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near Hockai, Wallonia (Belgique)
Beautiful walk along river valleys, through forests and across moors, in the Natural Park Hautes Fagnes – Hohes Venn – Hoge Venen. You walk close to the rivers Hoëgne, Sawe and Polleur with multiple rapids and cascades, on boggy paths through moors, on the former Belgian-Prussian border with still intact border stones, and through deciduous and coniferous forests. The paths can be muddy and wet and slippery with tree roots, so waterproof hiking boots are recommended. At Baraque Michel you will find something to eat and drink, and with less frequent opening times also in Solwaster and across the river from the parking at the end of Chemin de Belle Heid. The area around Baraque Michel and to a lesser extent the Hoëgne valley can be busy when the weather is good, on the other parts of the hike you may not see anyone. The starting point is at a parking on the end of the badly paved Devant Chéneu road.
From the parking you directly cross the Hoëgne, and then follow the path along the river downstream. The attractive path passes various cascades and bridges, and is beautiful. After a bit more than 4 km you come at a parking (at the end of Chemin de Belle Heid) where a ford crosses the river. Here you climb out of the valley through woods until you get to the edge of the forest, with views towards Sart and beyond. You walk on to the village of Solwaster amidst pasture, passing a Lourdes cave. From the village you continue down to the Statte valley, cross the river, and then follow the Sawe river upstream. You cross the Solwaster-Jalhay road, continue on a forest road past a rock face, and then follow a small path along the stream. This path hugs the Sawe, changes into a forest road, and then a small path again crossing the river on small bridges a few times, passes cascades, and brings you up to the Haie du Procureur moors. The path ends at the Fermes en Fagnes unpaved road. Here you follow the road south to the end, and then follow small paths at the edge of the moors to the La Vêcquée forest road, past a monument dedicated to American pilots. This forest road you follow past the Croix des Fiancés, an observation hut and various border stones on the former Prussian-Belgian border to Baraque Michel, a convenient point for lunch. From here you walk to the Fagne de Polleur, near Mont Rigi. You walk across boardwalks to the Polleur river and then follow the Polleur downstream, initially on boardwalks, and then on a slippery and rocky path in the forest along the ridge on the south side of the river. At the end of the path you cross the river and then follow a broader and muddy track to another bridge. From here you walk up to an observation hut at the start of a broad and straight forest track through the Lonlou forest and moors. After about 2.4 km you turn left and then follow a path through a fire break and then a forest till you get to the Croix Delvoie, and a large octagonal Prussian border stone. From here you follow muddy paths through the forest until you get to the edge of Hockai village. The Chemin de la Hoëgne takes you back to the starting point.
You follow a forest road along the Sawe river, passing a rock face on your left
Here is the Chapelle Fischbach and directly beyond the large parking lot at Baraque Michel, with a restaurant, and sometimes a chip shop.
You walk down to the bridge for a view of the waterfall, and then turn back.
You cross two bridges on a sidestream of the Hoëgne river
Unpaved road down to the Hoëgne, amidst pasture
Here you climb through the forest away from the Hoëgne river
Cross and border stone in a picturesque setting
Cross remembering an engaged couple dying in a snow storm travelling from Jalhay to Xhoffraix. There is Prussian border stone here as well.
You walk down to the Statte river amidst pasture.
Here you are at the edge of the woods with views across pasture and the Ardennes scenery to the west.
Here the boardwalk through the Polleur moors starts
Unpaved straight road in the moors.
A muddy forest track takes you to the Polleur, and then you cross it
From the observation hut you follow an almost straight track through moors and forest in the Lonlou area.
'Cave' dedicated to Mary of Lourdes
Forest road from Baraque Michel to Hockai. On the way to Baraque Michel you pass various border stones and cross the Herbôfaye moor.
A series of small cascades
Monument dedicated to American pilots
Observation hut at the edge of the moors
Parking near Belle Heid. Cars have to cross a ford to get here.
Occasionally muddy path on the edge of the Grande Fagne
The path takes you along the river and then a bit up into the forest on the ridge south of the river. The path can be slippery with tree roots. There are some cables provided along the path to prevent falling.
Path along the Sawe river.
The path crosses several bridges from this point and takes you along beautiful cascades
Here the path takes you along Sawa at the edge of the moors of Haie du Procureur.
Start of the trail along the Hoëgne river. This trail is quite popular
Here you follow a small path through a fire break, and then a forest.