Starting from Boscafé ’t Hijgend Hert it has become apparent that you've arrived in a hilly and wooded area, namely the Vijlenerbos. A varied forest where you get little note of what is happening in the civilized world. This area is also popular among hikers. Elevations range up to about 90 meter which also results in great views over the quiet and sparsely populated nature rich areas. During the MTB track Epen you’ll also come across other forest like the Onderste Bosch and the Kruisbox. Roads connecting these forests also run along places like Epen, Landsrade and Schweiberg where agricultural areas more predominate in the landscape.
Most of the off-road trails run through the Vijlenerbos. Here is switched between wider forest roads and narrower single trails. Rocks and tree roots are often in the ground so you should pay attention on the climbs and descents. In the single trails there’s usually narrow run or worn trails. The track rapidly changes under wet conditions to a muddy (clay/sand) track. On the track you’ll rarely come across any flowy single trails, but on the contrary there are long climbs and fast off-road downhill trails. Outside of the Vijlenerbos are still a number of connecting roads but paved roads are reduced to a minimum.
Altimeters are on the MTB track Epen adequate with 619m you make the most altimeters of any Dutch MTB track. Combine this with a distance of only 26km and you see that you’ll often be climbing (and descending). There are some steep and long ascents where your fitness is tested. On the plateaus you can rest but on the descents you will have to be alert again. Under wet conditions, the track changes into a mud track where many climbs and descents are difficult to ride. On a technical level, there are some interesting climbs where you have to go over tree roots and stones searching for grip and balance. In the downhill you can make some speed so that you can take a few obstacles to get some airtime. The descents can also be ridden at a slower pace making it more accessible to a larger group of mountain bikers, but it does not remain suitable for novice mountain bikers.
25.7 km, 02:22:57
If I had to pick one track which let me feel like I’m on a holiday in Limburg, it’s the MTB track Epen. Longer climbs interspersed with challenging steep climbs, somewhat technical descents at speed and beautiful scenery; you wouldn’t expect you’re in Netherlands. The long climbs and descents you won’t come across on any other MTB track in the Netherlands. If you look purely at the trails there are other trails in the region which have more variety and are more challenging, look for instance at the MTB track Strijthagen, but there are plenty of tracks that score worse. If the MTB track Epen can add technically challenging single trails in the altitude differences which the area has to offer this can be a real hit.
The MTB track Epen (Vijlen) lets you climb 619m which is more than any other Dutch MTB track. This height provide stunning views of an environment that exudes tranquillity. Largely riding through the natural areas such as Vijlenerbos but you’ll also barely notice the daily bustle when riding on the country roads or along several small villages. The trails through the forest are conditional challenging because of the altitude differences but at the technical level the trails offer less challenge than environment at first implies. Some climbs are difficult due to the steepness combined with stones and tree roots in the ground and descent are more challenging speed. The trails are largely ride able at your own pace but it remains a track for more experienced mountain bikers.