The Jizera Mountains

That is the northernmost range of mountains in the Czech Republic and the territory creates a natural border between our republic and Poland. They were named after the river Jizera which springs in there. The highest peak at the Czech side is a mount Smrk (1.124 m above a sea level) where a border-crossing for hikers can be found. To protect the area, a Nature Reservation the Jizera Mountains was founded in 1967.

Very interesting is a difference in charactersbetween the northern and the southern parts which can be spotted immediately. In the south, peaks are stretching away to a Nisa valley very slowly, whereas in the north they are going down towards the river Smědá abruptly, creating some rocky cliffs. So if you have some boating experience, why not to try to set a sail along the above mentioned river, which is 45 km long on the Czech part, and from which nearly 39 km are passable. The flow is quite rapid and the white-waters and rocks can only be overtaken in a closed boat. The best time for boating is in spring or just after heavy rainfalls. You can also try some other water sections: Bílý Potok – Raspenava, Raspenava – Polish border, Harta – Višňová – Předlánce (a Nature Reservation „Meandry Smědé“has been founded on this part of the river to protect rare and endangered species of plants and water birds).

Even fishermen can enjoy themselves, especially in some areas of rivers Smědá, Lomnice and Řasnice which are rich in trout fish. The other in-flows of the river Smědá are only meant for breeding. Also a pond Petr, in a Nature Reservation Peklo, is suitable for fishing.

Among matters of interest also belong memorials that are commemorating different misfortunes and which are located all over the JizeraMountains (they recall smuggler’s firing, over-freezing, deaths of wood workers, smugglers and people who lost their way, and many others).

It is also characteristic for the JizeraMountains that there are lots of peat-bogs and peat lakes (such as Čihadla, Rašeliniště Jizery), mountain pine fields(Velká jizerská and Malá jizerská louka) and from a lot of well-preserved areas has been created a Natural Reservation Jizerskohorské Bučiny.

The Jizera Mountains also stand for well-preserved watch towers and numerous rock outlooks which are offering some wonderful views. Hiking has a long tradition in the northern parts of the mountains. There are many popular and well-marked tracks that can be used all over the year. Eighteen hiking tracks in the full length of 217, 5 kilometers can be found there, all well-marked by the Czech hiker’s club. Those tracks enable you to climb up as high as to over thousand metres above a sea level (peaks Smrk, Jizera, Frýdlantské Cimbuří, Holubník and so on). Or they will guide you through Frydlant hilly area and help you to become familiar with neighbourhoods of local towns and villages. For explorers there are also available some instructive tracks (for example a track Bukovec – Jizerka – Rašeliniště Jizerky; a natural-historical track Nové Město pod Smrkem and some others).

The northern slopes of the JizeraMountains offer some great conditions for climbing. There are plenty of rock massives, some of them even with really steep tops. Local granite rocks, such as Věž Grálu, Kuří věže, Polední zub, Nos and others, are very popular among climbers. Some climbing areas are located within natural reservations, so required valid permits are necessary.

Even winter has a lot to offer as it is out-coming season for skiers. The best and most popular tracks for cross-country skiing are all over the JizeraMountains ridges. The “Jizera Highway”, a net of 75 kilometres of well-preserved tracks, is leading across wide plains, and being without difficult climbs, it is meant especially for non-efficient skiers. The main and most comfortable starting point is a mountain settlement Smědava (847 m above a sea level) which can easily be reached by bus from the town Raspenava. Then you just have to put on your ski and set on a journey along the Jizera highway. You would have a choice of four different directions – towards mountSmrk, Jizerka, chalets Mariánskohorské boudy and Kneipa. If you are looking for refreshment, you can choose from several kiosks and restaurants, for example at Smědava, Jizerka, Hřebínek, Kneipa, and Nová Louka etc. The Jizera highway can also be joined from a village Ferdinandov, through a valley of Malý Štolpich brook, towards Bílá Kuchyně, through a valley of Velký Štolpich brook, past a waterfall and forward to a chalet Tetřeví boudy.

Downhill skiingis not so popular in Frydlant region, thanks to not very favourable terrain and snow conditions. But some easy and mid-demanding slopes can be found on the southern side of the JizeraMountains – in Bedřichov, Janov nad Jizerou, Albrechtice v Jizerských horách, Desná etc., and some more demanding slopes are at the Ještěd Ridge and in ski centres such as Harrachov, Rokytnice nad Jizerou etc.

An annual cross-country skiing race called „Jizerská 50“ has been held here ever since 1967, and its younger “sibling” is „Jizerská 50“ undertaken by bicycles.

Popular sport is also cycling which is supported by a big amount of tracks, together with many tips for trips (for example to Harta – Pastevecká obora 12 km to Ořešník – waterfalls on the brook Velký Štolpich 8,5 km to spa Lázně Libverda 6 km to a blacksmith Ondřej Stelzig´s forge – a rock Bílá Skála nearby a village Srbská 40 km and so on). Every biker is awaited by three tracks of international importance (No. 3016, 3039, and 3059), two tracks of over-regional importance (No. 3006, 22) and several local tracks (No. 3063, 3064, 3065). It is for sure that all of them are well-marked in the territory. And then there are loads of roads and paths which are not distinguished and which will take you along brooks, through forests or up to upper parts of the JizeraMountains. Common sights here are alleys consisting of maples, ash trees and lime trees.