Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 50.73600°N / 15.74000°E
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 5259 ft / 1603 m
Sign the Climber's Log
This page was created anew in October 2016.


Sunrise from Snezka
Watching sunrise from the summit - photo by koCZmeed

Sněžka/Śnieżka (a feminine noun in both Czech and Polish, which can be translated as the Snowy One or Snow White; Schneekoppe in German) at an elevation of 1602 or – according to the latest Czech measurement – 1603m, is the highest summit in the Giant Mountains, in all of the Sudetes as well as Czechia. It has 1203m of prominence and, standing on the border between Czechia and Poland, rises nearly 200m above the main ridge of the Giant Mountains. This is due to the mountain's geologic make-up: unlike its surroundings, it is formed of hornfels, which is extremely resistant to erosion. Until the 19th century Śnieżka was also known as Rieseberg, that is the Giant Mountain.

Snezka from E slope of Studnicni hora
Southwest face - photo by jandamart
Sněžka's north and southwest sides are quite high and steep. They descend over 500m to the bottoms of the valleys of, respectively, Łomniczka and Úpa brooks. The gentler side is the southeast side. To the south Śnieżka sends out a lateral ridge which is named after Růžová hora (1390m), its first summit south of Sněžka. At the west foot of Śnieżka extends the undulating plateau – an ancient peneplain raised by tectonic forces - that forms what we call the main ridge of the Giant Mountains west from Sněžka. The main ridge of the Giant Mountains east of Śnieżka is much narrower and does look like a ridge. Between Sněžka and Svorová hora/Czarna Kopa at 1407m, the ridge - clad in dwarf mountain pine and talus - is called Obří hřeben (Giant Ridge)/Czarny Grzbiet (Black Ridge). 
Classic view
Śnieżka seen from NW, Obří/Czarny Ridge to its left - photo by Konrad Sus
In the Ice Age, the upper parts of the valleys that begin at Sněžka cradled glaciers, which results in a couple of fine, albeit lakeless, corries sitting below Śnieżka on either side of the international border. These corries are notorious for avalanches.
Studinicni hora seen from the... Studniční hora at 1554m across a corrie - photo by Tomas Kristofory 
Given the qualities of the rock which Śnieżka is composed of, it is no surprise that the upper slopes of the mountain are virtually devoid of vegetation and covered in talus. On the steep slopes of Sněžka and nearby mountains debris flows occur as well. In the summer of 1897, after two weeks of continuous rainfall, two most destructive debris flows rushed down the western slopes of Růžová hora to raze two buildings and claim the lives of seven people. Photographs from that time can be seen in a little chapel in Obří Důl.
Śnieżka’s N face The north face of Śnieżka
As far as the climate is concerned, Sněžka can be called the Central European Mount Washington, especially with reference to the wind speed. The maximum wind speed recorded on Śnieżka was 345km/h in 1990 (Mount Washington 372km/h in 1934).
Close to the summit On the western trail in winter - photo by Dziku 
The Empire Strikes BackThe UFOs - photo by Dziku
Sněžka has been climbed for nearly or even more than 500 years! In Obří důl (Giant Pit), the uppermost part of the Úpa Valley, metal ores were mined as early as the 16th century. The popularity of Śnieżka soared in the 19th century when it was the highpoint of Prussia. There are a few buildings on the summit, of which the chapel of St.Lawrence, built in 1681, is the oldest. The biggest is the Polish 'UFOs' from 1976, which used to house a weather station, a mountain hut and a restaurant. But in summer 2016 only a buffet was open on the ground floor. Another building is a Czech post office, where you can buy postcards and similar stuff. The fourth structure is the upper station of a Czech cable car. 
The Chapel on Snezka Chapel of St. Lawrence - photo by Dziku 


There are many options, of which the most 'obvious' are listed in the tables below. The asterisked routes are the most interesting in my opinion.


Ascent from the Start point in the town/village of  Approx. total elevation gain in metres Approx. length of hike (km) Time for walk up (hr) Marks
North: via Łomniczka Valley*
North: via the tarns*
over 1,100
several options
 North-East: via Budniki*  Kowary  1,300  12  5  yellow-blue-red
 North: upper station of chairlift (Kopa)  Karpacz  260  2.3  1  black-red
The uppermost part of the valley of Łomniczka boasts a nice post-glacial corrie and a 300-metre-long cascade. The two pretty tarns which sit northwest of Śnieżka - Mały Staw and Wielki Staw (Little Tarn and Great Tarn) are the biggest natural lakes in the Giant Mountains. The trail from Kowary has the greatest elevation gain and a romantic stretch along Malina brook below where once the hamlet of Budniki stood.
Lomniczka ValleyŁomniczka corrie
Łomniczka’s HeadwatersThe cascade
Mały Staw and ŚnieżkaMały Staw
Malina BrookMalina brook
Śnieżka from Czarna KopaThe east ridge


