The Adršpach Teplice Rocks are an unusual set of sandstone formations covering 17 km2 in northeastern Bohemia, Czech Republic. Named after two nearby municipalities: Adršpach, and Teplice nad Metují they have played host to films, theater, early graffiti artists, climbers and adventurers. The area is also one of the largest permanent breeding sites of the peregrine falcon in Europe, as they are protected here under federal law. Some areas have been designated off limits to climbers and hikers to ensure the birds aren't disturbed. Arriving in Dolní Adršpach in the small hours of the morning the world had yet to rumble awake. Through the glimmer of first icy winter light and heavy frost underfoot, the sleepy village sparkled like a winters postcard.
The welcome to this particularly unique and wonderful national park is sprawling lake, frozen over in blues and hues of pink from the rising sun that's by now just broken the tree line. Across the frozen water you see the rising statues of the Skalní Město, silent and majestic and crowned with a foot of snow. Skirting round the icy waters edge we enter the first avenue of rocks and tread towards an impressive column of clean cut sandstone standing sentry to the Adršpašské Skalní Město (Rock Town). Beyond this an impressively ornate stone portal transports you to a world so full of tiny metal ladders, caves, cascading waterfalls and springs that appear as if from solid rock, tunnels and bridges that you can't but help the child in you squeal as it runs away with your imagination.
Beyond the stone gateway you meet a gathering of elephants, rocks named after several Mayors (Starosta), the Great Panorama, the Organ Pipes, the Guillotine and Medusa’s Head. One of our favourite spots was a meadows flanked with thick woodland climbing into the rocky walls of the rock town. It was the most serene place we had happened upon and we just stood there in the silence enjoying everything about it. After a short while and fueled with spiced winter tea we walked on, turned a corner and entered the dark forest that surrounds the fort where you can climb several hundred steps up a combination of ladders and rickety metal stairs to enjoy a wonderful view across the park and the rocks protruding from the depths of the forest.
The Horní Vlčí vodopád Beruška (impressive lime rich waterfalls) give you an idea of the formation of these incredible passages, caves and arches as they thunder down into black ravines. Beyond the rock town and dark forest a second cluster of rock formations lead you towards the outer rim of the forest. Gaining height quickly the claustrophobic walls of rock and wood open up and through a snowy sky we gaze across at the Chrámové Stěny (Temple Walls), an awesome vista across the various peaks and snow clad trees below. Here the path branches and depending on your plan and schedule you can begin your exit from the park by three very different trails. With tummies rumbling we turn towards the darkening wood and climb down onto the trail home. A fast paced walk around the edge of the forest in fading light and cut across some snowy meadows to Janovice where a welcoming smell and warmth of fire meet us through the gleaming windows of Hostinec U Tyšerů. After a hearty stew we're back out into the freezing cold, night has fallen and through the dark we see our bus winding along the quiet road to take us back to our car and home.
Thank you Česká for a beautiful adventure we wont forget!