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Valkenburg aan de Geul Netherlands, WW

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59 1 0
Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List WW > Europe
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3 of 5 by 1
 
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HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
Statistics
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance Loop 5.86 miles
Trailhead Elevation 245 feet
Elevation Gain 245 feet
Accumulated Gain 700 feet
Avg Time One Way 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.19
Interest Ruins, Historic & Perennial Creek
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
59  2013-05-21 kingsnake
Author kingsnake
author avatar Guides 83
Routes 182
Photos 7,946
Trips 637 map ( 5,893 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Sunnyslope, PHX
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Dec
Sun  10:21pm - 10:38am
Official Route
 
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Nearby Area Water
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Castle Made of Sand
by kingsnake

Overview: Valkenburg is in the southern Dutch province of Limburg. Limburg is the only area in the sountry that is not flat. Probably the closest American terrain equivalent would be the moraines in southern Wisconsin. Limburg contains the highest point in the Netherlands, Vaalserberg, nears the village of Vaals, at 1,059 feet. Vaalserberg is within meters of the Dreilandpunt tower, which marks the three-way border of the Netherlands, German and Belgium. Valkenburg, itself, is a tourist town. The main attraction is the castle on the hill over looking the city. But there are also Roman mines, two sandstone caverns, a spa, a casino, camping, and the kabelbaan -- a ski lift without the skiing. (Despite the cold, a visit in December is recommended simply for the Christmas market in the sandstone caverns under the castle.) There are plenty of places to hike and bike. In fact, you can bike from anywhere in the Netherlands, to anywhere else in the Netherlands without ever getting lost, and multiple choices as to route, due to the awesome bike lanes and signs (in red on white). Valkenburg is too small, and crowded, to drive anywhere: Park & walk.


Hike: You could spend a lot of time hitting the sights, or you could do this hike in the morning, learning the city, then in the afternoon hit the sites you saw a few hours earlier. The hike starts from one of the two major parking areas in the zentrum (city centre), at Walramplein. (Pay for your parking at the machine.)

Head east along the tiny Geul River to St. Barbara's Dam. Cross over Berkelplein, continuing to follow the voetpad ("foot path") to Geul Park: a meadow with sheep and a meer ("lake"). Follow the path along the west shore of the lake, through the parking area to Oud Valkenburgweg ("Old Valkenburg Way"). Turn right past some very nice houses. Take the very next left. Look closely, and you will see a gate between houses. You have gone 1.0 miles.

After passing through the gate, you will begin the first of two minor climbs on the hike: About 200 feet in a .25 miles. The path will be extremely muddy if there has been recent precipitation, but it will be very peaceful with many birds chirping in the trees. When you reach the large pasture, turn right re-entering the woods. When you come to a rough road, turn right passing an abadoned tank trailer, until you hit pavement at Bergstraat ("Berg Street"). Turn left, as you enter Sibbe, you have gone 2.0 miles.

As you enter Sibbe, split right up a farm lane, which passes through some *gorgeous* fields. Stay right along Heunsbergerweg, aiming for the cross-topped Kabelbaan tower. At the tower, you have gone 3.0 miles.

Descend to the right of the mini-bobsled run (or whatever it is), turn left at the bottom, past the lift mechanicals, then descend to street level behind a hotel. You will exit near the Berkelpoort city gate. Turn left up the stairs behind the castle, then descend the west side of the castle, almost to the Grendelpoort, before turning up the Cauberg two lane road. (One of the few true teo lane roads in the city.) You have gone about 3.8 miles.

Pass by the caverns on your right, taking the first split to the left. Making your only other climb of note, you will pass by the ampitheater masoleum, then the spa, arriving back on Cauberg just west of the casino. Cross the road, passing through a wood gate, onto the Heytgrachtvoetpad ("Heyt Canal Foot Path" -- ironically named as this is one of the few places in the country *without* a canal. When you again reach pavement at Plenkerstraat, you will have gone 5.0 miles.