Ascent from the Start point in the town/village of  Approx. total elevation gain in metres Approx. length of hike (km) Time for walk up (hr) Marks
South: via Obří důl*
Pec pod Sněžkou
Pec pod Sněžkou
Špindlerův Mlýn
nearly 1,000
 NW: Slezské sedlo    550  9.5  3  red
 East  Horní Malá Úpa  850  6  2.5  green-yellow-red
 South: Upper station of cable car  Pec pod Sněžkou  several  0  0.05  
The trail through Obří důl offers excellent views of the more jagged, south face of Sněžka as well as Studniční hora with its corries and waterfalls, whereas the trail from Špindlerův Mlýn runs up the side of Kozí hřbety, a relatively narrow ridge, exceptional for the Giant Mountains.
Kozi hrbetyKozí hřbety
Mount Snezka from Obri DulIn Obří důl
Open views to to Sněžka over the  Lví důl valley Sněžka's gentle, SE side


paper/waterproof/digital 1:25,000 - the Giant Mountains
paper 1:25,000 - E part of the Giant Mountains

Nearby Huts

NB There are plenty of guesthouses and hotels as well as a few campsites on either side of the Giant Mountains.
  • Dom Śląski at 1400m - a Polish hut sitting just west of Śnieżka, half an hour's walk from the summit
  • Strzecha Akademicka at 1258m - a Polish hut half a kilometre northeast of Samotnia Hut, 1.5hrs walk from the summit
  • Samotnia at 1195m - an atmospheric Polish hut by Mały Staw (Little Tarn), 1.75hrs walk from the summit
  • Nad Łomniczką (Łomniczka) at 1002m - a Polish hut which does not offer accommodation, in the upper part of the valley of Łomniczka, 1.5hrs walk from the summit
Dom Śląski, the hut below ŚnieżkaDom Śląski
The Great Lake is located in...Strzecha Akademicka
Chata JelenkaJelenka
The Snezka massif seen from...Luční bouda
Bouda v Obřím doleBouda v Obřím dole
  • Luční bouda at 1410m - a Czech hotel with its own brewery, west of Sněžka, 1.33hrs walk from the summit
  • Bouda v Obřím dole at 915m - a quaint Czech hut in Obří důl, 2hrs walk from the summit  
  • Bouda pod Sněžkou at 950m - a rather pricey Czech hut in Obří důl, less than 2hrs walk from the summit  
  • Jelenka at 1260m - a Czech hut east of Sněžka between the summit of Svorová hora/Czarna Kopa and Soví sedlo/Sowia Przełęcz, right on the border between Czechia and Poland, less than 1.5hrs walk from the summit
Łomniczka Hut No accommodation here
In high season all the huts can be fully booked. If so, in the Polish huts you can normally get a place on the floor.

Getting To Nearby Resorts

Obří důl, upper end of the valley
To get to Špindlerův Mlýn, leave Road I/14 at the town of Vrchlabí and drive north up Road 295 for about ten miles. From Špindlerův Mlýn it is possible to take a bus to Slezské sedlo/Karkonoska Przełęcz on the Czech-Polish border (private cars have been banned from the road).


To get to Pec pod Sněžkou, leave Road I/14 at the town of Mladé Buky and drive north up Road 296 for about ten miles.

To get to Malá Úpa, leave Road I/14 at the town of Mladé Buky and drive north up Road 296 for nearly ten kilometres, then turn right onto Road 252.
Karkonosze from distance
The resort of Karpacz lies just 15km south of the centre of Jelenia Góra, a large town just north of the Giant Mountains. The town of Kowary lies about 17km southeast of the centre of Jelenia Góra, with which it is connected by Road 367. Buses/minibuses from Jelenia Góra to Karpacz run through Kowary.


Jelenia Góra has good train and bus links with Wrocław, the capital of Lower Silesia. There is also a direct bus service between Wrocław and Kowary.

Polish trains

Polish buses 

Red Tape

Digitalis purpurea from Obri Dul
The area is part of a national park (or rather two parks: Karkonoski Park Narodowy in Poland and Krkonošský národní park in the Czech Republic. You are not allowed to camp/bivouac or stray from the waymarked trails. In Poland there is an entrance fee - an equivalent of approx. €2.00 for a day pass in 2023. In Czechia there is no entrance fee, but be ready to pay for parking, e.g. in Pec pod Sněžkou about €6 per day. In winter (sometimes also in autumn) and the first half of spring, the sections of trails that run through valley heads (Łomniczka Valley, Obří důl, Biały Jar just west of Strzecha Akademicka hut) and the road that traverses the north face of Śnieżka (blue marks) are closed due to the avalanche risk. In summer the last stretch of the red trail that climbs the summit from the west (along the international border) is one way – you can only walk up there.

When To Climb & Mountain Conditions

  • If possible, do not go in high season or at a weekend unless you like being part of a crowd. On a sunny day in July or August the summit can be visited by more than ten thousand people!
  • Under winter conditions crampons can be a must. (In January 2024 two hikers died after slipping at the very top of the mountain and falling down its north side.)
  • Mountain rescue phone numbers: Poland +48 601100300 Czechia +420 1210
  • Current mountain conditions in Polish
  • Weather forecast for Luční hora on
  • Webcams
Funny clouds over the Karkonosze Mountains The wind of change - photo by rgg 



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.