ME Active - Cross-country skiing along frozen lakes and through pristine forest is possible in the Bohemian Forest, an unspoilt nature reserve in the south of Czechia. It's the most wooded nature reserve in Central Europe.
There are hundreds of kilometres of hiking trails. In winter, these routes are prepared into several ski cross-country trails. One of the most beautiful ski cross-country trails is the Šumava Trail, a route of more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) that crosses the nature reserve.
The Šumava National Park is one of the largest continuous forest areas in Central Europe. The nature reserve is also called the 'Green roof of Europe'. It is a 200 kilometres (125 miles) long low mountain range with an altitude of about 1,000 meters (3,300 feet). The landscapes of this national park are beautiful in winter and sometimes create a mystical atmosphere. There are vast plateaus, former glacial lakes that are frozen in winter and valleys with various rivers and narrow streams.
During the winter it's best to discover this nature reserve while cross-country skiing. The Šumava Trail is a ski cross-country trail that crosses the entire park. The route starts in Železná Ruda and ends at the Czech-Austrian border. The route is about 106 kilometres (66 miles) in total, but has a number of extra trails for those who want to extend the route. As a result, the Šumavská Magistrála, as it's called in Czechia, counts 140 kilometers (87 miles).
In recent years, much attention has been paid to the Šumava Trail, but other ski cross-country trails in the Bohemian Forest have also been improved. In total, the area has 400 kilometres (250 miles) of cross-country trails. The trails of the Šumava Trail are regularly maintained, including signposting.
The Šumavská Magistrála starts in Železná Ruda, the largest ski area in the western part of the Bohemian Forest. There is plenty of parking here and you can reach this place both by bus and train. In addition, you can choose to do some skiing before you start the trek.
From ski resort to winding forest trails
Near the railway station in the centre of Železná Ruda the ski cross-country trail starts at an altitude of 790 meters (2590 feet) on the southern slope of Samoty. The Šumava Trail can be done in three or more days, depending on fitness and speed.
You regularly come across some small places where you often find cozy guesthouses and where you can eat something. In the village of Modrava, 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Železná Ruda - for many the first overnight stop - there are farmhouses in Bohemian and Bavarian style. You will also find rural but luxurious accommodations in the villages of České Žleby and Stožec.
Nature experience with a historical touch
The Bohemian Forest is a great place for nature lovers and those seeking tranquility. It's a sparsely populated area and the air is very clean here. The Šumavská Magistrála follows various streams and rivers and you pass through beautiful pine forests.
The highest point of the Šumava Trail is the mountain Černá Hora with 1,315 meters (4,314 feet). With good weather you can see the Alps from there. During the descent you will pass the source of the Vltava and you will be very close to the German border. In the deserted resort of Knížecí Pláně there's a mountain hut where you can have some food and drink. The town is located just next to the German border and has a very turbulent history. Only in 1989 could the area be re-entered.
End in Czechia or Austria
The Šumava Trail passes by the small lake Žďárské Jezírko and follows a small stream that goes all the way to Strážný. This water was important for forestry, because the felled wood was transported via these streams. Between Strážný and České Žleby are the Splavské peat bogs and during the tour you have some great views of the German and Austrian mountains.
The ski cross-country trail ends at the Czech-Austrian border in the village of Pestřice, named after the river that flows here. It's also possible to stop at Zvonková where the ski bus stops. This will take you to Horní Plana, located on Lake Lipno. The Lipno ski area is nearby, where you can stay a few more nights to enjoy skiing, beautiful views and wellness.
Press release / Czech Tourism
1 Pavel Ourednik,
2 Milan Drahonovsky,
3 Štěpán Rosenkranz,
4-15 Czech Tourism
* This text was provided by a third party and is intented to inform you more as traveller and/or culture lover. For more info, check our content code page.
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