Malé stěny (Little Walls) - Guide
At the rocky square a directional marker will offer you the choice of a trail. You can also read other interesting information about Tisá Walls here or buy a printed guide, which will tell you about the classification of rock formations using a well-arranged map.
We will turn left following the green-white marked nature trail. First we will walk by a round pillar with a narrow stand - Janus’ Head (Janusova hlava) (1). Here we can watch the mechanism of weathering of rocks due to the alternation of soft and hard sandstone layers and we can also watch the remains of collapsed rock (boulders at the foot of the tower).
The circuit trail branches out into two paths at Janus’ Head (we will take the comfortable one to the right back from Little Walls (Malé stěny)), we shall continue straight towards a rocky gorge and ascend stone steps towards the Western Vista (Západní vyhlídka) (2). Number 2 can be found just before the entrance to the gorge. Beyond the entrance we will find some ferrous incrustations and various rocky micro-formations (fins, protruding fascias, holes and pseudokarstic stalactical formations).
We will ascend onto a rock platform. The panorama of the Northern (Bürschlitzské) Walls forms to the right and beyond you can see the rising silhouettes of Saxon Switzerland’s mesas. We shall cross the bridge to the Western Vista itself, where we can see the numerous towers of the Great Walls (Velké stěny).
The cracks and ravines, dividing individual rock blocks, approximate the basic directions in which the sandstone slab was broken into (southwestern and northwestern crosswise). Vysoký Sněžník (723 m above sea level) rises beyond the Great Walls, the highest point of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, whose flat slab rises 110 m above the summit platform of Tisá Walls. To the right we can have a look at another range of rock walls with an inclined tower at its edge called Bandog (Doga) (lying outside the rock town itself). On the other side of the Jílovský stream’s valley we can see the panorama with the peaks of the Central Bohemian Highlands and underneath us we can see Tisá village with the flat ridge of the eastern part of the Iron Mountains extending into distance.
To the far right we can see Rájec settlement and northwestwards there are Rájec Walls with their noticeable tower called Sokolí věž. We shall head out back and descend narrow stone steps to the left into a gorge, which will get wider in its center and form a sort of a square rocky room. Here we can inspect interesting wall decorations resembling a stonefall made of little stalactical formations, lattices and laces. We will exit the gorge and passing by the Confessional (Zpovědnice) (3) we will make turn to the Forest Gate (Lesní brána) (4).
It is an open area among the rocks we can cross to the opposite side of the walls to the tower with a passway (no. 17 further in the text). We can observe the effects of weathering on the surrounding rocks - various holes, alcoves, layered caves, windows and eaves. We will head straight forward into the dark rocky chamber. The pillar in front of us reminds us of the Confessional (Kazatelna) (5) and there is a Stone Table (Kamenný stůl) (6) right behind it formed by a massive pillar. This pillar offers and interesting view from inside the rocky chamber (this formation was formerly called the “Forest Gate” and it used to be a common motif on historic postcards).
We will exit the chamber through the corridor and steps on the left will take us onto a path leading along the foothill of the walls. We will continue on this path alongside the massive tower of Herkules (7) and the Monster Cave (Jeskyně oblud) (8). Then we shall walk through two stratas – the Quartermaster’s (Proviantura) (9) and the Swedish Encampment (Švédský tábor) (10). The path ten continues alongside the rocks until it is faced by the barrier of the Castle (Hrad) (11). Following the white arrow painted on the rock we will walk down the corridor with broken steps (be especially careful here!) or we can bypass the whole massif to the left along the foothill path.
We will follow the mark and turn sharp right from the ravine behind the castle. We will ascend the stairs and approximately in the middle of the way we will be able to see a boulder on the left shaped like a Bell (Zvon) (12), wedged crossways into the rock fissure.
The ascent ends at a vista facing the Iron Mountains and Rájec Walls. The path then goes down to the other side of the Little Walls and continues alongside their foothill once more. It leads through a rock portal with a narrow buttress shaped like an hourglass and soon it will lead us to the Wart Stone (Bradaviční kámen) (13). We will turn right just behind the stone, walk through a rock ravine and come to a four meters long Tunnel (Tunel) (14). We will walk by the tunnel from the right among the rocks and have a look back. There is the Elephant Leg (Sloní noha) (15) on the left side of the tunnel, a broken rock pillar. We shall continue passing by Chicken Legs (Kuří nožky) (16), which are formed by elongated alcoves supported by thin rocky columns. Here were can observe the advanced destruction of the rock formations. The path now leads towards the crossroads among the rocks, where we will turn sharp left towards the tower with the Passway (Průlez) (17).
