The South of Luxembourg is the region of the Red Earth ("Terres Rouges") and the steel mills. After more than 100 years of mining activity, the pits were closed at the beginning of the eighties of the last century. The mining activity has changed the landscape dramatically but since then, nature has taken back its rights and now, the new green is contrasting with the old red rocks and 2 Nature reserves ("Haard", "Giele Botter") have been declared within the whole area. The latter has hence become a paradise for hikers and bikers with a maze of endless singletrails, assorted with short up- and downhills. Concentration and technical dexterity are essential but there are never more than 100 m of climbing in a row. The will be two day-trips, starting from Esch-Gaalgenberg, on the heights of Esch/Alzette, in the midst of a luxuriant natural environment.
This tour is suitable for intermediate and advanced bikers with a sound physical condition. The difficulties of the trails in the South have a wide spectrum; often, the trickiest parts can be avoided, by just posting a small detour. Alternatively, the guide will always be able to spot an even “dirtier” descent than the last one… In any case, you should have an excellent command of your bike, as well as strong legs, for there may be steep climbs. For more details, please refer to the “For whom” section.
Technical level: intermediate; endurance rating: 2-3 (out of 4): 50-60 km and approx. 1000 m of total climbing per day.
1. Day: From Esch-Gaalgenberg to Rumelange (and back)
We will leave the meeting point direction south-east to warm up on the first singletrails of the day. In the forest between Esch-sur-Alzette and Rumelange, the trails are technically not too difficult and the biking is fluid. When reaching Rumelange, we may stop at the terrace of the “Musée des Mines” for a cup of coffee or a sip of history. Near Rumelange, the trails become more rocky and narrow and we will have some nice views over canyons created by the mining activity. We will continue to Tétange and Kayl, where some really steep uphills await us. As a matter of fact, around there, the tour includes some really beautiful paths in the "Haard" Nature Reserve. Towards the end, we will get our kicks on the “Rollercoaster” trails of the “Lallénger Bierg” in Schifflange, where there is a fully-fledged bike-park. We then head back to the hotel on the “Gaalgebierg” in Esch-sur-Alzette with some last really nice technical sections.
Total distance: 60 km; total climb: +/-1100 m.
2. Day: From Esch-Gaalgenberg to Differdange (and back)
On the second day, we will leave Esch-Gaalgebierg North-West towards Belvaux, pedaling some 3-4 km on an easy road. On that occasion, we will cross Esch-Belval, where the former steel mills are being transformed into a Docklands-style business district, keeping whole parts of the old halls and machines to form a kind of open-air museum. Arriving on another “Gaalgebierg” (lit.: "the hill with the gallow"), we can do an extra round on a 3 km trail specially created for mountain biking, quite technical and strenuous. We will then continue to Differdange and Fonds de Gras, the following kilometres being very varied: singletrails, large forest tracks and some portions of paved cycling roads. In the valley of “Fonds de Gras” we will find an old railway station and a pub, unchanged since the 1950’s: time to take a break. Leaving “Fonds de Gras” behind, we will go up and down again into the next valley which hosts the old mining village Lasauvage ("the wild one") where we will admire the typical architecture of the 20th century mining worker's homes. We soon ride back to Belvaux following the French border, through a small valley with a little river, passing some more remains of the mining industry. Back in Belvaux, we return by road to Esch-Gaalgebierg.
Total distance: 50 km; total climb: +/-900 m.
This camp is currently not planned but can be provided on demand. Please write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +352 621 35 66 41.