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The World's Greatest Hike and Cycling Trails on One Platform For The Price of a Coffee.
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Hiking the Western Front Way

Experience the original and official Waytrail, connecting the WWI battlefields. An epic challenge of a lifetime.

Imagine a hiking trail without crowds! Between the Belgian coast and the Swiss mountains explore authentic French villages, pretty campsites and family run hotels. Be spoiled by Belgian cuisine in cobbled squares, incredible landmarks along the way and croissants for breakfast! 

If you're a passionate hiker, a history lover or seeking one of Europe's top hiking trails, the Western Front Way* is sure to exceed your expectations.

WWI History

Along the Western Front Way, you will encounter a multitude of historic sites, monuments, and museums that tell the stories of World War I and the broader history of the regions.

Some notable checkpoints include;

Kilometre Zero
Chemin Des Dames
Hartmannswillerkopf
Memorial de la Linge
Butte de Montsec
Verdun
The Menin Gate
The Argonne Forest
Vimy Ridge
Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
Sir John Monash Centre
Thiepval Memorial

As well as the remains of trenches and battlefields along the entire trail, the Western Front Way offers a unique opportunity to connect with the rich history, understand the topography and regions and gain a deeper understanding of the events that took place in these areas.

Verdun LionWhether you're an avid hiker, a weekend walker or looking for one of Europe’s greatest hiking trails, the Western Front Way won’t disappoint. It's the opportunity to connect with history, nature, and witness the locations where incredible historical events unfolded.

The Western Front Way is the ultimate bucket-list adventure for trail lovers.

 

What You’re Saying…..

What a trip. Will stay with me forever!!"

“Thank you again for your advice last year…I started again at Noyon last week and am now near Suippes. Having the app makes all the difference.” 

 

“I would reflect how much better off I was than the soldiers who had fought on the soil along which I was walking. Blisters! Pah! The soldiers had to endure far worse” 

 

Who Inspired the Western Front Way?

The Western Front Way was inspired by A.D. Gillespie, a soldier in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who wrote a letter in 1915 from the trenches about a desire for a path to be traversed to understand the cost of war. The Western Front Way is a dynamic tribute to those who fought here.

‘When peace comes, our government might combine with the French government, to make one long avenue between the lines from the Vosges to the sea….I would make a fine, broad road in the ‘No-Man’s Land’ between the lines with paths for pilgrims on foot and plant trees for shade and fruit trees, so the soil should not altogether be wasted. The I would like to send every man, woman and child in western Europe on a pilgrimage along that via sacra so they might think and learn what war means from the silent witnesses on either side”

 

 

Western Front Way Hiking Trail

What To Expect With The Waytrails App

 

A 1000km hiking trail that closely follows the historic WWI Front Lines.

The first official Western Front trail specifically developed for walkers, providing a well-marked and easily navigable path.

Divided into 11 stages, allowing flexibility to complete the trail all at once or in separate stages.

Detailed and informative content provided about the surroundings as you hike along the trail, enhancing your understanding of the historical significance and natural beauty.

Highlights points of interest, museums, and activities directly along the trail, ensuring a rich and immersive experience.

Offers the convenience to plan and book accommodation, amenities, transport, and restaurants, making your journey hassle-free.

Provides autonomy and decision-making regarding your budget and travel options, allowing you to tailor the experience to your preferences and needs.

Where do I start?

See our suggested daily hiking distances here

From the south: access is via Basel Airport and a direct train to Porrentruy (CH). Opposite the station you will find the Hotel de la Gare. We recommend you spend the night here and take the 14mins regional train from Porrentruy to Bonfol, where the trail begins from outside the station directing you to Kilometre Zero. 

From the north: The trail begins on the beach front in the coastal town of Nieuwpoort (BE). Access to Nieuwpoort is from Brussels to Ostend approx. 1h30 (Fast train with one change from Brussels Midi - Gent - Bruges - Ostend). From Ostend take a regional tram to Nieuwpoort. 

All stages along the route try to incorporate access to a major train station so that convenient returns to and from your adventures can be accessed. 

Accommodation

Accommodation on this trail varies but are mostly good, comfortable hotels, BnB's, Chambres d'Hotes or campsites. All are bookable on the Waytrails app.

Wild camping / bivouac is not prohibited but is tolerated and you must respect certain regulations – Le camping sauvage . Bivouacking is generally understood to mean a one-night stop, in respect to leaving no trace, and is implicitly authorised between the hours of 7 p.m and 9 a.m and is subject rules in coastal areas, listed natural sites and historic monuments. Making an open fire when wild camping in dry/and or wooded areas in France in summer is strictly forbidden. You must seek the owner’s permission if you camp on private land.

Difficulty and terrain

Experience a variety of terrains on the Western Front Way, including mountain passes in the Vosges and Lorraine regions, 1652097121420picturesque vineyards along the renowned Alsace wine route, battle scarred woodlands, and some of Europe’s most famous waterways. With an elevation of 1,424m (4,672ft) at its highest point, the trail offers thrilling challenges. The rest of the trail consists of gentle slopes and flat sections. Customise your journey by selecting stages and terrains that suit your schedule and ability.

A higher level of fitness is recommended.

The routes remain on official trail paths or on quiet roads where possible. The trail has been checked and verified by our teams. Waytrails (WFW LTd) is not liable for any local diversions or surface changes due to temporary road or forestry works.

When to visit the Western Front Way

This trail is suitable from beginning of April until mid October to take advantage of the weather and seasonal opening hours. In the summer we recommend advanced booking for hotels and restaurants.