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  • Writer's pictureJan Noordermeer

Hiking the Dutch Mountain Trail

The Dutch Mountain Trail is a hiking trail of 101 kilometers. In honor of the tenth anniversary of the Dutch Mountain Film Festival in 2020, they thought it would be nice to set out a route in the Netherlands that is not inferior to a walk in the mountains and they certainly succeeded! The route starts at Station Eygelshoven and ends at Station Maastricht. It passes seven peaks, the most challenging peaks of South Limburg.





We have now walked the route more than six times, but in August 2021 we walked the Dutch Mountain Trail in South Limburg with a group for the first time. In this blog you can read about our adventures.


Day 1

Today our guests arrived at the campsite in picturesque Ransdaal. The town is super central to all the start and end points of the route. First, drink a cup of coffee with a delicious muffin. Everyone can then settle down a bit. Kim had made delicious soup for lunch and a tasty healthy sandwich. After lunch it was time to jump in the car to the starting point. We had a passenger van that can take nine people so that we could stay in one place for the nights and could determine our own start and end point for the route.


I thought to myself if the whole route is like this it will be quite tough.

Today we start with a short walk of 12 km. We start at Eygelshoven station, near Kerkrade. There is nothing special to mark the starting point, so take a quick photo and off we go!

It starts well on the track, immediately turn right into a hidden path. We hike in August so the vegetation is already quite present. We walk through many narrow paths to the foot of the Wilhelminaberg. The first Summit of the Dutch Mountain Trail of 225 meters high. Now you would say that is not that high, and that is correct. However, the route goes steeply up and through streams in places. At the top we are at the SnowWorld ski mountain, and at that point I thought to myself, if the whole route is like this it will be quite tough. Later it turns out that this is one of the most difficult pieces. We enjoy the beautiful view and follow a mountain path down. We walk past a riding school and cross the border into Germany. The style of the buildings changes and so do the views. Beautiful! Suddenly Kim walks towards us with our Border Collies Haggis and Smørrie. Another half hour walk to the car, she says. Top! We arrive at a beautiful path along a stream and end the walk at Haus Heyden in Germany. Satisfied, we return to the campsite for a well-deserved ice-cold drink.



Day 2

Today we mainly hike in Germany. We follow the path and regularly I check my GPS to see if we are still walking well. Suddenly see that we have missed a turn. huh? No one had seen a toad. We walk back and the GPS really says that we have to enter the meadow here. A bit into the meadow we indeed discover the path. The land had been mowed and the grass had fallen over the path. Now we can continue on the route. In this region there are many windmills that we walk past. Here we see fields full of corn and sunflowers. We cross a track that we think is no longer used because the grass is quite high. We decide to pause at the dragon's teeth that have been standing here since the beginning of the last century to make the border impenetrable.

I decide to take a closer look at the abandoned track.

We enjoy the beautiful view over a ground level and I decide to take a closer look at the abandoned track. I suspect that there used to be some kind of border post here because at the track I see traces of removed signs and barriers. After lunch we continue walking. We head towards the Schneeberg of 257 meters. The Second Summit. A tough climb but not really a top. We see the road go down so this must be the highest point. We quickly take a picture here and walk down to Vaals. Here's a nice climb and before we know it we're on the regular path to the Vaalserberg and we're mixing in the hustle and bustle of this attraction. The plan was to have a drink here, but after the photo at the three-country point we decide to walk quickly. We now walk through quiet forests and regularly have a fantastic view of the region. We stop near the town of Raren where Kim is waiting with the bus.




Day 3

This day we start again in Raren. Kim dropped us off and we continue on the Dutch Mountain Trail. One of the hikers had heard of restaurant Het Paning Hert, which is located just outside the route. We decide to take a small detour. The Panting Deer is located in the middle of the forest and has a super nice decoration. Highly recommended if you are in the area. Unfortunately, the business was not open yet, so we pick up the route further on.


We have a beautiful view over Vijlen and see in the distance behind us the first summit we had climbed, the Wilhelminaberg. We walk a lot through woods. After a while we see vineyards in front of us. How cool! Grapes from which wine is made have been growing on the Limburg hills for many years. The first years the taste was somewhat questionable, but the quality has been very high for some time now, and delicious wine is being made. We walk through the vines and we take a lot of pictures. After the break it's time to climb today's first summit. In the Eyserbos we are at 197 meters and after searching for a while where exactly the highest point is, we take the group photo and walk down the mountain towards Gulpen. We decide to have a drink to gain strength for the next mountain on the program; the Gulperberg. After a tough climb we are on top of the Gulperberg of 157 meters high. Superb view! After the photo we continue walking. The path turns left into the meadow. Take a good look at the GPS, because the route is slightly different than we think. We walk down through the meadow. What a beautiful view we have here. We imagine ourselves in the Alps and a few ladies decide to make the dance of the Sound of Music. We can almost hear the cow bells. Fantastic! Suddenly Kim is standing in front of us and we walk with her to the bus.



Day 4

Today we walk from Bissen to Mheer. We walk a varied route. Sometimes we go through beautiful sunken roads with old trees and then we have a beautiful view over the region. Soon we walk over the Hakkenberg, the fifth summit. At 252 meters we take the group photo again. We walk a bit through Belgium again. At a farm we stop for a nice ice cream. They make the ice cream themselves here and you can taste it. We follow the route further on beautiful rural roads with beautiful vistas. Soon we climb up the Kattenroth to a height of 209 meters. In the middle of the road we take the picture at the highest point, while a tractor is crossing. Quickly all in position, take a photo and move aside for the tractor. Via meadows and forest paths we arrive at Mheer.

Here Kim is ready with the bus and she takes us back to the campsite for a well-deserved snack and drink.



Day 5

The last walking day. We leave the hills behind us. Lots of flat trails and the pace is good. After lunch we continue to the ferry across the Maas.

On the ferry we cannot escape a Titanic feeling and beautiful pictures are shot. "I'm the King of the woooooorld"

We walk across the lock and a part along the Maas. Before climbing starts we stop for a break. The first path is already quite steep and we already feel our calves well. The booklet states that there is now a dangerous section with a very steep abyss. We can imagine that in winter this is a path where you have to pay attention, but now in summer the vegetation is high and we do not feel unsafe. We see through the plants that the abyss is descending rapidly, so we carefully follow the route. After this the route becomes very steep and the hands have to be used to get to the top. Beautiful path, and a wonderful challenge! After a steep climb we arrive at an unpaved road that we follow for a while and soon we turn right onto a steep path and we finally stand on top of d'n Observant of 157 meters. Yeahh we're on the last top!


The new end point of the Pieterpad

We now walk down and arrive at the quarry. A special piece. The marl is clearly visible here and Staatsbosbeheer has managed the site since the cement factory stopped. After quite a few steps we walk a bit through the cave and then arrive at a beautiful viewpoint. This is also the new terminus of the Pieterpad. However, we still have to go a bit further before our end point and after the quarry we walk towards the center of Maastricht. In the center we grab a terrace and then we walk to Maastricht station, the end point of the route, and we toast to the good outcome.




Top route!

The route is a real nature route. Villages are avoided as much as possible and therefore it is good to have enough water with you because there are not many places to fill up along the way. The route is tough but if you walk often then it's fine to do. The first and last days are the most challenging with climbs.


At Pippin Hikes we offer the route in six days. We spend the night in attractive tipi tents, and we have our food truck with us, from which we provide breakfast, lunch and dinner. Drinks at the campsite are also included in the price and with our bus it is ideal to travel to the starting point and end point of the day. I found the Dutch Mountain Trail super fun, and challenging, and highly recommended to walk.








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