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Distance

18.76 mi

Elevation gain

2,123 ft

Technical difficulty

Moderate

Elevation loss

2,123 ft

Max elevation

1,973 ft

Trailrank

65 5

Min elevation

1,402 ft

Trail type

Loop

Time

7 hours 5 minutes

Coordinates

3046

Uploaded

May 19, 2019

Recorded

April 2019
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1,973 ft
1,402 ft
18.76 mi

Viewed 2533 times, downloaded 42 times

near Schwingsborn, Nordrhein-Westfalen (Deutschland)

This great hike through the Perlenbach and Schwalmbach valleys takes you along beautiful wild stream valleys, forests, pasture, Eifel views including the Matterhorn of the Eifel, and if you go in the first half of April, along endless fields of wild daffodils (Narzissen). Wild daffodils cover forest floors and pasture around meandering streams between March and May with peaks in April. See the website http://www.weisserstein.info/pgs/prog_narzissenbluete.php (in German) and http://www.trekkings.be/lentewandelingen.htm (in Dutch) for actual information on when the flowers are blossoming. Part of this hike is in Belgium and restricted on some days when there is military training. See https://www.mil.be/nl/eenheden/kamp-elsenborn (in Dutch, but also German and French in other places of the www.mil.be website) for detailed information on when the Belgian part of this hike is off-limits (dates and times). You enter the red zone of the Elsenborn military camp. Usually, the red zone is open in the weekend, but check the website or the big signs when entering the zone. The Perlenbach streams from the confluence of the Fokkesbach and the Schwalmbach below Bieley to where it streams into the Rur river at Dreistegen. You follow this entire stretch on this route plus part of the Schwalmbach, Fuhrtsbach and Krockesbach. There are no restaurants along the way. There used to be a restaurant at Höfener Mühle, but this seemed permanently closed. Apart from two steeper stretches near Bieley and Engelsley, the tracks are quite easy to follow. It can be quite busy when the daffodils are out upstream of Höfener Mühle, so it is recommended to start early
The hike starts at the Perlenbach reservoir dam, where there is parking along the road. You cross the dam, and walk along the reservoir and the river on a forest road to the Höfener Mühle at the Kalterherberg-Höfen road. You cross the road and walk on a small trail to a bridge on the Fuhrtsbach at Holländerhäuschen. Before the bridge you take the trail which follows the Fuhrtsbach valley and walk this trail to the Sprengbunker, part of the former Westwall. Here you cross the stream, and continue on the other side on a forest road, passing by several meadows with daffodils until you get to the Heistertweg. Here you climb slowly into the forest and the descend to Jägersief, where you find other meadows on the Belgian border. At the turn in the road marked with waypoint ‘Narzissenwiese 2’, the number of daffodils exploded. Shortly after you cross the border across a small stream. A large sign warns you for the military training area, and actual schedules are posted. You climb the Galgenberg and continue to the rocky outcrop ‘Bieley’, also labeled the Matterhorn of the Eifel. Although this is a stretch of the imagination, it is a great viewpoint, with the Perlenbach and Schwalmbach below between meadows full of daffodils. From here, there is a sharp descent to the valley floor, and you continue along the Schwalmbach, past the cross at Jajesnica-Kreuz, until you get to a paved forest road. Where the forest road crosses the bridge, there are severe signs warning you off Elsenborn shooting range. You do not cross this bridge, but follow the road up the hill, turn left and descend to the Krockesbach valley, which you follow back to the Jajesnica-Kreuz. Here you go back to the foot of Bieley and then on along the Perlenbach. Beavers have created a lake here, and there are a lot of daffodils in the meadows surrounding the river. You cross back into Germany, and then follow broad forest roads along the Perlenbach back to Holländerhäuschen, and then the trail back to Höfener Mühle. Here, you cross the river and climb to pasture above the woods ‘An der Schwalm’. A bit later you descend on a slowly disappearing forest track towards the Perlenbach reservoir which you follow to the Römerbach. Again you climb to higher pasture with Eifel views surrounding the farm Roderhof. A bit further you descend to Dreistegen, where the Perlenbach flows into the Rur. Close to Dreistegen you cross the Perlenbach and then steeply ascend to the rocky outcrop at Engelsley. You take a look at the other rocky outcrop Teufelsley, and then return and then walk towards Perlenau past another viewpoint. You descend quite steep towards the valley floor at the campsite and follow the Perlenbach to the reservoir dam, where you started.
Information point

Along the Perlenbach

You walk along the Perlenbach past Perlenau to the reservoir dam
Panorama

Bieley

The Matterhorn of the Eifel. A rocky outcrop with good views of the Schwalmbach upstream, and the Perlenbach downstream (the river changes name at the foot where the Fokkesbach flows into the Schwalmbach to form the Perlenbach. The descent from here is steep.
Information point

