderness in the Alte Molkerei bistro."

At a glance: Wilderness Trail in Eifel National Park

Starts: Monschau-Höfen

Ends: Hürtgenwald-Zerkall (National Park information point)

Length: 85 km

Number of stages: 4

Altitude variation: lowest point 180 m (Zerkall), highest point 628 m (Wahlerscheid)

Terrain: 50% unmade, 45% gravel roads, 5% asphalt

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