About 1 km east of Teplice nad Metuji township on the road to Adršpach is a large carpark surrounded by several hotels. This is the main entrance to the Teplice rocks. The blue trail begins behind the low wooden cabin that functions as the park cashier’s office and souvenir stand.
Blue Gully trail
The best introduction to the Teplice rocks is to follow the blue trail. It leads along a gully to the densest and most impressive area of rock formations, makes a long loop around them and then rejoins the gully trail to lead you out the same way that you came in.
The first part of the trail is a flat and gentle walk through a forested gully, with glimpses between the trees of different rock outcrops marked by tri-lingual pointer signs (in Czech, Polish and German). After ten minutes or so, you’ll come to a modern steel staircase leading up to the lookout point at the Strmen Castle ruins. You can either climb it now or leave it until later if you’re coming back the same way.
Hedgehog sitting on a frog
The rock city proper begins after the stone gateway beside which is a plaque commemorating the visit of German poet JW Goethe. From here the rock formations are every few metres and have names like Horse’s head, Grandma and Grandpa, The Stone Crown, Wild Boar and Dog and Hedgehog Sitting on a Frog. Yep, really. It’s easy to see how some of the formations were named, but for the life of me I couldn’t see the Sphinx or Captain Nemo.
The final part of this loop trail follows a narrow gorge through the rocks called Sibíř (Siberia). When you get there, it’s obvious how it was named. On a sunny afternoon in August, the cold was beyond refreshing and anyone who could went immediately for their extra layers of clothing. Being such a cold microclimate there’s a fascinating selection of plants here, including mosses and ferns that are otherwise only found at much, much higher elevations. From Siberia, it’s back to the entrance gully and the lookout up at the Strmen castle ruins.
Strmen castle lookout
The staircase up to the lookout is so steep that’s more like a ladder in places. The first part is relatively easy though, with handrails the whole way and frequent little landings on which you can stop to rest or move aside to let other people pass. After 150-odd steps the staircase gets steeper and is obviously an older construction. At the top of this you come to a saddle with views in two directions and the steepest and final ladder to climb up to the viewpoint itself. From here it’s up one more ladder to the final viewpoint and almost 360 degree views. You can see across to the entrance carpark and the fields beyond, back towards the rock city and down into wolf gorge on the other side.