Innumerable metres of altitude difference, rapid descents, magnificent views, wonderful landscapes, and even a few really good bike parks. This may sound like a description of a mountain bike adventure in remote alpine regions, but you can actually find it almost on your doorstep! In the words of Goethe: “Why look so far afield when there is so much good close by’. We are referring to the Sauerland region in western Germany. Known as the land of 1,000 hills, the low mountain region in the middle of Westphalia is just a stone’s throw from the Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions. This Collection features a five-day bikepacking adventure through these regions. So pack your bags, strap them onto your bike and come along for an adventure that reveals the wildest, most remote, and idyllic sides of the Sauerland.
Usually, you would start a typical Sauerland tour in Willingen or in Winterberg. But a promise is a promise: In this Collection, we take a wide berth from the beaten paths around the region’s tourist hotspots. Instead, your adventure starts in Meinerzhagen. You haven’t heard of this town, right? That’s okay because that's why it's so beautiful here. There are no tourists, instead you'll find many beautiful trails that take you directly into the Ebbe Mountains, the western foothills of the Sauerland. Meinerzhagen also has a small train station with reasonable connections to Cologne or the Ruhr area. If you prefer to drive you can take the A45 motorway which passes directly by Meinerzhagen.
Once on your bike, it takes less than ten minutes to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the peace and quiet of nature. This Collection takes you to wonderfully quiet places via remote forest roads and trails which connect the whole Sauerland region. The route sometimes crosses a larger village which is the perfect opportunity to replenish your provisions and buy your breakfast for the next morning. The shelters that we have selected for your overnight stay are surrounded by pure nature and not luxurious. If you are looking for a down-to-earth bikepacking trip, you will love this. But if you prefer a little more comfort, you'll also find accommodation with a "real" roof over your head near the end of each stage.
To make this Tour a success, you should plan ahead. Look at the map to see where you can buy supplies and calculate how much space you need in your bags to carry your provisions, as well as your sleeping bag, sleeping mat, change of clothes and rainwear. Think about whether you would like to spend every night outside, or perhaps a shower and a warm dinner in a B&B or hotel would be nice on the way. Basic bikepacking equipment is much more important for this kind of travel than the type of bike. You can ride the route on any normal mountain bike. If you want to make small detours on really demanding trails such as those of the Trail Center in Winterberg or the Bike Park near Olpe, you should use a suspension enduro bike.
In the end, the only thing that counts is what you make of it. A wonderful experience in nature and a completely new perspective of Sauerland are guaranteed.
When you think of the Sauerland, city names like Winterberg, Willingen or Schmallenberg surely shoot through your head - but Meinerzhagen? Nevertheless, your bikepacking trip starts right here. After all, you want to experience an adventure, and that starts with leaving the beaten path of the Hochsauerland on the left and instead buttoning it up from the far west. The small town in the Volmetal is an excellent starting point for your tour - not only because of the new train connection with great connections to the Ruhr area or to Cologne. Meinerzhagen is on the edge of the Ebbegebirge and represents the highest point of the Märkisches Kreis with the Nordhelle. In other words: If you sit on your bike, there is no long warm-up program, but direct biking at its best with everything that goes with it.When you have left the small train station and pulled all the straps of your luggage tight again, you roll over a few streets of Meinerzhagen for a short time before turning onto the first trail. From now on it goes uphill for a while, because you are the first to drive to the north light, where you can get a good overview from the observation tower. It may be a bit early for a full meal, but maybe you would like to have a coffee in the small restaurant, which is located right by the tower.In the further course of the first stage you can expect a nice mix of forest roads, very quiet roads and every now and then a trail. You rarely come through a small settlement or a village and there is usually not much more than just a few houses. It is rural and totally idyllic here - perfect for switching off. On the other hand, it is not so perfect if you assume that if you feel a little hungry, you can simply walk to the nearest supermarket: you will wait in vain for it. Instead, you could take care of yourself at the bakery in Rönkhausen after around 37 kilometers or stop a little further in the restaurant of the Wildewiese ski area. The "Steinbergs" enjoys a good reputation and is open until late in the summer. There are delicious regional dishes for the comfort bike packer. If you prefer to be down-to-earth instead, just drive another 13 kilometers to your accommodation: a beautiful refuge on the Estenberg, far from any civilization.
Day two in the Sauerland begins as the first ended: idyllic and with wonderful tranquility. If you have made provisions, you can now enjoy your breakfast in the refuge before you pack up and continue. If you prefer to buy your breakfast fresh, a small detour is necessary. After around seven kilometers, you can incorporate a small swivel to the bakery in the route in Wenholthausen. If you are more after the supermarket, you will find it in Eslohe - but then the detour is a bit bigger. Whichever type of food you choose, it is best to get a little more right away, because shopping is still scarce today. There are a few places to stop for refreshments along the way.On the way you can look forward to many beautiful trails and paths that spit you out again and again in cozy settlements where you can dream of the peaceful life in the country. The highlight today is the Hunau, which provides some variety with the ski lift, refuge and radio tower. But above all, there are a few fine trails over which you take a course uphill and downhill towards the stage goal.Your accommodation today is called Hubertushütte. It is idyllically situated in the forest between Nordenau and Alastenberg. It is not particularly far to either of the two towns, each of which can be reached in around two kilometers. If you want to stop off after your tour or even feel like a real bed and shower, you have several options here. In both places there is a small selection of hosts who are happy to welcome you. But it is still the most comfortable in the shelter alone.
