The 10 best hikes in and near Utrecht to bask in Dutch nature

Fresh air, come at us 🌲

We love Utrecht for its quaint streets, cute cafe nooks, and bustling atmosphere — but sometimes, you really need to escape the city. 

Luckily, there are stacks of scenic hikes and walks in Utrecht. We’re not talking a jaunt over the Matterhorn’s level of hiking — but beautiful stretches over fields, wanders through the forests, or ambling alongside rivers and sloten; that’s what Utrecht does best. 

Of course, it’s not always easy to find the perfect hike that ticks all the boxes of distance, duration, and damn-good views.

That’s why we’ve compiled some of the best hikes and walks in Utrecht to escape the city. 

1. Eendenkooienpad, IJsselstein

Breathe in the fresh air of the Dutch countryside on this gentle, 17-kilometre romp. The Eendenkooienpad (Duck Decoy Trail) is a path that stretches through farms, along the river Hollandse IJssel, and traverses ancient towns. 

READ MORE | Hiking in the Netherlands: 4 myths, busted

Round off your trip with a stop by the beautiful city of IJsselstein and make up for those burned calories with a hot chocolate or homemade ice cream. 

🚶‍♂️ Walk distance: 17 kilometres
⏰ Duration: Four hours
📍 Starting point: Jachthaven Marnemoende, Noord IJsseldijk 107, IJsselstein
🗺 Marked Route: Follow the red clogs 

2. Kaapse Bossen, Doorn

Good things come to those who wait — and while Doorn is a little further out of the city centre, it’s well worth the trip.

The Kaapse Bossen is home to some of the most beautiful nature in Utrecht.

Meander through the middle of Utrecht’s Heuvelrug and venture through sloping forest paths.

This nine-kilometre hike will take you through the highlights of the Kaapse Bossen, including an estate gatehouse and a watchtower with an incredible view over the Heuvelrug.

TIP: Partway along the path is a thick fir tree that blew over in the early 1990s. Side branches have kept the trunk off the ground, so this tree is perfect for climbing!

🚶‍♂️ Walk distance: Nine kilometres
⏰ Duration: Two hours
📍 Starting point:  Parkeerplaats Groene Entree Kaapse Bossen
🗺 Marked Route: Follow the dark blue route indicators

3. De Amerongse Berg, Utrechtse Heuvelrug

Boswachterij De Amerongse Berg in Utrecht is one of the oldest forests in the Utrechtse Heuvelrug.

This municipality is home to an epic forest of great proportions; wander amongst the ancient oak and birch trees, and take in the wonder that is nature. 🌳

READ MORE | The 8 greatest forests in the Netherlands for a nature escape

Utrechtse Heuvelrug was created in the last ice age and, as a result, is home to narrow valleys.

But, destroyed and left barren due to greedy cattle, the forest was replanted with birch, oak, and beech trees to create a beautiful mixed forest. 

🚶‍♂️ Walk distance: Eight kilometres
⏰ Duration: Two hours
📍 Starting point: Veenseweg 28 3958 ET Amerongen
🗺 Marked Route: Follow the sandy path

4. Scrambling on the Heuvelrug (Scharrelen op de Heuvelrug)

Coniferous trees, pine cones, oaks, and beeches line the landscape along the Heuvelrug, this epic hiking trail in Utrecht. 

You’ll find this trail set amongst the deciduous forest in the village of Lage Vuursche. Perhaps while you’re there, pay a visit to Princess Beatrix, who lives in Drakensteyn Castle nearby.

But maybe swap out those muddy hiking boots for something a bit more glam before you do. 👸

🚶‍♂️ Walk distance: 13 kilometres
⏰ Duration: Three-and-a-half hours
📍 Starting point: 3739 KA Hollandsche Rading
🗺 Marked Route: Follow the blue arrows

5. Monument route Amelisweerd & Rhijnauwen

The Amelisweerd and Rhijnauwen trail leads you along a mapped-out route of 17 wonderful Dutch monuments spanning across the centuries.

Wander through and wonder at an 18th-century home or check out an old Dutch fort, the largest fortification made along the Dutch Waterline

If you want to extend the length of the trail, you can pad out your hike by visiting the various museums along the way.

The Old Amelisweerd Museum combines art and preserved household items from the 18th century and is well worth a visit. 

