After Kalenica, my quest of joining all portions of the Sudetes I have ridden is more on than ever, and the following week-end I decided with a friend to ride a part located between 2 other of my previous rides, Borůvková Hora on the north, and the White Mountains on the south. Between is located the continuation of what is called the "Golden Mountains" (Góry Złote in Polish), so called because of their mining past.
Speaking bike, this is a sort of no-man's land with no single mountain hut or any touristic feature, just forestry trails running on and along the ridge, that culminates at Kowadło/Kovadlina (989m). Empty, but how beautiful !
Just long enough to make a half-day ride with a Polish friend, Piotr who speaks fluent French. A part of the ride is made in Poland, then continued on the Czech side as the most convenient ridge trail tends to be there.
Ride started from Lądek-Zdrój, oldest spa resort in Europe, a place than German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe used to enjoy some centuries ago, and after which has been named a dense network of promenades, in which he used to hike, above the town. A good occasion to have a glance to this photogenic location.
After parking in Lądek-Zdrój (preferably in the entrance of the town, not to miss the beautiful market place while riding), we elevate in the heights of the town, which are continued by an important network of marked trails, including a blue-marked one that goes like a clockwise half-circle around the hill Trojak. It reaches a large junction near the top (Rozdroże Zamkowe) where an asphalted road is arriving from another direction.
We follow its green marks until it goes down and makes a sudden turn right. Instead of turning we take the forestry track that goes straight, unmarked on some maps but recently marked with red cycle signs. It goes under a peaklet named Černý vrch before reaching a red-marked pedestrian trail over Nowy Gierałtów, that leads to the border (easy to miss if too fast !). Take this trail. A short but steep climb that will force many to step down reaches the border (pass Przełęcz Gierałtowska).
The wild ill-maintained Polish track and the cleanness of its Czech continuation, as well as the clean wide empty meadow, makes a stark contrast ! This portion is highly entertaining as we must ride in the middle of this field, in which goes the blue-cycling trail (continuation of the Borůvková Hora one), which we can barely recognize only thanks to a stick standing somewhere in the middle. Head in the direction of a little house.
Then the trail enters the forest and goes along the main ridge on the north side. After a while, it makes a large diversion, circumventing a peaklet named Špičák. After a long descend and new ride-up, we pass along a red-marked pedestrian trail and the blue-cycle trail continue its way along the ridge, heading now South.
Another little diversion avoids the peaklet Břidličný vrch. Then we arrive to a junction near the border again (pass Sedlo Peklo). From there two options. We can ride down to the Polish side (steep and challenging), that soon reaches a parallel track, which we take north, and takes us down near Nowy Gierałtów. We can also ride to the top of Kowadło/Kovadlina (hard), until the green trail takes us down to Bielice (steep too), start of the White Mountains circuit.
The road takes us down to Nowy Gierałtów, and then Stary Gierałtów, using a secondary road on the less used side of the river. Then a green trail suddenly heads north. It reaches a closed asphalted road, then heads again north (easy to miss !) to reach back Lądek-Zdrój by the Goethe promenade. Many variants possible there.
From Poland, it is reached in most cases leaving the A4 in Wrocław and heading south in the direction of Kłodzko. But the road heading directly from Ząbkowice Śląskie to Lądek-Zdrój, despite sinuous, is a much better option than the often stuffed centre of Kłodzko; what's more very scenerical.
From Czech Republic, it all depends where we come from. From West (Prague), most prople will drive to the Náchod border and then Kłodzko. From South (Olomouc), the pass Kladské sedlo (Przełęcz Płoszczyna) will be prefered to reach Stronie Śląskie and then Lądek-Zdrój. Finally, let's mention that despite not calculated by Google Maps, the pass East from Lądek-Zdrój (pzelecz Lądecka / sedlo Travná) is open to cars since Schengen (2008) then makes a good option to reach the place either from Eastern Poland or Eastern Czech Rep.
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When to Bike
Spring, summer, autumn.
The trails are quite OK concerning mud, thanks to the stones which cover it in many places you can ride it without problems after rainy weather.