After the start at the freshly refurbished
train station/central bus station, the route starts from Türkismühle and is
slightly hilly for relaxed warm up towards the Bostalsee Dam. Now a short, easy
trail and we are already on the climb to Momberg. There on the
“Energieberg” the first spectacular view of the day awaits us over
the “Sankt Wendeler Land” and at the same time what we can view what
comes immediately afterwards: Via Güdesweiler the next section is the “St.
Wendel golf course”. After that, it’s through much dark pine up to Habenichts.
We essentially stay on the ridge with
great views to the north (Ottweiler / Ostertal) and to the south (Göttelborner
Höhe / Bergehalde Reden). From Hüttigweiler over an old miner’s path parallel
to the Ill to Wemmetsweiler. From there, after a trail intermezzo over the
Hirschenhübel and a 180-degree panorama loop, always uphill and downhill back
to the Illtal, past the “Wasserburg Kerpen” in Illingen and again
uphill to Merchweiler to the “Hahnwies” pond. Flowy trails follow in
the direction of Mangelhausen and behind it a steep descent to the
“Vogelsborn Chapel” and then further down to Eiweiler.
What follows now is a foretaste of the
“Liège-Bastogne-Liège” which awaits us later in the day.
Eiweiler is in the valley, so it can only
go uphill, namely to the former “Sender Heusweiler” on Hilgenbacher
It then goes back down to Heusweiler and
briefly into the Köllertal valley, but we quickly leave the old Roman roads and
great panorama, only to finally come back behind Püttlingen via the one or the
other trail or fire road. The former railway line of the Köllertalbahn takes us
relaxed to Völklingen. Passing the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Völklinger
Hütte” we reach Großrosseln, which is a little hilly, and then moderately
up and downhill (mostly gravelly and car-free) to Karlsbrunn.
We climb back into the track from
Saarvertikal (destination Karlsbrunn), the ultimate “MTB and gravel
disco” from north to south across the Saarland. Past the wildlife park we
reach the southernmost point of the Orbit going uphill, the viewing platform
over the former “Carrière Barrois” and here we are already in France.
Enjoy the view to our friends over in the Lorraine, then it’s wonderfully up
and down off-road to Warndtweiher and slightly uphill to Differten. We still
have a climb to cross, then we are in Wadgassen or Bous and thus back in the
Saar valley. Kilometre-wise this is “half time”.
Narrow, non-rhythmic paths take us from
there to the “Bergehalde Ensdorf” with the “Saar-Polygon”
on top. Be forewarned and consider choosing your gears wisely. A
“cannibal” and “part-time Flandrian” pushes the loose
gravel climb with all available watts with a 34/32. For mere humans, 33/36 and
bigger (with a good 20% gradient at the top) is definitely advisable. Enjoy the
view above the Saar valley with the Dillinger hut and Litermont as well as
forward to the Schaumberg and back to the Saargau.
It is now quite peppy over fire roads
interspersed with coarse gravel, singletrack, stairs, everything is included,
and from the Saarwellingen wildlife park the profile reaches
“Liège-Bastogne-Liège” intensity: jagged uphills towards the viewpoint
“Conny Hill”; Hoxberg, tight downhill to the “center of the
Saarland” or Falscheid and Landsweiler, to then climb uphill to the
Hellberg above Eppelborn. From there you have a brilliant 360-degree all-round
view, the view to the north clearly dominated by the Schaumberg – where we’ll
be headed next!
Go past a graveyard steeply downhill to
Eppelborn and then climb uphill towards Finkenrech – in the upper part of the
climb it’s a pleasant “roller gradient” over fast “strade
bianche”. The Schaumberg is now getting closer and closer, but first we go
downhill towards Sotzweiler including a coarse-grained uphill-downhill loop to
the “Wortsegel”, in order to climb the Schaumberg summit plateau,
ever steeper off-road via the Blasiusberg with chapel and the Schaumbergerhof.
At the top of the “Skywalk” we can look forward to a magnificent
view. If you are not afraid of a “Ballawerhiwwel” depending on the
day of the week and time of day, you will also have the opportunity to take a
rest here. Passing the “Herzweg car park” and the Theel source, the
route continues entirely over asphalt down to Theley, from there on uphill via
“Hofgut Imsbach” to the Nahe source near Selbach.
Here you can find the entry into the next
major obstacle of the day, the Peterberg. This ascent to Kuhnenkreuz (the
“pass height” between Bosen and Eiweiler) is completely asphalt-free
and provided with a trail but is very easy to ride. After Polygon, Hoxberg and
Schaumberg you can almost call it “relaxing”.
From the Peterberg chapel with a great
view over the Saarland, downhill again via the mini-gravel mecca Priesberg to
Sötern. Wide, not too steep, but never flat, fire roads lead us to the
“Hunnennring Otzenhausen” before we can descend to the
“Nonnweiler Reservoir”. Before we start a round around the
aforementioned dam, we now pass the starting point of Saarvertikal in reverse.
During the loop around the lake we also
pass the state border of Rhineland-Palatinate / Saarland, behind the
“Züscher Hammer” or Neuhütten on the (renewed) ascent to the ridge on
the “Hunnenring” like Dollberg – some of whom say it to be the
highest point in the Saarland (but there is a veritable dispute between the
scholars, you now have enough time to think carefully about the aforementioned
geographic problems. Or you can simply enjoy the views of the Erbeskopf
(tower/radar station), the highest elevation in Germany, west of the Rhine and
the highest mountain in Rhineland-Palatinate – there are no debates on this
After this is purely a “beeline”
to the finish, the goal is already “within reach”. But no, that is
all premature, rather the mobilization of the last forces is announced: we
first descend above the former uranium mining area on the Bühlskopf down to
Ellweiler and then via Neubrücke and Gimbweiler uphill to the model airfield on
the Falkenberg with one last great view.
From Wolfersweiler into the valley behind
it goes – now again on Saarland soil – but now definitely only with the word
FINISH in mind on the north flank of the Heidenkopf over undulating gravel and
in the end over a semi historic railway bridge back to the start / finish in
Scout Orbit Saarland
Germany's 1st Gravel Series
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