For Wonderful Views to the Sandstone Mountains
The most interesting rocks are easily accessible if you stick to the tourist paths. Let us go to the sandstone mountains then. It is possible to travel closer by car or your starting point can be the town of Hrádek nad Nisou. You need not worry about losing your way as there is an abundance of tourist sign posts which also give you a choice of distances to walk to your chosen destination.
If you begin your journey at the railway station, you should follow the yellow markers, these markers lead to Kristýna Lake and from there you should choose the blue markers to get up to the first viewing point. The reward for your effort is a view from a rocky outcrop named Kohoutí vrch (The Rooster Peak). From your viewpoint the town of Hrádek nad Nisou is partially hidden behind the trees, but you have a lovely view of Kristýna Lake and Saxon town Žitava (Zittau). If you follow a westerly direction, signs of civilization start to diminish. Clearly visible below you there is the Bílý potok valley which forms the Czech and German border. Above the valley there are Výří Skály (Owl Rocks), on the right on the horizon there is a twin-peaked hill Hvozd (The Wood) with a lookout tower and a restaurant on the top. If you look to the left, you can see two rocks named Sokol (The Falcon) and Jezevčí vrch (The Badger Hill).
Leaving the Kohoutí vrch outcrop, following the blue sign, you cross over the top of Sedlecký Špičák (The Sedlecký Spike), then going through the little saddle you reach Popova skála (The Popova Cliff) which dominates the eastern part of Lužické mountains.
Depending on the visibility, from your position on Popova skála (The Popova Cliff) it is possible to see three countries – The Czech Republic, Germany and Poland and also the peaks of Jizerské hory (The Jizera Mountains), Krkonoše (The Krkonoše Mountains) and České středohoří (The Czech Central Mountains). To help your orientation there are panoramic tables situated at the highest point of the lookout.
Continuing to follow the blue sign you return to the saddle between the two peaks and move onto Tobiášova borovice (Tobias’s Pinetree). On your way you pass a significant rock named Podkova (The Horseshoe). The number of horseshoes on its surface is said to represent a fiery steed, the mount of an alleged outlaw from the nearby Loupežnický vrch (The Highwayman’s Hill). From this path there is a limited view of further rocks of Skalní divadlo (The Sandstone Theatre).
Taking the red tourist marked path from Tobiášova borovice you continue to Krásný důl (Beautiful Pit), at which you have a choice to return to the town of Hrádek nad Nisou or to follow the green markers and climb up to Vraní skály (Crows’ Rocks). If you are adventurous, it is possible to get to a spot among the rocks which will reward you with spectacular view of the countryside. Following the path around Horní skály (Upper Rocks) which are cherished by the climbing community brings you to the end of your journey around the sandstone rocks. At the Baroque Chapel in Horní Sedlo (Upper Saddle) you join the red tourist path until you reach Krásný důl, where you change to the blue path to return to the town.
The circuit is 19 km long with a maximum altitude of 630 m. You can make your journey easier by choosing to omit sections of the paths. The easiest accessibility is from Dolní Sedlo (Lower Saddle), which is just a short walk to Popova skála (The Popova Cliff). Horní and Vraní skály are best accessible from Horní Sedlo.