View of the spruce forests on the Rothaarsteig trail, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

A nature park of su­per­lat­ives

Nature park Sauer­land Rothaarge­birge

Higher. Prettier. Farther. The nature park Sauerland Rothaargebirge is the largest nature park in North Rhine-Westphalia, and the second largest one in all of Germany. With its excellent hiking trails, one of the most beautiful hilltop castles, and the only free-roaming herd of bison in Central Europe, it is full of superlatives. Set out on your own outdoor experience!

Green valleys, forested mountain ranges, and many dams – nature park Sauerland Rothaargebirge comprises the cultural landscapes of the Sauerland, Siegerland, Wittgensteiner Land, and Medebacher Bucht, housing some unique wonders of nature. Speaking of wonders of nature: were you aware that the Bruchhauser Steine in Olsberg were NRW’s first national nature monument? Formed by volcanoes, erosion, and folding of the earth’s layers millions of years ago, these rocks with heights of up to 92 metres have since turned into a fascinating destination not only for earth history enthusiasts. A stair is cut into the rock up to the summit cross, where the highest point affords a breath-taking view of the entire region.

Excellent hiking offers

The Top Trails of Germany are typical, unique, and attractive. These most beautiful and diverse long-distance hiking trails in Germany include the Rothaarsteig, the “path of the senses”, running through the nature park Sauerland Rothaargebirge and characterised by near-natural paths and trails. The Kyrill-Trail is a special section of the Rothaarsteig. Spanning about one kilometre, it passes uprooted and fallen trees on footbridges and stepladders to bring home the force of nature of severe hurricane “Kyrill”.

How about a little flight of fancy? If you are planning to hike to the highest peaks and enjoy the most beautiful vistas of the valleys in the Sauerland, make sure to walk the Sauerland Höhenflug, and enjoy Altena Castle, Germany’s most beautiful hilltop castle, a highlight along the way, as it towers over the town of the same name. An adventure lift will take you 90 metres deep into the mountain and 80 metres upwards, while seven gates, captivating stories, and legendary figures will bring the castle and region to life for you.

Forests & bison

The only free-roaming herd of bison in Central Europe is living in the Wittgenstein forests. Lucky hikers may encounter the gentle giants in the wild. A close-up view of these impressive animals can be ensured by dropping by Wisent-Welt-Wittgenstein, where a small herd is living on 20 fenced-in hectares. Are you looking for an adventure? Climb tree trunks and rocks, crawl through a “badger’s burrow” and cross some streams as the three-kilometre-long circular Wisent-Pfad takes you right across the enclosure.

Trails through old forests, past some impressive natural monuments, with wild animals, old legends and tales, or mysterious places can all be found on a hike along the Sauerland-Waldroute. Do a single stage, a tour of several days, or go on circular walks – this high-quality trail promises magical and mystical experiences in any form.

Shopping right next door

Nature and time spent outdoors will leave you hungry, and regional products taste best right on site. The “Einkaufen direkt nebenan” shopping guide comes with an overview of regional suppliers of treats from the nature park who value sustainability, freshness, and their home region, producing high-quality products in an ecological and fair manner. Enjoy fair shopping right on site.

  • Hiking on the Rothaarsteig, © Sauerland Tourismus e.V., Paul Masukowitz
    Grasses in the Rothaargebirge, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
    Coffee on the Rothaarsteig, © Sauerland Tourismus e.V., Paul Masukowitz
  • Picnic on the Rothaarsteig, Sauerland, © Sauerland Tourismus e.V., Paul Masukowitz
    Hiker on the Rothaarsteig, © Sauerland Tourismus e.V., Paul Masukowitz
    Wisent Wildnis at the Rothaarsteig, © Tourismus NRW e.V.

Hik­ing at the Bigge­see

Portrait of the Instagramer Katrin Haase, © Katrin Haase
Ideas for ex­cur­sions in the sur­round­ings? In­s­tagram tip by Kat­rin Haase@mis­s­rab­bit16
Biggesee in autumn , © Katrin Haase

"When the clouds are reflected in the glittering water, I especially love strolling around the upstream reservoir. There is always something to see on the water: waterfowl, pedal boats or students learning to row. Afterwards you can feast on coffee and cake or a burger with fries in three locations with a view of the water."