Snowy Summit I

Route to the crown of Karkonosze (Giant Mountains) via Sowia Przełęcz (Owl Pass)

What season? Recommended from late spring until early autumn, unless the snow is still/already there.

Description of the hike

Get off the bus at Konstytucji 3-go Maja Street in Karpacz. Find the black trail sign and follow it. The first part leads through the town. Between Obronców and Skalana Street, close to the Relaks Hotel, enter the green part of the mountains. From now on, up to Sowia Przełęcz (Owly Pass, 1164m.a.s.l.) you will hike up on a quite steep hillside. The trail will lead you across the beautiful woods along the Płomnica brook. After a 20 minute walk among the trees, you will cross the creek in a place called Szeroki Most (Wide Bridge). Here, two trails cross each other: yours – black – and the green one which connects Przełęcz Okraj (Okraj Pass) with the Biały Jar bus station in Karpacz.

Continue trekking up the hill following the black trail. Passing Sowia Dolina (Owly Valley), in approximately 70 minutes you will reach Sowia Przełęcz (Owly Pass) . Here you need to turn right and take the red trail which will take you to the top of Śnieżka (Snowy Summit, 1602 m.a.s.l.). Just 15 minutes away from Sowia Przełęcz (Owly Pass), there is Czech shelter Jelenka (jelenka.eu). A small but very cosy place where you can buy something to eat or drink. Additionally, 26 beds await for those who wish to stay overnight.

Whether or not you took a break – once you are ready to continue trekking, follow the red signs to the direction of Śnieżka. At a height of about 1350 m.a.s.l. the landscape changes as the trees are replaced by the dwarf mountain pine. If the weather is good, you should enjoy wonderful views of both Polish and Czech highlands. The next stop is planned on the top of Śnieżka. Keep in mind that usually it’s quite windy there so don't forget to take proper clothes.

Once you are ready to go down, start your trek back. Follow the red signs on the opposite side of the peak from the one you arrived at. It will guide you to the steep descent in the direction of the yellow shelter. It is Dom Śląski (Silesian House, www.domslaski.pl) which offers food and 72 beds for those who would like to sleep over. From this place you have at least 5 options to come back to Karpacz. Before you choose one, take a moment to enjoy the extraordinary view along the Czech part of Karkonosze (Giant Mountains).

Our trail leads through Kocioł Białego Jaru (White Ravine Cirque). In order to get there, follow the black trail which at this point goes in line with the red and blue. After a while, the hikes split and go different directions. Turn right and travel along the black one. It will guide you down to the Bialy Jar bus stop in Karpacz.

There is a story related to Biały Jar (White Ravine): In 1968, on March 30th, the biggest tragic accident in the history of Polish Mountains took a place. A snow avalanche killed 19 tourists: 10 women and 9 men from Poland, Russia and Germany. The snow slide was 700 m long, 80 m wide and over 20 m deep. This trail has since been closed during winter season.