Length 6.5 km (4 miles), terrain: flat
NOTE: You could also follow the east bank of the river, and it's beautiful too, just a bit less nature and more town.
Everyone likes a comeback story. And this route traces one of the great comebacks of our time: a polluted river in one of the most industrialized spots on the planet is now lined by nature preserves and full of wildlife.
I'm talking about the Ruhr River, which gives its name to the Ruhr Region, the heart of Germany's industrial heartland. It's the most densely populated area in Europe, once full of coal mines and steel mills.
|A bit of paradise in the middle of the Ruhr|
Mülheim, located along the Ruhr between Duisburg and Essen, bears witness to this comeback. You can run along both banks of the river and enjoy nature the whole way.
This route follows the west side of the river from the town center, southwards to the Ruhrstrand park in Saarn.
|Start in Müga Park|
|Schloss Broich castle courtyard|
|Paddle boats at the Mülheim harbor|
There are a few apartments lining the path here on the right, with a great view.
The path ends at a wooden footbridge that leads to an island in the river. Cross the bridge, towards that big stone pumphouse that houses hydro-electric turbines over a dam.
|Bridge to the pumphouse|
NOTE: Maybe take a look at the neighboring island, the Schleuseninsel, just behind the pumphouse: here's the Wasserbahnhof (Ferry Station), where river tour boats tie up, and there's a great biergarten located there under the shade trees at Franky's bar. This is the place to go any evening with nice weather!
|Tour boat at the Schleuseninsel|
|Along the island trail|
|The dam crossing|
After the 2.5-km mark, the trail splits, with one part heading over to an island-like peninsula, the Ruhrstrand. Follow that trail to the right.