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près de Mont Rigi, Wallonia (Belgique)
Great walk through the High Fens (Hautes Fagnes, Hohes Venn, Hoge Venen), an impressive nature reserve. You will walk on one of the most beautiful paths in Belgium, the board walk in the Helle valley, stroll besides the river Rur in its infancy, visit the beautiful waterfall of Bayehon, and cross endless moors and woods. The walk requires waterproof shoes, attention with the boardwalks which sometimes miss a board, and is best started early as it can become busy around Baraque Michel on beautiful days. Also the Bayehon valley can be busy.
You start at Baraque Michel, where there is a bus stop and a large parking lot beside a popular inn, the only place where you will find something to eat or drink en-route. You cross the street and follow the path on the edge of the moor, and soon turn left on a path into the Fagnes des Deux-Séries. In the breeding season this path may be closed; then just walk straight on. This path is partly on a boardwalk, but large stretches are missing and can be a bit boggy. After 1.3 km this path joins the main boardwalk across the moors along the Helle river. A bit further you come to a bifurcation with a borderstone on the former Prussian-Belgian border. You continue straight on the boardwalk through the moors. The Helle river becomes bigger and bigger and flows besides the path. A bit further down into the valley the boardwalk is interspersed with regular path. Almost 5 km from the start, the path reaches the edge of the wood and you cross a rickety bridge across the Helle. You then follow a wide track on the edge of the Fagne Wallonne and the fir forest. You follow this track for 2.3 km along the forest and then turn southwest on a wide lane which crosses one of the Rur branches. At a cross you turn left into a forest road until you come to a small track called Sentier de la Roer (track on the Rur river). See the waypoint with more information on accessibility. This beautiful track follows one branch of the Rur river through the forest, then crosses another branch just before the branches unite and continues to a small asphalt road. From the asphalt road you follow the Sentier de la Trientale for a while and then walk through the countryside north of Sourbrodt to the N676. You cross this road and then follow the Ruisseau de Ghâster stream through the forest to the Bayehon valley, on the way passing a downhill ski slope. In the Bayehon valley you will find the popular Bayehon waterfall. A bit higher in the valley you pass the Moor 'Vieux Chêne' and continue into a fir forest. You follow the Bayehon river a bit longer and then follow a small trail in a straight firebreak to the Neûr Lowé Fen. You cross this fen, partly on a boardwalk in bad condition, to the N68, and cross this road onto the Fagne de la Polleur. Here you have another boardwalk in bad condition around the Fen which you follow clockwise. From here it is only 1 km back to Baraque Michel.
The third highest point of Belgium is famous as a starting point for hiking and cross-country skiing. There is an inn and a large parking lot which completely fills up on busy days requiring people to park for several hundreds of meters either side on the N68. There is a chapel and several markers and monuments.
Here you enter the Bayehon valley after your descent along the Rau de Ghâster.
Beautiful 9 m high waterfall in the Bayehon stream.
This is a beautiful boardwalk through the fens with on the right side the Fagne Wallonne and on the left side the Fagne des Deux-Séries. The boardwalk was destroyed in the 2011 fire, and you sometimes see remains of the former boardwalk. The boardwalk takes you through the Helle valley, and starts close to its source near Baraque Michel.
This boardwalk almost makes a circle on the Fagne Polleur starting near Mont Rigi. The state of the boardwalk is not too good.
Here there is a stretch of boardwalk in bad condition.
Here you will find a bifurcation of boardwalk paths, a bridge across the young Helle, and a borderstone on the former Belgian-Prussian border.
Here you find a rickety bridge across the Helle. From here you climb out of the Helle valley to get a good view across the Fagne Wallonne.
Here you cross a Rur branch on a small bridge, and continue along the Rur to a paved forest road.
Here you go left on a track which is partly boardwalk and partly boggy path in the fen. This track might be closed between March and June. You can then walk straight on.
Nice fen near Mont Rigi with a boardwalk. The stream Polleur has its source here.
Here you enter a straight forest road through fir forest, and you leave the fens behind. There is a cross on the bifurcation.
Here you follow a wide forest track with forest on one side and the Fagne Wallonne on the other side with good views of Botrange.
When you get further down the Helle river is growing and you slowly enter a valley.
Near the top of the valley the Hautes Fagnes moors start. You can find a characteristic oak here and junipers right beside the Bayehon ruisseau.
From a wide paved forest lane you turn left here on the Neûr Lowé, another fen. You walk to the N68. On the way you will find a narrow degraded boardwalk; watch your step (see other waypoint).
Here you enter a trail along the Rur river which is closed between 2 hours before sunset to 2 hours after sunrise to protect red deer.
Here starts a path named after the starflower (zevenster). It takes you to a monument for fallen airmen.
Here you come to the bottom of the downhill ski slope of Ovifat. The ski lift is on the right side, seen from the bottom. The path continues across a bridge.
Here you turn right on a straight lane along the Fagne Wallonne in the direction of the N676. The lane dips to a bridge across one of the Rur branches.
Here you cross the Bayehon and follow a small trail on a former firebreak in the forest.
Here you follow a trail on the ruisseau de Ghâster to the Bayehon valley. The trail frequently crosses the stream on bridges. On the way you pass the ski slope.