The Western Eifel belongs to the geologically youngest areas of Germany. About 13,000 years ago, countless volcanoes were still romping about here, throwing magma into the sky and creating huge craters. Even today you can clearly explore the traces of this history in the Western Eifel - no wonder that it also bears the name Vulkaneifel. Particular highlights are the Maare, volcanic craters in the middle of the wide hilly landscape. When the Eifel was still volcanically active, hot magma touched lakes or swamps on its way to the surface. Sudden explosions occurred, resulting in deep craters in the landscape. Some of these maars are still filled with water today.
On your four-day roundtrip we guide you from Daun to the most exciting places in the Volcanic Eifel. It goes up to the Ernstberg, whose wooded slopes are littered with huge boulders of volcanic rock. You admire the Dauner Maare, three circular lakes formed in old volcanic craters. From the Vulcano platform on the Leyberg you get a unique overview of the exciting hilly landscape of the Volcanic Eifel. And in the Mürmes nature reserve you can explore an extensive dry maar.
In the four days you will cover a distance of around 63 kilometres and climb almost 1,400 metres in altitude. Since the hiking trails are all well developed, the tour is also suitable for occasional hikers. Most of our tours follow two of the most beautiful official trails around Daun: the first two stages are on the Volcano Trail and the remaining two on the Volcano Trail.
At all stage destinations you have a sometimes smaller and sometimes larger selection of guesthouses, inns and hotels. Since buses also run regularly between Daun, the first stage destination Neunkirchen and the second stage destination Schalkenmehren, you can also plan the first and second stage as a two-day tour or as a single day hike.
Daun, the starting point of the circular hike, can be reached from the train stations Cochem and Gerolstein with the RegioBus line 500 or, of course, by your own car.
Bus timetables can be found at vrt-info.de.
On your first hiking day through the volcanic Eifel, a very special highlight awaits you. The first stage takes you up to the Ernstberg, the highest volcano in the volcanic Eifel. Its slopes are covered with dense beech forest and in between spectacular rock formations and stone walls rise up. At its rocky summit, there is no view, but a cozy resting place.Your hike to the Ernstberg begins in the center of Daun. You leave Daun heading north and after crossing the Bonner Straße, enter the forest. Here you hike leisurely uphill contrary to the flow direction at Jossenbach. Comfortable forest roads lead you further and further into the forest. Except for a few other hikers or cyclists, you will not meet anyone here. The trail meanders through the forest and under the Asseberg. You cross the Pützborn brook and afterwards you start your ascent to Ernstberg. On the densely wooded southern slope, it goes up to the summit.After eating your food during a break at the summit, continue your trek. The path leads you down the open western slope and here you have a magnificent view over the vast hilly landscape of the Vulkaneifel. The further way to the stage destination Neunkirchen runs gently downhill and most of the time on the edge of wide fields and meadows along - so you can look forward to wonderful panoramic views.In Neunkirchen you will find several apartments and a small guesthouse where you can stay for your first night. Alternatively, you can take the 504 bus back to Daun. Early in the morning, late in the evening and on weekends instead of the bus a call-line taxi drives. In this case, you must register your ride request at least 60 minutes before departure by calling 06591 - 5656.Timetable information is available at vrt-info.de.
