The Adršpach-Teplice rocks in far north-eastern Bohemia are, along with the caves of the Moravian Karst and the Bohemian Paradise, among the most beautiful natural features of the Czech Republic.
Two rock towns, one reserve
At Adršpach and Teplice nad Metují, there are two distinct clusters of improbably eroded rocks that form a single nature reserve. The northern ‘rock town’ is at the edge of Adršpach village, the second is closer to Teplice nad Metují, and they’re connected by a beautiful hiking trail through the mysterious and marshy Vlčí Rokle (Wolf Gorge).
From the park entrance near the Teplice rocks, a trail follows a forested gully and offers glimpses of rock formations through the trees and the opportunity to climb 300 steps for views from the site of ruined Strmen castle. After 2km or so there’s a stone gate and after this the trees stop and the rock town proper begins, with formations like the Dog and Boar, the Sphinx and the Butcher's cleaver. There are several side tracks leading off the main trail, but you eventually come back towards the same stone gate through which you entered.
Siberia is closer than you think
The last part of the trail here is named Siberia (Sibiř) a narrow shady gorge with the distinct microclimate that the name suggests. The walls of the gully were covered with mosses and ferns that are normally found only at much higher altitudes and even on a hot, sunny afternoon in August you’ll likely see your breath turning to frost.
Wolf Gorge starts out more like a wide valley; and it’s similar to the Teplice trail, in that there are glimpses of rocks through the trees and a stream flows alongside the yellow-marked walking trail. The water of the stream is bronze and foamy because it has filtered through peat marsh. The foam is from a plant called Mydlice and people once used it as a laundry soap.
Halfway along the gorge the trail becomes a narrow wooden walkway and passes over the peat marshes. Apparently 90% of the plant is dead and lies under the water level, but even the dead part is capable of absorbing moisture and nutrients. A jaunty gangplank across one end of a small lake marks the end of wolf gorge and the beginning of the Adršpach rocks.
The Adršpach rocks receive around a quarter of a million visitors each year while only one-fifth as many go to Teplice. The rock formations at Teplice are just as spectacular, so I think these rocks are more popular because there’s more water here. Coming from the Wolf Gorge end, you’ll cross the small lake, walk along the large lake and then come to the equally imaginatively named ‘large waterfall’ and ‘small waterfall’. The trail then follows a loop through most well-known and photographed formations in the park, like the Mayor (Starosta), the Great Panorama, the Organ Pipes, the Guillotine and Medusa’s Head.