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near Kalterherberg, Nordrhein-Westfalen (Deutschland)
There are several possible ways to Einruhr, the most western point of the Rur Lake. The most frequented is the signposted Rur Valley Bicycle trail, and while it is an interesting ride, it also has some not-so-nice stretches, particularly along a road that attracts a lot of motorbikes on summer weekends.
The trail described here is good for electric mountainbikes. Of course you can try also without electric assist, but the trail packs a lot of elevation gain and loss into the roundtrip. It is also very long. We also do not recommend for regular bikes (or other than mountain bikes), as part of the trail is on a single-track and across gravelly or rough surface.
Having said all this, we still believe it must be the best ride from Kalterherberg to Einruhr - and on to the old Nazi estate now turned into an "International Place Vogelsang" - a cultural and educational centre dedicated to peace and tolerance.
From Kalterherberg we took the shortest way to the parking place of Forsthaus Rothes Kreuz, in the Wahlerscheidter Forest. From here, we pass some of the recently built windturbines, and enter the forest of the National Park. We leave the asphalt behind, and descend into the Riffelsbach Valley, a beautiful and seldom visited part of the park. Note that at waypoint EV1, the forest track becomes very steep and somewhat washed out; those not sure about their MTB skills may want to push their bikes for 100 Meter or so. This is the only difficult spot.
Shortly after, you reach waypoint EV2. Do not take the left downhill turn, but turn uphill to the right, for 30 Meter. You will see already another info post and signboards. Turn left here. After a steep uphill section, a beautiful single track high above the Rur valley follows, up to Dedenborn.
The trail follows a steep asphalt road, which seems to end - just continue to a narrow path further down. It may look intimidating from the top, but can be well managed with a MTB.
Cross the asphalt road and continue through grass to a bench near the waypoint "Weisses Kreuz". Leave your bicycle here and walk 30 Meter or so to the cross. The views are not spectacular, but it is a nice rest place.
From here, a very nice forest road leads along the Lake to Einruhr. You may consider a good rest in one of the many biergardens, to prepare for the ride ahead.
Suitably refreshed, a steep and long ascent to the plateau begins. It is a relentless climb, climbing more than 250 meters without break, first on asphalt then mainly on an earth and gravel road. You will be met by hikers - huffing and puffing - who won't believe that you are cycling up.
Even when you enjoy the first views of the plateau, you are not yet done. It is still some way up and along to the Wüstung Wollseifen. The villagers had to leave Wollseifen after WWII, when it was turned into a military training ground by British and Belgian Forces. All houses except the church and a transformer house were flattened; instead some new houses were built as training ground for urban warfare. Now all military presence is gone; Wollseifen is now a place to ponder the madness of war.
One more down and up, and you reach Vogelsang, the previous Nazi 'Ordensburg' (fortress). It was meant to look intimidating, and it still does. There are exhibitions, educational and nature-park activities. There is a restaurant, and those visiting for the first time may plan to linger for while.
We leave Vogelsang in the direction of the Dreiborner Hochfläche (the plateau of Dreiborn), first on or next to access road. At way point "Vogelsang Roundabout", pay attention to the coordinates, as you may otherwise miss the beginning of the trail across the plateau. Again, this part is equally beautiful to the heather-plateau around Wollseifen.
Eventually, you hit the old tank-access-road of the former military grounds. It is now part of the Nature Park, no vehicles other than bicycles are allowed. Here comes the only (almost) flat part of the trail, past the wind-turbines of the Wahlerscheidter Höhe.
From here, the last descend down to the Perlbach begins, and a last climb up back to Kalterherberg.
If you are unsure about your battery capacity, take a charger and charge while having lunch in Einruhr or Vogelsang.