Border crossing 1

Here you cross into Belgium along the Jägersief stream. Large signs warn for the Elsenborn shooting range. Entrance is forbidden at specific times (see website www.mil.be).
Information point

Border crossing 2

Here you leave Belgium again
Bridge

Bridge at Höfener Mühle

Bridge across the Perlenbach close to the Höfener Mühle
Bridge

Bridge at Sprengbunker

Bridge close to the Sprengbunker, a concrete bunker from the second world war, part of the Westwall.
Bridge

Bridge to Elsenborn Camp

Bridge across the Schwalmbach into Elsenborg Camp. The land beyond is off-limits at all times.
Information point

Climb along Römerbach

Climb along Römerbach away from the Perlenbach reservoir.
Information point

Climb to pasture above 'An der Schwalm'

You climb out of the Perlenbach valley to pasture above the woods
Information point

Descent to campsite

Here you descend quite steeply to the campsite on the Perlenbach
Information point

Descent to Dreistegen

Here you follow the forest road down to Dreistegen with views of the rocky outcrops ('leys') on the other side of the valley
Information point

Dreistegen

Here the Perlenbach flows into the Rur
Panorama

Engelsley

Rocky outcrop with viewpoint
Information point

Heistertweg

Forest road taking you slowly up into the forest
Information point

Jajesnica-Kreuz

Small cross near the confluence of Schwalmbach and Krockesbach
Information point

Jägersief

Pasture with small stream on the Belgian border. Most daffodils can be found further down
Information point

Krockesbach valley

Valley of the Krockesbach
Information point

Minor forest road descent

This minor forest road is not well maintained. You follow it down to the Perlenbach reservoir
Information point

Narzissenweg

Forest road along Narzissenwiesen (daffodil meadows)
Information point

Narzissenwiese 1

Daffodil meadow
Information point

Narzissenwiese 2

Daffodil meadow
Information point

Oberer Steg

Crossroads. You follow the Perlenbach downstream on the eastern side past several daffodil meadows
Information point

Pasture around Rodehof

Area with pasture, beech hedges and views towards Kalterherberg around Rodehof
Information point

Path Höfener Mühle - Holländerhäuschen

Trail directly along the river from Höfener Mühle to the crossroads at Holländerhäuschen
Information point

Paved forest road

You follow this forest road uphill
Bridge

Perlenbach bridge

Footbridge across the Perlenbach
Information point

Perlenbach reservoir

Viewpoint across the Perlenbach reservoir
Information point

Perlenbach valley below Bieley

This stretch with a small lake created by beavers and plenty of daffodil meadows is very beautiful
Information point

Perlenbachtalsperre

Dam of the Perlenbach reservoir
Information point

Road to Höfener Mühle

Forest road along the Perlenbach valley upstream from the reservoir
Information point

Schwalmbach valley below Bieley

The Schwalmbach meanders nicely below Bieley
Information point

Semi-paved forest road

Forest road towards Krockesbach valley
Information point

Steep climb

Steep climb up to Engelsley
Panorama

Teufelsley

Rocky outcrop with viewpoint
Information point

Trail along Fuhrtsbach

Trail along the Fuhrtsbach
Information point

Trail along Schwalmbach

Trail along the Schwalmbach which forms the border between Elsenborn lager and the red zone. You would have no idea this is a shooting range when there is no shooting. Excellent nature area.
Information point

Unterer Steg

Crossroads. You follow the Perlenbach downstream on the eastern side past several daffodil meadows
Panorama

Viewpoint

Viewpoint above the Perlenbach valley

7 comments

  • Sjiep May 21, 2019

    heuyyy, daar is good ol' Tjaart nog es met n mooie langere route. Ziet goed uit baas. Eentje voor t komend weekend wellicht :)

  • Photo of Tjaart Molenkamp

    Tjaart Molenkamp May 21, 2019

    Veel plezier dan Sjiep, zal ook zonder narcissen de moeite zijn...

  • Sjiep May 23, 2019

    zijn de narcissen al weg? of sterk verminderd?

  • Photo of Tjaart Molenkamp

    Tjaart Molenkamp May 23, 2019

    Ik denk dat ze weg zijn. Ook volgens deze site http://www.weisserstein.info/pgs/prog_narzissenbluete.php. Maar ik ben er zelf sinds medio april niet meer geweest...

  • Photo of Bart Ploum

    Bart Ploum Mar 6, 2021

    In mijn Top 5...aanrader!

  • Photo of Tjaart Molenkamp

    Tjaart Molenkamp Mar 6, 2021

    Bedankt voor het aanraden, Bart! Waren er al narcissen?

  • Photo of Bart Ploum

    Bart Ploum Mar 7, 2021

    I have followed this trail  verified  View more

    In mijn Top 5...aanrader!
    Voor de narcissen was het nog wat te vroeg. Het is een mooie en gevarieerde wandeltocht met name het gedeelten in België en in/rond het Perlenbach dal.

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