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The Central Section — European Divide Trail

European Divide Trail

The Central Section — European Divide Trail

Mountain Biking Collection by European Divide Trail

25-56

days

3-6 h

/ day

1,420 mi

87,400 ft

87,200 ft

From Grense Jakobselv in Norway to Cabo St Vincent in Portugal, the European Divide Trail is the longest predominantly off-road bikepacking route in the world at over than 7,500 kilometres (4,660 miles), put together by Andy Cox, aka Doubletrackfanatic.

Passing through Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and France, to Valence in the Rhone Valley, the central section of the European Divide Trail measures at over 2,200 kilometres (1,367 miles), topping out at a maximum elevation of 1,700 metres (5,577 feet).

Enjoy a huge variety of terrain, culture and weather in this section, from flat land to high plateaus and much in between. There are also plenty of services here. ‘Continental’ weather patterns predominate, and you'll find many different types of trail, from dirt roads, farm tracks and traffic-free cycle routes. You also have many options to link to other bikepacking routes , as well as plenty of public transport options to get around on.

This section is best enjoyed from late spring to late autumn, although the Jura Mountains could be cold and even snowy at either end of the window so do travel prepared.

Check out the full European Divide Trail Collection and other sections here: komoot.com/user/europeandividetrail/collections

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 14: Frederikshavn to Aars — European Divide Trail

    Difficult
    12:54
    119 mi
    9.2 mph
    2,150 ft
    2,050 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Denmark is quite the contrast from Sweden, more in its landscape than its people and culture.

    

    Gone are the endless forests and their dirt roads: instead you're straight into a patchwork of forest plantations and farmland abounded by the beautiful coastline of the North Sea.

    

    It's wild and windswept, so

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    15:01
    162 mi
    10.8 mph
    3,950 ft
    3,925 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Starting off on a disused railway line converted to a cycle track, this is easy riding (as long as the wind isn't in your face) to the city of Viborg, with all the services you would expect from somewhere in Western Europe.

    

    Then it's onto a series of tracks and trails, quiet lanes and roads. Be aware

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    13:10
    128 mi
    9.7 mph
    2,950 ft
    3,000 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    This last section of Hærvejen certainly has more paved sections than the previous parts, but that's just part of the countryside as you get closer to Germany and the more populous areas of western Europe.

    

    There's still plenty to see though, so keep an eye out for stone circles, menhirs, stone ships and

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    14:06
    123 mi
    8.7 mph
    2,850 ft
    2,750 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    In parts the route follows St Jakobs Way, which is a pilgrimage route starting in Trömso, Norway, that eventually joins up to the Camino de Santiago a Compostela. The Way is a great mixture of dirt roads, farm tracks, lanes and single-tracks, and while it's sometimes a bit patchy and 'start-stop' in

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    13:53
    119 mi
    8.6 mph
    7,300 ft
    6,375 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Into some hills more after the relatively flat lands of northern Germany, and it's pretty much up and down on the way to Cologne now.

    

    The spectacular rock formations of Bärenstein are ridden between, before crossing the army training area north of Paderborn. This might be closed due to army manoeuvres

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    13:44
    102 mi
    7.4 mph
    9,075 ft
    10,025 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Here the hills get a little steeper and longer, and there's more forest roads to enjoy.

    

    You're now crossing through Sauerland, with numerous reservoirs, forests and small towns. There's plenty of good riding: steep in places, but also fun and engaging.

    

    Finally you'll ride across the Rhine and into Cologne

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    15:10
    119 mi
    7.9 mph
    9,000 ft
    7,900 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Out of Cologne, you cross through farmland and patches of forest until the hills start again and you enter the edge of the Eifel National Park.

    

    This is a very pretty area with plenty of good tracks through the forests, with small towns and cities in between as you climb and descend across many river

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    14:47
    113 mi
    7.6 mph
    9,375 ft
    10,025 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    More hills, valleys, plateaus and plenty of forests and good riding through this next section. There's very little flat riding so it's constantly up or down, but definitely rewarding as you eventually cross into France on a little used track with signs of WW2 fortifications hidden away in the woods

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    15:12
    105 mi
    6.9 mph
    12,675 ft
    11,475 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Ride across the Vosges Mountains in this next part with plenty of climbing and the highest point of the route so far at over 1,000 metres (3,281 ft). It's beautiful country with stunning, well managed forests, clean and tidy, with plenty of open shelters and even a few refuges if you can find them.

    

    There

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    14:14
    114 mi
    8.0 mph
    10,075 ft
    8,800 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Out of the Vosges, across the lumpy countryside between there and the Jura, and into cattle country.

    

    You'll cross the Doubs River that drains into the Rhine, and you're finally into the foothills of the Alps.

    

    The Jura is the coldest area of France, and the edge of Switzerland the route crosses into what

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    15:24
    109 mi
    7.1 mph
    12,025 ft
    14,525 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    There are loads of fantastic trails through this next section, and while you might be pushing the bike on a few short sections it's really worth the effort, as there are also 30 or so open cabins to stay in through here.

    

    They're mostly not much more than one room with a table, chairs and a wood burner

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    12:25
    108 mi
    8.7 mph
    6,000 ft
    6,375 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    You've reached the end of the mountains for a while as you ride along the Rhone River for a few kilometres before joining another pilgrimage route. Eventually you'll drop down to Valence and the Rhone again.

    

    The end of the mountains doesn't however mean the end to the climbing involved in the route...

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    12
  • Distance
    1,420 mi
  • Duration
    170:01 h
  • Elevation
    87,400 ft87,200 ft

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The Central Section — European Divide Trail

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