Battle of the Bulge Hiking Trail
As a history buff with a specialisation in World Wars 1 & 2, for years I have been hiking in areas where battles were fought between the German aggressor and the Allied troops during the two World Wars.
For the First World War, there is already a beautiful long-distance path that is beginning to take shape; the Western Front Way. For the Second World War, there are at best a few local hikes and there's no thematic long distance trail yet (apart from the GR223 and Weg Des Gedenkens).
This gave me the idea to give one of the most bloody battles in WWII, the Battle of the Bulge, its own hiking path: the Battle of the Bulge Hiking Trail.
On 16 December 1944, the Germans attacked the unsuspecting Americans in the Ardennes. Hitler hoped to turn the tide and tear apart the Allies. What followed was a month of bloody fighting and war crimes in our own country. In the end, this offensive did not do any good and and only hastened the German downfall.
The Battle of the Bulge Hiking Trail will cover a lot of historical locations, combined with all the beautiful things the Ardennes have to offer to a hiker.
For now, this is only a project in its infancy. It will be a marked route in combination with a guidebook. The total distance will be between 400 and 450 kilometres. The focus is on long-distance hikers, whether or not they are interested in the events of the winter of 1944-45, but day hikers and weekend hikers will also be catered for.
On 16 December 2023, the Battle of the Bulge Hiking Trail guide will be available in Dutch. For the 80th anniversary of the Battle, in the course of 2024, guides will also be available in English, French and German.
© US Army Center of Military History
© Library of Congress