Český les (ČL)

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Move on: Čerchov | Skalka

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Český les (Bohemian Forest) is an area of level highlands to mountainous terrain located in southwestern Bohemia along the German border. It extends over 80 km, from Cheb to Česká Kubice. The highest part is the southeastern edge, the so called Haltravská Mountains, dominated by the peak Čerchov (1,042 meters above sea level). In other parts of Český les, the peaks only very sporadically exceed 800 meters above sea level. From a geological point of view, this region consists of large domes with wide ridges and level land with depressions. Rock formations protrude from some areas along the ridges. The rocks are predominantly composed of gneiss and granite. The topography is very similar to that of the Šumava Mountains, but is about 400 meters lower. The climatic conditions correspond accordingly to this elevation difference; the winter season is inconsistent for winter tourism as winter thawing often melts all snow. After long delay, in the year 2005, Český les was declared a CHKO (protected landscape area), safeguarding a large forest complex. Unfortunately, this forest consists of non-native spruce monocultures. The remains of the original beech-fir forest are protected in nature reserves (e. g. Čerchovské Hvozdy). After World War Two, a large part of the border region had been evacuated and the Iron Curtain blocked access into Český les to ordinary tourists for forty years. One can feel the expansiveness and desolation even now, consequently it is easier to bike through Český les than walk. Here there are only two thousand-meter high peaks – Čerchov and Skalka. Both peaks are situated about one kilometer from each other, and therefore the Thousander’s “hunt” is a question of a few hours.


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