Mountain hiking à la Ruhr area
Twelve themed routes connect natural elevations with artificial slag heaps. As well as great views, they also offer narration stations, with information on subjects such as mining and structural change, cities and people, as well as industrial nature.
The greatest reward for mountain hikers awaits them at the summit. The same is also true in the northern Ruhr area, where slag heaps and hills are connected by a 200-kilometre network of paths known as “Halden-Hügel-Hopping” (“slag heap hill hopping”), a network of remnants of the mining industry and natural elevations. Some of the 17 slag heaps in the hiking area have works of art on the summit, such as an obelisk and a tetrahedon.
However, what’s special about slag heap-hill-hopping is that there’s already plenty to explore on the way to the top. Twelve themed tours with around 150 narration stations inform hikers about mining and structural change, cities and people, and industrial architecture. On the “Nature in transition” themed route, for example, which covers around 15 kilometres and which passes through Europe’s largest slag pile landscape, the Hoheward in Herten, with an ascent of 250 meters above sea level, hikers can see which flora and fauna have become established in their new habitat, and how. In clear weather conditions, the view from the Hohenward slag heap stretches across to Oberhausen, Dortmund, Essen and even Düsseldorf. Hikers wanting an overview of the region can choose the “Vestischer Höhenweg” route, which runs over 53 kilometres in three stages, from the Henrichenburg ship hoist to the tetrahedon in Bottrop, through the slag heap-hill-hopping region.
Guided tours are offered for almost all themed routes. The tour leaders, who are extremely familiar with the route, are also good storytellers who can provide a great deal of information about the region and the people who live there. The public tour season begins on 1 May each year and ends on 3 October. Additional dates for groups can also be booked out of season. Visitors preferring to explore the region on their own can download the “Halden-Hügel-Navi” (“slag heap-hill-navigator”) on their smartphone. The app offers information about travel to the region as well as special slag heap-hill-hopping information.