If you enjoy it when things get wild and chaotic, you are going to love the Nationalpark Eifel! The “Der wilde Weg” trail is lined by fallen and uprooted trees in wild disarray, conquered by insects, with grasses and ferns growing every which way through the rotting branches while the foliage is rustling and crackling. Welcome to the wilderness – or even the “jungle of the future” – where nature has been allowed to run unchecked and renew itself in North Rhine-Westphalia’s only national park for nearly two decades. The plan is working, as more than 11,200 animal, fungal, and plant species are once again living in this protected area today, including more than 2,500 from the Red List of endangered species. You might even find a wildcat or a wall lizard on your next trip into the wilderness here. Deer, another resident of the national park, may be heard roaring in the distance as they are looking for mates in the autumn here. The nature discovery trail “Der wilde Weg” is a fully accessible 1.5-kilometre-long trail that allows even people with disabilities to experience nature in a unique manner. Take this chance to learn plenty about nature, as well as from it.
Spaces in wonderful wilderness
Join a ranger tour if you want to learn more about what is rustling in the bushes or how to track animals. The guides in their distinctive hats know virtually everything there is to know about nature in the Nationalpark Eifel and how to best protect it to allow future generations to experience it without any limitations as well. Stormy or rainy weather is a chance to visit the “Wildnis(t)räume” exhibition in the Nationalparkzentrum near Schleiden, where you can learn about what nature is doing in the Nationalpark Eifel in a playful and interactive manner. By the way, the museum was built on a location with a long, and very unpleasant, history a few years ago. While the National Socialists once demonstrated their inhuman megalomania here in the 1930s by building the Nazi Ordensburg Vogelsang, the hill above the Urftsee lake has become an “International Place” (IP) for tolerance, diversity, and peaceful coexistence today.
Great panoramic views across the green-blue wilderness, including a number of dams such as the ones creating the Rursee, Obersee, and Urftsee lakes, will reward anyone who is willing to brave the steep climbs. The “Wildnis-Trail”, an 86-kilometre-long route through the entire national park area in the Eifel, offers a veritable spectacle year-round. Among other things, it contains a birdwatching station between Gemünd-Malsbenden and the Urft dam, from where grey herons, great crested grebes, and ducks as well as a breeding colony of cormorants can be observed.
You may spend the night in a camp outdoors at one of the designated trekking sites here if you like. Learn about why the stars shine brighter here and why you can see the Milky Way with the unaided eye when visiting the Astronomie-Werkstatt Vogelsang. You may also go looking for one of the many certified hosts whose “GästeCard Erlebnisregion Nationalpark Eifel”, allowing you to travel comfortably and environmentally consciously by public transport all the way into the wilderness, is part of the “Fahrtziel Natur” project.