Enchanted surreal stone formations, the mist lies gently over the meadows and one feels like in a fairy tale. Sounds like a discovery in a distant land? No, because you can experience all this in the nature park Teufelsschlucht in the south Eifel!
Sounds quite dangerous at first this Devil's Gorge. Located in the southern Eifel not so many tourists get lost here. At least not in winter. At times I even had a funny feeling in my stomach. No cell phone network, no people … but more about that later.
What is the nature park Teufelsschlucht?
Situated in the southern Eifel, the Teufelsschlucht is part of the nature park Sudeifel. The 28 meter deep gorge was created 12.000 years ago, during the last ice age. A rockfall has created bizarre rock formations here. The core of this natural spectacle is the 1 to 5 meter wide Devil's Gorge.
Spending the night near the Devil's Gorge
The Teufelsschlucht Nature Park is natural – and that's exactly how it should remain. If you come for extensive hiking I can recommend the Waldhotel Sonnenberg to you. You are only ca. 10 minutes drive from the Devil's Gorge and still enjoy the peace and quiet. I can recommend this hotel!
Actually we are on the sea
Wait a minute, that can't be right? But! Strictly speaking, 190 million years ago, a sea spread out here in the area of the southern Eifel. So if you stand on the grounds of the Devil's Gorge Nature Park, you are actually standing on the seabed turned to stone. This one is made of sandstone.
Since sandstone has the property to be unstable, the Devil's Gorge was formed during the alternation of frost and dew periods. Here and there you can also find the so-called "devil's claws", fossilized remains of an extinct shell species.
The hike through the Devil's Gorge begins
"The early bird catches the worm", I thought to myself on this New Year's Day. Arrived, the parking lot was almost empty, but another problem arose: the increasingly dense fog. In the morning it was only possible ca. 50 meters to see. At the beginning I was a bit annoyed by this circumstance. But in the end the fog turned everything into a very magical atmosphere. At the whims of nature man makes just nothing.
Now one must decide first of all
At the beginning it goes in the direction of the visitor center, because from here the footpaths go off. Now you have to decide between 3 routes. Since I have planned enough time, I decided to take the devil's path 2. This should be 3.5 kilometers long and in addition to the Devil's Gorge also lead past other spectacular rock formations. Duration of the hike ca. 120 minutes, so it is estimated. But this shall turn out to be wrong.
I first hike through a picturesque forest. Through the fog here everything seems a bit surreal. I also stop several times because the nature impresses me simply. Everywhere sparrows fly and there is simply no soul far and wide to see. After half an hour (I could already guess here that the time is absolutely unrealistic for me), I now arrived at the entrance of the Devil's Gorge.
Curiosities about the Devil's Gorge
If you catch a particularly hot day, then in the gorge can be up to 20 degrees difference in temperature. On the day of my visit it was relatively cold, so about the 7 degrees. But in the Devil's Gorge I could directly notice a drop in temperature. So I walked through the gorge and could constantly see my breath.
First it goes steeply down, actually 28 meters. I have to constantly touch the rocks, because the moss that grows on them is just so soft. Arrived at the bottom I must also marvel at first. What nature has conjured here is really impressive. Further it goes and the gorge becomes ever narrower. Partly so narrow that I have to bend down as a small person to get ahead.
Surreal rock formations – at every corner
After the Devil's Gorge comes first of all a place to take a deep breath. Here one is again in the middle of the beautiful nature. The forest seems to live and it smells wonderfully of pine needles. On the way there are again many rock formations, but also the nature around is unique. A path winds past the gorge and leads over hill and dale. After now approx. 2 hours I arrive at the fork, which separates the small from the large circular route. I go on because I have planned a lot for myself.
Here you have to be fit – it goes over hill and dale
Altogether I will master 240 meters of height difference on the round way and the terrain makes me here and there a line through the calculation. I summarize again: It's cold, it's foggy and far and wide there is no human being here.
The adventure continues. The terrain is now increasingly uneven and where I climbed up, I have to climb down again. The fact that it has rained probably a few days, makes it now not easy for me. Constantly I must watch out that I do not slip on the muddy ground.
But the view and the nature compensate me for everything. I can see from the trees that I am still on the right track, because I always have to follow the T on the white ground. Sounds so easy. But if sometime no more tree comes, which is provided with the symbol, then I become nevertheless already queasy. In addition, I could not estimate so slowly also more, how many kilometers I have already run.
The fog, which had lifted around noon, slowly closed in again. And I could see the haze fluttering in the air. I never had that either. Finally I managed not to get lost in the forest and arrived after 4 hours at the visitor center again.
4 hours have now needed for the circular route through the Devil's Gorge, which is actually estimated at 120 minutes. I am not an unathletic person and have overcome the height differences relatively briskly.
But if you want to enjoy here and there and take the one or other photo, then the time is absolutely unrealistic. In the beginning I walked off the beaten track, because that gives you a different perspective. It is also recommended to look from above into the Devil's Gorge.
Back at the visitor center
People. Finally people! The visitor center is really busy and I am looking forward to a tasty French fries and a bockwurst. Exactly the right strengthening. I'm pretty exhausted by now and resting does me good. Here in the visitor center you can learn a lot about the Teufelsschlucht nature park and the southern Eifel region. But there was something else, exactly, the waterfalls.
Irreler Waterfalls – The waterfalls that are actually not waterfalls at all
Already in the visitor center they warned me, the waterfalls are actually rapids of the Prum river. Somebody came up with the idea a long time ago to call these just waterfalls. The rapids were formed almost at the same time as the Devil's Gorge.
Falling sandstone, has formed a natural dam wall. A lake was formed, but in the course of time it was breached by the force of the water. Et voilA now this natural spectacle is called the Irrel Waterfalls.
A bridge leads over the rapids and the volume of the water is really enormous. The water level was very high on this day, because normally you can see more of the rocks. So I climb a bit down the slope and also here I recognize clearly that they are sandstones. Many I can crumble with my hand. Slowly it starts to dawn and the atmosphere becomes magical.
If you are in the southern Eifel, then visit the Teufelsschlucht nature park! I would never have thought that there is such a wonderful natural spectacle in the vicinity, let alone in the west of Germany. This one really convinced me and is absolutely recommendable.
If you don't want to hike as much as I do, then choose the small loop trail. You like to hike? Then do the "Teuflische 8", the way with ca. 8 kilometers. But you should be good on foot, because it is really steep and unpaved in parts.
Do you have any questions about the Teufelsschlucht?
Did you like this article? Do you have something else that absolutely must be added? Let me know in the comments!