The Kaczawa (Góry Kaczawskie) hills form the northernmost piedmont of the Sudetes on the Polish side. Made of bucolic hills and quite agricultural, this sympathic landscapes owns another more original specificity: it is a volcanic ground. The dark rock made of basalts, which remidns the French Auvergne, witness it... Some surprising features such as organs of basalt (like Ireland's Giant Causeway), or... canyons, dug by water erosion.
This circuit, made on a sunny warm day of August with my friend Romain, visits two of these features, the rocky outcrop of Czartowska Skała and the canyon of Wąwoz Myśliborski. There are many others of these features and the region is definitely worth coming back !
We started in Leszczyna, which is perhaps not the best starting point, but had the advantage to be near the motorway.
A red-marked cycling trail (not to mix with a pedestrian trail of the same colour) leaves the village and reaches Stanisławów, after a steep climb which is not the best warm-up we could expect...
In Stanisławów, we follow a quite flat long portion of roads over the plateaus, that reaches Pomocne. On the east side of Pomocne, we turn south to reach the junction with the main road 265 near Myslinów. From this road, the rocky outcrop of Czartowska Skała is visible on the right.
Myslinów, can be reached by following still the red bike marks that use a diversion through the fields south from the road. In Myslinów, we reach back the road and keep cycling on it via a long descent to Mysliborze, after which the canyon that will be later visited is named.
The canyon is not very well indicated apart from the signs to a dodgy touristic car park. But locals seem to know the place well, judging by the number of walkers. We first follow a little path through the forest, that seem to have nothing exceptional. The "real" inside of the canyon is reached after while, when we are surrounded by 2 steep walls made of black basaltic stone, just narrow enough to give room to the trail and the stream. From time to time ladders allow to switch from one shore to the other, some of them are manageable by bike, some less; which makes a bit of fun...
The upper side of the canyon Wąwoz Myśliborski, according to signs, is not allowed to visitors, but only according to signs: we saw the same amount of footprints so we kept going in. At some point, the canyon is so narrow that the trail goes on rocky sides, which makes the ride almost impossible, given the fact water makes them very slippery. Our idea was to keep going along the black marks till the end, but what seemed to be the main trail took us unexpectedly out of it at some point on the right, and we realized we were on the green-marked educational trail of the canyon. I cannot remember the junction where the black one separated, but I am sure there was one. The green educational trail took us back to Mysliborze, against our expectations, but this part of the ride was very good.
The return was made the same way, with one exception: we took the yellow-marked trail near Pomocne, that goes on the foot of Czartowska Skała. This curious outcrop of hexagonal basalt columns can be hillwalked for the curiosity to the top where stands a cross. The yellow trail is not the most comfortable, going into dense vegetation, and then peat bogs (in one of which my friend felt !)
The approach is quite direct since Leszczyna is very close to the A4 motorway, either from Wroclaw, Dresden or Berlin. Significantly far from Czech Republic (via Jelenia Góra)
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When to Bike
All year long, as long as snow is absent.