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When we talk about the heath, we usually think of the well-known Lüneburg Heath in the north of Germany and not the Sauerland. On the third stage of our Sauerland bikepacking adventure, you will learn that there is always this beautiful landscape with its typical vegetation. Because the route leads you again and again to different high heath areas, on which the heather blooms in summer and where you have the chance to discover many rare plant and animal species.The first "Heidestopp" is right at the start of the tour. After you have enjoyed a wonderfully quiet night in "your" refuge, the path leads you up via Alastenberg to the Kahler Asten. On the third highest mountain in the Sauerland, not only a great view awaits you, but also this open heath landscape, which provides unforgettable impressions. If you are fed up, it is time that your stomach also gets its money's worth: If you do not have breakfast provisions with you, you have all kinds of options in Winterberg to enjoy a delicious breakfast. From the supermarket to the cozy café, there is really everything here.It continues well strengthened. Through the idyllic Orketal you drive up to the Franzosenkreuz including the refuge and over the Hilmesberg (with foresight and Hochheide) to Hallenberg. From here it is only about five kilometers to today's stage destination, a rustic refuge on the Heidkopf. So it's a good idea to stop in Hallenberg again or top up your supplies before you move into your rustic accommodation. Before you set up your night camp, it is worth a detour to the lookout tower, from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the hills of the Sauerland and over the Hochheide all around. The refuge itself is absolutely beautiful and offers a lot of space for you and your bike as well as all kinds of seating and tables.
Every stage trip has its royal stage - here is your bike-packing trip through the Sauerland: almost 70 kilometers and more than 1,600 meters in altitude, if that doesn't sound like a great day on the bike!After a quiet night on the Heidkopf, the breakfast question arises again: Did you bring your own provisions or would you like to stop at the next opportunity? If you choose the second variant, you will need a little patience. Until civilization, including the supermarket and bakery, you have to travel 20 kilometers through the Sauerland. In terms of landscape, this early bird ride is a dream and the perfect start to the day.In Bad Berleburg you can finally satisfy your hunger or at least replenish your supplies. The small climatic health resort provides a great backdrop for your break. Berleburg Castle is also worth a look, as is the historic old town with its numerous architectural monuments. When you have seen enough, you leave the city and go back to the rural idyll of the Sauerland. You can expect a varied up and down with beautiful forest trails and some trails.The next break is in Jagdhaus. In the on-site restaurant of the same name, you can stop off and refresh yourself for the rest of the tour. If you are not yet hungry, you will find another stop for refreshments and shopping around 13 kilometers from the stage in Albaum. From there you head for your accommodation today: the shelter "Benolper Kreuz". The hut is located above Benolpe, where you can alternatively find a "real" roof over your head.
Stage 5: the finale of a great adventure in the Sauerland. And as befits a finale, the best comes to the end. Strictly speaking, two highlights are waiting for you today: one is action-packed, one is very relaxing. But one after anonther...As the saying goes: "Single trail in the morning dispels grief and worries". In this sense, today's tour starts absolutely perfectly. You crawl out of your sleeping bag, treat yourself to the breakfast you brought with you, get on your bike and after a few meters you are right on a flowing trail. Life can be so beautiful.And it gets better. It is less than six kilometers to the first real highlight of the day: the "Bikepark OE" on Fahlenscheid. This small bike park near Olpe was built with a lot of volunteer work and even more attention to detail and offers a great opportunity to hone your riding technique and incorporate a few extra runs into your tour. There are different lines with different levels of difficulty, all of which are great fun. At the weekend, the small drag lift usually runs, which increases the downhill fun even more. If you are interested, it is best to check in advance on the bike park's Facebook page if you are interested.When you have let off steam, you can look forward to the second highlight of the day. As promised, this is more of a relaxed variety: you can take a longer break on the banks of the Biggesee and even treat yourself to a refreshing dip in the small outdoor pool. And if you prefer a little less hustle and bustle, you can simply drive a little further to the Listertalsperre, where the next leisurely stop at the bank is appropriate.Now it is not far to the starting point of the stage trip. A few more trails, forest trails, viewpoints, hills and descents - at the latest when you cross the A45 motorway, it is certain: Meinerzhagen is reached in a moment. On the beautiful descent down to the city, you can finally enjoy the great view of the ski jumps. Then you drive through the center of the village and finally reach the small train station, from where you can quickly and easily drive back to Cologne or the Ruhr area.