Glittering surfaces, fathomless depths and divine quiet… The impression that the Black and Devil’s Lakes make on you will be heightened by the fact that you yourself have to discover them, as they are hidden away deep in a forest. They are not, alas, for everybody. You cannot reach the lakes by car but have to climb every altitudinous metre under your own steam. However, when you catch sight of them for the first time, their beauty will take your breath away.
Šumava’s lakes, which are located at over 1,000m above sea level, are among the jewels of the area’s countryside. The biggest and the most popular are the Black and Devil’s Lakes. The best route to the former is along the yellow hiking trail from Špičácké sedlo.
The secret depths and dark colour of the Black Lake
The Black Lake boasts several records. It is the largest lake in Šumava and indeed the entire Czech Republic. It is also Šumava’s deepest and lowest lying lake. Its name comes from the lake’s black colour, which is caused by the reflection of the surrounding dark forest. From the Black Lake you can reach the Devil’s Lake by following the red trail; it will take you through roots and tree stumps to the crossing at Jezerní potok, from where it is just a stone’s throw to the Devil’s Lake.
A devil with a stone on its tail
The Devil’s Lake is the hardest lake to reach in Šumava, but it is also without question its most beautiful. Legend has it that the devil gave the lake its name. In fact, he is said to have drowned when a stone was tied to his tail by a girl who he wanted to drag down to hell; as he descended, he dug out the valley in which the lake lies. Actually, they say that to this day strange figures and creatures sometimes emerge from beneath its surface.
Šumava’s most beautiful view
Šumava’s lakes are an illustrious example of what nature is capable of creating over several thousand years. The same goes for the Boubín primeval forest, where you can experience a forest whose trees are up to 400 years old. You will also find genuine wilderness at the confluence of the boulder-filled streams called the Vydra and the Křemelná. At one point, this spot was home to a water-powered sawmill named Čeňkova Pila. A walk along the Vydra, with its enormous boulders, will make you feel like you are in the Alps. And if you have enjoyed discovering Šumava’s lakes, why not also visit Prášilské Lake? The best view of it can be enjoyed from the Poledník lookout tower. Indeed, the Šumava Mountains in general offer some of the highest viewing towers in the Czech Republic.