Into the hills properly
This is a the first leg of the Eifelsteig that is a real challenge. The trail winds up and down very steep valleys as you traverse the countryside. There are literally no parts that are flat or easy! On the bright side, it is staggeringly beautiful. The trail is wild and ferocious, and you’ll be hiking along deep valley floors and lofty ridges, and through deep forests interspersed with small hamlets and farms.
As you set out from Monschau, the trail immediately rises above the village onto the Kierberg, giving you a magnificent view of the village and the towering castle above it. Don’t be alarmed, though, the first loop of this leg will take you back into the town itself! It might feel a bit pointless, but it’s worth it for the view of the city! The rest of the day, your feet will take you up and down some fantastically beautiful parts of the trail. Beware of loose and slippery rocks on the trail! The bedrock in these areas is mostly made of shale, as witnessed by the ubiquity of this material being used as roof shingles for instance. But shale is slippery, and it’s not always apparent that your footing on some of the steeper parts depends on you keeping your balance on these flat, broken stones.
The trail will lead you through the Kluckbachtal and let you follow the Rur river all the way to Einruhr, with but a few diversions along the way. If you have the energy, there are a few sights to see along the way just off the trail, such as the rather weird Lourdesgrotto, a man-made cave complete with fake stalactites etc built over a century ago! As you near the endpoint, there is a lovely view of the village and the Rur at the Wolfshügel vantage point that’s right on the trail.
Review of the third leg of the Eifelsteig trail
The third leg of the Eifelsteig has its ups and downs. Literally. From the outset you will be climbing valley ridge after valley ridge, and while you will be rewarded with dozens of staggeringly beautiful scenes, this part of the Eifelsteig will tax you. It’s well worth the effort, though, and when you finally arrive in Einruhr you can earn a well-deserved rest on the shores of a wide stretch of the Rur river.