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bei Saint-Vith, Wallonia (Belgique)
Cycling trip through quiet and beautiful parts of the German and Belgian Eifel. The trip takes you on cycling paths on former railway tracks, past the abbey of Prüm, across the Schneifel/Schwarzer Mann at almost 700 m, through the valley of the Our, and to the easternmost point of Belgium. The cycling trip is suited for the racing bike, apart from 350 m of gravel road which requires slowing down and a footbridge across the Auw on the German/Belgian border (see waypoints).
The trip starts at the former station of St. Vith and follows the Vennbahn cycle path (see waypoint) to the Our river, passing through a former railway tunnel (see waypoint). Here you continue towards Prüm, pass below the A60 Ourtal viaduct (see waypoint), and cross the border into Germany. You follow the Ihrenbach valley and after 1.5 km continue on the Eifel-Ardennen Radweg (see waypoint). This smoothly asphalted cycling path takes you through the valleys of the Ihrenbach, the Alfbach and the Prüm rivers, with beautiful wetlands, impressive viaducts, quiet countryside and woods, the station of Pronsveld, and through a tunnel (see waypoint). In Prüm you leave the cycle path (after about 36 km), take some small paths to have a touristic look of the abbey, and then start the climb towards the Schneifel. This is a climb in three stages taking you to the Schwarzer Mann, the third highest peak in the Eifel at 698 m. The climb is smooth, and only the first stretch on the B265 out of town is a bit busy. Up to about 600 m you ride through open countryside with great views, and the last stretch is through spruce forests on the ridge of Schwarzer Mann. There is a television tower on the ridge (see waypoint). The highest point is actually 699 m about 1.5 km further near the wintersport area. You take a small road down towards Schlausenbach and after another climb you go down to the Our valley between Auw and Verschneid. Just before Verschneid you take a small track parallel to the Our where you will end up crossing 350 m of gravel (see waypoint) to a picturesque footbridge across the Belgian-German border (see waypoint). See the waypoint for information on how to avoid the gravel, although slowing down would do the trick and it is a beautiful secluded spot. From the bridge you climb on asphalt to Weckerath and from there you continue through Krewinkel towards the easternmost point of Belgium (see waypoint), which you access via the German B265. The border point is just beside this road. There is nothing to mark the spot, and you continue to Losheim along the B265 where you access another cycle track on the former Vennquerbahn (see waypoint), a cycle path between Jünkerath and the Vennbahn at Weywertz. This path smoothly takes you up to Buchholz in Belgium at 625 m on the recently asphalted track. Here you leave the track via 150 m of gravel and continue on roads which take you via a small detour down into the Our valley. The descent to 425 m gives you excellent views of the Eifel. In Schönberg you take an initially steep road up into the forest. On the other side of the hill you leave the forest and follow small roads back to St. Vith, taking a few small climbs on the way.
You can find something to eat and drink in a few places, e.g. Prüm, the ski center log cabin at the Schwarzer Mann, Losheim, Schönberg and St. Vith. Apart from the 350 m of gravel near Verschneid, the footbridge, and the exit path from the Vennquerbahn at Buchholz, all paths and roads are asphalt. Route Sankt Vith-Neidingen-Bleialf-Pronsveld-Pittenbach-Watzerath-Prüm-Tafel-Niedermehlen-Sellericher Höhe-Sellerich-Schwarzer Mann-Schlausenbach-Auw bei Prüm-Weckerath-Krewinkel-Kehr-Losheim-Buchholz-Holzheim-Medendorf-Eimerscheid-Schönberg-Meyerode-Medell-Wallerode-Sank Vith.
Here the A60 crosses the valley of the Our, which is also the border between Belgium and Germany
Here you will find a footbridge across the Auw stream which forms the border between Germany and Belgium. On the Belgian side there is an asphalt road, on the German side the last 350 m are gravel, which can be negotiated on a racing bike by slowing down. It is a nice quiet and secluded spot.
Here you exit the forest and start your last 10 km to Sankt Vith with small ascents and descents, small villages, and countryside.
Here your descent into the Our valley starts with magnificent views of the Eifel, and the Schneifel in the distance. You reach the Our near Andler and follow the Our to Schönberg.
This waypoint marks the easternmost point of Belgium. The border is directly east of the German road B265. There is no marking that this is the easternmost point of Belgium. There is a kind of small stone in the ground just besides the reflector pole, which may or may not be a border marking.
Here you enter the cycle path on the German side. Before this point, coming from the border you ride on an asphalt road as the cycle path is gravel. All the way to Prüm you follow this smoothly asphalted cycle path which takes you through a tunnel and three valleys. See also http://www.eifel.info/eifel-ardennen-radweg.htm for more information in German.
Here you exit the cycle path Vennquerbahn, or Ravel 45A in Belgium. The cycle path between Losheim and this point is asphalt, but this exit takes you on a bit of semi-paved road/parking lot for 150 m.
Here the asphalt is replaced by gravel for 350 m until you get to the footbridge across the Auw (see separate waypoint). If you slow down, it should not be difficult to ride this road on a racing bike, but you need to avoid the bigger stones. It takes you to a nice spot. If you want to avoid it, you can follow the L1 in Auw bei Prüm towards Roth bei Prüm (rather than going down towards Verschneid) and soon after follow the B265 to the easternmost point of Belgium (see other waypoint). This is also a shorter version, but less interesting.
Here you find the abbey of Prüm.
Here is the television tower. It is not exactly the highest point of the Schneifel ridge at 698 m, which is a bit further near the wintersport parking at 699 m.
Here there is a tunnel in the Vennbahn, just after you pass a bridge on the Braunlauf river.
Here there is a tunnel on the Eifel-Ardennen Radweg. The tunnel can be closed, but in that event you can take a marked detour on the road. The lights in the tunnel switch on after you have entered the tunnel.
Directly in Sankt Vith you enter the Vennbahn at the former station. See http://www.vennbahn.eu/ for more information on this splendid cycling path.
Here you enter the cycling path between Jünkerath and the Vennbahn at Weywertz, also called the Vennquerbahn, or Ravel ligne 45A (in Belgium). This cycling path has recently been paved with asphalt until Buchholz. Between Buchholz and the lake at Bütgenbach the cycling path is gravel, the rest of the path between Jünkerath and the Vennbahn is asphalt.