The route starts from Chateau de Franchimont, the ruin of a castle built on a rock in the 11th century. Even at the bottom of the rock in the village of Theux there are still many old buildings to be seen, but the built area is quickly exchanged for forests and hills. The relatively dense afforestation limits sight over the wide area, but beautiful sceneries remain as you exit the forest and ride over the country roads. The ratio between the amount of agricultural areas and afforestation is fairly equal, with only a minimum of buildings. With the exception of Theux, at other places like Spa, La Reid and Vieux Cortil you ride near the boundary of the built-up area.
The MTB route Theux (blue loop) contains a fair number of paved roads as a transition between different wooded or other natural areas. Once off-road, the trails are generally wide and run through the forest or through agricultural areas over wide country roads. The surface contains many (loose) stones, which you should take into account when climbing, descending and cornering. The number of single trails are very limited and appear to be created due to a lack of space rather than planned. These singletrails aren't the flowy or technical type, just narrow paths.
With 835m of elevation gain and 35km of route, the MTB route Theux (Blue) falls under the tougher routes (definitely from a Dutch perspective). The elevation changes are divided into 8 climbs, which also include a few pleasant resting periods after some of the steeper climbs. The climbs are mainly on forest / gravel paths with the occasional parts of larger stones and tree roots. The (loose) stones are also found in a couple of fast descent. Your technical skills will be tested on these parts, but this is only on a minor part of the complete route. The biggest part of the route lets you ride over long wide paths that offer nearly any technical challenge.
34.6 km, 00:00:00
While riding on the MTB route Theux (blue loop) I didn’t realy get the “Ardennes” feeling. I expected an almost completely wooded area, beautiful scenery, many technical single trails and long climbs, but those expectations were only partially true. The amount of wooded areas was less than expected, but it’s still a beautiful and nature rich area which also feature some really nice sceneries. When a route has a lot of elevation changes like here, I expect is that you are rewarded in the descents for the effort that you put in in the climbs. Unfortunately, you won’t get any fun/challenging offroad trails to blast down. And this is where the complete route in my opinion suffers from, a lack of fun/challenging trails.
The MTB route Theux (blue loop) lets you to climb 835m and over a distance of 35km. That cumulative elevation gain is with large margin more than any Dutch MTB route. These elevation differences create some beautiful sceneries of Theux (Ardennes) and its surroundings. Such differences in height are therefore in the vicinity of Theux (Ardennes) for beautiful views. This area is not densely forested, but some agricultural areas and villages / hamlets provide some variation in the views. The route runs quite often over paved or wide country roads. Even in the forest the paths remain mostly wide even though the climbs are getting steeper. The forest paths provide a lot of grip, but many trails also include gravel, larger stones and tree roots. This makes the climbs (and a couple descents) a bit more challenging. But the required level for the MTB route Theux (blue) isn’t that high and you can ride everything (with the right gears) at your own pace. In the vicinity of Theux are several MTB routes that overlap and cross each other. Despite a reasonably good route indication, a route navigation is recommended.