Mountain bike excursion from Houffalize on a 50.6 km trail by Thomas Meurens

If you love cycling in the forest, don’t miss this fairly technical mountain bike ride. It crosses the district of Houffalize, the best mountain-biking spot in the Ardennes. On your bike and off you go for 50.6 km and a climb of 930m!

The track of this bike ride is available on the Strava Ardennes-étape club event.

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If you enjoy mountain biking then you’ll already know that Houffalize is the perfect playground. The cyclist Thomas Meurens agrees: “it’s THE place to be. If you are keen to train or go for a ride you must go there, because it’s truly magnificent.”

You’ll be in the mood right away as the route sets off from a cyclist’s café. “The route starts at Rouleur café, where you can also rent bikes for a day or half-day, and it’s close to the centre of Houffalize.”

Photographer: MARTIN DELLICOUR

A legendary climb for mountain bikers

The tone is set immediately. “The course starts along Saint-Roch hill, which is famous among road cyclists. Here, we borrow the start of this famous climb at Saint-Roch before quickly diving into the forest. And we won’t come out until we’ve had some fun!”

Photographer: Pierre Pauquay | Copyright: SPRL Cernix

Despite being a challenge, the course is still accessible to anyone who enjoys mountain biking and is quite fit and motivated. “It’s quite technical but it’s alright. It’s accessible to anyone, so there’s no need to worry. There’s just a short section, after 5 or 6 km, when it’s better to get off your bike. But you have no choice, because it’s shale and you need to use a small bridge to cross the water. And, with all that, unless you are well seasoned, I advise you to get off your bike.”

Mountain biking through iconic villages

“Once you are back on your bike, the trail re-enters the forest, towards Achouffe, which is famous for La Chouffe beer which comes from Achouffe brewery. The path continues, zigzagging again and again, as you head for Engreux. This is a pretty hamlet in the middle of the forest, where the trail twists and turns in all directions, exploring a small hill.” A winding track so typical of the Ardennes! And at the summit, you can admire another symbol of the Ardennes: the wood pile gathered by forest workers. Impressive!

Photographer: Pierre Pauquay | Copyright: SPRL Cernix

“Then it’s on towards Tavigny. You’re quite high, at an altitude of approximately 450m, so in a great position to take in the breathtaking views.” This panoramic pause is also the ideal time to break for some refreshment!

You can feel it in your legs, but that’s what we’re here for!

“Then it’s down towards Cetturu. And there it’s down... and up again, to climb a lovely little hill on the other side. So brace yourself as from the fortieth kilometre! It’s quite tough, but that’s why we do it!

Once you reach the top of this rather challenging hill, off we go, immediately down again! »

Three small tours and then that’s that

The loop gradually nears the finish as we start to head in the direction of Houffalize. But not before we’ve had some more fun! “At the end of the route we arrive in a spot where the Belgian Houffalize Cross-country championships are held. There are tests on a track. So you can either cut across, or have a go and try to do some of the circuit that is usually accessible all year. Once you’re done it’s time to return to Rouleur Café after a great outing.”

After mountain biking, enjoy!

Take the time to discover the surroundings at your leisure by booking a gîte in this magnificent region. You'll have time to stroll along the Ourthe, go kayaking and, above all, have a good time in the comfort of your bike-friendly gîte, with family or friends.

I look at the gîtes near Houffalize

Portrait of Thomas Meurens

This 26-year-old primary school teacher from Spa loves to ride on the road or in the woods. He passes on his passion for cycling through the CBM Racing Team, which he set up and of which Ardennes-étape is the proud sponsor.

CBM Racing Team combines family spirit with the spirit of conquest! Because Thomas sees it as a team of winners. He himself has a competitive spirit and transmits this desire to his team-mates. Among his proudest achievements, he cites his participation in the Transmaurienne Ultra: "This event was the most difficult I have ever done. It represented no less than 270 km and 10,000 m of positive altitude difference. I remember this race above all, because it was so magnificent and complicated. A memory that expresses the passion that drives this Ardennes mountain bike rider!
Photographer: Emeline Delporte

Share your best cycling memories in the Ardennes

Share your best performances on Instagram by tagging @ardennes_etape and become an ambassador of our event! You will then win a pro bike outfit and your portrait on our Strava club! Here are already some great pictures of our cycling fans!

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