Nondik gertu Welkenraedt, Wallonia (Belgique)
This varied hike takes you from the station in Welkenraedt to the center and then the station in Aachen, where you can take a direct train back to the starting point (trains go once an hour and take 15 minutes). The hike takes you through pasture, wetland, villages, forests, parks and the center of Aachen with its world heritage Dom cathedral. I ended up at the Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) which yearly takes place during the four weeks before Christmas. Parking at the station in Welkenraedt is free. You will find something to eat and drink in Welkenraedt, Gut Entenpfuhl in the Aachener Wald, and in the center of Aachen. Most of this hike is through quiet countryside and forests, and you walk through parks until hitting the city streets only about 1.5 km before the Dom.
You start out on the parking lot at Welkenraedt station. You walk out of town via the old Herbesthal station, with among others some commemorative information boards. Shortly after, you enter a path through pasture and swing gates to the Rottdriescherstraße. You walk along the road until it turns into a path taking you through a valley to Lontzen, a small village on the Lontzenerbach. Directly after the stream, you walk up some stairs, and continue on the partly paved Maria-Theresia Straße. At the end of the road you follow the Königsweg a short while, and turn right towards a house. Via a swing gate you enter a path through pasture, across the Lontzenerbach, towards the Katharinenstift, a retirement home with chapel. You pass by the home and continue on another path through pasture back to the Lontzenerbach. Just past the bridge you follow a small path through a swamp-like forest to the Rue Haute. You follow this road a short stretch and then cross it for a path through pasture and along a small stream in a wooded valley. This path with bridges and swing gates brings you to the Geul (Göhl, Gueule) river valley. You follow this valley upstream beneath the Hammerbrücke, a railway viaduct (which you later pass in the train back to Welkenraedt). You climb to the Presterstraße and descend to a bridge across the Geul, only to climb a hill through the forest to other pasture. You follow paths and unpaved roads past a house to the edge of the woods. Here you enter the Brenhaag forest, part of the larger Aachener Wald. You cross the Brand forest and walk into Germany. They were cutting trees here during my hike, hindering the climb of the Klausberg a bit. Once up you continue on a straight lane past some tumuli, one of which is indicated with a sign (Hügelgrab). Soon after you descend the Klausberg via small paths to Gut Entenpfuhl, a popular traditional German restaurant on the edge of the woods, with a miniature golf and a duck pool. You continue towards the Lütticher Strasse, cross a rail tunnel, pass a Meilenstein, and cross the busy B264. A very small path takes you from the road a few meters into the woods on the other side, before continuing climbing on larger tracks and forest roads to the Karlshöher Hochweg. You descend back to the B264, cross it again and climb the Scherpenberg on the other side. You descend on the edge of the wood to Aachen. In Aachen you soon get to the Kaiser Friedrich Park. At the Tritonenbrunnen, the little Pau brook meanders through a green zone towards a waterfall and a larger pond in the Park below. You walk along the brook and the pond and then on a footpath to Nelson Mandela Park. After the park you have to walk through unexciting city streets for 1.2 km until you get to the Marita-Loersch-Weg, a nice pedestrian zone with some monuments. Soon after you arrive to the Aachener Dom via the Münsterplatz. After a visit you continue to the Markt with the famous Rathaus. Via among others the Katschhof, the fountain ‘Kreislauf des Geldes’, the Elisenbrunnen with warm sulpuric water, and the theatre you slowly walk to the main station, Hauptbahnhof. The Christmas market (in season) is on the Münsterplatz, Markt and Katschhof.
World heritage site the Aachener Dom, built by order of emperor Charlemagne, who is buried here. Impressive church.
The Pau stream flows from the Tritonenbrunnen through an elongated park.
Border crossing (Germany-Belgium) in the Aachener Wald
Forest. At the waypoint are some lime rocks.
Here you enter the Brennhaag forest
Bridge across the Lontzenerbach. You directly turn right into a swamp-like forest.
Here you climb along forest road and small tracks to the Karlshöher Hochweg
Here the climb to the Klausberg starts on a forest track ending up on the hill ridge. During my walk, they were cutting trees here, and the going was a bit tough near the top.
Here you climb away from the road to the Scherpenberg
Forecourt of the cathedral
The Elisenbrunnen still produce sulphuric warm water
Here you cross the Geul river and then climb through the woods
Gut Entenpfuhl is a popular traditional German restaurant surrounded by woods. A duck pond and a miniature golf are next to the restaurant.
Here is the main station (Hauptbahnhof) of Aachen. The trains to Welkenraedt go once an hour, and take you there in 15 minutes. See https://www.bahn.com/en/view/index.shtml for schedule.
Old Herbesthal station with information boards, and remnants of the station. It is close to Welkenraedt station.
The Kaiser-Friedrich-Park has a waterfall (from the Pau stream) into a lake where you can rent a pedalo in season.
Retirement home with chapel. A rickety bridge takes you onto in the gardens of the property.
The Katschhof is the square between the Rathaus and the Aachener Dom.
Sculpture and fountain at the edge of the Elisengarden
Here the Lütticher Straße crosses the railway which goes through a tunnel through the mountain. A Meilenstein can be found here.
Local road which turns into an unpaved road taking you to the Königsweg
The Marita-Loersch-Weg takes you through a small park like area between houses with statues and an old chimney
The market square in Aachen in front of the Rathaus
Square to the south of the Aachener Dom
Path through pasture, around a house, towards the edge of the forest.
This path to the side of a private property takes you through pasture and across a bridge towards the Katharinenstift
This path through pasture takes you to the bridge across the Lontzenerbach
This path takes you through swing gates and across pasture to the Rottdriescherstrasse
This path takes you down through pasture and woods along a small stream to the Geul valley.
Path across a valley towards Lontzen
The path takes you up from below the railway viaduct towards the Presterstrasse.
Rail viaduct (Hammerbrücke) across the Geul valley.
Descent along an open area between woods towards Aachen
From the cycle path next to the busy B264, a small path between bushes takes you into the forest. After 10 meters you get to a larger track.
Tumulus in the Aachener forest. There are more tumuli in this area, but this one is marked with a sign.
Von-Halfern-Park on the edge of the Aachener Wald