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The Dutch village Otterlo is the gateway to the National Park Hoge Veluwe, on the western side. The perfect staycation getaway for a long weekend with relaxing and healthy nature walks. The trees may not be so beautifully green in winter, but on the other hand, it is nice and quiet everywhere. Walk the Clog Path. Escape the walls at home for a while, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic. And perfect for school holidays for families.
First I will give a description of the three walks that we did and you can do during a long weekend (2 nights, 3 days). After that I will share some money saving tips, accommodation recommendations, bicycle rental, maps, etc.
Walking Weekend in Otterlo
During this long weekend we walked the following distances:
- Day 1 The Big Five of Otterlo 5 km
- Day 2 Clog Path Green around Otterlo 15 km
- Day 3 Planken Wambuis & Valkenberg – Purple combination route ± 12 km
What can you expect and what are the rules? Freely translated from the Dutch website about all Clog Paths in The Netherlands:
Just to be clear, you don’t have to wear clogs when walking a Clog Path. Just wear a sturdy pair of (waterproof) hiking boots. You will experience that you really need those. Clog paths are largely unpaved so can get muddy and slippery. Sometimes you will have to pass a ditch via a narrow yet solid beam.
Clog Paths offer a unique combination of walking on restored historic trails and farmland. It is varied and sometimes adventurous, when climbing over fences, crossing exciting bridges or having to walk straight through a herd of cows. You come to places where you would normally never go. Long pants and high socks are recommended for ticks, but also to protect against blackberries, nettles and other vegetation along the path.
The routes regularly go over a farmer’s land or along a stream that is private property. There is close cooperation with farmers and landowners who allow recreational shared use. Without their permission there weren’t that many Clog Paths. As a hiker you are a guest at the owners of the lands, meadows and nature areas through which the Clog Paths run.
Entering private property is indicated with a special entrance sign. In some situations an alternative route is temporarily indicated. For example in the breeding season or when a bull is walking in the pasture.
Dogs are prohibited on the private parts of Clog Paths to avoid unrest and disease spreading. Clog paths are not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs. Bicycles and horses are prohibited on large parts of the route – unless otherwise indicated. Always pay attention and check yourself for ticks after walking through or past bushes, tall grass, woods and/or heather.
There is a Dutch app about the Clog Paths, which all between 5 and 15 km. Besides route guidance, you can discover the stories of the region via videos, sound clips and historical documents in this app.
DAY 1: The Big Five of Otterlo (5 km)
By the time we arrive at the route information map opposite Hotel De Sterrenberg it was already past 3pm. Since you have to be out of the forest before sunset, we chose a short path for the first day. Sunset is early in winter (around 5pm), a small downside of recreation in January. If you get caught in the forest after sunset, you risk a fine of EUR 100 per person. So we did not want to do a long walk this first day.
From the route information board go left (1 min) and then the first right into (the forest path parallel to) the Weversteeg. Walk straight ahead towards the Carnegie Cottage. Currently the Carnegie Cottage is under renovation. Normally this is a nice place for lunch or drinks before or after the walk, especially at sunset. If you arrive early on the first day, you could also do this walk on the last day instead of the first day like we did.
Opposite Carnegie Cottage there is a small parking lot. Here you will find a small map on a pole from where the route starts. Simply follow the red marked posts. This route is known as The Big Five of Otterlo or the Otterlo route. We walked this route clockwise and it took us about 70 min. There were some people with dogs and a few mountain bikers, but it was definitely not busy. The route starts at a landscape of heather, sand and some trees. It must be extra beautiful here when the heather starts blooming in August!
Hills & views
Throughout the route, which is known as ‘the Big Five of Otterlo’, you will find five statues carved from wood. The statues are various animals, like a boar, eagle, wolf, etc. After about 20 minutes there is a small hill you have to get up to. As a walker you walk on top of the hill, while the MTB path next to it meanders downstairs. There are a few nice view points towards the heather field. After the hill you walk along the fence of NP Hoge Veluwe for a while. A few cute little birds flitter from branch to branch whistling.
In the last part of the path you will notice the holiday homes and chalets at Droompark De Zanding, which is located right next to the forest and sandy heather field. There are some beautiful new holiday homes built here that could easily function as a day-to-day house, so big and complete. I don’t even want to know how much those holiday homes will cost if you’d want to buy one haha Excellent location with the gardens bordering the forest path and luxury finish.
