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perto de Nideggen, Nordrhein-Westfalen (Deutschland)
The sandstone formations have been the training ground of rockclimbers for more than 100 years. More recently, however, climbing activity is regulated to 4 areas, still offering more than 100 climbing routes. The restrictions became necessary for the protection against erosion, and to allow undisturbed breeding of endangered species such as falcons or the eagle owl.
For the hiker, the area offers a maze of trails, many of which lead to the best viewpoints. It is also easy to get lost, or to miss the best spots.
Our trail tries to visit as many as possible cliffs north of Nidegeen, then travels to Obermaubach and its lake, climbs the hills opposite those of Nideggen, and back to the starting point. Note that the Burgberg on the other side of the Rur, including its observation tower, are considerably higher than the castle of Nideggen. This is a long hike and a full day should be planned.
The trail begins at the hikers' parking lot north of the castle. Having crossed the main road, it immediately plunges into the thicket of the Nideggen forest, and soon reaches its first viewpoint at the Hirtzley. Pay attention to the GPS coordinates, so as to make for a true loop hike.
At the easily missed junction at waypoint 5, turn left in order not to miss the Hindenburgtor, an attractive rock formation, plus several other cliffs.
Similarly, at waypoint 15, be sure to take the middle of three trails. At waypoint 16, the 'mountain trail' to the Eugenienstein begins. Among the many cliffs, the Eugenienstein has a particularly broad clifftop, without the guard rails found on many other rocks. The trail down from the Eugenienstein is very steep.
At the bottom of the trail, a more leisurely section leads to the Waldkapelle, a nice Chapel and restpoint overlooking Obermaubach and the Obermaubach dam. There are signboards providing ineresting information about the Lady Alvaredis of Molbach, the first countess of the castle Nideggen, in the 11th and 12th century.
We selected a trail that follws from behind the chapel very steeply towards the lake. If you prefer to take it more unhurridly, continue the path that leads you to the chapel, and you also will reach the lake.
At the lake is a station of the Rur Valley Train. This could be an alternative starting and endpoint. Cross the dam. On its downstream side, note the fish ladder - allowing fish to move upstream past the dam.
The center of Obermaubach seems to have seen its best, but you will be amply compensated by the subsequent walk along the Dresbach - a truly enchanted little valley and also one of the highlights of the hike.
Soon after you reach the fields and outskirts of Bergstein. Bergstein community made a lot of efforts to attract visitors. It has a Burgberg (a hill which was the site of a castle). On top of the Berg is a rather high observation tower, which tops out at 456 Meter above sea level (according toour GPS), more than 100 meter higher than the castle of Nideggen. It is worth climbing up - only from the very top will you enjoy unobstructed views in all directions. If you feel tired, skip the excursion to the Burgberg.
Complete the anti-clockwise circle across the Burgberg, and take another circle (this time clockwise) around the Burg. Also from here, you will enjoy good views towards Nideggen and the Rur valley.
We selected a shortcut towards the village of Zerkall. Unfortunately, due to logging operations, the trail all but disappeared between waypoint 34 and waypoint 35. If you do not fancy a bushwhack through brambles and nettles, turn right at waypoint 33, and keep left until you also reach waypoint 35.
In Zerkall, cross the Rur. Shortly after the bridge, you may turn right to visit the Tourist Center. Return to the trail and begin the gradual climb back up to Nideggen. The ascent is less daunting than appears at first sight, but pay attention at the various intersections. You will pass several cliffs and viewpoints along the way, until you reach the parking lot in Nideggen.