You can download the map for the route online, however all the information about the monuments is in Dutch — so make sure you’ve got your phone if you’re an English speaker! 

🚶‍♂️ Walk distance: Five kilometres
⏰ Duration: One hour
📍 Starting point: Koningslaan 9, 3981 HD Bunnik
🗺 Marked Route: Follow the map

6. Austerlitz forest walk

Located in the middle of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, Austerlitz is the perfect spot for a calming forest hike. 

Along the route, you’ll pass the White House (no, not the American one! 🏚), an 1820’s hunting lodge.

Or, you can climb the Pyramid of Austerlitz, a camp that once hosted over 20,000 French soldiers 200 years ago. 

🚶‍♂️ Walk distance: Nine kilometres
⏰ Duration: Two hours
📍 Starting point: Oude Postweg 144, 3711 AL Austerlitz
🗺 Marked Route: Follow the map

7. Around Ruigenhoek

The Rondje Ruigenhoek is an eight-kilometre trek that leads you past dozens of group shelters in this polder landscape.

The shelters are built along the New Dutch Waterline, an 85-kilometre stretch of defences and forts in the Netherlands

READ MORE | A guide to 11 beautiful national parks in the Netherlands

There is also a beautiful park along the trail, the Noorderpark Ruigenhoek, and a fort on an uninhabited island with wonderful trees and monuments. 

🚶‍♂️ Walk distance: Eight kilometres
⏰ Duration: Two hours
📍 Starting point: Gageldijk 1, 3602 AG Maarssen
🗺 Marked Route: Follow the orange shields

8. De Stulp circular walk (Lage Vuursche)

The De Stulp circular walk is again located near the Royal Palace — as well as lots of pannenkoeken restaurants. 

Along this trail, you’ll hike through the Dutch forest and observe the shifting sands.

As lots of cows live in the area, the grass is kept short, but the further you get along the trail, the more the area will emerge into woodland with tall, coniferous trees. 🌲

🚶‍♂️ Walk distance: Eight kilometres
⏰ Duration: Two hours
📍 Starting point: Slotlaan 8, 3749 AA Lage Vuursche
🗺 Marked Route: Follow the route map

9. Beerschoten walking route

Dogs are welcome along the Beerschoten walking route, so pack your pooch into the boot and get ready to walk a hefty 11-kilometre hike! 🚶‍♀️

The route connects three Dutch nature reserves in Utrecht: Beerschoten, Houdringe, and Panbos.

Wander through the huge meadows and even past the sand dunes along the way, as you’ll really be getting a view of all kinds of Dutch nature. 

🚶‍♂️ Walk distance: 11 kilometres
⏰ Duration: Two-and-a-half hours
📍 Starting point: Slotlaan 8, 3749 AA Lage Vuursche
🗺 Marked Route: Follow the yellow poles

10. Around Palace Soestdijk

photo-of-palace-soestdijk-seen-on-a hike-in-utrecht
The impressive Palace Soestdijk in Utrecht will inspire you during your hike. Image: Depositphotos

The name of this trail sort of gives it away! This walk Around Palace Soestdijk will lead you around the 17th-century palace, ideal for some historical views while you walk. 🏰

READ MORE | Wadlopen in 2022: your guide to mudflat walking in the Netherlands

Dogs are welcome as long as they’re on a leash. Parts of the hike are paved, and it is generally quite flat (like the rest of the Netherlands if we’re honest), so it makes for a scenic, relatively easy walk. 

🚶‍♂️ Walk distance: 16 kilometres
⏰ Duration: Three hours and 20 minutes 
📍 Starting point: Amsterdamsestraatweg, Baarn
🗺 Marked Route: Follow the route

Pack those bags, and make sure you’ve got plenty of water and snacks to keep you going on these trails in Utrecht. Now that you’ve seen these beautiful parks and woodlands, why not explore some more hiking trails across the Netherlands

Have you been on any of these trails in Utrecht? Tell us in the comments below! 👇

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Heather Slevin
Heather Slevin
Heather is a Dublin native, addicted to catching the Luas, the Irish version of a tram, for one stop, and well used to the constant rain and shine. Seeking to swap one concrete city for another (with a few more canals and a friendlier attitude to cyclists) here she is with the Dutch Review! As a Creative Writing student, she can usually be found sweating over the complicated formatting of her latest poem or deep inside the pages of a book, and loves writing, writing, writing.

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