The passway is a narrow passage between smooth walls. We will walk through and find pillars with regular domelike tops along both sides of the path - Hives (Úly) (18 and 19). Their shape, reminding us of old straw beehives, is quite rare within Tisá Walls. A comfortable path will take us back to the Rock Square, where we can continue on another circuit trail, this time through the Great Walls.
Velké stěny (Great Walls) - Guide
You can get to the area of the Great Walls by two trails - by a green-white marked nature trail and by a red marked trail to the right leading across a rocky range.
A massive rock resembling giant Elephants (Sloni) (2) towers to the right of the ticket box. One of the rocky trunks is formed by the left pillar of the Rock Archway (Skalní brána) (1). Before we head out on the circuit trail among the Great Walls, we will turn shortly following the red mark between the rocks into the Buried Ravine (Zavalená rokle) (6), an open area among the rocks cluttered with boulders.
On the right in a rocky corner there is a Cave (Jeskyně) (3), and with the use of just a little fantasy we can see a relief of an Eagle’s Head (Orlí hlava) (4) at the eye-level of the sandstone wall. The top part of this rock resembles a Frog Crown (Žabí korunka) (5). We will come back to the circuit trail’s starting point and follow the green-white marking. We will pass through the Rock Archway and pass by the Buried Ravine, now positioned behind the rails, to the left. We can observe the effect of intensive weathering on the large area of collapsed rock blocks.
The towers of the local open space are often used by the rock climbers, which can be confirmed by the belaying iron rings attached to the rock walls. Now, as we are passing by massive Winkler’s Towers, we can see an Indian Elephant (Indický slon) (7) in the left one when viewed frontally. A pointy boulder with number 8 lies in front of the next rocks and carries a white arrow pointing at a rock resembling a Dancing Bear (Tančícího medvěda) (8) in profile. The Castle Gateway (Hradní brána) (9) opens up in front of us - a passway through the rocks with an oval window on the left. The Rock Castle (Skalní hrad) (10) towers on the right side of the path and we continue towards the towering formations. The place in front of them is called the Gypsy Encampment (Cikánský tábor) (12). After walking through the rocky narrow we can look back at portly Herkules’s Pillars, under which you can see a Crushed Little Tailor (Přimáčknutý krejčík) (11 - both formations).
This rock formation group has always been a popular postcard motif.
Behind Herkules’s Pillars, just before the sharp left turn we turn right into the narrow rock cavern. Inside we will follow the white arrows and discover a beautiful, richly decorated sandstone pillar on the right - Fossilized trunk (Zkamenělý kmen) (13) and the Waterfall (Vodopád) (14) consisting of dense vertical columns on the left. There is a small cavity on the foothill of the rock wall called Smuggler’s Backpack (Pašerácký batoh) (15). We shall return to the circuit trail, which turns to the North and leads towards the well known formations of Mayor (Starosta) (16) and Thin Doctor (Hubený doktor) (17). We shall turn right around these rocks and will shortly descend to the left to an isolated, richly broken rock block the rock climbers call the Twin Tower. A quadruple Echo (Ozvěna) (18) used to be heard here. We will walk through a very articulated relief of the Victory Archway (Vítězná brána) (19) dividing the Twin Tower in half. There we turn right to the passway in the rock called Bear’s Den (Medvědí doupě) (20).
Once more we turn sharp right off the path so that we can see the Crocodile’s Head (Hlava krokodýla) (21) in the direction of the white arrow. The circuit trail now leads through a scarce birch growth towards other rock formations. We will look in the direction of the white arrow again, this time at the crown part of rocks resembling a Vulture in its Nest (Sup v hnízdě) (22). We will descend the steps in a narrow passway and Giant Heads (Obří hlavy) (23) will appear to the left. The path leads us towards the wall with a line of horizontally arranged alcoves resembling Beehives (Úly) (24). After walking through the rocks we will look back to take notice of the tower called the Mummy (Mumie) (25) and the opposite cave called Hermitage (Poustevna) (26). At the archway we will turn sharp right, where the arrow calls our attention to a stone pillar called the Preacher (Kazatel) (28) approx. 50 m far away.
