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Hiking in Wallonia: the ‘Napoleon's nose’, Reinhardstein Castle and Robertville Dam

  • Walking or hiking

A circuit with numerous viewpoints in a magnificent wild landscape! At every turn of this short route, you will be surprised by picture-perfect views.

Practical information

Start: parking by the Robertville dam
Duration: 2h30
Distance: 6km
Signs: green rectangles

You can download the interactive map, detailed itinerary and gpx file here.

Between the castle and the dam

Shortly after the start, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking view of Reinhardstein castle (also known as Metternich castle), which stands on the high ground above the Warche valley. This imposing edifice, unique in Belgium, was built in 1354 for Count Wenzel of Luxembourg by his vassal, Reinhard de Waimes. It remained the property of the Count of Nassau until 1550, before being passed through marriage to Metternich. Having been destroyed, the castle was reconstructed from 1969 using historical data. A collection of arms, tapestries, religious vestments and lifesize sculptures add to the historical significance of the place.

Further along the trail, the landscape develops some steep rock formations. The ‘Nez Napoléon’ is a jutting rock formation overshadowing the Warche valley. From there, the route proceeds into the valley along the course of a bubbling, wild river.

If you’re tempted by a short detour, you can go and take a look at the highest waterfall in Belgium, which falls beside Reinhardstein castle into the Warch valley from a height of 60 metres. Finally, you pass the dam of Lac du Robertville.

Anything else? Oh yes! ... If these 6 kilometres are not enough to please you, you can lengthen the ramble by following the regional GR 56 to cross the Bayehon valley and reach the highest point in Belgium, the Signal de Botrange (694 metres) in the Hautes Fagnes and also experience the natural beauty of these unique peat moors.

Route/Points of Interest

The circuit starts at the parking area (S) behind the dam.

  • From there the signs (green rectangles) guide you to a peaceful pine forest after going past a gate. In its early stages, the twisting path along the escarpment gives you clear views of Reinhardstein castle (1).
  • At the next fork, a steep path climbs to the right. (The route is waymarked on the left, although the two paths intersect a little later.)
  • At the intersection near the crossing of the stream (which possibly dries up in summer), if you fancy a small detour, make a right turn (green diamond sign) to take a look at the 60-metre waterfall, which flows into the valley directly below the castle (2).
  • The route to the left (green rectangle) leads you up to the edge of the forest. Turn right, then take the forest track that returns to the wood to arrive at the rock formation known as the Nez du Napoléon.
  • At the next fork, keep left, then turn sharply right and cross a pine wood scattered with rocks to enter the Warche valley.
  • Having arrived at the riverbank the trail turns left, then passes over a bridge (3) before turning right towards a rest area.
  • From there a lateral arm passes over a second bridge, then follows the river upstream.
  • At the next junction, leave the river, head to the left and then climb up the slope to leave the valley. Again keep to the right, and you’ll soon see Reinhardstein castle (4), which can be visited at the weekend (only with a guide).
  • The route crosses the access road to the castle and leads over a bridge to a stony path at the back of the hill.
  • There, first take a path to the left, then a forest track towards the Robertville dam. Once you pass the dam, you’re back where you started.

Prepare your walk

Make sure you wear good hiking boots and comfortable walking shoes. Be careful if it has been raining: some of the walk downs can be slippery and tiring. A walking stick will also help for the way up.

Always take some snacks and water with you.

Author’s Tips

Visit the fascinating Reinhardstein castle. The waterfall, nearby, is the highest in Belgium. Don't miss the Lake of Robertville

In the downloadable brochure below, we have selected one of the best walks per province: natural gems, family-friendly paths, memorable views along the way, trails sprinkled with history… One even will introduce you to the iconic abbey beers.

Also iin the area:

A walker's guide to Wallonia

If you were to draw a straight line on an atlas northward from the Massif Central in France to the North Pole, the only area of high ground the line crosses is the Ardennes, shared between Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany – but mainly belonging to Wallonia, the southern part of Belgium!

Information on the walk

Length

Maximum distance5.3 Km

Duration

Maximum duration2:30
The information provided is an indication only. We advise you to inquire directly with the organisers of the event that interests you before you leave.