We all have a soft spot for nature and hikes, guess I have too many! 😉 That’s why when my friends asked me to join them on the 8 am train on a lazy Saturday morning for a quick trip to mountains, I could hardly resist the temptation and confirmed at once. Continuing my love affair with the Sudetes, this time my friends & I decided to venture on the other side of the Owl Mountains on the way to the highest peak in the Central Sudetes in Lower Silesia – Wielka Sowa.
Wielka Sowa, translating to the Great Owl, is a popular natural attraction near Wroclaw. Inside the nature park, several trails, distinctly indicated with different colours, lead to the peak.
The landscape park is a popular natural attraction and a great ski location in winter. If you are considering a quick winter hike in Poland in the Sudetes region, you can count on this one. Some daunting trails, pristine outdoors, tons of snow, and the classic winter chill, Sowie Mountains in the Sudetes offers you everything you can ask.
On your way to the top, you can expect to confront, partially frozen streams, hostile conditions, biting cold, and tons of snow. And when you find your way to the upper reaches of the thick alpine forest, you will cherish every moment that you toiled to get there.
Sowie Mountains – General Information
At an altitude of 3,329 feet, Wielka Sowa stands as the highest peak of the Owl Mountains (Góry Sowie), a range of the Central Sudetes encompassing the best of south-western Poland. The mountain is positioned in Dzierżoniów County in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship.
Sowie Mountains are made of metamorphic rocks of the Precambrian rises above the village of Walim near Dzierżoniów. The surroundings associated as the Owl Mountains Landscape Park offer the endless views of whitewashed landscapes. During the peak of winter in Poland, the forest here lies snuggled under heaps of snow.
Wielka Sowa, being the highest point in the Sowie mountains range, includes a winter skiing spot, which makes it a popular place to ski near Wroclaw in winter. Other popular outdoor activities in the region are hiking, camping & nature viewing. There is an observation tower at the top that offers a 360-degree view of the dreamy landscape around.
How to reach the Sowie Mountains
The train to Dzierżoniów exactly looks like the one in the photo. Take a KD train from Wrocław to Dzierżoniów. From Dzierżoniów you take a city bus to Kamionki. The bus stop is 300-400 meters from the train station, so you have to watch out for that part. The hike starts at Kamionki Dolne and ends at Ludwikowice Kłodzkie Station. For this 15 km hike, you will spend somewhere around 5 hours, with breaks and photography session, 6.5 hours should be sufficient.
Protip: Rail routes in Lower Silesia are quite extensive, easily accessible and pretty much affordable for everyone planning a quick day/half-day trip near Wroclaw. Moreover, Koleje Dolnośląskie keeps bringing exciting offers on tickets, and it depends on your requirements. There is a student discount, which cuts down the price by 51% per cent, then there are weekend offers valid for a couple of days, which can come handy if you have a lot of travelling to do, it includes multiple transfers.
And then there is a group discount for people planning a trip with a small group. I would highly recommend you to check for any available offer with the ticket counter person. And good luck in finding the person who can speak/understand English well, because the railway ticket counter is one of those places where foreigners often find themselves vulnerable.
The hiking route to Wielka Sowa
Yellow Trail: Kamionki Dolne – Old Fir, North – Old Fir, noon – Crossroads near Młyńskie
Blue Trail: Crossroads near Młyńskie – The intersection under the Great Owl – Great Owl (Wielka Sowa)
Green Trail: Great Owl (Wielka Sowa) – The Owl Shelter – Sokolec – Owl
Black Trail: Owl – The intersection under Gruntowa
Green Trail: The intersection under Gruntowa – Ludwikowice Kłodzkie railway station
The entire route is well-marked with colours paint on trees. Keep an eye on the colours, and enjoy the hike. To check the route, and compare with the train timings, I recommend Mapa Turyczna app/website.
The hike to Wielka Sowa in Sowie Mountains
The hike to Wielka Sowa starts from the foothills of Sowie Mountains itself where lies Kamionki. Kamionki Dolne, with a length of about 3.5 km, is a picture-perfect location ready to greet all the nature enthusiasts in its warm embrace. The imperial views, some livestock grazing around, and hushed outdoors will greet you from the moment you step into this part Sowie Mountains Landscape Park in the Sudetes.
The beginning of the hike is moderately smooth and easy. Since winter in Poland is at its peak in January, you can expect heaps of seamless snow covering small streams and puddles immaculately. That’s when the hiking pole comes handy. Though I missed carrying my hiking pole, I will recommend you to carry one. It makes your walk easy and hasslefree.
As you advance higher into the mountains, trudgings past heaps of snow and the countryside alpine life, you will stumble upon some fascinating views of the woods and a distant Sowie Mountains. The slopes get steeper after a couple of kilometres, and the walk grows more demanding with every step. Fog and mist get thicker, but the views get thoroughly dreamier until you finally make it to the Wielka Sowa top.
Wielka Sowa translates to “The Big Owl”, and so you will find a majestic one at the top. Besides the fancy-looking owl sculpture and the observation tower, there are plenty of signboards, some tented shelters, and barbecue place. For now, the observation tower top is off-limits, but you can always try your luck!
Finally, after completing a great hike, we reached the same train station Ludwikowice Kłodzkie where we finished our last hike in the Owl Mountains. Read the story here in case you missed!
Besides the hike you can…
1. Bring you skis and try skiing on great slopes in the forest around Wielka Sowa
2. Grab a cup of mulled wine at the shelter which is on the way from the Wielka Sowa top to the descent
3. Make a barbecue in the fireplace in the shelter compound. It is better to carry some camping essentials, food, and some lighting essentials with you. To make a fire, you have to seek permission, but you can expect the wood to be damp in snow. So it’s better to go prepared
4. Enjoy the 360-degree views from the top. You can get some great drone shots there too
5. Do camping after finding the appropriate spot
6. Enjoy & capture the views of pretty mountain cabin all around the place
Overall, the hike to Wilka Sowa was a fulfilling experience that I savoured every bit! It is one of those quick day trips from Wroclaw that is doable, and worth your weekend. Let me know if you have any queries about this hike in the comments below. Dziękuję