A hike through the low mountain ranges in Rhineland-Palatinate is particularly appealing on a frosty morning with fog wafting over the Rhine and Moselle river valleys and the sun shining on the mountaintops of the Hunsrück, Eifel and Westerwald. Peer through the skeletal trees at a landscape that appears to be frozen by the hoar frost and then shrouded in a white blanket of silence with the first snowfall.
Proper hiking in winter is the exercise and physical activity needed to improve circulation and boost your immune system, also helped by the sun and fresh air. A winter hike also helps relieve stress and the worries of everyday life for a while. The great hiking trails in Rhineland-Palatinate are ideal for this. Following are a few suggestions that will help ensure that you are well prepared for a successful winter hike.
In winter, hikers walk significantly shorter routes than in summer, because the days are shorter, the sun sets earlier and walking through freshly fallen snow is much more strenuous, resulting in slower progress. You should always keep this in mind, particularly when selecting your route: it is next to impossible to walk more than 10 to 15 kilometres. A route that is mostly in the sun is not only a little warmer during the day; it also stays light longer in the early evenings. Nevertheless, you should always carry a torch or headlamp.
The Rhineland-Palatinate hiking trails are very well signposted and even inexperienced hikers can quickly find their way. Despite this, you should always carry a map and compass, or a GPS-enabled device, especially when hiking in winter: it is easy to fail to recognise or overlook any existing markings due to snow and frost, or the rapid nightfall.
If you take a GPS-enabled device, mobile phone or camera with you on your hike, always remember that batteries, both rechargeable and not, do not last as long in the cold. Hence, you should carry such devices in your trousers or jacket pockets, and take a spare battery with you.
Never go on a hike without a first aid kit, at any time of year. And in cold weather make sure it includes a space blanket to warm you up in an emergency.
If you keep all these suggestions in mind when planning your hike, nothing will stand in the way of a relaxed winter hike exploring the beautiful and varied Rhineland-Palatinate landscapes. The perfect conclusion to every winter hike could be a stop at a restaurant serving typical Rhineland-Palatinate food or a stay in one of the many wellness hotels, where you can unwind and recall the day’s events in a sauna or relaxing bath.
Do you now fancy a winter hike? Here is a selection of beautiful routes in Rhineland-Palatinate, which are also ideal for winter hikes:
18,6 km | 5:00 h | 600 m | 628 m | Difficulty: medium
6,7 km | 2:15 h | 85 m | 87 m | Difficulty: easy