Twelve dams not only ensure good drinking water, but also offer immense recreational opportunities – and a record to boot: No other region in Europe has this many reservoirs to offer on such a small area. Some of them are sparkling between the trees of the forest like hidden jewels, with hiking and bicycle routes leading around them. Others will invite you to go for a swim or boating trip on their clear waters.
Around the dams
On foot or by bike
Spring, summer, autumn, or winter: the dams in the Bergisches Land are restorative destinations for excursions no matter the season. When the weather is cooler, they serve as the shining centre of hiking or cycling tours. The Wupper, Bever, Brucher, Neye, and Lingese dams, among other places, are connected into a water quintet by both hiking and cycling trails. Cyclists of different degrees of experience alike will be happy here since the trail, approximately 70 kilometres in length, partly follows some former railway lines with only few gradients.
The reservoirs develop bright colours in autumn, when the trees around them are sporting red, yellow, and orange leaves. The reflections in the water double the enjoyment of an autumn excursion to the Bergisches Land.
Summer at the lake
Dive in and cool off
Even in summer, the lakes offer refreshment that goes beyond simply jumping into their cool waters: The shady woods on the banks of the Neyetal dam will let through just enough sunlight to stay cool on a hike without walking in the dark, ensuring relaxed hiking even on warm days. Idyllic resting places and surprising discoveries along the way are included.
On the other hand, there is hardly anything that can top a deep dive into cool water on a hot summer day. Fortunately, six lakes, including the Aggertal, Wupper, and Bevertal dam ones, provide ample opportunity for this, along with rowing, pedal boating, or sailing.
Cold, clear water
Quenching the thirst for knowledge
Of course, the dams in the Bergisches Land, erected between 1899 and 1985, were not built just for fun, but rather to supply drinking water or to regulate the water level of rivers to protect residents from floods.
The Große Dhünntalsperre dam alone supplies fresh water for up to one million people per day, primarily for the towns of the Bergische Drei: Wuppertal, Solingen, and Remscheid. Majestic and secluded, the dam is sitting in the middle of a nature reserve between the towns of Kürten, Wermelskirchen, Dabringhausen, and Odenthal. Swimming in this lake is not permitted, but hiking trails invite you on a walk around the reservoir.
The Genkeltalsperre dam in Gummersbach will teach those thirsting for knowledge about the background of the drinking water reservoir: A circular route with information boards in 13 locations explains about the function of a dam, its geology, hydrology, as well as agriculture and forestry nearby. Groups can book a tour of the dam walls with the Aggerverband as well.