Okole, Łysa Góra & Skopiec
The Kaczawa mountains (Góry Kaczawskie), volcanic forehills of the Sudetes, can be divided into two types of terrain: a gentle piedmont (visited last year during this ride), and a hillier south half, similar in character with the neighbouring Rudawy Janowickie.
Three little summits close to each other can be visited in the same ride. Okole, Łysa Góra and Skopiec are each very different tops.
Steep Okole is topped by some sharp volcanic outcrops and that make a fine viewpoint. The ascent by the west and descent by the east are possible but both very challenging by bike.
Łysa Góra is a large flat mountain topped by wide grassy meadows. Two antennas that waste a bit the scenery, it hosts a ski resort and a hut too. While an asphalted road provides access to a hut near top, the wild track on its SW slope is a real delight (ascent or descent).
Skopiec, highest but entirely topped by forests, but surrounded by a dense network of interesting trails. Few places offer stunning panoramas to the Karkonosze range, as it overlooks the basin of Jelenia Góra.
The whole ride cumulates a significant total elevation and makes a good training on mountainous terrain.
We had booked with my wife what I think to one of the finest B&B accomodations we've ever stayed in Poland ! But the shortcut I took from Wojcieszów to get back there (Dobków) is not advisable. Wild vegetation, lost my way several times...
Dobków, where we accomodated, was my starting point, but one isn't obliged to start from there. For a day-trip, and arriving from Legnica, Swierzawa is a more practical trailhead.
From the A4 motorway exit of Legnica, you need to follow the direction of Złotoryja in the south. Once you reach Złotoryja, head in the direction of Jelenia Góra, Swierzawa is about half way.
View Larger Map
The first part of the ride consisted in reaching the other end of this hilly area by the road, which would make a good warming up. I passed Stara Kraśnica, Swierzawa, Sędziszowa, and in Sokołowiec I turned left to Rząśnik.
South from Rząśnik as we leave the village, elevates on the left the track leading to the top of the mountain Okole. First comfortable across grassy meadows, it follows then the right side of the mountain, elevating on a track that is not always in the best state. It climbs steadily till a pin-turn to the left, and after a heavy push we reach the crest of the hill on a large intersection where a break is welcome.
Then we follow the ridge eastwards, and the track goes just below the volcanic outcrops that make the celebrity of this mountain. If you aren't afraid to leave your bike alone, or to carry it a bit, you can climb the tallest outcrop that makes the summit and provides panoramic views like a natural outlook tower. The descent that follows is great, and takes you back to the road 365 near Raczyn.
The next on the list is Łysa Góra. There are two ways to visit it, depending if you prefer to climb it in the easy way and descend the rough, or the opposite. I chose the opposite to train, and as it makes a better continuity. So I rode down to Chrośnica on the asphalt, and there after a bridge, I found a track elevating left into the mountain. At one point that I thought to be the ridge I found an intersection with a way left. The map isn't accurate and I oriented myself with my intuition, always going up. Then the tiny trail led me to the expected wide summit meadow, where stands a huge radio transmitter. Then we ride down as we pass the mountain hut (Łysa Góra is a ski resort) to get back to the road 365.
We cross a large open field, and then follow the blue trail riding the southern slope of Skopiec, on very varied terrain, once meadows, once forests. Don't miss the signs on some tricky junctions. At the very end I didn't follow the pedestrian trail and kept the main track till Komarno. Later a large track took me down to Wojcieszów.
I should have get back to Dobków by the main road but I tried to do it the rough way. That wasn't a good idea. The unmarked trails, despite present on the map, aren't maintained, and vegetation makes the ride impossible.
When to ride
Most of the season. Beware after heavy rains, it can be muddy in places like the panorama below.