Medvědská Hornatina, or Pásmo Orlíka, as we call this wide mountain, is a close neighbour of Praděd and Šerák, slightly smaller but much wilder. The area is a sea of firs, into which run many trails, most of them with a steady gradient and covered with asphalt, since it is a popular cross-country skiing destination in winter, and makes sub-consequently a great cycling terrain, not only mountain biking but also cyclotouring.
The culminating point, Medvědí vrch, however, is only accessible by a wild bumpy track, whose last metres require a bike-push. The ride starts from Zlaté Hory, famous town for gold mining (here took place the 2010 world championships), and Rejvíz, highest village of Czech Republic, at 750m of height, famous for its natural peat-bog hosting a crater-like lake, visited by this circuit.
I started my ride from the water mills touristic car park. Knowing that I would try the descent via the green-marked singletrack, I decided to use another route for the ascent, on asphalt.
Via an unmarked tractor track through the fields, I reached the village of Ondřejovice, and cycled up the tiny road until the junction near Rejvíz.
What I did not do that day, but that can be done by bike (done on foot the year before) is crossing Rejvíz, and take the marked trail to the peat bog, thanks to the yellow trail making a loop around it.
Then I started to elevate into the forest via the red marked bike trail, still on asphalt tracks (closed to cars), running SW in the direction of the top Kazatelny. At one point, the track makes a wide lace, passing first a memorial dedicated to WW2 Russian soldiers and their former bunker ("Ruský hřbitov"), then the junction to two pedestrian trails, one green-marked, one yellow.
As we reach a point that is just below the summit Orlik, we follow the blue-marked bike signs keeping south (the steepest track, not the other going lower), to meet the first non-asphalted portion of trail, a quite rough section with stones indeed. But fortunately descending. It ends at a wide junction named "Pasmo Orlika" where a distinct green pedestrian trail is met, as well as a large track going up the mountain side.
We take the right side, which turns to be first quite steady, and then a long descent across the forest. At this point we are almost at the other end of the massif, and re-enter hardwood forests. The idea is to get back to the level of the green trail, seen before, and return this way. This is made by the mean of an unmarked trail climbing in diagonal, met at one point, near the signs of two castle ruins on the map.
The trail, despite rough, is wide enough and cycleable on the way up. The green-trail met upside is another track, still not asphalted too, but quite flat. At one point we pass a couple of rocky cornices that overlook the valley, with splendid views to Praděd. Good spot for a break, in the sun.
Time for bagging (or not) the summit comes at the moment the green trail suddenly makes an angle to the left.
Many secondary trails and tracks are drawn on the map, but in the reality there are not so many, partly due to the state of the forest. Take the direction of the pass, on a large track soon turns SE, and goes on the south side of the top. As we reach the highest point of this track, a secondary path appears on the left. It reaches the trail to the top of Medvědí Vrch that corresponds to the mathematic straight line to Orlik.
Unfortunately, the top Medvědí Mrch is kind of disappointing. The sub-alpine area is a messy zone of broken trees, like if a cataclysm happened there recently. Flown in high grass and wild vegetation, the top barely allows views (we get them rather on a couple of viewpoints aside), which is a pity. Medvědí Mrch definitely deserves some outlook tower, and having its last portion of trail maintained. It would make a great destination for tourists on foot, ski, or bike.
If we descend later via the Orlik line, unlike what the map shows, it doesn't reach Orlik but connects to the unmarked land-rover track located on the NE slope. This track, after many laces and long way in the forest, gets back to the red-marked cycling path E55 on the east of the massif. One can see a little forestry house on Orlik and wonder what this is, and how to reach it. It is done by using the descent route earlier mentionned. At the level of a hunting tower, at a perpendicular level of Orlik, is located a land-rover trail that serves it.
The E55 path gets back to Rejvíz on magnificent portion of asphalt, closed to cars and along a river. Definitely a paradise for cyclotouring. The descent back to Zlaté Hory is made via the green trail from Rejvíz to the water mills. A delicious singletrack landing right in the middle of the touristic attraction.
The drive is pretty simple and quick, both from Olomouc in Czech Republic, or Wrocław, Poland, as it is near the border.
From Olomouc, take the direction north to Bruntál and Vrbno pod Pradědem. Zlaté Hory is next.
From Wrocław, take first the A4 motorway and the exit in the direction of Nysa. Zlaté Hory is the next town as we pass the border after Głuchołazy.
Once in Zlaté Hory (pretty town), take the small road west going in the direction of Ondřejovice. The touristic car park of the water mills lies on the left of the road just before a railway bridge. This is the most convenient place to park.
View Larger Map
When to bike
Since most of the surface is asphalted or hard gravels, can be done most of the year as long as snow is absent, even by wet weather.