The High Fens is a beautiful and unique piece of nature found in a small corner of Belgium. It is a great location to go for a hike, both easy as well as more challenging ones. There already exist a myriad of routes and pathways you can follow, but it is also a fun adventure to get a map and find your own way through this beautiful piece of nature as we did.
We drove down to the small town of Petergensfeld, near Roetgen and Raeren. We parked our car in the Wesertalstraße, near a local archery range. There was ample parking opportunity here on a Saturday noon.
From there we started out on our hike that curled its way through the North-Eastern part of the High Fens. The day started out cloudy and we had the pleasure to enjoy a mild rain for our entire day. But the somber weather gave us a moody and thick mist coated view of the Fens that was absolutely stunning. We can recommend doing this walk at least once during such weather, even those of us that hate wet, rainy days would have loved these views.
The hike took us along some woods and passed some remnants of the Reinartzhof. There is an interesting history connected to this and we recommend reading up about before you depart on your hike. Seeing the remnants of the settlement really help put an image in your head about what happened. And the things these people must have felt when going through the isolation due to the heavy snowfall.
Once we passed these initial woods we hiked through fields of gold and scarlet, the colors the Fens take in autumn and mild winters, slowly easing away in a thick blanket of shapeless grey fog. Standing in these fields surrounded by the impenetrable grey all around us gave us a feeling of total isolation and tranquility. Perfect for an enjoyable walk to that is spend thinking and musing, daydreaming about life. A walk for poets and philosophers. Or simply people who enjoy the small beauties in life.
After the fields, we moved on towards more woods. The wide path that we followed soon became a thin, curving pathway as we consciously moved further away from the most threaded paths. Eventually, we decided to leave the small pathways as well and simply hike into the thick of the forest. There we found different but equally beautiful scenery. Of bright green forest floors, covered in moss and ferns, wet, damp and glistening. Dark brown trees and worn grey rocks. Scenery that takes you away from our age to one more fantastical.
Our own route away from the pathways did not come without cost, as we soon came to realize that we had to cross a river and there was no bridge where we expected one to be. We followed the river until we fond a natural ford and decided to cross the stream there. We could have made a larger detour to the next bridge, but we wanted a bit of adventure.
The water was more than ankle deep at points and piercing cold. But wading through was refreshing. There was a riverbed of large rocks that gave a good footing and we crossed without any hassle aside of wet shoes and socks.
After crossing the river we had a small hike left of a few kilometers. Moving back to a pathway that would take us back to the road to our parked car. Where a set of fresh, dry clothes waited on us.
If you want to go and walk into our footsteps you can head on over to Outdooractive.com and find our route here. It will give you an overview and the option to download the map as a PDF, along with some additional details. You can also search for the routes of others on there or plan out your own route and download the plan as well. It is a really great tool and free!
We would like to end this post with a gallery of pictures that we took on this hike, to share with you the beauty of the High Fens. And we hope that all of this will inspire you to go out there and enjoy nature’s beauty yourself.