Date: Saturday, January 1st, 2022
Path: GR571 + GR5 + GR14 + Own route
Distance: 23,2 km
I started the new year with a short hike between Coo and Trois-Ponts, via Stavelot. I strung together the GR571, the GR5 and the GR14 to create nearly a loop hike. Those who want to can make it a full loop by following the GR571 from Trois-Ponts back to Coo (about 5,5 km extra).
From Coo we first follow the steep part of the GR571 to the Belvédère Thiry, where you can climb the view tower with a phenomenal view over the Coo reservoir, the tourist village itself, but also over the Amblève valley and in the distance the villages of Stoumont and La Gleize. At the Belvédère we leave the GR trail to climb a little higher, to a starting point for paragliders. Here we get a wide open panoramic view of Trois-Points and the hilly area through which the river Salm winds. Via a pine forest, we reach the top behind the village of Ster. Along a field path, the Creux da Ferdinand and a muddy trail we reach the GR5 a bit further.
This part of the GR5 up to Stavelot is always worthwhile, with highlights such as the Pierre du Diable, the descent of Les Erlinchamps and the little tunnel under the Ravel L45 through which the Hottonuy stream flows. Legend has it that the Devil himself left the Pierre du Diable here. He wanted to destroy the new church in Stavelot by throwing this enormous stone at it. When he heard what the Devil was up to, Saint-Remacle set off with a bag full of worn-out shoes. He met the devil, who asked him how far it was to Stavelot. Saint-Remacle showed him the many shoes he had allegedly worn on the way here. Then the Devil is said to have cursed and gone home. Only the stone remained.
In Stavelot you pass the lovely Place Sainte-Remacle, the abbey and some monuments for the (civilian) victims of the Battle of the Bulge. Across the bridge over the Amblève, an American halftrack attracts attention. Some pictures at the monument and on the building opposite show how this square looked like just after the battle. Interesting is the photograph with the building and a destroyed tank, but also a tree and some jerrycans left behind. When you turn around, you see the same tree that has survived the ravages of time.
From here on we follow the GR14/SMA trail on the left bank of the Amblève river. We pass the last houses of Stavelot and then dive into the woods. The trail gradually climbs up to the Sept Montagnes, rewarded with a view of the beautiful Amblève valley with its forested flanks. After a short rest on a bench we continue the GR14 trail up to Aisomont. From there we walk to Wanne. Along the way we stop for a game of chess and a drink in the café of the ski slope.
After Wanne we head west, through a forested area, to pick up the GR571 trail again. Here we have a wide view on the left flanks of the Salm valley. We don't follow this GR trail for long, because a bit further we pick up the GR14 to the Tour Leroux with a modest panoramic view of Trois-Ponts. After a short sprint we still catch the train back to Liège and Brussels.
Do you also want to try this beautiful hike? Download the GPX of it here:
By public transport: Both Coo and Trois-Ponts have a train station with connections to Liège. On weekdays, there is a train every hour. In the weekends, the train between Liège and Coo/Trois-Ponts only runs every two hours.