Holger from trampelpfadlauf.de organized a group trailrun following a perfectly marked trail by Extratrail. Extratrail has understood that trailrunning is a trend that can boost local tourism. So they designed various trails from just a few kilometers to up to 40 km in the regions around Jalhay, Spa, Stavelot, Stoumont, Theux and Trois-Ponts, which are all located in the Ardennes in South-East Wallonia, Belgium. Moreover, there are connecting trails giving you endless possibilities (and distance)! They really made a good job in selecting the trails as well as in marking them so it’s very easy to follow them even without GPS navigation.
Gesamtanstieg: 2200 m
We did the 40 km trail in Stavelot (marked with black square signs). We started in the nice little town of Stavelot on the market place where you can park your car for free on Sundays (I don’t know about other days). It starts directly with a 200 meter ascent. After just 600 meters along some roads, we passed through a water tunnel where the other side already offered us the trails we were looking for.
Since you can find details of the route on Extratrails, let me just tell you my experience: the trails are very diverse. You run on wide and single trails, through forests, along many little creeks and bigger rivers, through an amusement park, next to a waterfall and up a steep climb right below a chairlift. So in short: it’s totally worth it! See for yourself:
Some advice from mine: carry enough water and food. The theme park (at about 13 km) is probably the only reliable place where you could buy something. We had beautiful sunshine in April and my 2 liters were just enough, but I would take more next time. Despite the perfect weather, trails were muddy (yeah!!). So about a kilometer before coming back to Stavelot you will cross a little bridge (there’s a campground to the right) over the the Warche river (?) – it’s a good place to clean yourself and your equipment as well as to give your feet a well deserved cooling. Following the river downstream, be aware of an aggressive swan 🙂 And finally, spoil yourself with some nice Belgian fries and beer!