Turn right on Plenkerstraat, past the old Roman mines and back into the main part of town. This time pass through the Grendelpoort on the tourist strip. Take the first left down "Restaurant Row" (or as the Dutch call it, Grotestraat). This might be good time to enjoy some good beer. Pass the 14th century Sint Nicolaas en Barbara Kerk ("church") on your left, then cross ovet the Geul River to the old stadhuis ("city hall") on the right. Cross back to the south side of the Geul River, then continue east along the river walk to your car at Walramplein. You have gone about 5.9 miles.

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2013-06-04 kingsnake

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Valkenburg aan de Geul Netherlands
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I never want to travel anywhere again without doing a hike or walking tour. Partly for working off vacation food, but mostly to see new things. You see so much more on foot, or on a bike, than you do in a car. Plus, it helps you learn a place and get a feel for it. (When we were house hunting back in 2008, I rode my bike around the neighborhoods we were looking at.) So, this was the first of five planned hikes for our European vacation.

    I'd been to the Christmas market in Valkenburg in 2001, and had driven through in 2006 (it was too crowded to stay and we ended up getting a hotel elsewhere), but I never really understood it. After this hike, I knew it like the back of my hand.

    My wife has bad feet, but she accompanied me for the first mile, to Geulpark. : rambo : It was chilly, but a sunny, peaceful morning. After we split up, she headed back to the hotel, while I picked up my pace heading through some woods towards Sibbe. On the climb out of town, the trail was rutted and very muddy, so I waddled a foot on the less muddy steep side of the trail to avoid getting too messy. :) Birds were singing everywhere ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vh1MPxWgJ7A ). As I approached Sibbe, along a sidewalk, I stayed far to the right to avoid any traffic as the roads are very narrow in the area. (Lane and a half at best, sometimes only a lane to handle two directions.) A truck went past me and stopped. Out hopped the guy riding shotgun, who walked back past me. I turned around to look, and he was picking up equipment that fallen off the truck. If it fallen 30 feet later, my hike would have been considerably shorter. 8-[ Oh well, at least the sheep were amused ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZk1wBKOk9k ).

    I took a country lane out of Sibbe, back towards Valkenburg's Kabelbaan tower. Even thogh the country lanes are paved and narrow, you don't have to worry much about traffic as they are so little travelled. I only saw cattle. I actually did a little loop around the Kabelbaan -- accounting for my extra elevation and distance over the official route -- trying to get a good photo of the bobsleddy looking metal chutes ( http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=343067 ). :-k

    I descended into town, then up towards the castle. It was near 10, and my wife and I were expecting to meet there, but I could not remember if we said 10 or 10:30. I did not see her, so I continued, heading up a side road, then trail ( http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=343100 ), past the ampitheater mausoleum, spa and casino to the Heytgrachtvoetpad, a wide gravel path through another woods. Halfway down the foot path, I expected there to be a side trail to take, but it was barely perceptable. I went up, slipping in the mud, for about a 100 meters before deciding to stick to the foot path. Plus, it was getting close to 10:30. I end up rushing through a lot of hikes in order to meet my wife somewhere, because I don't want to end up like this ( http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=343112 ).

    So, I hustled back into town along the Plenkerstraat, finishing my hike up at the castle ticket booth. I had a Dutch creamsicle and a "Coca-Cola Light" (their Diet Coke) while we toured. After the tour, we hit Restaurant Row ( http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=343121 ) for some food and, more importantly, some delicious Belgian beer ( http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=343120 ). :y:

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    Directions
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    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Valkenburg aa de Geul is about midway between Brussels and Amsterdam. From Amsterdam, head south about two hours on the A2 to the Meerssen exit. At the bottom of the ramp -- and they are *long* (like over a kilometer) in the Netherlands -- turn left on Bunderstraat, passing through Meerssen, Houthem and Broekhem, ~8 kilometers to Valkenburg. From Brussels, you could negotiate the traffic and construction nightmare that is Maastricht, or follow this route which bypasses the city: Head east on the E40 to Leuven. Take the E314 northeast through Genk and Sittard/Geleen to Nuth/exit 5. Head southwest on the N298 through Nuth, Hulsberg and Emmaberg ~10km to Valkenburg.
    page created by kingsnake on Jun 04 2013 3:45 pm
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