Wielka Kopa, Rudawy Janowickie
Wielka Kopa, 871m, is one of the highest tops of the region of Rudawy Janowickie, the forehills of the Karkonosze range, a hilly region with a dense and interesting network of cycleable trails, but above all one of Poland's most famous spots for
rockclimbing. This trail combines the visit of the highest point served with an official cycleable trail, with a curiosity of the geology, the "Colorful lakes". Those, the red and the blue, are indeed the remains of mining activities long ago, and their colour results from the minerals contained in the soil.
This was an international trip since we were 3, one french (me), a german guy (Jan), and an italian girl (Consuello), not the slowest to be mentionned ! (Consuello made another page from another trip here the following week end !)
After this trip, the conclusion is Rudawy Janowickie is really a great area. It is like some sort of garden, with very varied lanscapes, lots of trees species, just like if the landscape was designed by some artist. Very worth returning.
The idea for next time is to explore the West part, from Schronisko Szwajcarka to the top called Skalnik....
The trail starts in Janowice Wielkie, the area's main town, at first sight a decrepit doddgy location, but indeed a cleaner and cosier touristic resort as we venture in the streets behind, especially as we get close to Zamek Bolczów, a popular castle ruin that we can visit. Near there is also located "Leśny Dwór", a famous old luxuous lodge, where one will not magage to eat neither sleep (only events such as weddings !) but worth seeing.
The trail leaves first the town by the yellow trail and follows for a while the Bóbr river to the East, via what seems to be a road on the map, but which is in reality only a muddy land rover trail (good for us cyclers !). The Bóbr ("beaver's river") is a famous river in the area for water sports such as rafting and kayak, and the sights on the portion of trail, along this wild river, are interesting and beautiful.
At Ciechanowice, we cross the bridge again, we leave the yellow trail and cycle for a while on the asphalt, until the portion of main road at Przybkowice is passed. From there, it becomes a large beaten track, marked in blue, elevating slowly and steadily into fields and a bucolic landscape.
We reach Wieściszowice, a beautiful village (really beautiful and photogenic, this is rare in such random places in Poland). The church is really beautiful, clean white with genuine wooden roof, and there are few very old houses "the old way" (wooden beams), almost like in an open-air folk museum.
From there starts the touristic part of the trail, the highlight of the loop: the visit of the "Colorful Lakes" (Kolorowe Jeziorka). The blue trail continues, but increasing significantly the slope.
The first lake, "Purple lake", appears on the left. The first point of view is a bit disappointing, it looks like a marsh with a vague muddy colour. But the rest of the lake appears from a terrace (refreshments for sale in summer) few meters later, where the lake is deeper. The colour is surprising, as we expected to see it.
The section from the first lake to the second one, by bike (there is also the pedestrian one, uncycleable), owns a terribly steep section of two hundred meters, unnoticeable on the map; a challenge of strength and handling skills to cycle it up without stepping off.
The second lake, "Azur Lake", appears few meters after the trail gets flat again. This is the most amazing. The blue is so deep and bright that we could picture ourselves on a shore in the Caraibes or Croatia. Unusual tones for South West Poland ! Unfortunately you may meet crowds there, the attraction is locally famous.
Following the second lake, before the section that circumvents Wielka Kopa, is located another "wall", requiring iron legs and mental, not to push up the horse... The trail that goes around Wielka Kopa, still with the same blue marks, is a relief, as it goes down gently while we circumvent the first part, until the village of Raszów.
In Raszów, we turn right and cycle up a hundred steep meters on the asphalt, until we reach a barrier... that we pass, continuing left on the track behind, still with the blue marks. It climbs slowly until a Z, where we gain most of the height to reach the summital part of Wielka Kopa. The real top is accessible only on foot via a pedestrial trail (yellow and green marks), the most curious can hide the bikes and go on foot there some twenty minutes (not much on the top apart from a picnic table near rocky outcrops). Karkonosze is visible on the south-east.
We follow the blue trail down until the pass Przełęcz Rędzińska. From there, it is adviseable to leave it and instead take the yellow pedestrial trail running first parallel to it, but diverging later to keep a steady height. We avoid going down too much, and above all a long section of asphalt on the road.
We can return directly to the starting point following the yellow by a straightforward trail, via Mniszków. But, unless you are really tired, it would be a pity to end so soon the trip in such a beautiful and varied area.
An interesting alternative which makes the loop slightly longer, and with more various type of terrain consists in taking the road on the left, following the yellow marks, that leave soon after suddenly on the right, by a fine trail elevating in the direction of Dzicza Góra. Without we notice it on the markage, the continuity becomes marked with blue marks, until the point where we reach a large junction.
We leave the blue marks, neither we take the red ones from left to right, we continue ahead on a large track too, but unmarked. There starts a long entertaining descent with some technical rocky sections, easy enough to be handled by bike only.
Near the end, we pass some of the rocks that make the celebrity of the area for rockclimbing, Starościńskie Skały and Skały Most (natural rocky bridge, made by a large stone blocked in the air). The end of the descent follows an asphalted road, but closed to cars, and going along few other famous climbing spots like Skalne Bramy. We finally pass Zamek Bolczów and Leśny Dwór to get back to Janowice Wielkie.
From Wrocław, take the motorway A4 to the West. At the exit of Kostomłoty, take the road n°5 in the direction of Jelenia Gora (the exit is just after a sort of inn on the motorway named "Filipek Bar").
Follow the road 5 until Bolków, then Kaczorów, where is suddenly located the junction to Janowice Wielkie.
In Janowice Wielkie, the best (not to say the only) place to park is in front of the train station.
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When to Bike
Summer, Spring, Autumn. Beware, slippy when wet !