7 trails to Sněžka

Hiking Sněžka is rewarding. It is the highest mountain in the Czech Republic and one of the most striking peaks in Poland. Thanks to its location and the diversity of its slopes, it is an excellent destination for everyone, young and old. From the Polish side it attracts tourists to its slopes from Karpacz, while from the Czech side tourists come mainly from Pec pod Sněžkou. In this article we will show you seven different routes to the top of this steep, picturesque and windy mountain! If you’re curious about what awaits you at the top, we’ve created an audio guide for Sněžka! Download our app now to explore this guide and discover Giant Mountais.

PLEASE NOTE: This is one of the most exposed and windy places in the Polish mountains, and there are no shelters on the summit! Remember to wear appropriate footwear and clothing. Forget flip-flops. Always have something to protect you from the wind and rain.

NOTE2: The most popular starting point for the ascent is the Dom Śląski shelter. This place is typically busy, so it may not offer a typical mountain atmosphere. From there, there are two marked trails that will take you to Sněžka. The first, marked in red, is short and steep – and one-way in summer (you can only go uphill). The second, marked in blue, is sometimes closed in winter because of the danger of avalanches. It is much easier, but longer.

So, here are 7 ideas for climbing the highest mountain in the Giant Mountains!


A Super-Easy Route to the Very Top

We start with the first, easiest hike to the top of Sněžka. From the Czech side, you take the famous gondola to the top. Sněžka is an iconic peak for Czechs, so this trip is the Giant Mountains equivalent of climbing Kasprowy Wierch. You can drive to the bottom station but be prepared for challenges. They can include long queues at the ticket office or strong winds, that may cause the gondola to be closed. For your return, you have the option of riding the gondola back down or hiking, perhaps via Obři důl. More information about the cableway can be found on its official website.

Quickest Route with Moderate Hiking

Less avid climbers from Poland will look for the lift on the Polish side. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), attempts to build a cableway to the top have so far failed. The only less strenuous option from the Polish side is to take the lift to Kopa, a nondescript peak about 200 metres below. From there, it is a 2-kilometre walk. This option is not available in bad weather, and in good weather, the ticket queues can be quite long. To avoid any surprises, check the Karpacz Ski Arena website.


The Easiest Foot-Only Hike

If you prefer not to exert yourself too much—and would rather not use ski lifts and cableways for climbing peaks—the easiest approach to Sněžka is from the Okraj Pass (Przełecz Okraj). This route requires climbing about 600 metres. As a bonus, it bypasses the crowded section of the trail from below the ‘Dom Śląski’. You can reach the Okraj Pass by bus from Karpacz, or by car from Polish or Czech side ; however, be aware that there is a parking fee at the pass.

Traversing the Scenic Route


In our opinion, the most beautiful trail to Sněžka leads through the Mały Staw (Little Lake) and past the Samotnia shelter. Starting from Karpacz, prepare for a climb, as the altitude difference reaches 1000 metres. However, the stunning views along the way will more than compensate for your effort. For many, the view of Samotnia above the Mały Staw surpasses even that of the Tatras’ Morskie Oko Lake. This trail is also an excellent option for descending from the summit!


The Shortest Trail to the Summit

For those who still want to climb the mountain on foot, follow the red trail through the Łomniczka valley. Along the way, you’ll pass the Łomniczka Waterfall and a small mountain shelter. This trail is slightly less crowded, possibly because it’s less scenic and involves a steep climb. Note that it’s inaccessible in winter due to the risk of avalanches.

Trail to Sněžka through the Obři důl

Obři důl is one of the most beautiful areas in the Czech Giant Mountains. The trail to Sněžka begins at the bottom of the gondola and climbs gently through the depths of a valley flanked by two side ridges of Sněžka. A winding path then leads to the ‘Dom Śląski’. From there, only the final straight stretch remains—200 metres to the summit. If you arrive at Pec Pod Sněžkou by bus, you can descend to Karpacz following one of our routes proposed in this article.


Conquering Sněžka’s Toughest Trail

Finally, for enthusiasts of lengthy hikes, including two-day excursions, the challenging route from Szklarska Poręba is recommended. This demanding trail spans over 28 kilometres and is not suitable for the faint-hearted. In exchange, the route rewards hikers with some of the most expansive mountain views in Poland. To conserve energy, it’s advisable to take the lift to Szrenica in Szklarska Poręba, as skipping the lift extends the route to 34 km. Our audio guide to the Giant Mountains provides detailed coverage.

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