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3 days of trail action on Germany’s Rothaarsteig

Ferienwelt Winterberg / Stephan Peters

3 days of trail action on Germany’s Rothaarsteig

Mountain Biking Collection by Martin Donat

3-5

days

3-5 h

/ day

109 mi

11,150 ft

11,900 ft

‘Do you wish to roam farther and farther? See! The Good lies so near.’ None other than Goethe was the inspiration for this Collection. What is this legendary German poet and novelist telling us? That you don’t have to travel far to have fun on your bike. Sometimes, a great adventure is right on your doorstep. The Rothaarsteig or the Sauerland is easy for me to reach, and thus for everyone from the Ruhr area, Westphalia, Siegerland and northern and central Germany. It’s the ideal starting point for an unforgettable micro-adventure on your mountain bike.

The idea

With this Collection, I’d like to inspire you to go on a long, action-packed bikepacking weekend. Three days are ideal, but you can also combine stages or do the Tours individually. Plan it to suit you, according to the motto: maximum adventure with the minimum time. All stage locations have been chosen so that you can find suitable accommodation or return to the starting point by public transport.

The route

The 154-kilometre (95.6 mi) Rothaarsteig Trail runs through the Rothaargebirge Nature Park. I used the route as a rough guide for this adventure. However, you don’t just follow the hiking trail. I packed everything in that makes up a great bike Tour – at least for me. You’ll explore many trails and pass beautiful highlights – from breathtaking viewpoints to rest stops.

Along the way, you’ll ride through wonderful nature. The Rothaargebirge peak rises to 842 metres (2,762 ft) and stretches from the Hochsauerland along the Rhine-Weser watershed in the Lahn-Dill district to the south. The area is not very densely populated, perfect for a nature-filled adventure. You can enjoy the varied landscapes in peace and quiet. Heathland, far-reaching views, countless springs, small rivers and reservoirs characterise your ride. As the Tours have quite a lot of elevation gain, a basic fitness level will help. Some of the trails are technically demanding, but you’ll easily master tham if you have some bike skills. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time as you won’t necessarily be cruising along fast forest tracks at 20 km/h (12 mi). ;)

Gear

Everything from cross-country bikes to enduro bikes are suitable. The most important thing is that you’re comfortable on your bike. As a lot of the route runs along trails and if you choose to take the detour to the Brilon and Winterberg trail parks, a full-suspension or enduro bike is ideal. I recommend a lightweight bikepacking set up, for example, with a large saddle bag, to pack a change of clothes and a few spare parts. A large rucksack isn’t overly practical for this Tour, but it’s possible.

Last but not least, even though the Sauerland has many bike shops, don’t rely on them. Pack the most important spare parts and a multi-tool as well as inner tubes and a pump. In case of emergency, you’ll have a long way to walk on foot to the next town with a bike shop. If you need to pick up supplies en route, head to the bike shop at Winterberg bike park.

Getting there

Dominated by the Rothaargebirge mountains, the Sauerland region has the highest elevations in North Rhine-Westphalia. Its central location attracts people from western Germany, especially the Ruhr area, as well as from northern and central Germany. Thanks to the good public transport connections, you can arrive by train rather than car. That’s a good thing for me as I don’t even have a car ;). Brilon is well connected to the larger towns in the area by regional train. From your end point in Dillenburg, you can return to Brilon by train in around three and a half hours.

Accommodation

Each stage town offers different accommodation to suit all tastes. Winterberg, a popular cycling town, has numerous offers tailored specifically to bikers. Book in advance so you don’t miss out.

Now, have fun in the bike paradise on your doorstep. I'm sure that your heart will also beat for the Sauerland when you're back.

P.S. (as of August 2022): It's been quite a while since I created this Collection. A lot has happened in our forests since then, especially in the Sauerland. Heavy equipment has been used to fell hectares of trees, changing the nature here. Many paths today no longer look as they did a few years ago. Some are totally rutted or blocked by felled trees. Therefore, please carefully plan your route and be aware that you may have to undertake some diversions.

On The Map

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Do it yourself

Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.

3 Tage auf dem Rothaarsteig

110 mi

11,575 ft

12,325 ft

Last updated: November 11, 2022

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Brilon to Winterberg – 3 days on the Rothaarsteig

    Difficult
    05:30
    33.2 mi
    6.0 mph
    4,525 ft
    3,625 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.

    When you hear Sauerland and think of pensioners and the Dutch, you can learn a lot today. Tonight you associate the following things with this beautiful piece of earth: fun single trails, crisp climbs and incredibly beautiful nature with stunning views of the surrounding hills.

    

    It starts right away. Starting

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    by Martin Donat

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  • Intermediate
    04:35
    32.7 mi
    7.1 mph
    2,575 ft
    3,400 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    As soon as you sit on the bike, things really get going. Because the Hostel Winterberg practically spits you out in the middle of the Winterberg Trail Park. And there are - of course - lots of trails waiting for you. I have by no means included all of them in this tour, after all you want to arrive at

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    by Martin Donat

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  • Difficult
    06:21
    43.6 mi
    6.9 mph
    4,075 ft
    4,900 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    A wet and happy trail fun awaits you today. Just out of interest, I counted the rivers, brooks and springs that I could discover directly on the route: I was able to find eleven watercourses and five springs. Today you drive long distances through beautiful valleys, lined with babbling brooks, lush meadows

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    by Martin Donat

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    3
  • Distance
    109 mi
  • Duration
    16:26 h
  • Elevation
    11,150 ft11,900 ft

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