Date: Saturday, January 16th, 2021
Path: Own route + GR56
Distance: 24,5 km
For this day trip, I wanted to go deep into the East Cantons, away from the hustle and bustle of the High Fens or even Bütgenbach. The original plan was to start from Krinkelt and explore the forests along the German border and hike to Belgium's second highest point, the Weißer Stein (693m). But after one and a half kilometres, at Enkelberg, we were stopped by a forester. Access was forbidden because many branches had broken off in the forest due to the weight of the snow and the risk was considerable. So we had to improvise a bit to still make a nice hike and stay close to the bus line that would bring us back to the train station. We managed to do that partly.
From Enkelberg we then walked to the village via the heights above Mürringen. There we tried to go along the edge of the forest via Odeskopp. But before we even got to the forest, there was a sign prohibiting access. After a short lunch break we walked via Zum Ohlesief, Am Hölstrich and Zur Hasendelle towards Büllingen. The latter road was not cleared of snow, so we had to trudge through about 25 cm of snow. When approaching Büllingen we opted for a stretch along the RAVeL, the former railway line between Germany and Belgium - the well-known Vennbahn - which follows the course of the river Warche. Here we picked up the GR56 variant.
Behind the reservoir of Bütgenbach the winding Warche is exceptionally beautiful and strangely enough it is completely quiet. That's different when you get to the reservoir. There were a lot of people, mostly Flemish visitors. We chose to walk the northern part around the lake, because that is a much nicer path than the southern part. If you want to walk all the way around the lake, it will be about 10 kilometres. In the northern part you walk over some footpaths and along the Holzwarche, which we crossed earlier this morning at Enkelberg/Krinkelt. After having crossed the dam on the Bütgenbacher side, the GR56 trail leads you along a nice forest path and some steps to overcome the difference in height of Warche. Then it continues briefly along a stretch of RAVeL to Kolberg. There we left the GR56V again to walk northwards to Nidrum. In that village we could take the bus, or we could go on to Elsenborn.
In Nidrum we took some time to visit the graves of the Soviet soldiers who lost their lives in the prison camp of Bôsfagne/Sourbrodt during WWII (see Day Hike: Elsenborn > Mont Rigi). But also in Nidrum, you can find numerous old photos of the village and its history. After a quarter of an hour we arrived at the busstop of Elsenborn, where we took the bus to Eupen.
Do you also want to try this beautiful walk? Download the GPX of it here:
By public transport: By train to Verviers, then bus 390 (direction Rocherath), get off in Krinkelt. In Elsenborn there are buses to Verviers (bus 390) and Eupen (bus 394). These buses only run sporadically, so check the timetable on https://www.letec.be .