Between nature and industrial heritage - the Emscher-Weg


Between nature and industrial heritage - the Emscher-Weg

Bike Touring Collection by komoot
2-3 days
2-3 h / day
61.1 mi
675 ft
1,100 ft

Are you looking for a relaxing bike ride through beautiful nature? Then come to the Ruhr area. What at first sight may seem like a contradiction, is in fact a fascinating opportunity to explore the hidden treasures in the Ruhr area. On the 60 mile (100 kilometer) long Emscher-Weg, you will experience stunning nature and industrial heritage in an exciting and varied way. Along the river, you will witness changing times for example in the form of huge, former industrial areas that have been re-natured and converted into recreational areas. You will also cycle through huge parks that have just been created or are in the process of being created, follow idyllic river landscapes discovering countless works of art along the way, and you will get to know the rich history of the Ruhrgebiet. Cycling through the Ruhr area reveals an unembellished behind the scenes view of the region with its factories, highways, and concrete deserts. It is precisely these contrasts that make the Emscher Weg an incomparably exciting cycle path.

We have divided the 60 miles (100 kilometer) long and completely flat river bike path into two equal stages. The structural, landscape and urban changes don’t just stop at the bike path either. Again and again, the sections are redirected or moved to run through freshly renatured areas. Your journey begins in Holzwickede, in the courtyard of a renovated half-timbered farm where the Emscher bubbles in a pond from the ground. You will then cycle through the romantic Aplerbeck to the huge Phoenix Lake and half around Dortmund. Industrial areas and nature reserves are side by side here, as factory chimneys and sheep herds are neighbors. Long stretches of the bike path run along re-natured areas. Between Recklinghausen and Herne, you will reach the Rhein-Herne-Kanal meaning you have made it halfway.

Right at the beginning of the second part of the Emscher-Weg, you will reach the Hoheward dump, the largest waste tip of the Ruhr area. You will find many interesting artworks along the path such as a singing mountain, concrete sheep or a dancing power pole – you’re sure to be amazed many times. The Halde Wehofen, just before the end of the Emscher Trail, will also catch your attention, because it has been burning for over 70 years. After 60 miles (100 kilometers), the Emscher flows through a river power plant into the mighty Rhine leaving many rich impressions, contrasts and experiences behind you.

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

    30.6 mi
    9.9 mph
    350 ft
    675 ft
    Expert bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    The cycle path along the Emscher begins directly at its source in Holzwickede, southeast of Dortmund. From the station Holzwickede the Emscherquellhof is about two kilometers away. In this beautiful half-timbered courtyard is the spring of the Emscher and here begins the approximately 100-kilometer Emscher-Weg, the fascinating cycle path in the Ruhr between pure nature and industrial culture.You meander through Holzwickede and follow the young Emscher who pulls her bows. Completely without traffic you cycle through the suburbs of Dortmund. Especially nice is the section in Aplerbeck. The market with its town hall, an old bridge and the magnificent moated castle are an idyllic ensemble that you might not have expected in the Ruhr area.After a few dodges you will reach a gem of renaturation: the Phoenix Lake. Once upon a time here was a huge steel plant, today the lake is a popular recreational area. Although you can not swim, but rush across the water with a sailing or pleasure boat.Continue through extensive green areas around Dortmund. You ride on beautiful bike paths through parks and industrial areas, then cycle again on romantic canals and past grazing sheep. This contrast makes the bike path so special. The first half of the cycle path ends at Recklinghausen city harbor, not far from Recklinghausen South station or at Strünkede waterfront in Herne.

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    30.4 mi
    10.0 mph
    325 ft
    425 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The second half of the Emscher Trail begins between Recklinghausen and Herne at the city harbor Recklinghausen. From here to Oberhausen, the Emscher flows parallel to the Rhine-Herne Canal.After two and a half kilometers, a short detour to the Hoheward heap is worthwhile. Together with the Hoppenbruch heap, it forms the largest stockpile landscape in the Ruhrgebiet. The heap is an interesting park that is over 150 meters high at the highest point. From the balconies and the lookout tower you have a beautiful view of the former colliery and Herten. You will also find many artworks and installations on the stockpile, such as the giant sundial, the sky staircase or the Dragon Bridge.Continue along the Emscher. Also on this stage, nature and industry alternate. In between you will find renatured areas and new development areas on old industrial areas. As already mentioned, the Rhine-Herne Canal flows parallel to the Emscher. On an artificial hill between the two waters, on the "wild island" is the "Singing Mountain", an artificial rock, from which sounds every now and then a specially composed for this place music. Immediately after, you cross the Rhine-Herne Canal on the lock Gelsenkirchen. From here you can see how the big ships bridge the height difference of over six meters.Also in the further course are several art installations along the Emscher way, such as the concrete sheep under the motorway bridge south of Bottrop. This area is also historically interesting, because during excavation work on the Rhine-Herne Canal you have come across a resting place of the Neanderthals.Shortly before the end of the Emscher-Weg, there is still an extraordinary natural spectacle to discover: the Halde Wehofen. During the Second World War, the heap caught fire and has been burning ever since. The underground coal deposits glow until the heap is completely sealed with clay.A few kilometers later, the Emscher flows into the Rhine. The estuary was relocated to the north twice, in 1938 and 1949, and thanks to the new difference in altitude, the estuary served to produce power. Here the Emscher way ends. The nearest train station is located just under five kilometers away in Dinslaken.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    61.1 mi
  • Duration
    06:09 h
  • Elevation
    675 ft1,100 ft

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Between nature and industrial heritage - the Emscher-Weg