In late February 2022 I went exploring near the Walloon village Solwaster. I combined four of the most beautiful day hikes in the area, resulting in a loop trail that takes you along the picturesque streams and rivers of Solwaster.
Disclaimer: this trail requires you to wild camp, which is technically illegal in Belgium.
In a nutshell…
- Trip length: +/- 15 miles
- Trip duration: one to three days
- Elevation gain: +/- 2500 feet
- Overall rating: 7.5/10
- Percentage unpaved/singletrack: 70% singletrack, 95% unpaved
- Trail difficulty: In terms of difficulty, I give this trail a four on a scale of one to ten. There’s some elevation change, but it’s never steep. Most of the time you’re hiking next to a stream or river. It’s a fairly technical trail though. Watch out for the many slippery roots and rocks. They can screw up your day real fast!
- Trail popularity: The trail was pretty crowded near the parking lots, where families parked their cars to hike a few miles. But it became quieter the deeper I got into the forest. After 5 pm I felt all alone because at that hour the day hikers started going home. I hiked this trail in winter though. Expect it to be a lot busier in the warmer seasons.
How to get there
If you have to get there by car, you’re lucky! There are a few parking lots literally right next to the trail.
- Large parking lot at 50°30’29.0″N 5°57’37.2″E. There’s also a small restaurant and food stand at that location. I bought a coke and moved on.
- Small parking lot at 50°31’58.7″N 5°58’02.3″E
- Small parking lot at 50°29’14.7″N 5°59’34.8″E
- Small parking lots at 50°31’08.0″N 5°58’05.3″E and 50°31’25.7″N 5°58’33.0″E. These ones are located right in the middle of the trail, so you could park your car there and use it as an aid station. Or sleep in your car, then you don’t even have to wild camp and bring a tent.
By train and bus
The closest train station is ‘Verviers-central’. From there you can hop onto the bus at the stop called ‘Verviers Gare Centrale’, which will take you to ‘Sart-Lez-Spa Route de Solwaster’. It’s a good connection. There’s a bus every hour or so.
Where can you plan your train and bus route?
Food resupply options
If you don’t feel like carrying two to three days’ worth of food, there’s a little grocery store near the trail where you can buy regional products. Not my kind of thing though; too expensive. It’s called ‘Le Comptoir Du Loup’. You can find it at: Solwaster 47, 4845 Jalhay.
There’s also a little restaurant called ‘Le Chalet du Pont de Belleheid’. Its address is Chemin de Belle Heid 15, 4845 Jalhay. Right next to it, you can find a little food stand that sells Belgian beer and waffles. Take it easy on the beer though, or you might end up like this guy:
There’s water everywhere because you’re hiking next to rivers and streams most of the time. You can carry as little as 0.5L of water or nothing at all and drink directly from water sources (after filtering it, of course).
I had cell service 90% of the time. At the top of the hills where I slept I even had a good enough 4G signal to watch the newest episode of my favorite TV show!
You can’t go wrong with this trail if you’re in the neighborhood. If you’re like me and love singletracks next to streams and rivers, you won’t be disappointed. Keep in mind, however, that certain parts of this trail (at trailheads and near parking lots) can be quite busy in the summer. If you’re like me and prefer to hike in solitude, that may be a problem.
Click here to download the GPX file that you can upload to your GPS device or smartphone. You can also view my map on Caltopo right here, from which you can print the map if you plan on navigating it with a compass (how to print maps with Caltopo).