Germany’s ‘Dreampath’ near Andernach offers a series of breathtakingly scenic vistas
In the absence of many other leisure activities, one reliable pastime in this period of quarantine is to look wistfully at old photos of when you actually left your home and did stuff.
Your mileage may vary on this. The reminiscing might spark resilience and optimism, prompting you to look forward to future adventures. Or it might send you spiraling in the other direction, lamenting the days of confinement already endured and the unknowable future ahead.
My own journey through a time machine of Facebook photo albums yielded a largely positive emotional response. Knowing that my family and I have experienced so much together over the years made me certain that more such experiences are forthcoming.
When we do venture out again, I expect our first tentative steps to be not in the direction of an airport, train station or major city. I believe we’ll head into the fresh air and open spaces of nature.
Archived photos of one recent hiking trip offered both fond memories and future inspiration. The Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig, or cave and gorge trail, is part of Germany’s outstanding set of Traumpfade, or Dreampath, hiking trails. This particular 7.5-mile excursion, located outside the city of Koblenz in southwestern Germany, about an hour and a half from Wiesbaden and under two hours from the Kaiserslautern Military Community, is perhaps the most remarkable hiking trail we’ve ever walked.
The hike starts at an isolated parking lot in the midst of vast fields extending in all directions. But that scenic stillness belies the rich diversity of landscapes to be found farther along the trail. You’ll pass through expansive farmland and stretches of lush forest, walk along creeks in deep valleys and revel in breathtaking views from on high. And you’ll find memorable highlights along the way, from caverns to waterfalls to railroad tracks and other brief interactions with civilization.
At the time of writing, access to Traumpfade Hoehlen und Schluchtensteig was off limits to tourists from Friday to Monday. Check availability on the hike’s website, traumpfade.info, before heading there. But when it’s time to set foot on a hiking trail once again, this is the place to start making new memories.
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DIRECTIONS: The trail’s starting point is on Highway K57 in Andernach. If using a GPS, point it to Laacherstrasse 60 in Andernach. When you reach that destination, head a little farther out into the country and you’ll find the parking lot and the trailhead.
FOOD: There’s a McDonald’s located conveniently along the highway outside the nearby town of Mendig. Otherwise, it’s advised to bring your own food; there are several places to comfortably stop for lunch.
INFORMATION: English-language details online at traumpfade.info/traumpfade-rhein-mosel-eifel/rhein/hoehlen-und-schluchtensteig