Essen is located in a region where there are no high mountains. So you shouldn't expect alpine-like terrain if you want to stretch your legs. To talk about hiking within the city would be really presumptuous, but walks are a great way to look around. Essen has lots on offer not only culturally, but also in terms of forests and nature. Get out of the flat and into nature!
Where to find beautiful walks in Essen
Essen has some beautiful parks where you can go for a walk, cycle or just have a picnic.
- Borbeck Palace Park
- Krupp Park with Krupp Forest
- Gleispark Frintrop
- Volksgarten Krey
- Kaiser Wilhelm Park
... and a few more green spaces.
In Hallopark you will find the largest meadow, it is about the size of 4 football fields.
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Park was opened as early as 1897. The centrepiece of the park is a duck pond that dates back to that time. Playgrounds and a miniature golf course make the park a popular destination for families. In addition, a memorial to Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington was erected there in 2018, a place of pilgrimage for fans.
You can combine a trip to the Gasometer and Oberhausen Castle with a visit to Gleispark Frintrop. Nature is reclaiming the area on the site of the former station - since the 1960s, the wasteland has become a retreat for plants and animals that can cope with this type of landscape.
The Schlosspark Borbeck has been a park since the 16th century. Not all the meadows in the park are mown so that insects can survive and thrive.
The Grugapark, covering an area of 65 hectares, is probably Essen's best-known park. In addition to meadows where all kinds of ball sports are allowed, you will find restaurants and cafés, deckchairs and designated gardens for herbs, alpine plants and others.
Small walking tours in Essen
Let's start small. You can take a nice walk around the Zeche Zollverein. The colliery is also called 'The Eiffel Tower of the Ruhr' and has been a World Heritage Site since 2001. The old coal mine can be visited as part of the 3.4-kilometre-long ring promenade. If you're interested in the history of coal mining, this is definitely a worthwhile walk.
A hike to Lake Baldeney starts from the railway station Essen-Kupferdreh. The 6.4-kilometre walk along the river Ruhr takes one and a half hours and bears the opportunity to visit the Heisinger Bogen bird sanctuary to enjoy a different kind of nature.
You can experience super beautiful views on another circular trail that also starts at the Essen-Kupferdreh railway station. The advantage of starting at a railway station is that you don't need a vehicle to get to the start of the walk. On this circular trail you walk 3.2 kilometres along the Deilbach river which will take about 50 minutes. There is a considerable ascent. This trail is also perfect for jogging.
If you have more time and energy, you can also go on tours around Essen that last several hours. It's good that you don't have to do any housework on your return, because your temporary flat in Essen is serviced. One of the circular walks again starts at Kupferdreh station and is 24 kilometres long. It will take you about 6.5 hours and you should be a fit and experienced hiker. After you reach Lake Baldeney, you climb to the top of the hills and have a great view of the lake and the valley of the Ruhr. After 6.4 km you will pass the Klusenkapelle. Just before you reach the starting point again, you have a beautiful view of Villa Hügel on the opposite bank of the Ruhr.
North of Heisingen you will find the Hülsenhaine nature reserve in the Schellenberg Forest. From Essen-Stadtwald station, you pass Schellenberg Castle and the source of the Schellenberg stream. The gravelled forest path then leads you through beech and other deciduous trees to the Neu-Isenburg castle ruins, which you reach after about 7 km. The Korte Klippe is a vantage point in the Schellenberg Forest from where you have a great view of Lake Baldeney. The Essen-Stadtwald railway station is the end of the tour and you can take public transport back to your comfortably furnished flat.
Long-distance hiking trails and hiking paths
There are two long-distance hiking trails near Essen: the Panoramasteig and the Ruhrhöhenweg.
- The Panoramasteig: This tour is a circular route in12 stages between 15.8 and 24.6 kilometres. You can start and end anywhere on the circuit, but hikers usually begin the tour in Ründeroth.
- The Ruhrhöhenweg: Here you have to complete 10 stages between 20 and 27 kilometres. You don't have to complete the 240 km from Duisburg to Winterberg in one go, but can divide it into several hikes.
Even if you don't believe it at first glance, hiking in Essen and especially around Essen is absolutely possible. Other sights in the Ruhr region can also be reached quickly, because here everything is close. Have fun on the hiking trails of the Ruhrgebiet!