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Nude-friendly hiking trail a hit in Germany

Germany's first nudist hiking trail opened last year after disputes between naked and clothed hikers, and its success has drawn calls for a similar trail in Switzerland.

Germany nude hiking trail 10 06 11Enlarge
A man sits on a nudist beach along the Baltic Sea coast in northern Germany. Thanks to the opening of a new a nude-friendly hiking trail, German nudists are no longer confined to the beach. (JENS KOEHLER/AFP/Getty Images)

Germany’s first official hiking trail for nudists has proved a hit, sparking calls for other nude-friendly trails in Europe, reports a Swiss newspaper.

The 11-mile naked hiking trail opened last year in central Germany following a series of altercations between nudists and clothes-wearing hikers on regular trails.

The nudist trail, which stretches between the towns of Dankerode and Wippertalsperre in the picturesque Harz Mountains, is marked with warning notices “to ensure that clothes-wearing hikers won’t encounter any big surprises,” German newspaper Bild reports.

The signs are emblazoned with photos of a male and female hiker wearing only boots and backpacks, and say, “Anyone who doesn’t want to see naked bodies may not proceed further!”

(See a slideshow of nudist hikers on the trail, some photos NSFW.)

Germany has a long tradition of naturism, which is known by its German acronym of FKK, or “free body culture,” according to Der Spiegel magazine. The tradition dates back to the late 19th century, and nude bathing is especially popular at designated beaches on the Baltic Sea coast in northern Germany.

There are 50,000 members of the German Society of Nudists, according to the Times of London.

Naked hiking is also popular in Switzerland, but so far there are no sanctioned trails. The trail in Germany opened not long after one Swiss canton banned nude hiking due to complaints by local residents, Bild reports.

The issue of naked hiking will soon be taken up by Switzerland’s Supreme Court, reports Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger, as translated by Worldcrunch.

One hiker, who carries a scarf when walking nude to wrap it around himself in case he encounters clothed hikers, told the Swiss paper that a sanctioned clothes-optional trail would give people the chance to experience the “bodily freedom” of nude hiking, an experience that "fills you with happiness.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/110610/germany-nude-hiking-trail-nudist-nature