Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that does not appear in the list, please contact us.

What are the National Park’s opening hours?

Since the Hoge Kempen National Park is not an enclosed area, you can visit the areas between sunrise and sunset. 

Are dogs welcome?

Yes, dogs are welcome in the National Park provided they are kept on a short leash. The only exceptions are the grazing areas, where dogs are not allowed.

Moreover, dog-walking zones have been marked out, where your four-legged friend is allowed off-leash. However, dogs must listen carefully. They must not chase game or bother recreationalists. Be vigilant about your dog's behaviour!
You will find these dog walking zones and trails in the hiking areas:

Mechelse Heide
  • Dog walking zone between walk change 41-42: from start location Mechelse Heide and Start location Zwembad Maasmechelen
  • Dog walking zone between walk change 45-46: from start location Zwembad Maasmechelen
  • Dog walk off zone between walk change 52-53: from start location Kikbeekbron (Weg naar Zutendaal z/n, Maasmechelen - parking near local dog club). Please note that the other walking routes (green and blue) in this area are not accessible to dogs (not even leashed).
  • Dedicated dog play area: from starting place ‘La butte aux bois’ (Paalsteenlaan 90, 3620 Lanaken), at around 600 metres from the starting place. Directions to the dog area are given from this starting point.

  • Entry point Kapel van de weerstand, Brugstraat z.n. 3650 Dilsen-Stokkem >> green walking loop (2.7 km), blue walking loop (7 km), orange walking loop (9.8 km), yellow walking loop (4.7 km) >> at the car park
  • Entrance point Cemetery Opglabbeek >> green hiking loop (4.2 km) >> between hiking change 195-196
  • Entry point Phil Bosmansplein >> blue hike loop (4.1 km), yellow hike loop (10.5 km), red hike loop (14 km) >> between hike changes 202 and 203
  • Boarding point Donderslagweg, 3670 Oudsbergen >> green hiking loop (5.1 km) - blue hiking loop (8.5 km) - red hiking loop (14 km) >> between hiking turnouts 224 and 225
Where are you not allowed with your dog?

Some areas are grazed by horses and cattle. Here the caretaker does not allow dogs (i.e. also not on a leash).

  • Mechelse Heide: green and blue footpath at the Kikbeek spring.
  • Pietersheim: purple footpath at La butte aux bois.
  • Bergerven >> boarding point Ketelstraat and Kapel van de weerstand : between hiking turnouts 158 and 164 (Rugged boot path)

Can I organise group activities?

Only Rangers are trained and authorised to guide groups. They are licensed each year by the Agency for Nature and Forests. Want to organise a big event in the National Park? For this, you need the approval of the Agency for Nature and Forests. Contact us and we will help you!

May I have a picnic?

Of course! Picnic benches are regularly located at the entrance gates or along the walking routes. They are marked on the walking maps and start boards. Be careful not to leave any litter behind.

Can I run professional film or photo shoots?

All recordings must be approved by the Agency for Nature and Forests

Is there really only 1 national park in Belgium?

A National Park must be a nature reserve of at least 1,000 ha. In densely populated Flanders, this is not so easy.

The Kalmthoutse Heide nature reserve profiles itself as the Grenspark Kalmthoutse Heide. There are no other areas in Wallonia that profile themselves as a National Park either.

The Hoge Kempen National Park is, however, and the first and only National Park in Belgium.

Is the National Park a world heritage site?

Not yet. But the National Park and the surrounding mining area are on the UNESCO Indicative List of World Heritage Sites. This means that a dossier is being drawn up on the Hoge Kempen as a cultural landscape. The dossier will then be assessed and it is hoped that this region will become a UNESCO World Heritage Site within a few years.

Can I reach the National Park by train?

The Hoge Kempen National Park is accessible by train up to Genk Station. From the station, there is a choice between a leisurely walk to Kattevennen or the long-distance walk. You can rent bikes at the station or at the Gateway ’Kattevennen’. There are also bus connections up to ‘Kattevennen’.

The other gateways are more difficult to reach with public transport and require some research into bus connections from Genk Station.