From the parking lot of Carnegie Cottage back to our B&B ‘t Achterhuys it took us about 15 min (1.3 km). We were so hungry we decided to order dinner via Thuisbezorgd already along the way. The food arrived within less than 10 min after we got back at our B&B, perfect!
DAY 2: Clog Path Green – Eeskooterpad (15 km)
The B&B owner recommended us to walk the green so-called Clog Path (‘klompenpad’) around Otterlo. Traditionally people used to walk around here in clogs, even at weddings! You won’t see that a lot anymore. However, the name ‘clog path’ does justice to the farmland here.
Unfortunately the number of farmers is going down in The Netherlands, including this area. The owners of the pig farm where we stayed have recently been bought out by the Dutch government. This in the fight against nitrogen, ammonia and odor nuisance for residents living near the pig stables. The last piglets had left this farm just a week ago.
Alright, so we wanted to walk the Green Clog Path. Another Dutch name for this path is the Eeskooterpad. This path takes you through the beautiful countryside of Otterlo. The views, the forest, the heath, the drifting sand and the farmland are enjoyable every season. If you are not sure where to start, you can always go to the route information map opposite Hotel De Sterrenberg and start from there. It’s an easy walk to where the Clog Path actually starts; at the big yellow wooden clog located between the Edenseweg and Wallies, see map below.
I think that the variety makes this Clog Path Green route so much fun. Forest nurseries, sand dunes, heather, hills, riding school, fields, moss, etc. Small disadvantage is that you sometimes walk along the road. Because you also walk through private farm areas with cows and such, this walking route is not suitable for dogs. There are points where you can chose to make the path shorter (12 km) or longer (19 km). Look for signs that say ‘overstappunt’, which means ‘transfer point’.
NP Hoge Veluwe
There are a few kilometers overlap between The Big Five of Otterlo (day 1) and the Clog Path Green Eeskooterpad (day 2). As an alternative, should you really want to go inside the NP Hoge Veluwe during this trip, and not mind spending money on the entrance fee, I would suggest to do that on the second day.
In this way you can spend the entire day in the national park and get the most value for your money. It would be a shame to use the entrance ticket only for a couple of hours, right?! See the map below for the park entrance location. For tickets and opening hours see later in this article.
DAY 3: Planken Wambuis & Valkenberg – Purple combination route (± 12 km)
It was a bit confusing whether the purple path is a Clog Path or not. We did cross several signs with purple clogs, alternated with purple signs with footprints. But since it is not on the official website I guess it is not? Although it fully meets the description above on what to expect from a clog path. We combined the Valenberg route and Planken Wambuis and walked approximately 12km in about 3 hours including one lunch break.
Despite the fact that it snowed in Otterlo last night, not much is left by the time we start our walk in the morning of our 3rd and last day of this trip. We start today again at the route information map opposite Hotel De Sterrenberg. We head westwards via the Dorpsstraat, cross the Harskamperweg (N310) into the Edenseweg and follow the Mosselspadweg southwards. Then we pass by Otterlo Events, where you can park your car, grab a coffee, sandwich or cup of soup to go, and even shower yourself and/or your MTB.
We continue the Mosselspadweg, pass Camping Het Lorkenbos and some sort of stone memorial in a small heather field. The picnic table where we ate our sandwiches yesterday. Today it is not as cold as it was yesterday. Some kids have built a snowman, how cute is that!?
We walk past the Roekel forest and pass the Planken Wambuis entrance sign. On this piece of path of less than 1 km we seem to come across more people than the whole day yesterday. Perhaps because it was a Sunday and people wanted to see if there was any snow left? We take a left at the corner and quickly end up at the sand dunes, the people we just saw seem to have gone up in smoke. Nice!
We lost a bit of track but found the purple signs back again, along on the southern edge of the sand dunes and continued our walk. The forest was pleasantly silent and we did not see anybody else. Just enjoyed the whistling birds up in the trees and sun rays gently pass through the branches. Lovely!
The path leads us out of the forest and we end up in the sand again. We take a right, passing a fence door that keeps wild life out. First a bit straight into the forest again and then to the left, where we end up at the heather field of Planken Wambuis. We sit on the bench and eat a sandwich. Someone left a soda can, which we take with us (there are no garbage bins around here).
