Everyone who knows me knows that I regularly go to the most beautiful part of Belgium: the Ardennes. I mean all what the average Belgian assumes what the Ardennes are (also the High Fens). On average, I’m every 2 months there for a weekend. Because of all these experience, people sometimes ask me where you can do beautiful hike in the Ardennes. Of course you can do a lot of wonderful hikes in that region, but below I give 3 tips. These are three hikes in the Ardennes you really have to do.
Valée de la hoëgne
This is a wonderful hike for the less sporty hiker near Solwaster (Jalhay). To reach the car park you have to cross the river by car through the water (or on foot via the bridge). That’s completely safe, but the first time it’s uncomfortable. Try to get as early as possible because usually there are a lot of cars in the parking lot. So you may have to park somewhere else.
The hike is about 8 kilometers long, and 160 altimeters have to be overcome. Along the way you will encounter several charming bridges and waterfalls. You keep following the water about 4 kilometers with a light slope, and then you can extend the walk however you want. If you go left and keep following the blue crosses, you did a hike of 8 kilometers. You’ll be back in the parking lot.
This hike is highly recommended for everyone. This is not a challenge for sporty hikers, but this natural beauty is a must for everyone. The only downside is that there are usually a lot of people present (also with dogs).
Lac Des Deux Ourthes
This hike is my personal favorite. The 14 kilometer long hike runs along the Ourthe and starts and ends on the “Barrage de Nisramont“. The Lac des deux Ourthes is located on the confluence of the western and eastern Ourthe. There is alot of parking and there is a nice bar at the dam. The dam itself is also worth visiting.
About 700 altimeters needs to be overcome, so this hike is for the sporty hiker. You hike almost continuously on dirt paths along the water. There are several spicy, steep pieces in between. This hike is not to be underestimated, but certainly doable for people with a sporting attitude. Along the way, you’ll be treated with beautiful and idyllic views of the water. Finding the route is not difficult at all: you just have to follow the red windows. During the walk you will also come across signs indicating how many kilometres you still have to walk.
Is 14 kilometers and 700 elevation meters too much for you? Then you can also follow shorter routes. There is a large sign at the beginning of the walks with all possibilities.
Promenade des Echelles (ladder walk)
This is my latest discovery in the Ardennes. This is a short but hard hike next to the Semois. The starting point is in Rochehaut (not far from Bouillon). The hike is about 5.5 km long, but can take 3 hours (including lunchtime). 280 altimeters must be overcome. At the start of the “dangerous” section there are warning signs that this hike is not intended for sensitive people.
There are many steep and technical pieces on the route. The ladders themselves are actually the easiest. Experienced mountain hikers shouldn’t have many difficulties on the route. Less experienced hikers better have no fear of heights for this hike, or bring an experienced companion who can occasionally assist and give a hand.
This was a nice hike for me because there are many obstacles short after eachother. I had virtually no problems, but my less experienced travel companions had a harder time. Don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful view when you’re there. There are several beautiful viewpoints along the route, but stand still while looking around!
These were the three hikes you (I think) have to do in the Ardennes. There are undoubtedly many more that are worth it. Let’s hear if you know one!