The Lee Trail is one of the most beautiful trails in Western Europe, full of adventurous trails and beautiful views. Learn more about this trail in Luxembourg.
What is the Lee Trail?
The Lee Trail (in full: Escapardenne Lee Trail) is a 53-kilometer (33 miles) long-distance trail through the heart of Luxembourg. The starting point is Ettelbruck and it takes about three days to hike to the village of Kautenbach. The trail follows the River Sûre (also known as the Sauer) and you pass through several villages. It is an incredibly varied trail because you walk through forests full of moss and rocks, colorful meadows full of flowers and you regularly find yourself standing at a beautiful viewpoint.
The Lee Trail is very suitable for anyone who loves to explore the best hiking trails in Luxembourg and who wants to experience what it’s like to hike a long-distance trail.
Stages of the Lee Trail
The Lee Trail has three stages:
- Stage 1: from Ettelbruck to Bourscheid-Moulin (17.8 kilometers)
- Stage 2: from Bourscheid-Moulin to Hoscheid (19.3 kilometers)
- Stage 3: from Hoscheid to Kautenbach (14.5 kilometers)
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to hike these stages exactly the way they’re meant to be. For example, if you plan to go camping during the hike, it’s not even possible, since there’s not a campground in Hoscheid.
You can also opt to hike the Lee Trail in two stages instead of three, however, in my experience is that hiking the Lee Trail in three stages is perfect. The trail goes up and down a lot, so you won’t hike super fast. When you stick to the three stages you have enough time to take pictures and take a nice long break every now and then.
When is the best time to hike the Lee Trail?
Luxembourg has a similar climate as the same as the Netherlands and Belgium in terms of climate. Summers can be cool, and chances are that you encounter some snow in the winter months. The best time of year to hike the Lee Trail is between May and October when you have the greatest chance of pleasant temperatures.
You can hike the Lee Trail all year round, but always bring a raincoat and sturdy hiking boots. The trails can get very slippery.
How difficult is it to hike the Lee Trail?
The Lee Trail is an intermediate to difficult trail. There are several steep climbs and sometimes the paths are very narrow. A few times, you will hike over a narrow ridge, so be careful where you place your feet.
Navigating the Lee Trail is very easy. The path is well marked with white signs with a blue wave and you’ll see them everywhere. Even on trees! If you would like to have a backup, you can download a gpx file on this website. You can open and view this file on your phone with an app such as GPX Viewer.
To get to the start or endpoint of a stage of the Lee Trail, you can use public transport. Public transport in Luxembourg is well organized. You can reach almost every town by bus or train. They go at least once every hour (usually even twice an hour). The best thing: public transport in Luxembourg is free, so you don’t have to buy tickets, you just get on the bus or train. Check CFL.lu or Google Maps for routes and departure times.
I myself used Ettelbruck as “home base” and I hiked the entire Lee Trail from here. Ettelbruck is a fairly large town in the middle of Luxembourg and therefore very well served by public transport. From Ettelbruck, I could easily travel to all the start and endpoints of the stages.
Restaurants or supermarkets can usually be found at every start and endpoint of the stages. Nevertheless, it is wise to always take some food with you so that you have something to eat. Sometimes the villages you’ll visit on the trail are very tiny and you can’t buy anything. In addition, there are many benches along the trail in places with beautiful views and those are perfect places to take a break.
In any case, make sure to bring enough water. I hardly came across places along the way where I could fill my water bottle. Each day, I would bring about 2 liters of water which was perfect. When I hiked the trail (Augus 2021), it was 25 degrees Celcius most of the time, so had to bring more than I would usually do. Don’t want to carry that much water? You pass many rivers and streams and can also refill your bottle there. Make sure to bring a water filter to purify the water.
Where to stay?
Few people hike 53 kilometers in a day, so it’s helpful to find a place to stay the night when you’re hiking the Lee Trail. Since you pass through many villages, there are plenty of places to spend the night. Check Booking.com for the possibilities. It’s smart to book in advance when you plan on hiking during bury summer months like July and August.
Do you want to go camping? There are not that many campgrounds along the trail, but it’s definitely possible to hike the Lee Trail with camping equipment. You just have to arrange the stages differently. These campgrounds are located on and near the Lee Trail:
- Camping Ettelbruck – located about 2 kilometers from Ettelbruck station (the starting point of the Lee Trail).
- Camping du Moulin – perfectly located on the endpoint of the first stage and the starting point of the second stage.
- Camping du Nord – is located between Dirbach and Goebelsmühle station. This is about 2/3 of the second stage.
- Camping Kautenbach – is about 1,5 kilometer from the end of the Lee Trail.
Please note: wild camping is not allowed in Luxembourg.
What to pack?
Do you hike the Lee Trail in three separate day hikes from one home base or do you hike with camping gear?
What to bring on a day hike
If you’re going to hike the Lee Trail in day hikes, you’ll only need a small backpack. A daypack of 15 to 20 liters (like this great pack from Osprey) is more than sufficient. What to bring?
- Food & water
- A small first aid kit including a blister kit, sports tape, and a pincet.
- A lightweight raincoat
- Insect repellent
- Sun screen
- A cap or a Buff
- Refillable waterbottle
- Tissues or little bit of toilet paper
- Trash bag (those tissues do not belong in nature)
Read more: What to pack for a day hike
Camping on the Lee Trail – Packing list
Would you like to go backpacking on the Lee Trail? Then, in addition to the above list, you will of course also need some extra clothing (don’t bring too much, you can do laundry at every campsite) and lightweight camping gear. This is some of my favorite lightweight camping gear for a long-distance hike in Europe:
- Backpack: Osprey Eja 58 – lightweight and sturdy. For men, there is the Osprey Exos 58.
- Tent: Big Agnes Tiger Wall – only weighs a kilo and is very spacious.
- Sleeping pad: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite – very light, small package, and yet very comfortable.
- Sleeping bag: Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bag (20F) – lightweight and warm.
- Camp kitchen: MSR Pocket Rocket (don’t forget to bring a gas can as well) and a very small cooking set from GSI Outdoors.
More beautiful long-distance hikes
These were my tips for a hike on the Lee Trail. Would you like to hike the Lee Trail or another long-distance trail in Europe? These books are full of beautiful hiking trails:
100 Hikes of a Lifetime | The World’s Ultimate Scenic Trails
In addition, you can also find some information about long-distance trails on this website. Check out these articles:
- The Fishermen’s Trail: a beautiful hike along the southwest coast of Portugal.
- The Pacific Crest Trail: A Legendary Hike in the United States of America. I myself hiked the first 700 kilometers in the Spring of 2019.
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