The Netherlands / Themed route

Operation Market Garden Hiking Route

250.82 km

Hiking path


Operation Market Garden was one of the largest Allied operations of the Second World War. It took place in September 1944 in northern Belgium and the Dutch provinces of North-Brabant and Gelderland. The goal of the operation was to outflank the German defenses along the Rhine (the Westwall) and to ensure a swift advance towards the heart of Nazi-Germany. It was hoped that the operation could help to end the war before Christmas.

Market Garden was a risky plan of British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. The operation concisted of two parts. Operation Market was the airborne operation carried out by British, American and Polish airborne forces. Their goal was to secure key bridges over the Maas, Waal and Rhine rivers. Garden was the name of the ground offensive in which the British 30th corps would have to relieve the Airborne forces at the captured bridges as soon as possible. 

Operation Market Garden was highly ambitious and in the end did not succeed. Bad weather in England hampered the arrival of reinforcements and supplies. Furthermore, German opposition was much heavier than expected. German units cut off the line of advance of the ground forces several time and the route became known as Hell’s Highway. Allied forces failed to hold the bridge at Arnhem and this became the proverbial ‘Bridge too Far’. 

This hiking route mostly follows the well-known Airborne Trail and begins in the Flemish town of Leopoldsburg. Here, in the former Cinema Splendid, Lieutenant General Horrocks unveiled the plans for Operation Market Garden.

Sites and stories along the route