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Posted on September 20, 2010
We’ve learned barefoot hikers are very real. Even more real, perhaps, than the infamous nude hikers streaking the slopes (who, ironically enough, wear only hiking boots and backpacks).
Now that we’ve watched barefooters wander the forest, and we’ve spoken with those with a non-footwear proclivity, it’s no surprise to discover entire parks dedicated to discovering the outdoors sans shoes.
While some enjoy the challenge of hiking through dense woods with boots stored their backpack, Europe hosts several parks dedicated to barefoot hiking in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. These parks contain different foot sensory paths by using various soils, rocks and grasses. Even bustling cities such as Munich provide areas to barefoot hike twice a year.
Barefoot enthusiast Lorenz Kerscher was kind enough to provide us with his favorite pictures from a few of those parks in Germany.
He writes: “If you come to Europe, I recommend that Munich is the first place to visit! And in summer time, you could also find enough good places to go barefoot.” He said these pictures show the “typical sequence of adventure stations on a barefoot trail.”
Many put their shoes in a locker before taking on Dornstetten’s barefoot park.
More than 150,000 people per year go for a two-mile hike through a forest and meadow in Dornstetten.
The material used on the Dornstetten trail is real glass, says Kerscher. However, it’s blunted during production from recycled bottles.
A park in Spalt features a mile-long hiking forest area.
Just over 2.7 miles, the barefoot trail in Bad Orb is the longest trail in Germany.
It won’t matter if your hiking boots have Gore-Tex or ion-mask when you cross a stream barefoot.
At the end of the barefoot trail in Bad Sobernheim visitors appreciate the chance to get rid of the mud.
(Images via Lorenz Kerscher)
Have you ever been to a barefoot park or ever visit one in the United States? Share your experiences below.