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This beautiful hike in the Bergische Land leads you on a round hiking trail from the Balkauser Kotten over the ‘Erzgebirgspfad’ to the Wupper river and on to the Sengbach dam. From there it goes past the forest school and interesting forest tags back to the Kotten. The entire hike is approx. 4,3 miles and you should plan about 2 hours for this.
Unfortunately, the hiking trails are not well signposted, so we sometimes got lost. Well, not only we got lost – on the way we met many hikers who looked helplessly on their cell phone and looking for the right way. So that does not happen to you, I describe the track here very carefully, so you always know where it goes on.
The hike starts at the idyllically located Balkhauser Kotten. Considering that the road runs real close to the Kotten, you can hardly imagine that this is an idyllic place.
However, have you first enter the grounds of the Kotten, you are surrounded by pure nature – green meadows, the blue water of the Wupper river and an almost endless forest landscape. Actually, I would like to spend the entire afternoon here on the shore of the river in this postcardidyll. But we wanted to hike, so now a few brief information on the Balkhauser Kotten and then we go!
The Balkhauser Kotten
The Balkhauser Kotten is one of the two largely preserved grinders mills in Solingen. Here, the knives were sharpened to the millstones in the past. Today the Kotten is an industrial and grinder museum, where you can watch how the knife grinders have worked. Admission is free. In addition, there are delicious culinary events spread over the year, such as the Balkhauser Waffel Day, Potato Fritters Day or Kale Day.
Here you get detailed information about this wonderful location.
The trail ‘Erzgebirgsweg’
For the hike to Sengbach dam you start from the Balkhauser Kotten right hand along the road and turn left after approx. 0.1 miles to the trail ‘Erzgebirgsweg’ into the forest.
It is marked with a sign at the beginning, so that you can not miss it.
This beautiful small forest path you follow up to the crossing and keep right.
The path now makes a few curves and after a short time you can see the forest campsite at the Wupper river through the trees.
Here you reach the street again, which you follow parallel for a few minutes to the Wupper river. You will pass the small mini golf course with a kiosk.
From the Wupper river to the Sengbach dam
The hike continues past the former Landhaus Glüder (today the clubhouse of the “Association of Polish Musicians in Germany – OKTAWA e .V.”)
and over the Wupper bridge. Behind the bridge you follow the hiking trail directly to the left.
Now you turn sharply right in front of the fence to walk along the creek.
The picturesque path follows the entire time the course of the creek, sometimes over small bridges, sometimes a little up and down. The only negative point of this path is that the road also follows the course of the creek. However, since it runs a few meters further up, I didn’t find that very annoying.
At the second crossing, just before a fenced area (you can’t miss it), hike up the rather steep trail to the left – this is the only real incline. Since the road leads in the opposite direction from here, you are now surrounded by absolute silence. Once at the top, you come to a crossing with several hiking trails. You continue straight ahead on the small path, past the green bench on the left.
Here it goes downhill and you come to a wide way, on which you turn right and immediately walk down the small path to the left. Follow this for about 10 minutes and arrive at the beautiful Sengbach dam.
The Sengbach dam
The Sengbach dam was built between 1900 and 1903 and is one of the oldest drinking water reservoirs in Germany. It still supplies the inhabitants of Solingen with drinking water today.
The dam is 141 ft high, 16 ft thick at the top and 118 ft thick at the bottom. A footpath leads over the 584 ft long crest of the wall, from which you hava a wonderful view over the reservoir.
I especially like the two towers that protrude from the wall into the lake.
There is an approx. 6 miles long circular path around the reservoir, from which you should have a beautiful view of Burg Castle. However, the path mostly leads through the forest and not along the water. That was one reason why we decided to hike from the Balkhauser Kotten to the Sengbach dam and not the circular route around the lake.
If you have enjoyed the wonderful view here, the path continues at the other end of the dam. Here you take the left, lower path and follow it to the forest school.
The Forest School
The Solingen Forest School has been located in the former pump keeper’s house since 1987. It offers training opportunities for schools as well as programs for kindergartens and youth groups. In addition, the house can be rented by self-catering groups for stays of one or more days and the stay can be combined with a nature education program.
You can find the offers of the forest school here.
At the next crossing you turn left onto the also very wide path. Along the way there are learning boards about the forest and the dying forest.
At the end of the trail you will reach the Wupper again, namely at the point where you previously turned onto the path by the creek.
From here it’s the way back over the bridge, past OKTAWA eV, mini golf course and campsite back up the path to the ‘Erzgebirgsweg’ in the forest. At the fork in the road you now turn left and after a short time you will reach the Balkhauser Kotten again.
Of course there are many variations of this hike:
If you don’t want to hike along the creek, you can also take the wide path along the Forest School for the way to the dam. To do this, do not turn sharply to the right, but follow the hiking trail next to the Wupper for a short distance and then go right up the path into the forest.
If the hike is too short for you, you can circle the Sengbach dam once (approx. 6 miles). Here you should partially have a good view of Burg Castle. Since we didn’t want to overuse our children, we decided against it.
Directions and parking
You can park well on the roadside at Balkhauser Kotten. The address is: Balkhauser Kotten 2, 42659 Solingen. If you want to hike from the Wupper rather than the Kotten, you can park at the Glüder parking on the Balkhauser Weg (opposite the camping site) or in the parking at the Balkhauser Weg / Strohn intersection.
Traveling by public transport is a bit more difficult, as there is a bus stop right at Bankhauser Kotten, but a bus only stops there once a day. Otherwise, you can go two stops further and walk the rest of the way. Here is the link to the bus schedule.
Do you feel like going on this wonderful hike? Have you been here before? If so, how did you like it? Feel free to write your opinion in the comments. I’m looking forward!
Best greetings and stay healthy,
You can find more wonderful hikes and excursion destinations in the Bergisches Land here:
If you are planning a longer stay in the Bergisches Land, I have put together wonderful holiday accommodations in Solingen for you: