Hiking was once considered to be boring, old-fashioned and passé. No more: Hiking is now a trend. Both the young and the old are strapping on their boots and heading out into nature. It is a change that we welcome. We truly believe that outdoor activities have a positive effect on people – on their health, their quality of life and their respect for nature. For this reason, we are proud of our partnerships that promote hiking and its continued development.
Der Lechweg (The Lech Trail) – from the spring to the falls
The peaks of the Lech Valley and the Allgäu Alps as a backdrop and the Lech River in the starring role. The “Lechweg – von der Quelle bis zum Fall” (The Lech Trail – from the spring to the falls) will introduce hikers to unique experiences, people shaped by nature and truly fantastic stories. The trail is like the Lech itself, at times primal and natural, later wild and then tranquil once again. It is an area filled with stories waiting to be discovered. The Lech accompanies hikers for a distance of about 125 kilometres. The river runs from its source near Lake Formarin in the western Austrian state of Vorarlberg, travels through Warth on its way to Lechtal-Reutte, a natural park region in Tyrol, and ends at the Lech falls in Füssen, a town in the southern German region of Allgäu. Along the way, it links three regions and two countries with their own traditions and stories. The European Ramblers’ Association has subjected the two-country Lech trail to a strict quality check. It certified the long-distance trail as the first Leading Quality Trail. The Lech Trail is thus a model for long-distance hiking trails across Europe.
Deutscher Wanderverband (German Hiking Association)
As the umbrella organisation of 58 German mountaineering and hiking groups totalling 600,000 members, The Deutsche Wanderverband (German Hiking Association) has been working on hikers’ behalf for more than 130 years. In its work, the association focuses on the quality of hiking. It issues guidelines governing the marking of hiking paths, offers professional conferences, trains hiking guides and has created objective quality criteria for trails and hosts as part of a programme called “Wanderbares Deutschland” (Hikeable Germany). A total of 112 quality trails for Hikeable Germany have already been recognised, and about 1,400 quality hosts have been named as well. Hiking for young people is the focus of the Deutsche Wanderjugend (or the German Young Hikers’ Association), which is part of the national group. The German Hiking Association’s health-related initiatives all fall under the motto “Let´s go – jeder Schritt hält fit” (“Let’s go – every step keeps you fit”). These programmes include the German Hiking Badge and healthful hiking. Both initiatives are designed to address the sedentary lives led by many people in Germany.
The name says it all: the Top Trails of Germany. These trails offer hiking at its very highest level. And the reason for this selection is quite obvious: Each of the trails has been certified as a premium hiking trail based on the criteria of the German Hiking Institute or as a quality trail based on the standards of Hikeable Germany. Both seals mean two things: Hikers can be certain that they will be using safe, perfectly marked trails and that the trails will take them to Germany’s most beautiful landscapes. Along the way, hikers will find hotels and bed & breakfasts that offer everything from an early riser’s breakfast to baggage transportation. The Top Trails include: Altmühltal-Panoramaweg, Eifelsteig, Goldsteig, Harzer-Hexen-Steig, Hermannshöhen, Der Hochrhöner, Rheinsteig, Rothaarsteig, Saar-Hunsrück-Steig, WesterwaldSteig, Westweg-Schwarzwald, Kammweg Erzgebirge-Vogtland, Schluchtensteig-Schwarzwald, Albsteig, Heidschnuckenweg, Weserbergland-Weg.