Even though it might seem that the highest Czech mountain range would be paradise primarily for downhill skiers, there is something unique in Europe here which has become a real phenomenon in cross-country circles. If you are a fan of white trails, grab your skis and set off on the Krkonošská magistrála, where you will discover the most beautiful places in the mountain range and find many places to stop for good food and breathtaking views that will remain in your memory for many years to come.
Ninety kilometres of perfectly groomed and marked trails leading along hillsides and valleys, mountain peaks and saddles. This is Krkonošská magistrála, which begins in Harrachov and leads all the way to Žacléř. You will recognize it easily. Its entire length is marked with unmistakable red-and-white diamonds and the symbol of a skier. At local mountain resorts, thirty large panoramic maps will help to guide you. You can cover its entire length in two days, but most visitors to the Krkonoše Mountains opt to ski only selected segments.
Waterfalls, views and endless plains
First, check to make sure you have all the equipment recommended by the mountain service, including a spare set of clothes, a map, wax and a cell phone. Next, carefully wax up your skis and you’re ready to go. The entire adventure begins near the bus station in Harrachov, from where you will gradually ascend the romantic valley of the Mumlava stream, with its beautiful waterfall, and proceed through Krakonošova snídaně to the Vosecká chalet. The trail continues to the junction U Čtyř Pánů, to Zlaté návrší and on to the Vrbatova chalet, where it reaches its top altitude of 1,400 metres above sea level. Along a snowy mountain road, the trail will next lead you to Horní Mísečky.
Taste the best of the Krkonoše!
From Horní Mísečky along the Medvědín slope, you can nicely stem all the way to Špindlerův Mlýn. The long-distance trail then continues through Kopřivník to Černá Hora (Black Mountain). But what kind of outing would it be without a proper reward for all your effort? A little farther along the route you can stop at the popular chalet Na Rozcestí (meaning Crossroads) and warm up with such local specialties as krkonošské kyselo soup, made with mushrooms, potatoes and egg, the barley and mushroom dish called kuba, or some bacon dumplings. Don’t forget to taste some homemade koláče – the aroma of these sweet pastries will follow you all the way to the valley. After you have properly refreshed yourself, continue past Liščí hora (Fox Mountain), where you’ll enjoy a beautiful view of Sněžka and the mountain kingdom below. The cross-country route then leads you past the Hrnčířská and Javorská chalets to Pec pod Sněžkou. If you wish to continue farther, you’ll make a roughly 5-kilometre climb to the Jana chalet and then to Malá Úpa. From here, a pleasant descent will take you past the Lysečinská chalet to Horní Albeřice, where once again you’ll test you physical condition with a 5-kilometre ascent to the Rýchorská chalet. From Rýchory, you can now head down to Žacléř, where the entire cross-country route comes to an end.
A 550-kilometre route though the heart of a national park
The Krkonošská magistrála is far from the only way to enjoy an authentic cross-country ski experience in the Krkonoše. You can take advantage of some 550 kilometres of groomed trails in the mountains. The most popular ones include those near Benecko, Rokytnice nad Jizerou and Janské Lázně as well as the Hraběnka ski resort in Jilemnice. It’s your choice!