We walk all the way up to the tea house. If you want to cut the route a bit short, you can walk back at this point the same way you came, instead of taking the by-pass on the left, which saves a few kilometers. If you want to walk more than 17 km, simply head further south. Just don’t cross any yellow signs of Natuurmonumenten that mentions ‘rustgebied wild’ (rest area for wildlife).
Stay alert. Large animals such as red deer, wild boar, deer, badger or fox can just cross your path here. Best chances guided by a forester (May-Oct), but that’s definitely not for free (€ 250).
I would highly recommend to bring water and to wear hiking boots that can get dirty. Especially in winter time these paths can get muddy, unless you stick to the concrete bicycle path. There are also parts where cycle path, walking path and bridle path run directly next to each other.
Other walking routes around Otterlo
There are at least 12 marked walking routes in and around Otterlo, varying from 2 km to 17 km. See below table for more details.
|Walking route||Ticket NP||Distance*||Heaviness||Wildlife||Forest||Heather||Sand||Meadow||Wheelchair|
|Oud Reemstroute||No||2.5 km||x||xx||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Vlinderdas route||No||3.3 km||x||x||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Otterloroute (big five)||No||5 km||xxx||xx||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Planken Wambuis||No||8 km||xx||xx||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
Not all distances of routes mentioned above are measured from the information board opposite Hotel De Sterrenberg. These routes have another official starting point. Of course you can walk from the hotel to that starting point as well; hereafter I mention the distances to that starting point.
- Planken Wambuis route: Parking lot Oud Reemst Planken Wambuis (1.5h, 7.5 km)
- Mosselsezandroute: Camping de Wije Werelt (31 min, 2.5 km)
- Jeneverbesroute: Parking lot Arnhemseweg (45 min, 3.5 km)
- Extra: hondenloslooproute (dogs can walk without a leash): Camping Lorkenbos (20 min, 1.7 km)
In addition there is another Clog Path that passes Otterlo, the so-called Kreelsepad (14 km) to Ede.
There is also a World War 2 themed walking route called Liberation Route that starts near the war monument, see map below.
Bicycles routes around Otterlo
The following bicycle routes are available with the reception of Hotel De Sterrenberg:
- Forest & Valley route 21, 25 or 55 km (few hills)
- Heather & Castle route 12, 30 or 47 km (hilly)
- Park & Waterfall route 20 or 65 km (hilly)
- Sand & Crown route 37 or 56 km (few hills)
- Rhine & Domain Route 54 or 65 km (hilly)
Save money NP Hoge Veluwe
Want to save money? Start with bringing your own lunch, snacks and drinks. You can also save yourself a lot of money by walking around the National Park instead of visiting the park itself:
- Entrance ticket park EUR 11.10 per adult and EUR 5.55 per child
- Parking EUR 3.90 per car or EUR 7.85 day ticket per car or motorcycle
- Entrance ticket Kröller-Müller Museum EUR 11.10 per adult and EUR 5.55 per child
So that’s easily in total EUR 75 for a family of four (two adults, two children) excluding food/drinks.
I’m not saying NP Hoge Veluwe is not worth visiting or not worth any money. I just would like to show a way to save money if you want or need to, and still equally enjoy the nature in this area.
Please know that to visit the Kröller-Müller Museum, you always need an entrance ticket for NP Hoge Veluwe as well. To visit the museum, you must purchase a museum ticket and reserve a time slot in advance via the museum’s website. Dutch Museum Pass holders must also reserve a time slot in advance. Buy your park ticket and museum ticket.
Interested to visit a museum but not necessarily the Kröller-Müller art museum? You might want to consider to visit the Dutch Tile Museum in Otterlo. Entrance is EUR 7.50 per adult, EUR 3.50 for children, closed on Mondays.
E-bikes rental Otterlo
Another way to save money is either simply walking or, instead of renting a bicycle, by getting a free-to-use white bicycle from the park entrance gate. An e-bike will enable you to see more on a day, so that is a consideration. Bringing your own would be the cheapest then. Or rent an e-bike at:
- Geerts Tweewielers EUR 19,50 p/d
- Veluwe Specialist Otterlo EUR 22.50 p/d
- Van Baalen’s Fietsverhuur EUR 20 p/d (call, only Dutch speaking)
If you are staying at Hotel De Sterrenberg: they have their own bicycles too.
Where to stay in Otterlo
The cheapest would driving back home after a day of walking around NP Hoge Veluwe. But this is not as relaxing as a real weekend away. Besides it will force you to choose between the routes as described in this article. The cheapest stay over option will be either camp with your own tent or caravan. DroomPark De Zanding has great rental options: holiday homes, chalets and tiny houses.
