Eifel National Park (Nationalpark Eifel)

Eifel National Park

 

Location: North Rhine-Westphalia Map

Area: 10,700 ha (26,400 acres)

 

Description of Eifel National Park

Eifel National Park is located in North Rhine-Westphalia in Western Germany. The nature reserve covers an area of ​​10,700 hectares (26,400 acres). Eifel National Park contains over 230 endangered species of animals and plants that are found here. Over 240 kilometers or 150 miles of hiking trails are open to the public. Additionally cyclists can enjoy 104 kilometers or 65 miles of biking trails. In winter this extensive web of roads is available for snowmobiles as well as cross country skiing. If you need to be accompanied by a ranger you will be provided on a site. Their service is completely free and no prior arrangement is required.

An especial caution should be practiced here. During the last months of World War II German troops places several Glasmine 43 anti personal mines around the forest. As the name suggests it outside shell is made of glass that makes it extremely difficult to detect if you know it is there. So use you common sense and don't ignore the signs that indicate presence of mine fields. Don't venture into wilderness off trail. It is difficult to say how many of these deadly mines might still be present at the site.

 

The deciduous forest in the Eifel was almost completely cleared by 1800 (mostly fell victim to charcoal burning). Under Prussian rule, spruce and other conifers were reforested in the 19th and 20th centuries. The forest was again damaged by the effects of war at the end of the Second World War. Only in the post-war period were mainly hardwoods replanted.

The national park was established at the beginning of 2004. In 2006 the former military training area at the Dreiborn plateau was added. The ownership structure still plays a role: The majority is managed by the North Rhine-Westphalian state forest and forest company, while the former military training area remained federal forest.

Landscape
Hetzinger Forest, in the north
Kermeter
Dreiborn plateau
Rursee with Urftsee

Flora and fauna
Beech forests
Oak-beech forests and other deciduous forests
Coniferous forest stands are to be pushed back
Red deer, mouflon, wild cat, eagle owl, black stork, middle woodpecker

 

Getting there

Bus and train
The Heimbach National Park can be reached via Düren (connection from Aachen and Cologne) with the regional train "RB 21" / Rurtalbahn.

From Aachen
Bus line "SB 63" (destination Simmerath or Vogelsang) from Aachen main station to Einruhr, Vogelsang and Gemünd (if necessary, change in Simmerath to bus line 63 in the direction of Vogelsang). Between May and October you can take bicycles with you in a trailer on Sundays.

from Cologne
Regional express "RE 22" from Cologne main station (departure there at xx: 9 pm) to Kall, then bus line "SB 82" to Gemünd and Vogelsang.

by car
A4 to AS Düren (7), then follow signs first in the direction of Düren and then in the direction of Nideggen (via Niederau & Kreuzau) (via country road also further to Heimbach)

From Aachen
B258 to behind Roetgen, then B399 to Lammersdorf, then B266 to Einruhr, Vogelsang or Gemünd.

from Cologne
either A1 to AS Wißkirchen (111), then B266 to Gemünd, Vogelsang or Einruhr
or B265 to Gemünd.

Fees
The area is freely accessible.
Large parts of the former military training area may not be entered for safety reasons (old ammunition).

 

Around the park

Few state and federal roads cross the national park. Bus stops that are well frequented and larger parking lots are mostly outside and on the edge. In the national park itself, the best way to move around is on foot. The bicycle can also be an alternative.

Public transport
The quality of public transport within and on the edge of the national park is very different. The north in the Düren district is easily accessible by the Rurtalbahn. Heimbach train station and Zerkall stop are on the edge of the national park, each have an information point and are served every hour. From Heimbach, the Mäxchen bus shoots the Mariawald monastery and the Kermeter during the season.

In the south of the national park in the Euskirchen district, the town of Kall is well connected by train. Kall station buses run every hour to Gemünd, Morsbach and the Eifel National Park Center.

The national park locations in the Aachen city region are difficult to reach by public transport. It is still easy to get to Monschau and Simmerath by bus from Aachen, beyond that the offer is very thin, especially on weekends. Places like Einruhr, Rurberg and Erkensruhr are only connected via individual trips on Saturdays and Sundays. Here you have to plan well how to get back.

Rates
Part of the national park is part of the Rhein-Sieg transport association (Euskirchen district) and the other part of the Aachen transport association (Aachen city region and Düren district). For journeys within the AVV or VRS area, the ticket offers of the respective transport association apply. In principle, the VRS tariff applies to journeys beyond the network. In the entire national park and beyond, for example, the Euregioticket is valid for 19 € for one day with which a second adult and up to three children can be taken on weekends and public holidays. Many overnight accommodations give their guests the guest card, with which they can use public transport free of charge.

Attractions
The Rurtalsee reservoir, usually called Rursee, is located in the Eifel in North Rhine-Westphalia. The Rur flows into the Meuse in Roermond (Netherlands) and should not be confused with the Ruhr in the Ruhr area.
Urftsee
Mariawald Abbey, also Mariawald Monastery or Trappist Convent Mariawald is a monastery near Heimbach / Eifel. This article also describes the area around the monastery.
Vogelsang

Activities
Hiking, for example on the Wilderness Trail, which leads 85 km from Monschau to Hürtgenwald.
Cycle touring only on approved cycle paths; not all of these paths are unreservedly recommended (possibly only for MTB). There are also cycle paths on the edge of and outside the national park.