© Dominik Ketz

Unverdhünnt - Adventure by the Water

Discover the secrets of nature



Explore nature on foot

© Dominik Ketz

There are numerous hiking trails to discover in the drainage area around the Great Dhünn Dam. The tours all have one thing in common: their relationship with water. After all, the Dhünn and the Eifgenbach rivers are ever-present companions along the trails. This is why the hiking area is also called “Dhünnhochfläche - the Waterworks of the Region”. Visitors can expect an impressive and varied landscape here, characterised by undulating topography, large expanses of forest and open meadows. 

Award-winning long-distance hiking trails such as the Bergische Panoramasteig and the Bergische Weg also run along the dam. The former weaves through the region over a total length of 246 kilometres. Visitors can hike from Essen to the Drachenfels along the Bergischer Weg. What’s more, the walking tours developed by Bergisches Wanderland focus on specific themes and pick up on historical or cultural aspects, for example. A wealth of information on the area’s distinctive natural features as well as unique views of the water are to be found on the Vorsperrenweg and other routes managed by the Sauerland Mountain Association and the Wupper Association. 

Nature conservation - a wealth of flora and fauna

© Dominik Ketz

There is a protected zone around the Great Dhünn Dam that is not accessible to visitors. This strip, which is around 100 metres wide, is intended to prevent contamination and thereby protect and preserve the high quality of the water. This area is therefore only used for farming and forestry purposes. It comprises a total of 760 hectares of forest, consisting primarily of spruce and deciduous trees. This pristine environment allows a wide variety of plants to flourish, such as marsh marigold, English broom, yellow iris and bell heather. The unspoilt landscape also provides an ideal habitat for many animals. More than 80 bird species breed around the Great Dhünn Dam. 20 of them are on the endangered species list. The great crested grebe is a particularly common sight. With steep banks, places to perch and an abundance of small fish as a food source, the heavily protected kingfisher finds the ideal conditions for it to thrive at the dam. Nowadays, it is even thought of as the emblem of the reservoir. Amphibians and reptiles such as grass snakes, frogs, toads and lizards also feel at home in this environment and countless dragonflies and butterflies flit through the air. A precious natural landscape that must be preserved! 


Introducing the Great Dhünn Dam

© Dominik Ketz
  • The second largest above-ground drinking water reservoir in the Federal Republic of Germany 
  • Built between 1975 and 1985 - Official opening on 30 September 1988 
  • People from some 22 farms, villages and mills had to be resettled before the Great Dhünn Dam could be built, which are known as the “sunken villages” today. Around 210 people found a new home elsewhere. 
  • Reservoir area 440ha, dam height 53m 
  • 81,000,000m³ of water, 42,000,000m³ of which is treated for use as drinking water each year 
  • Supplies approximately 1 million people in the towns and cities of Wuppertal, Remscheid, Solingen, Leverkusen, Radevormwald, Hückeswagen, Wermelskirchen, Burscheid, Leichlingen and Odenthal, and in an emergency Düsseldorf 

All routes 

All the trails that are part of the "Dhünnhochfläche" project are each marked with their own unique trail sign. More information, descriptions of the trails and maps can be found in each trail's flyer.

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