Length 14.5 km (9 miles), terrain: flat
For more running routes, see the Route List
Essen is the main city in Germany's Ruhr District, the country's industrial heartland. The area is known for its steelworks, coalmines and smokestacks, and isn't famous as a place to enjoy the outdoors. But little-known to most people, Essen has a big area of wooded hills and water along its southern side, perfect for running.
|Baldeneysee in the evening|
The crescent-shaped lake is really just a dammed-up section of the Ruhr River. The dam was built in the 1920s, creating a new recreational heart for Essen.
This is one of the longer routes that you'll find on this website, but is well worth it. But if you don't feel up to running the whole loop, just turn around wherever you please.
This route will start at the commuter-train station called "Hügel", located just below Alfred Krupp's hillside mansion, Villa Hügel. So if you are staying in central Essen, you can easily get to the lake from the main station (take the S6 train towards Rattingen).
Leaving the train station, just go down the steps to the lakeside road, Freiherr von Stein Straße, and turn right to keep going downhill. You'll see the lake across the road.
Take the first turnoff on the left, which takes you into a parking-lot for lake visitors. Just run straight past it to the lakeside, where there is a big seating area for crowds to watch rowing races.
|The start of the course, running towards the dam|
I turned right here and circled the lake counter-clockwise. Doing that, you will see the dam just 700 meters away to the west. Run along the paved trail, going by little marinas. When you reach the dam, take the steps up to the top of the dam and run across it to the south side of the lake.
|Crossing the dam|
|Running along the Hardenberger Ufer|
|Haus am See garden café: maybe this should be the end of the run!|
|Marina in the castle moat|
You are now getting close to the bridge back to the north shore. You will see it straight ahead.
The bridge is an old railroad bridge. The tracks have been removed and the old railway bed is now used as a trail for bikers, hikers and runners.
When you reach the green metal bridge, take the steps up along the right side, at the boat club restaurant.
|Heading across the bridge|
You'll find the most beautiful nature of the run here, in the nature preserve called the Heisinger Bogen. There are little islands along the shore, and a lagoon along the right side.
|Pure nature along the north shore|
|Further along the north shore|
Now you just run west along the water, past a row of boat clubs and restaurants.
When you pass the bleachers for the rowing course, turn right at the Regattahaus, with its lookout tower and clocks on the roof. Now just run back uphill to the Hügel train station again. A long run, but one you'll never forget!