The utterly incredible thing about this hike is, that at many locations, you can stop and literally rotate slowly, a full 360° and for as far as the eye can see, uninterrupted plains, vegetation and grassy meadows will stretch out before you.
Access : by bus from Smíchovské Nádraží to Dobříš (392) or Příbram (395) then bus to Kamýk nad Vltavou (between 1h15 – 2h journey) By car : Drive to Kamýk nad Vltavou and park for free in the car park beside the Vltava.
Difficulty : difficult Distance : 24 Km
Time : approximately 5 hours walking briskly
Tips : Carry water for both you and your dog. For the first 7Km your dog will have no access to water and during the first half of the walk, there are long stretches where there is no shade. Therefore, if you choose to do this hike on a sunny day, be prepared to cover the first kilometers at a brisk pace and offer your dog water regularly. Fit dogs, accustomed to long hikes will enjoy the extended exercise immensely however you should always exercise caution before embarking upon very long walks with your precious canine companion and be sure to have built up his stamina gradually and rigourously. Naturally, apply the same principle to yourself. It is impossible (at least extremely complicated) to abandon this hike mid way, as my trail passes through very isolated areas. I mapped out this hike, with my dog, on a Saturday at the end of May and we walked the entire 6 hours without meeting a single human. Due to the distance, also carry some food. You will be able to buy food and snacks at the end of your walk however there are no possibilities to restock on route.
Summarized itinerary : Kamýk nad Vltavou – Zduchovice – U Plavcu – Vetrov – Solenice – Sefrovna – U Ptazku – U Kolnu– U Slupne strouhy – Stary Kamyk – Kamýk prehrada – Kamýk nad Vltavou
Detailed itinerary : From the car park or bus stop, walk back up the street on the left hand side pavement and take the path on the left, bearing trail markers. Pass through the door at the wooden lookout tower and soon you will arrive at the castle ruins, Zricenina hradu Vrskamyk. This site is intriguing and very beautiful. Detailed information boards include maps of conquered territories of Czech rulers throughout the centuries and inform visitors that the castle is likely to have been founded it in the 1st half of the thirteenth century by King Wenceslas I. Important routes would have been located in the vicinity of the castle, for example to the West, near Dolní hbity and Zduchovice, marked a turning point of the famousGolden Route which connected Prague with Salzburg. Further research on the castle revealed that a grant from European funds of almost 20 million crowns was awarded for the restoration and the grounds were closed between 2009-2010.
Then continue to follow the green trail through ZaStodolami, all the way to Zduchovice then to Bukovec. Both stretches are magnificent and you will find yourself marveling constantly at the seclusion and immensity of the surrounding nature. It is utterly uplifting. From Bukovec you must turn left on the green trail and follow it all the way to Vetrov. Here, you must go left and follow the tarmac road a full 2 Km to Solenice. The road slopes downwards towards the Vltava and there is unfortunately no way to avoid this stretch of road. To get it over and done with, I jogged all the way with my dog trotting alongside me, on leash. There is a bus stop just as you leave Vetrov and another in Solenice, however the chances of a bus passing just at the right moment are very slim as they appear to run three times a day… At Solenice, your dog will at last be able to swim and drink in the Vltava. Now cross the blue foot bridge.
You will have a good view of Orlic hydro electric power station and dam. Once across the bridge, turn left on the green trail which borders the Vltava on a very narrow, ill frequented and overgrown path, before climbing into the forest. The next stretch is utterly beautiful, as you emerge into open meadows with a view of the Vltava below and rocky cliffs to your left. Keep on the green trail all the way to U Jarosu. You will see the lookout tower rozhledna Milada which you can either photograph from a distance or spare 20 minutes to go and visit.
From there, you must follow red trail markers from U Jarosu in the direction of U Slipné strouhy. Be careful not to follow the other red trail which goes in the wrong direction, back to Solenice. Your trail borders a little stream and slopes downwards. At Struhy, where the little Rivers Hrachovka and Jahodovy form a confluent and merge into the Vltava, your dog will be able to swim again, at a pretty beach.
Then, keep following the red trail and be careful not to become distracted by the beauty of the gurgling River Jahodova as it drops down in tiers in the midst of a pretty forest of pine, as you mustn’t miss the forest path going up to the left. At one point, the red trail markers lead you to an open field (Vltava in view ahead) and abruptly disappear, leaving you wondering if you are supposed to wade through long grass…. The answer is no. Go right towards the forest again and the red trail markers will resume. The trail later climbs through the forest again, then dips, climbs and winds, following the river and at several points, you will have a stunning view of the Vltava. When at last you arrive at another dam, you are approaching Kamýk Nad Vltavou and salvation.
Once you cross the bridge and arrive back in this little town, you will be able to rest on a bench, overlooking the river, with a well-deserved ice-cream which your dog will be only too delighted to finish for you.
We hope you have enjoyed this sensational hike. Hours later, I guarantee you that you will still be processing the images of nature…
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