On the initiative of the Elsoff Local History Association, the "Elsofftal Rundwanderweg" project (later renamed "Rotmilan-Höhenweg") was launched in Spring 2010. A working group consisting of the:
The aim of the project was and is to promote hiking in the Elsoff valley and on the adjacent mountain ranges. This also supports local recreation, gastronomy and the accommodation sector and effectively counteracts the decline in tourism in the Elsoff Valley that has been observed for years.
The first meeting of the working group took place on the 9th March 2010. By July of the same year, a 38 km long circular hiking trail with the connecting paths to the village centres had been determined. From the very beginning, the circular hiking trail has mainly followed existing hiking routes. The part of the trail east of the Elsoff Stream runs between the villages of Diedenshausen and Elsoff over Hessian territory.
The new route was coordinated with the responsible institutions in Hesse as early as 2010. The approval of the route in Westphalia required a comprehensive procedure coordinated by the "Sauerländischer Gebirgsverein" (SGV) in Arnsberg.
At the end of January 2013, the application for the implementation of the so-called "Benehmensverfahren" (procedural process) was submitted to the SGV and approved by the Arnsberg District Authority on the 25th June 2013 with the approval of the special way mark . As soon as an appealing name for the circular hiking trail ‒ the Rotmilan-Höhenweg ‒ had been found, the marking up of the circular hiking trail was started.
After completion of the work, the ceremonial opening of Rotmilan-Höhenweg took place on 1st May 2014 in the presence of the two mayors Bernd Fuhrmann (Bad Berleburg) and Karl-Friedrich Frese (Bromskirchen).
In addition, the participating partner associations had organised well attended inauguration ceremonies in their own localities. At these stations the leisure hikers and extreme hikers, who had started competitive circuits, picked up their hiking pass stamps. The fastest extreme hikers were honoured at a ceremony for winners and helpers in the village community centre of Alertshausen on 20th June of the same year.
On October 1st, 2014, the "Verein zur Pflege der Dorfgemeinschaft Wunderthausen e.V." (VPDW), announced its withdrawal from the interest group “Rotmilan-Höhenweg” after more than 4 years of constructive cooperation. As a result, the operational management rested on the north loop of Rotmilan-Höhenweg. Since no successor could be found for the retired VPDW, the Wunderthausen section of the Rotmilan-Höhenweg had to be abandoned and a suitable alternative route planned.
On April 16th, 2015, an alternative route was marked up as a temporary solution to bypass the former north loop, which led from the Kraftsholz junction through the north-eastern area of Diedenshausen to the settlement of Seibelsbach, where the connection to the existing Rotmilan-Höhenweg was established.
In December 2016 the pentagon was complete again: The Neuludwigsdorf Civic Association (Bürgerverein Neuludwigsdorf) became a member of the newly-founded "Verein Rotmilan-Höhenweg".
In this context, the route of the Rotmilan-Höhenweg via Neuludwigsdorf (Hesse), close to "Landgasthof Steuber", was also agreed.
In order to make further use of the range of catering and accommodation facilities available near Rotmilan Höhenweg, the circular hiking trail also passed "Landgasthof Restaurant Laibach".
The application submitted to the SGV in Arnsberg on July 12th, 2017, for the implementation of the "Benehmensverfahren" regarding the changes in the routing of the Rotmilan-Höhenweg and the construction of access paths was approved by the Arnsberg District Authority at the beginning of November.
With the corresponding publication in the official gazette for the Arnsberg District Authority, No. 44 of November 4th,2017, and No. 45 of November 11th, 2017, permission was granted to mark
Most hikers would not consider the Rotmilan-Höhenweg with its 45 kilometres as a day tour. For this reason, in the course of marking the altered route of the Rotmilan-Höhenweg, ten access routes were also marked up as links to the villages of Alertshausen, Christianseck and Diedenshausen, which can be used for circular routes of various lengths.
The hiking trail network, consisting of RMHW and the 10 access paths, is about 65 km long and has been re-marked along its entire length or in sections. In addition, further shelters and seats have been introduced to invite hikers to rest at beautiful vantage points.
The RMHW website has been completely revised and will continue to report on new developments and hiking suggestions around the Rotmilan-Höhenweg in the future.