The Eifelsteig trail begins in the Kornelimünster district of Aachen, a former destination for pilgrims, and brings the hiker from the bustling city into the quietness of nature. In the Inde Valley, information boards enlighten the walker about the many limestone kilns along the trail. After a short ascent you reach the Struffelt Heath, with its moors and lowland heaths. Wooden footbridges bring you through this impressive landscape. The trail continues past the dam on the Dreilägerbach and onto Roetgen, the 'Gateway to the Eifel'.
The first stage of the Eifelsteig trail is ideal as a warm-up, because the 14km course is relatively short and the terrain is still quite flat. It begins in Kornelimünster, a former destination for pilgrims with an abbey and priory. Three important relics are kept here and displayed every seven years as part of the pilgrimages – the loincloth, face cloth and shroud of Jesus. A tip: Aachen's old city is very close by and the cathedral should not be missed.
Setting off from Kornelimünster, the trail passes through the Inde Valley. Here you will see several lime kilns and a well-preserved mine, with plenty of information boards inviting you to stop.
The second half of the trail passes through the forest and onto the impressive Struffelt Heath, a landscape of moorland, fen woodland, bogs, lowland heath and natural water features. But don't worry – you won't get your feet wet, thanks to a couple of hundred footbridges, built by the local organisation in Rott, which make walking across the Struffelt, the most northerly foothills of the Hohes Venn plateau, much easier. If you like, you can also change onto the Struffelt trail from here, because it is a circular trail.
Passing the dam on the Dreilägerbach river (the most demanding part of the trail), you will eventually come to the 'Gateway to the Eifel', as the town of Roetgen is often called. Don't miss the view from the Grölisbach river of the 'dragon’s teeth' fortifications on the former Siegfried Line. And once you reach the rest station at the Pferdeweiher lake, you have plenty of time to enjoy the regional specialities in the many restaurants there. Trail highlights
- Abbey church on the market square
- Lime kilns at the 3.6km mark "In der Au"
- Lime kilns at the Walheim lime works
- Friesenrath recreation ground
- 'Dragons teeth' fortifications on the former Siegfried Line
- Struffelt nature reserve
- Dam on the Dreilägerbach river
- Panoramic view of Roetgen and surrounding area
Eifelsteig partner organisation for Stage 1:
- 3 star hotel "Gut Marienbildchen" in Roetgen