Travny Hiking Trail Contents:
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- 14.5 kilometres, approximately 5 hours 15 minutes.
- 810 metres height gain.
- Moderately challenging – some steep parts and loose rocks on the path.
This is a lovely hiking trail for people who want to get off the beaten track, so to speak. There is no restaurant at the top, so the crowds avoid it. The one possible bad point is that there isn’t much of a view over the surrounding mountains because of the trees.
I like this trail for its solitude. You can walk for a long time and not meet any other people or even hear a man-made noise. On a rainy Spring day, the smells and colours are so fresh and vibrant. In the heat of Summer, the great beech and spruce trees protect you from the sun until you get to the dwarf pines near the top. On sunny Autumn days the beech and birch trees put on a magnificent display of flashing sunshine through golden leaves and in Winter there is a network of Nordic groomed cross-country ski trails to keep you amused.
Of course, all of that is true for quite a lot of the Beskydy mountains but somehow the Travny hiking trail seems a little further from human habitation than other places. There is no train station and the bus service runs about once per hour on weekends, so the few people you meet up here are typical Czech hikers – open, friendly and welcoming. Be careful if you are driving and they offer you a shot of any clear liquid from an unlabelled bottle, however. Although it’s likely to be top quality schnapps made from fruit they grew in their own gardens, it could be around 50% alcohol and the police take a very dim view of drivers who fail a breath test!
The trail itself is not especially difficult, just interestingly steep in a couple of places. Like all Czech hiking trails, it is clearly marked with coloured lines painted on trees and signposts. The signposts are marked on local maps and give you distances to other points along the trail, the name of the place where you are, height above sea level and contact information for the Mountain Rescue Service.
There are very few places in the Beskydy mountains where you can’t get a mobile phone signal and data signal, so often you will also see QR code labels on signposts. These link you to websites in Czech, English, Polish and German giving you information about the local area and wildlife. There are also Rescue Points marked at some rest stops and trail crossings. These are marked on local maps and are places which it is especially easy for the Mountain Rescue Service to evacuate you from in an emergency.
At the top of the mountain there is a wooden box on the tree with the signposts on. Inside there is a visitors’ book, so don’t forget to add your name and where you are from. The last time I was there, I met a group of volunteers who maintain the trails and signposts and repaint the trail markers on the trees. They were telling me that visitors to the whole network of hiking trails, mountain bike trails and cross-country skiing trails contribute significantly to the local economy, which in turn funds the care of the environment. They love to see how far their visitors have come from!
As you go downhill along the green hiking trail, you can take a small detour to the right at the Travny signpost and stop at a little spring of fresh mountain water if you like. There is a bench, some shady trees and it’s generally a nice place to stop and have a bite to eat, especially if you need to top up your water bottles. There’s a geocache nearby, so you may have visitors while you’re there.
Now you’re on a nice easy path downhill with nothing to do except enjoy the walk. Unfortunately, there’s still not much of a view but personally I just love being alone in the forest. About 3 km after the spring, you come to the Partisan Memorial and the path down to their bunker. The sign on the memorial reads:
‘They fell that we may live! In this place on 8.12.1944, 10 Russian partisans and local citizen, Partisan Dominik Kotasek, fell in a battle with the German occupiers. Honour to their memory!’
I haven’t been able to find out much about this bunker, which you can find by following the sign downhill about 150 metres. I once overheard some people talking about how it was rebuilt in the 1970s as a memorial and may not even be in the same place as the original but I don’t know if that’s true or not. Today, it’s just a hole in the ground with some rocks, rotten tree trunks and metal sheet lying around, which would support the ‘reconstructed memorial’ idea. I have no idea how partisans would have got hold of metal sheet in territory which had been occupied for so long and it’s hard to believe there would be so much of it left today. Assuming that the forest was here in 1944, the bunker was probably more of a shelter or hide-out than a fighting position. Certainly in a Beskydy winter, lightly armed and equipped partisans would need more shelter from the elements than they could carry with them.
Just after the bunker, the slope gets steeper and you come out of the mountain forest and head back into farmland. Soon after that, you come to the village and a welcoming pub. I must admit I’ve never been in there myself but such places usually have a kitchen and a good plate of food for a very reasonable price.
The bus stop back to the nearest transport hub is just before the pub or if you’re driving it’s about a half-hour walk back to the car park which is best for this trail.
If you want more details on finding this trail, plus a map and GPS files, sign up here for updates and when I upload the files you’ll get an e-mail. Alternatively you can contact me directly and I’ll make it a priority… the more people who show an interest, the quicker I’ll get it done!