An outstanding 12k walk along the picturesque River Helle valley and then around the southern perimeter of Lake Eupen.
You can’t beat a good river valley walk. And the River Helle valley walk is one of the best in East Belgium. For five kilometers you will walk alongside the river in a highly picturesque wooded valley. That’s an hour or two (depending on how many times you stop and enjoy the moment) of pure peace and relaxation. A glorious time to connect with the sounds of nature.
The background chitter-chatter of the river. The rush of the hillside streams bouncing off the boulders.
The scratchy cheeps of the blue, great, and coal tits in the undergrowth. The whirrs and trills of the long-tailed tits. The high-pitched and virtually inaudible squeaks of the goldcrests, high up in the larches. The loud and boisterous nuthatches. The harsh screech of the jay. The cat-like wail of the circling buzzard. The wild and eerie distant call of the black woodpecker. I found it the perfect place to put into practice a couple of nature spirituality exercises – and felt so much better for doing so.
The second half of the walk – after crossing the N67 – is different but no less enjoyable. You leave the river behind but will soon come across some more water. It’s Lake Eupen, an artificial lake that was created in 1938 when a dam was built on the river Vesdre, although the lake was only officially inaugurated in 1950. The reservoir covers 126 hectares and provides water for the Eupen, Spa and Seraing regions.
The dam is known as the Barrage de la Vesdre, and on any other day it would be worth exploring in more detail. There’s a visitor centre there; worth remembering for a visit in post-COVID days. On a spring or summer day it would be a great place to enjoy a family picnic.
The easiest way to access the area is by car. On the N67 from Eupen to Monschau (Monschauer Strasse) you will come across this small car park at this location.
You can park on either side of the road but there’s more space available on the left-hand side (coming from Eupen). If you park here, to start the walk you will need to cross the N67 and follow the track south-west. By public transport, your best bet is to get to Eupen on the train and then take the TEC bus 385 or 725. The bus-stop “Eupen Kaplan Arnold Strasse” is about 150 meters before the car park, so it’s not too far to walk.
I hope you enjoy your walk along the River Helle valley and alongside Lake Eupen. If you have any photos to share of your trip, feel free to send them to me and I would be happy to include them here. And any questions, just contact me.
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