Hometrails in Bochum: Kalwes and Weitmarer Holz – „Where Downhill begins“
For many people, Germany’s Ruhr area is still synonymous with the industrial behemoth of bygone days. This era is now over. However, the fact that the Ruhr area, with its numerous slag heaps and outstanding Ruhr valley trails, is now a gigantic playground for trail bikes often gets lost amongst all the clichés.
It’s high time to explore the diversity of the Ruhr area and at the same time introduce you to one of my absolute favourite rides. If you’re expecting a detailed description of a panoramic tour through the Ruhr area, stop reading now. My routes concentrate on the essentials: the fun of riding and, above all, downhills!
This one starts from my doorstep in the district of Stiepel in Bochum. To warm up, you set off at a relaxed pace towards Lottental. Coast down the Lottental valley until you reach a sharp right-hand bend. This is where you leave the road and turn off left into the forest. Follow the forest track, keeping to the right all the time. At the edge of the Ruhr-University Bochum Botanical Garden, you have to pedal uphill a little. Once at the “summit”, ride to the right, onto a sort of ridge and follow this to the end. Just follow the MTB tyre tracks to guide you. Now you’re at the beginning of what is probably the most famous downhill section in the Ruhr area, the Kalwes. It’s saddle down and full speed ahead.
After that, the route heads towards Kennader See. After roughly 300 metres, you reach the large car park for visitors to the lake. My recommendation is to stop briefly at the ice cream van and ask for a Spaghetti-Eis (a speciality ice cream served to look like a plate of spaghetti). Afterwards, continue along the lake and the Ruhr river towards Hattingen. Here it’s worth making the odd detour off to the right into the forest running parallel to the lakeside track – you’ll find a number of short trails that are fun to ride. Follow the track along the Ruhr towards Hattinger, until it meets Brockhauser Strasse. Continue up this road, passing various stables and the idyllic greenery of the Ruhr valley. It’s worth keeping a look-out here for one of the openings where you can turn off right into the woods lining the road and explore some more new, challenging trails.
On Brockhauser Strasse, you keep to the left and ride under a large bridge. Immediately afterwards, Brockhauser Strasse bends sharply to the right and becomes Blankensteiner Strasse. After a short while, you turn off left from here into Rauendahlstrasse. After roughly 30 metres, a small trail forks off to the right and takes you up into the woods of Weitmarer Holz. Be careful not to run over any joggers and always exchange a friendly greeting with the hikers and families out and about. At the end of Weitmarer Holz, keep to the right and ride back to Stiepel.
Distance: 23 kilometres
Elevation: 320 metres
Duration: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Level of fitness required: low
Technical difficulty: medium