The second day of hiking directly holds the next volcanic landscape ready for you: Today you will visit the famous Dauner Maaren. Maars occur when a low-lying magma layer comes into contact with an overlying lake or groundwater. The temperature difference causes a huge explosion that lifts a crater. Unlike other volcanic craters, maars do not have cones, but only a wall of rock piled high with flying debris. There are over 100 maars in the Eifel, but there are only 10 lakes to this day. The most beautiful are the three Dauner Maare. The Gemündener Maar, the Weinfelder Maar and the Schalkenmehrer Maar are located south of Daun and are close to each other - also an absolute special feature.From Neunkirchen you first cross the valley of the Pützborn brook. Then you cross a wooded hill. On the other side of the hill, the trail leads you through Daun for a short distance and then straight back into the forest. At the edge of the forest there is a large sports field and from here you have a beautiful view of the small town of Daun. You follow the trail downhill through the valley of Lieser and past some houses. After passing the youth hostel Daun, you will shortly reach the Gemündener Maar.By the way, the Gemündener Maar is the only one of the three Maar lakes where bathing is allowed. Here is a well-kept natural outdoor pool with lawn and diving platform. In the summer, you should not forget your bathing suit. Next you hike over a small hill to the Weinfelder Maar, also known as the Dead Man. From the wall around the Maar, you not only have a beautiful view of the lake, but also on the wide landscape of the volcanic Eifel. You circle around the maar and can admire from the so-called Maarsattel at the same time the dead man and the Schalkenmehrer Maar. Then it goes with a magnificent view once around the Schalkenmehrer Maar down to your milestone Schalkenmehre.In Schalkenmehre you have a large selection of hotels, guesthouses and apartments. If you have planned the hike only as a day trip, you can then take the RegioBus 500 back to Daun or continue to the train stations Cochem or Gerolstein.Timetable information is available at vrt-info.de.
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The third stage takes you up to Leyberg and further into Ellscheider Trockenmaar. At 558 meters, the Leyberg is not quite as high as the Ernstberg from the first stage, but there is a 28 meter high observation tower at the summit. If you climb that, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Vulkaneifel. The Ellscheider Trockenmaar was created in the same way as the Dauner Maarseen, but over time the water seeped away and the Maar silted up. The shape of the crater can still be seen well today.From Schalkenmehren the hiking trail leads you over the wall of the Schalkenmehrer Maares and on to the neighboring town of Mehren. There is a small supermarket here where you can refresh your supplies. You leave Mehren and then hike right under the highway. On the other hand, it goes up forest and field paths to Leyberg. At the summit is the “Vulcano Platform” observation tower. Unfortunately it is currently closed due to dilapidation.From Leyberg you walk steadily down through a dense forest. The path leads you through a small depression and then over a lightly forested mountain range along fields to the Ellscheider Trockenmaar. The Pulvermaar with its circular Maarsee lake is located directly south of it. However, you can only see the outer wall that separates the two maars. On the edge of the Trockenmaar you hike to the stage destination Ellscheid.In Ellscheid you can choose between different holiday apartments and inns. However, there is only a connection to Schalkenmehren outside school holidays and only on weekdays with buses 305 and 503. If you want to complete the tour as a day hike, you can either order a taxi or hike further to Schalkenmehren. The total distance then is around 26 kilometers. You will find the directions in the fourth stage.
On your last hiking day our round hike will take you through the Mürmes. There you can admire another volcanic landscape form. The Mürmes was once a huge maar. The lake partially seeped and left a lush, rustic moor landscape. In the past, peat was stung on the wet meadows, but now the moorland is under nature protection. Here you can observe numerous birds and marvel at rare plants. Afterwards it goes along the Dauner Maaren back to Daun.From Ellscheid you walk along fields and meadows to Mürmes. A rustic trail leads you along the northern edge of the moor. From here you have a nice view over the nature reserve and you can clearly see the kettle shape. After you have rounded the Mürmes, you cross the highway on a bridge and continue across fields to Schalkenmehren.In Schalkenmehren, you can take a break in one of the inns and cafés and then continue your walk with fresh strength. The trail leads you along the southern shore of the Schalkenmehrer Maars and up to the Totenmaar. Above the lakeshore, it goes steadily uphill to the summit of Mäuseberg. Up here is an old, stone lookout tower, the founder of the Eifelverein Dr. Eifel. Adolf Dronke is dedicated. From Dronketurm you can enjoy a great view of the Dauner Maare and in the north you can clearly see the Ernstberg. From Mäuseberg follow the path to Daun.At the end of your voyage of discovery through the volcanic history of the Eifel, you can start your journey home in Daun. With the RegioBuslinie 500 it goes daily to the stations Cochem or Gerolstein. From there you can then go home by train.Timetable information is available at vrt-info.de.