Located a few kilometres away from the city of Spa, Lake Warfaaz attracts fishermen, joggers, families, and, in summer, pedal boat lovers. Even if, given its modest size, you can go quickly around it, it is also the starting point for nice walks in the forest where the water is never far away.
Hiking in Spa
Our Wallonia is full of beautiful landscapes! What is better than a walk in the Ardennes to enjoy a Friday in February when the sun starts to peek out? To the delight of Pim’s, our dog, we took the road to Spa and set our sights on Lake Warfaaz. Karl’s dad, an amateur hiker, joined us for this outing.
Our plan for this 2h30m walk in the Ardennes: a 9 km route. This walk is not marked, but mostly follows the red and white GR markings.
After parking the car, we cross the road in front of the Residence du Lac and start walking along the lake. Following the snowfall a few days earlier, the lake’s surface is still largely frozen. So much so that Pim’s wants to venture out on the ice (fortunately, we keep an eye on him!).
A path on a ledge
Quelques dizaines de mètres plus loin, un sentier escarpé nous permet de gagner la forêt. Nous continuons à longer le lac mais en hauteur cette fois-ci ! En cette saison, il n’y avait déjà pas grand monde le long du lac mais là, nous avons vraiment la forêt pour nous.
A few dozen metres further, a steep path allows us to reach the forest. We continue to walk along the lake but higher this time! In this season, there were not many people along the lake, so we really had the forest all to ourselves.
Further, the landscape changes: Lake Warfaaz gives way to fishing ponds, which we approached. When we get to the Pont des Chèvres pond, located in the extension of Lake Warfaaz, we see a heron. Unfortunately, it flies away before we can snap a photo.
After a quick snack break (and croquettes for Pim’s!), we continue our way along a stream. A little further, on our left, we spot a beautiful waterfall (well, it’s not the Coo waterfall, we know!) that is overlooked by a wooden bridge. We will cross it on our return.
From the Lake Warfa road to Sart-Lez-Spa
When we arrive to the road of Warfa, we have two options: continue towards Sart-Lez-Spa or cut the walk short by taking the path on the left, which goes up and leads to the top of the famous waterfall.
We choose to continue our walk. After a short section of road, we find the woods and climb again to the heights.
When we get to the top, the mood changes: we find ourselves in the middle of the meadows. There is even a little snow left! Under a white coat, it must be charming.
We cross the village of Sart-Lez-Spa before taking a path to our right, at the end of rue de l’Ermitage.
Back to Lake Warfaaz
At the end of the path, we spot another pond (definitely, those are not missing in this area). We then cross a pine forest before arriving at the small bridge of Stavelot (which we do not cross).
Back on the road to Warfa, after a few hundred metres, we leave the GR to follow a path that climbs to the right. At the top, we take a left and we reach the small bridge on the waterfall that we saw earlier. Granted, this is not the Coo waterfall but for Pim’s, it’s at least as impressive as Niagara Falls. I had to take him in my arms to cross. 😉
After this perilous crossing (hum!), we find the same path that we walked earlier on and arrive again to the lake.
We really enjoyed this walk in the Ardennes, which allowed us to discover a different side of Spa and Lake Warfaaz! This kind of forest walk should be particularly enjoyable when it is snowing or on early autumn, when the trees have beautiful colours.
This route has no significant difficulty (apart from a little elevation) and is accessible to almost everyone. It is ideal for a hike with a dog: you don’t even need to bring water, your four-legged friend can drink at several points along the course.
After the walk in the forest, it is time for a gourmet break! If you do not want to drive, there are several restaurants directly on the lake:
- The Garden of Elves with its playground for children;
- The Petit Baigneur which offers in summer a Water Grill option;
- Le Bouchon Gourmand for those who love fondue or raclette.
In Balmoral, the Chalet Suisse restaurant offers every first Sunday of the month an organic menu with local produce. It is possible to make a detour during the hike. Reservations are essential.