Eifel National Park
North Rhine-Westphalia’s first and only national park
Wild cats, black storks and a sea of wild daffodils – North Rhine-Westphalia’s only national park is a paradise for nature lovers.
Water, woodlands and wildlife – Eifel National Park displays nature at its glorious best. In 2004, the harvesting of natural resources like timber and crops came to an end in North Rhine-Westphalia’s first and so far only national park. Since then, the forest has been allowed to return to its original state, just like it would have appeared centuries ago.
As a result, over 2,300 endangered animal and plant species have re-established themselves in the region, making it a paradise for admirers of nature at its untamed best. Covering an area of around 110 km2, the national park offers visitors the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the shy wild cat, or maybe hear the low rutting call of the stag in autumn or the clattering of the rare black stork.
Nature at its untamed best on the Wilderness Trail
Located just 65 or so kilometres from Cologne, this nature-lover’s paradise is far removed from the bustle of the big city. Visitors who want to experience the national park in all its glory should hike the Wilderness Trail (Wildnis-Trail), which extends for 86 kilometres through the Eifel mountains. Spectacular displays from nature are guaranteed all year round – from the yellow sea of wild daffodils in springtime to icicles dangling off boughs and mysterious footprints in the snow in winter. The sometimes strenuous climbs will be worth it for the panoramic views, especially of the Rursee, Obersee and Urftsee reservoirs.
The accessible “Wild Kermeter” forest adventure area was set up within the national park to give everyone a chance to get close to nature. The “Wilder Weg” (Wild Way), a 1.5-km-long accessible circular nature trail, was opened in 2014. Here, the forest is being allowed to revert to its original state, and visitors can read about the animals and plants living there on information panels in four languages and in easily-understandable German.
Trained SternenGuides will also take visitors through the Eifel nights beyond the national park: Open tours permit spontaneous visits, while groups can request a specific date and location. Anyone who wants to sleep in afterwards can enjoy the late-riser breakfast and late check-out offered by the certified SternenGastgeber sites.
Eifel National Park Overview | www.nationalpark-eifel.de