National Park Dwingelderveld in the province of Drenthe is Europe’s largest wet moorland area. It is home to a wide variety of rare plants and rare species of butterflies and birds. This National Park is a heath- and woodland reserve of 3,700 hectares, with more than 60 kilometers of hiking trails. So there is enough to discover. Continue reading to find out why you must hike in Dwingelderveld National Park during autumn!
Hike: National Park Dwingelderveld, Drenthe
Distance Day 1: 4.7 kilometers
Distance Day 2: 12+ kilometers
Parking: Benderse 22, Ruinen, The Netherlands
GPS Day 1: click here
GPS Day 2: click here
Water refill supply: Yes, at the visitor centre
Difficulty: Easy (there are many easy routes starting from the visitor centre)
DAY 1 SHORT AUTUMN HIKE AT DWINGELDERVELD
Next to the visitor centre where you’ll park your car is the big information sign with all the hiking and biking routes in the area. If you want to do a short route from around 5 kilometers, you’ll follow the red signs.
The first kilometre of this route is all paved, but soon you make a turn into farmland. This trail will stay unpaved until almost the very end. During the fall season you will get rewarded with amazing autumn colours, misty views and lots of wildlife.
Even though it is a short hike, the landscapes vary a lot from farmlands, to forest and from numerous fens to marsh flats. You will be passing by rural farms with lots of sheep.
This trail is amazing for kids, because they have a chance to see the herds hiking this unpaved trail.
DAY 2 AT - 12 KILOMETERS AUTUMN HIKE AT DWINGELDERVELD
The trailhead is at the same visitor centre like the short hike from the day before. This hike is supposed to be one of the prettiest in the area, because of the views, the autumn colours, the visit at the telescopes and you’ll have the biggest chance of seeing the herds.
The beginning of this trail is pretty straight forward with breath taking views. If the skies are clear, you can have endless views over the heather grounds. The dried heather is at a maximum 50 centimetres tall, so the single standing trees look really lonely on these landscapes.
FACING THE TELESCOPES
While hiking along the trail, you’ll suddenly stumble upon the telescopes centred in the National Park Dwingelderveld. This telescope is a historical monument, opened in 1956. At that time it was one of the largest radio telescopes on the whole world. It even discovered two smalls galaxies nearby the Milkyway. Make sure you won’t miss the telescope, because it is a cool, almost alien like view, in the middle of this landscape.
MEETING THE HERDS DURING THE AUTUMN HIKE AT DWINGELDERVELD
When you’ll continue the hike after observing the telescopes for a while, you’ll hike through the forest. You leave the wide open landscapes behind you and go into forest. Within a split second you’ll see fens. Especially with all the autumn colours, the endless views are amazing.
This is also a spot where one of the herds is quite often. The shepherd is super friendly and will tell you more about the area and his sheep. In the National Park are two flocks of sheep each herded by a shepherd. Those sheep eat twigs of common heather and keep these shrubs short. As a result, the heather keeps short, so forestation won’t happen.
WHY HIKING AT DWINGELDERVELD IS THE BEST AUTUMN HIKE
At this National Park are numerous hikes with different lengths, so for the fanatic hiker and also for families with small children there is lots to discover. The landscape changes every few hundred meters. You will walk through autumn coloured forests to breathtaking views over fens in less than an hour. The national park is amazingly quiet during autumn, in comparison with The Veluwe for example. On top of that you can also visit the telescopes, so it’s also an educational hike. In short, there is lots to discover in this amazing National Park.
So doing an autumn hike at the Dwingelderveld National Park is a must!