Beskydy winter hike




January 2011 • Canon Digital IXUS 100 IS

Trek stats

11km (6mi)

Distance (round trip)


Level of difficulty



On a cold January day we set out to the Beskydy Mountains for a day hike in the area. We planned to walk the nature trail from Grün to Bílý Kříž (White cross). Grün is a mountain village with the origins dating to the 18th century. Bílý Kříž is another village that gets it's name after a white painted folk crucifix. According to legend, it marks a grave of some border guards that died of the plague.

The trail is known for it's historical natural sciences and was first opened to the public in June 2008. There are 14 stops on the trail and leads through the most beautiful ridge of the Beskydy mountains. A thick blanket of snow covered the surrounding mountains and trees. It was still cloudy this morning but the snow made the place look bright. It was a wonderful feeling to walk in freshly layered thick snow. To hear the soft crunch as you make footsteps in the snow.

With the forest of trees painted white, the area looked magical. As if the White Witch of Narnia had cast her spell to cover everywhere in snow and keep it in winter all year round. The cloudy morning had now given way to clear skies.

There was a light drizzle of snow which added to the whole magical feeling of the area. It was a pleasant and calm day compared to the snow blizzard we experienced two days ago on the Radegast trail. The trail was now heading towards one of the forests. I was eager to see what awaited us inside...

Did you know...

The Beskydy Mountains stretches from Czechia in the west along the border of Poland and Slovakia to Ukraine in the east. The Beskydy region in Czechia was declared a protected landscape area in 1973. With a surface area of 1,160 km2, it is the largest protected area in the Czechia.

Into the forest of trees we went. Long thin trees that reached up to the white sky surrounded us. The temperature was cold but not freezing. From time to time we passed by fellow hikers but for most of the trail we were on our own. It felt like there was no one else in the world except us. Since it was winter and there was thick layers of snow, we did not spot any animals. The area is home to a variety of Funa. Butterflies such as the Arran brown (Erebia ligea) and the Satyr butterfly (Erebia euryale) can be seen here.

The rivers has around 25 species of fish. The largest population of Ural owls (Strix uralensis) in Czechia can be found here. The most common small mammal is the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris). Beskydy is also now the home to the Wolf (Canis lupus), Lynx (Lynx lynx) and the Brown bear (Ursus arctos). They were all hunted into extinction in the late 19th Century. As a result of their protection and increased populations in neighboring Slovakia, they have returned back during the last 30 years.

As we left the forest we were greeted with total silence. It was the quietest place I had ever been in my life. Not a sound was to be heard. Not even the wind. It was a bit scary—is this what it feels like to be deaf... I had to mutter to myself to make sure I was still hearing. I stood to reflect on the nature that surround us.

We had now been walking a while and were starting to feel hungry. We decided to head back instead of completing the trail. We made a snow angel and signed our names in some fresh snow where we were and turned around to go back. By the time we got to the start the sun was setting.

Final thoughts

It was a beautiful trail to walk in the snow. With the light drizzle of snow in the air, it was magical to be surrounded in nature this way. It was a much pleasant hike compared to the Radegast nature trail we did a couple of days ago.

I'm sure in the spring and summer they bring it's own particular seasonal charm, but if you get a chance to visit during winter—go!

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