Behind the archway to the left there is a wall relief called the Seal (Tuleň) (27), and the window to the right resembles the Shape of Africa (Obrysy Afriky) (29). Behind another stone archway you can see the dark shape of the triangular entrance to the Forest Forge (Lesní kovárna) (34), with the Armchair (Lenoška) (33), a rock depression, next to it. Behind the Forest Forge there we can have a look at a wide wall called the Whale (Velryba) (31). We will continue further on along the Castle (Hrad) (32) - two blocks collapsed onto each other forming an archway - towards the wall with a miniature network of small corridors called the Labyrinth (Labyrint) (30). Following the white arrow we will see a silhouette of a massive rock to the left in front of us - the Lion’s Head (Lví hlava) (36). We will pass by the Swedish Archway (Švédská brána) (35) and turn right to the Knight’s Hall (Rytířský sál) (37) - a rocky court with one of the most complete display of relief decoration in Tisá Walls (ferrous fascias, dimpling, honeycomb lattices, netting, stalactical formations). From here we will exit through the right passage with a narrow crack on its right wall - the Trial of Slimness (Zkouška štíhlosti) (38).
We will turn towards the cave of Cow-Shed (Kravín) (39) where we can see a boulder wedged inside a narrow fissure - the Crow’s Nest (Havraní hnízdo) (40). We will continue over a plateau with scarce forest overgrowth dominated by one of the most known rock climbing towers of Tisá Walls - the Beheaded Major (Sťatý major) (41). This imposing rock has an interesting basement, which is thinner in comparison to the top part. When looking back at the opposite massif we can see the relief of a Grouse (Tetřev) (42) there. The path now leads us around the Confessional (Kazatelna) (44) towards the place, where we can notice the mushroom-like rock formation called the Boat (Člun) (43). We then come to the last wider grouping of rocks in the Great Walls. First we can see a cave called the Sheep Pen (Ovčinec) (45) to the right and the pillar with a sharp edge resembling a Prow (Lodní příď) (46) towering behind it. We will descend through the narrow Tailor’s Alley (Krejčovská ulička) (47) to massive Kurt’s Towers. We will descend along these towers into the Saloon (Salón) (48), which we will walk through toward the lower tower - Blueberry Tower. There we can see a numbered arrow on the wall opposite us pointing at the Elephant with Cargo (Slon s nákladem) (49). The path winds by the foothill of the rocks around the former Grilled Cavern (Zamřížovaná jeskyně) (50) towards the Stone Leg (Kamenná noha) (51), a prominent pillar to the left of the path. The iron stairs will lead us through a steep fissure onto a rocky range, where the red marked range trail joins from the right. After several stone steps we will ascend towards the famed Boletus (Hřib) (52) and Turtle (Želva) (53) - interesting displays of selective weathering. We will continue on the rocky platform and pass by two boulders - Napoleon’s Shoe (Napoleonova bota) (55) to the left and the Wallnut (Ořech) (56) to the right of the path.
Right before the end of the path we can see a low block of a stone Tank (54) to the right. The circuit nature trail ends at the Tourist Cabin with the crossroads of the marked trails. We can continue following the yellow mark through the forest towards the state border with Germany and alongside this path to the right to Ostrov settlement or to the left to the recreational village of Rájec. The red mark continues via Ostrov settlement and Vysoký Sněžník to Děčín one way, and the other way leads across the Tisá Walls range trail back to our starting point in Tisá village.
Around Tisá (Tisá, Ostrov, Rájec, Tisá)
Around Tisá (Tisá, Ostrov, Rájec, Tisá) - The village of Tisá divides into two parts: Ostrov and Rájec. This 10km circuit
will lead you trough Tisá Walls, around the monument dedicated to rock climbers in Himmelreich rock area, and into the recreation area of Ostrov.
Following the iron path you will continue to Rájec settlement and taking the road (or you can walk through the rocks of Ostříží stěny) you will come back to Tisá.
Around Ostrov’s landmarks
This hiking trip starts at the parking lot at Hotel Ostrov.
You will learn about the history of Ostrov settlement on a 5 km long circuit, where you will find commemorative crosses, learn about the history of municipal border stones, and visit a historic spring. You will come to a place, where there used to be inns and mills. During the walk you can learn about the history of rock climbing in Ostrov. A short detour from the described trip will take you to the outlook tower of Grenzplatte.
Around Rájec’s landmarks
This trip starts at the parking place in Rájec
(approx. 100 m from Rájec board on the right side), and you will visit the abandoned settlements of Rájec at the border, Nové Dvory, and Hladov, two mills, a chapel, a memorable linden tree, and the nature preserve of Olšovksý stream’s wolds.
It is an undemanding trail approx. 7 km long, leading you on paths and meadows (partly on German side). The time of the year suitable for hiking trips – the beginning of spring, the end of fall. Be careful, while visiting the abandoned buildings (basement buildings, a badly secured well).