Šumava National Park, Czech Republic
submitted by: Jessica Vanhoeck
Why you should do this route
Sumava National Park has a lot to offer: from dense forests, magnificent lakes to cozy little towns. The hike is sometimes challenging, but other days you get to rest. If you’re not an experienced hiker, the trail is perfect: the camping spots are well equipped, there are enough towns you pass through to get drinks or food but you can still enjoy nature and have a real backpacking experience.
We had a hard time finding the start of the trail. We weren’t that prepared and thought the tourist information office – they have them in every town – would be able to give us a map. They did not. So we navigated to the parking lot in Železná Ruda that would take us to Hurka Hut. The parking lot is not for long-term parking. You have to pay per day and you are not able to pay for more than one day. We decided to leave the car somewhere shady, but there must have been long-term parking lots in Zelena Ruda from where you can hop on the shuttle bus.
When we finally arrived at Hurka Hut we discovered a little map that guided us on the trail. Once we had figured that out, it was easy to follow the trails since there is signage. Be careful to follow the cross country skiing trails and not the mountainbike trails. They will offer you a lot more adventurous hikes.
If you want to go for a swim, you may be disappointed. Not all of the lakes are accessible and it is not always permitted to swim everywhere. When we stayed at Hurka Hut we wanted to dive into jez. lake, 2,5 km ahead, but it looked kind of dangerous so we just dipped our toes into the water. In Modrava, the camping spot is nearby a river. There you can wash up easily.
Since you can only camp at the camping spots, it’s easy to make friends. Sometimes the camping spots are a little crowded. Every camping spot has a Dixi toilet and garbage bins. You are not allowed to start a fire. There are some tables you can use to eat at. At most places you are able to fill your water bottles, but we filled them with water from the creeks as well. Just make sure there’s enough current and it will not make you sick. In Modrave it was a little different since the camping spot is nearby a hotel with a cozy bar.
I really enjoyed the hikes. Every day was different. Sometimes we were out in the open, other days we had to climb through the forest and a day later we were chilling at the bar.
The trail is still somewhat unknown to tourists that are not German or Czech. Make sure you know a few words german (or Czech) to get around in the little villages. Most people don’t speak english. There are many mountainbike routes here as well and you are able to use the shuttle busses to go back to where you left your car. I did this trail in the summer, but during the winter you can use the trails for cross country skiing.
Do it yourself
Start of the trail
End of the trail