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Mountainbike Tour: Botrange

Relais des Fagnes - Hockai - Hoëgne - venen - Botrange - Vecquée - Hoëgne - Hockai - Relais des Fagnes

  • Beautiful mountain bike tour of 30 km. The first part is an uphill route to the highest point in Belgium. After a break, you will return to the starting point in a downward line.

  • It is done on hardened forest and rural paths with sometimes rocky sections but rarely too muddy.

  • There are refreshments halfway at the "Signal de Botrange" brasserie (only exceptionally closed) or at the cafeteria of the "Maison du Parc".

  1. You leave the Relais des Fagnes on the Route de Hockai to the right, in the direction of the village of Hockai.  Once you have arrived in the centre, cross the bridge. At the bend in the road at the church, keep to the right and drive straight on into the Rue de Fohalle. At the fork in the road you stay on the left and a little further on you will enter the hardened country road straight ahead (follow the red squares).

  2. At the first crossroads you turn left and at the next fork in the road you turn left again to find yourself in front of the Route de Xhoffraix linking Hockai to Xhoffraix. You will cross it and then take the Route des Mousseus which is opposite. Follow it to the end, ignoring all the side roads.

  3. At one point you will come to a fork in the road with a sign on the right and another on the left. On the right you will read "Private - No Trespassing" and on the left you will find a sign saying no traffic. Ignore the latter, simply continue your circuit by choosing the left and continue your walk to a bridge. Do not cross it, but continue straight ahead and follow the bend to the right.

  4. Keep riding on the stony path, face the steep slope, pass the fence, go straight on, climb even higher and follow the bend to the left a little further. 

  5. After a while you will see a crossroads where you will notice on your left a hardened path with a signpost to junction 74 of the cycle network. You enter this road and continue to follow it to the end. Don't forget to enjoy the view of the splendour of the High Fens in its most natural state as you pass!

  6. You will come to a small asphalt road, which you take by turning right. It is very useful to keep this junction in mind because you will end up here on your return journey in the opposite direction. You are now driving towards the main road.

  7. Cross it very carefully and continue on the other side. Continue along the road until you reach the car park of the Maison du Parc, a centre (with cafeteria) where you can get all the answers to your questions and an overview of the activities in the Fagnes region.

  8. Continue the journey until you pass the recreation garden with the giant wooden animals, where you turn left (as indicated by the wooden signpost with the words "Signal de Botrange"). Here you will find yourself on a steeply sloping path for a good distance.

  9. At the first crossroads you will again see a wooden signpost with the same words "Signal de Botrange" but this time it sends you to the right. This will bring you to a restaurant where you can enjoy a well-deserved break.

  10. After the break you will go to the other side of the main road. There are two crossings for this purpose and you choose the one on the left. Opposite, a path into the fens leads to a terrace with a panoramic viewpoint, which is worth a stop!

  11. Leave the terrace and go left (with the terrace in the back), parallel to the main road, until the first crossroads.

  12. Here you turn right in the direction of the main road and cross it again via the zebra crossing, to continue your cycle route on the road in front of you.

  13. You now pass the recreation garden with the wooden animals and the Maison du P arc again. You continue on this familiar path until you reach the other main road on your route.

  14. Cross it straight on to enter the path opposite to reach the three-armed crossroads (the trifurcation) that you were asked to keep in mind on your way.

  15. Keep to the right a little (in fact it is straight ahead) and a little later you will cross the picturesque Fagnes river, the Hoëgne, by a small concrete bridge, the Pont de Beleu.

  16. Now you drive to the first big crossroads, where 4 roads meet. You turn left and follow the road until you cross the next small concrete bridge, this time over the river Herbofaye.

  17. You climb a little further to reach the "Vecquée", a road that makes its way through the centre of the Fagnes. This road was used in the Middle Ages by the Prince-Bishops of Liege to visit the abbeys of Malmedy and Stavelot. Hence the name "La Vecquée", meaning "bishop's path".

  18. Once you have reached La Vécquée, you turn left and pass the "Cross of the Engaged" (on your left), erected in commemoration of the death of two young engaged couples who got lost in the Fagnes during a very harsh winter and fell victim to the frost.

  19. A little further on you ignore the first side paths, but instead take the wide path on your left, closed off by a barrier.  Now it's time for another descent!

  20. At the bottom, just after the bridge over the small Fagnarde river, the Herbofaye, you turn right and follow it downstream. Watch out for the two heavy quartzite blocks on either side of the path a little further on. Here the Herbofaye flows under the path and into the Hoëgne (for the record: at this point the Hoëgne is not yet officially called the Hoëgne but Polleur).

  21. From here you continue along the Hoëgne for several kilometres through the attractive landscape of the fens. You will finally end up at the bridge, which you did not cross on the way out. This time you have to cross it and turn right, and you are now on the same route as at the beginning of your tour. You drive straight on until you reach the Hockai-Xhoffraix road.

  22. You cross it again straight ahead to enter the rural path opposite. At the first crossroads you turn right, then right again and then straight on towards the church.

  23. You pass the church, cross the bridge and then turn right into the Hockai road. Follow the bend to the left a little further on.

  24. Up to the "Château d'Eau" (the green "molehill" on the right-hand side of the path) the route climbs slightly, but from this point onwards you finish the tour with a pleasant descent to the entrance of the Relais des Fagnes.

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