From starting point in Winterberg to source of the river Ruhr (Ruhrquelle)
This year`s last weekend of July (2013) kept Germany under a suffocating heat wave. We escaped into the mountains of the Sauerland and after a comfortable night in the youth hostel of Neuastenberg near Winterberg, (bed and breakfast at 18.00 Euros) my son and I started on our bikes about ten o clock in the morning to find the entrance to the famous and five star awarded bicycle trail "Ruhrtalweg". Its total length is 230 km, but our goal was Bestwig from where the Deutsche Bahn would take us back to Winterberg.
On our way to Winterberg, we met a friendly bicycle family of four who were on an impressive five day cyclinc trip with over night stays in youth hostels. They took us to the train station of Winterberg where the Ruhrtalweg bicycle trail begins. After an exhaustingly steep climb we were comforted by a splendid view over and beyond Winterberg.
At the elevation of 669 meters we arrived at our first tour highlight, the source of the Ruhr river. Clear mountain water was trickling down a small creek, and the friendly ranger of the hiking trail Rothaarsteig encouraged the boys to go ahead and fill their canteens with water from the spring.
The ranger also informed us that there were plans to change the trail`s route. In the future they want to let the bicycle trail go straight to the spring instead of the hiking trail. That way many more people would enjoy the sight.
Mostly down hill, green forests and meadows through pittoresque villages
The rest of this tour story is easy and fast to tell.
It is a wonderful route, mostly down hill, comfortable to ride, totally green with forests and meadows. There are some nice villages, especially Assinghausen with lots of roses (the locals take pride in calling it "village of roses").
From Bestwig back to Winterberg by Public transport
Finally in Bestwig, we used the public transport to be taken back to Winterberg.
This first time experience of the initial part of the Ruhrtalweg convinced us that soon another part will have to be explored. No need to mention the nearly perfect indications of the trail and the numerous welcoming inns along the trail.