If you are not into camping, but would like to save money on accommodation, you could consider spending the night via Vrienden op de Fiets (‘Friends on the Bicycle’). Registration costs EUR 8 per calendar year (EUR 10 for Friends outside the Netherlands), plus €22.50 per night per person including breakfast (excluding tourist tax). So EUR 53 for 2 adults for the first night ever. Cheap!
Otterlo has a variety of accommodation available. Hotel De Sterrenberg has a perfect location at the starting point of many walking routes (including the three described in this article) and 10 min walk from the main entrance gate of NP Hoge Veluwe. The restaurant of this adult only hotel is excellent. Grand Café Hotel Kruller is also on a good location at the Dorpstraat. For families I really like these holiday bungalows, some have heather field view!
This time we stayed at a lovely B&B in Otterlo called ‘t Achterhuys – one of the nicest and cheapest rooms we ever stayed at in The Netherlands! Well decorated and furnished, nice and quiet. It’s located at a 10-15 min walk to the starting point of most routes and a very friendly family (former pig farm).
During COVID-19 almost no accommodations serve breakfast, so best is to get a room or apartment that includes a kitchen. In this way you can cook yourself and/or get food delivered via Thuisbezorgd. Otterlo has several nice restaurants, a snack bar and supermarket (Spar). Due to COVID-19, restaurants are currently only open for delivery and take away.
Next time I’d like to stay ay this Wellness Lodge with hot tub and private sauna. Unfortunately it is currently not available – I assume due to the lockdown in The Netherlands.
When to visit Otterlo & NP Hoge Veluwe
National Park Hoge Veluwe and its surrounding area, including Otterlo, can be visited all year long. Every season has its charm. We visited Otterlo this month (January) and it was very peaceful. The busiest times will be all Dutch school holidays, especially July and August. From July 5 till 9 the Veluwe Fiets 4-daagse (event with recreational cycling) will be held. Mid-August the heather blooms.
Higher demand will also mean higher accommodation prices and less availability. So book in time if you wish to visit during school holidays. On the other hand, more people also bring more sociability and liveliness. Let’s hope the local restaurants, bars and their terraces can open again next summer.
How to get to Otterlo & Hoge Veluwe
Getting here by car will be the easiest way. If you want to come to Otterlo and/or NP Hoge Veluwe by public transport; Ede, Apeldoorn and Arnhem are the largest cities in the area of Otterlo that have good train connections. Check Google Maps or 9292.nl for door-to-door travel information.
From Ede train station, walk 4 min to the Doelenstraat, from where you can take bus 108 in the direction of Apeldoorn (16 min, 5 stops). From Apeldoorn train station to Otterlo it is the same 108 bus but from opposite direction (35 min, 15 stops). Get off at the roundabout (‘rotonde’) of Otterlo. From there it is 18 min walk (1.4 km) to the Kröller Müller (Ingang Otterlo) entrance of NP Hoge Veluwe at Houtkampweg 9.
There is also a bus stop opposite Hotel De Sterrenberg, where the route information board is, but that’s bus 106 that does not go to Ede or Apeldoorn station. To take the bus and train you will need an OV chip card.
Staying in Amsterdam and would like to visit NP Hoge Veluwe as a day trip? You may want to consider a guided day tour in which all is taken care of. There are guided day tours to NP Hoge Veluwe with or without visiting the Kröller Müller Museum.
Map Otterlo & NP Hoge Veluwe
This mobile friendly map includes most things mentioned in this article and more! It is smartphone friendly; you can use it easily via Google Maps. Click on the top left icon to open the menu. To customize the map to your interests, simply (un)select categories. Via Google Drive you can copy it to your folder of My Google Maps.
Map Clog Path Green Eeskooterpad
Please find below maps of the Clog Path Green, the Eeskooterpad. The thinner lines are ways to shorten or extend the route (12 or 19 km instead of 15 km). There is also an alternative route during COVID-19 that can be downloaded as a printable PDF here.
Have you ever been to Otterlo and/or National Park Hoge Veluwe? Or plans to go there? I hope this article will inspire you to visit the area end to enjoy it in a way that suits you. Should you have any additional recommendations, a personal experience to share or a question, please do not hesitate to post it in a comment box below.
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Last Updated on 02/25/2021 by Flitter Fever