Hoge Kempen National Park (Nationaal Park Hoge Kempen) is a unique destination located in the East of the Province of Limburg, Belgium. It is the first National Park in Flanders, covering an expansive territory of over 12,000 hectares across 10 municipalities, including As, Bilzen, Bree, Dilsen-Stokkem, Genk, Lanaken, Maaseik, Maasmechelen, Oudsbergen, and Zutendaal.
Explore the Majestic Heatland and Pine Forest Landscape
The Hoge Kempen National Park is a natural wonderland, boasting a mesmerizing landscape of heatland and pine forests. With over 440 km of walking and biking paths, visitors can explore this beautiful landscape all year round.
During the months of August and September, the “Mechelse Heide” blooms with a breathtaking purple hue, making it a must-see for nature enthusiasts.
Hoge Kempen National Park Location & Map:
Hiking trails at National Park Hoge Kempen
Hoge Kempen National Park is a premier destination for both short and long-distance hikes. Each of the entry gates offers several short-distance hiking routes, and since June 2022, the park has opened up its long-distance hiking trail, which is 110 km long and offers an uninterrupted 100 km of hiking without the sight of buildings or traffic. The entire trail can be hiked in 4-5 days and accommodation is available along the trail, including hotels, bed & breakfasts, campsites, and vacation parks.
For more information about the long distance hiking trail, check the park’s website: https://www.nationaalparkhogekempen.be/en/national-park-trail
Convenient Entry Gates and starting points
The National Park has several Entry Gates that are easily accessible via local public transport and offer ample parking space. These entry gates are often the best starting points for walks or bike rides, as they are located near the many hiking and biking routes.
This is the parks main entry gate, formerly known as Conecterra. Located on the former coal mining site of Eisden and has one of the best panorama’s of Flanders to offer.
Mechelse Heide, Maasmechelen
7 hiking routes of various lengths start from this entry gate.
- 7 hiking routes of various lenghts
- Largest heathland in the park
- Campsite ‘t Salamanderke
Address: Joseph Smeetslaan 280, 3630 Maasmechelen
At Thorpark, you’ll find an abundance of natural beauty and diverse landscapes, including mining stone mountains amidst heathland and pine forests, a breathtaking brook valley, and even juniper berries and sand dunes. Adding to the unique charm of the area are the As children’s colony and the Waterschei coal mine (Thor Central), which punctuate the landscape with their striking architecture. To get a glimpse of why Thorpark is a UNESCO candidate, take the grey 11km long hiking route.
While there isn’t currently an entrance gate in the traditional sense, Thor Central will soon serve as a gateway to the area. In the meantime, you can visit this historic building, which now serves as an event center and business hub. Take a guided tour or simply enjoy a snack or drink in the beautiful surroundings.
At Thor Central, you’ll also find the heart of a growing business and science park, focused on technology, research, energy, and innovation. Book a guided tour or simply drop in for a look at this iconic building and the surrounding 93-hectare technology and science park.
- 10 hiking loops
Starting point Thor Central: André Dumontlaan 67, 3600 Genk
The Pietersheim domain features a 12th century water-castle, a petting zoo and a childrens playground.
- 8 different hikes of various lenghts
- Petting zoo with playground
- Café-restaurant Hoeve ‘Pietersheim’
Car park ‘Waterburcht’ (water castle): Waterstraat, 3620 Lanaken
Petting zoo car park: Neerharenweg 12, 3620 Lanaken
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At Duinengordel you can find the highest shifting open land dune in Flanders, rising 85m above sea-level. The “Joekelbos” is the largest playing forest in Flanders.
As Railway Station, Genk
Camping at National Park Hoge Kempen
Wild camping inside Hoge Kempen National Park is strictly prohibited. However, there are several camping grounds located near the entry gates, offering convenient and comfortable accommodation options for visitors.