A beautiful 15K cicuit in Bohemian Switzerland which takes you past a small natural sandstone arch and through a very varied landscape. To do with your dog from Feb – March when there is noone else around ! If you can, stay overnight in the area, combine this walk with “Zak’s Lookout trail” and the “Pravčicka brána” hike.
Access : From Prague, drive North on the E442 passing Teplice, Ustí nad Labem then head for Děčin, Hřensko and finally park at Mezní Louka in Bohemian Switzerland.
Tips : 1) If you walk between mid February and mid March, you will be alone with your dog in the wilderness 🙂 Relying on a bus from Děčin train station can prove disappointing during off-peak season therefore go by car or plan your transport carefully, prior to your departure. 2) The surrounding forests are home to roe deer, red deer and wild boar. I highly recommend, in respect of the abundant wild life, that if you are walking with a dog, you aim to start your hike, no earlier than 9 am in Winter.
Difficulty : moderate (but frequent ascents and steps) Distance : 15 Km Time : 3h
Summarized itinery : Mezní Louka (red) – Malá Pravčicka brána – pod Šaunštejnem – (yellow) – Vysoka Lipa (hotel Lipa) – (blue) – Ptači kámen – Zameček – Divoka soutěska – Mezní Louka
Detailed itinery: There are two red trails leave Mezní Louka. When you leave the car park, standing, facing the U Fořta restaurant and haylofts, walk along to the right until you pass the park with all the old wooden huts, and you will find your red trail leading up to the left. The green trail goes straight on, while the red, veers upwards to the right. The first set of steps is but a taste of things to come, as you will find yourself frequently ascending steps in the rock, wooden stairs and even iron, ladder rungs (all steps are accessible to your dog with the exception, naturally, of the iron rungs 🙂
Follow the red trail markers all the way to Malá Pravčicka Brána. The whole area being completely deserted, we passed under the arch and had our picnic break, in the sun, on the rocky ledge, with a truely magnificent view. You can then climb the ladder to appreciate the view, while your patient pup waits below for a few minutes.
Continue on the red trail, enjoying its variety and beauty
and you will arrive at a location called Saunštejn where you can climb another ladder to find yourself at the site where an castle was once located. When you arrive at Pod Šanštejnem, you will switch to a yellow trail (also a green mountain bike trail) going right, and continue to the road. A short on-leash period ensues, as you follow this road up to Vysoká Lipa where you will turn right, onto the blue trail, at the hotel Lipa. This blue trail takes you past Ptači kámen then to Zámeček.
As the blue trail takes you over a small bridge and turns left, in a hollow, we found ourselves walking precariously along an ice path for a short stretch. Actually my dogs did not seem deterred by the terrain but I found myself taking careful baby steps, searching for the safest patches. This short stretch which is always in the shade, leads you directly to Divoká Soutěska (silent and Edmund’s gorges). Before turning right to follow the blue trail all the way back to Mezní Louka, you may want to venture a little way down towards the gorges (yellow trail) just to see the stalactites of frozen ice.
To do this trail, you will need to come back between April – September (see the hike Edmund’s gorge and Pavčicky Brána on my blog), as passing through the gorges requires two boat trips.
We hope you have thoroughly enjoyed this hike. If you have time, try out other hikes with your dog in the area. They are all amazing. See blog for details.