Walk: Trôs Marets
Very varied and adventurous walk of 8,5 km, with climbs and descents, through woods and fens, along torrential waters and inevitably some climbing through a rocky canyon.
The route is quite muddy and slippery on the left and right.
Catering is available about halfway along the route at the 'tea-room' of Ferme Libert, open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Unsuitable for prams or wheelchairs
Drive towards Hockai and choose the 'Route de Xhoffraix' (direction Hautes Fagnes and Baraque Michel). Continue for a few kilometres until you reach the bridge over the river Trôs Marets where you will find a car park on your left with an information board ("Pays des Sources" and "Ardenne Bleue"). This is the place to park your car.
The Trôs-Marets rises in the Fagnes under the name of Setay, only a few hundred metres from another small river, the Bayehon (known for its 9 m waterfall); the Bayehon flows in a south-easterly direction while the Trôs-Marets meanders in a south-westerly direction but both flow into the Warche. The Trôs-Marets descends very quickly over a distance of only 6 km, from a height of 640 m to a level of 340 m, which gives it the character of a torrent. The force of the fast flowing water has carved out a V-shaped ravine with numerous cascades jumping over the large quartzite blocks that dot the area.
The start of the walk is not at the car park but across the road. Look for the narrow path a few metres to the left of the bridge (with the back to the car park) which leads you down to the river and walk in a line one after the other until you reach a second bridge where you climb back up.
You cross the path and on the other side you will see a sign with the word 'Boltefa' and underneath it a mention of green rectangles. Follow the river downstream and let the green rectangles guide you. Once you have passed the picnic table, you will enjoy a comfortable path in a charming landscape.
Continue on until you reach a fork in the road, where you choose the path upwards on the left (follow the red and white signs, which guide walkers on the GR, the "grande randonnée"). There is a good chance of encountering partially undressed men here in all types of swimming trunks ranging from boxer shorts to wetsuits. The location is very popular for team-building activities, such as abseiling and even canyoning.
Once you reach the wider forest path, turn right to enter the Trôs Marets valley again. You now forget the green rectangles and concentrate on the GR symbols. At first you follow the valley wall upwards but gradually you descend to the bottom of the canyon. As the ground becomes more and more rocky, the walk becomes more and more adventurous, but fortunately for the more slippery passages you can use the cables installed to keep your balance. At the small bridge you follow the direction of "Ferme Libert" indicated by a sign that sends you to the other side. What follows will require a substantial effort. You will now have to cross the ridge.
Where your path leads to a junction of forest tracks, you choose the GR and turn right. This path will remain yours, right to the end, when you arrive at the "Ferme Libert" named after the famous botanist Marie-Anne Libert (1782-1865) who specialised in the typical vegetation of the Fagnes. Here you can (unless it is open) enjoy a break on the beautiful terrace (to reach it you have to walk through the whole restaurant). Try the waffles which are the speciality of the house!
This might be a good opportunity to take advantage of your presence to check out the all-terrain bike course, which was built to replace the ski run that used to be here. Especially on Sundays you will see real acrobats at work.
After the break you choose the harder slope towards "Planeresses" and "Moupa". You will find yourself on a wide forest path with a crucifix on your left. Here you turn right. At the next crossroads you also turn right towards "Trôs Marets". Yellow rectangles help you to stay on the right road.
A little further on you follow the curve to the left and go through the barrier. At the next fork in the road you also follow the curve to the left and follow this path to the next crossroads where you turn right. Now you have to continue until you reach the stone bridge over the Trôs Marets, where you take the small path on the left that you left at the beginning of the walk, and very soon you will reach the car park where your car is located.