top of page

About Us

The story of the Blue Ridge

How was it with the oldest long-distance marked route in our country

The Blue Ridge is a legendary long-distance hiking trail in the Czech Republic that dates back to the early 20th century. It was initially marked at the beginning of the century and continued to expand. By the 1920s, it stretched from Praděd through Kralický Sněžník, the Orlické Mountains, the Broumov region, the Giant Mountains, Ještěd, the Lusatian Mountains, Bohemian Switzerland, and the Ore Mountains, and extended into Germany to the borders of Bavaria and Thuringia, totalling 800 km in length. Ten years later, the trail was extended to Krnov, and a section through the Bohemian Forest was added, making the entire route 1,200 kilometres long, marked by the distinctive blue comb.

The history of the Blue Ridge Trail begins in Bohemian Switzerland and the Lusatian Mountains. Between 1902 and 1904, several tourist associations were formed, predominantly by Czech Germans. One of the most active associations was the "Horský spolek" from Krásná Lípa, along with "Bohemian Switzerland" from Děčín and the "Association for the Northernmost Bohemia" from Rumburk. They worked together to create a ridge trail from Růžovský Hill to Ještěd via Dolský mlýn, Všemily, Česká Kamenice, Líska, Studenec, Jedlová, Tolštejn, Luž, and Hvozd. The sixty-kilometre trail was marked by a unique four-toothed blue ridge (at the time, most markings were red), thus earning the name Blue Ridge Trail. The inspiration for this endeavour came mainly from the Alpine and Thuringian network of paths.

Shortly after the marking, explorer Anton Paudler from Česká Lípa and painter August Frind from Nová Ves embarked on a journey along the Blue Ridge. They completed the entire route and authored and illustrated the first guide to the Blue Ridge. Their efforts were well-received, prompting other mountaineering clubs to join in, leading to extensions of the route. Unfortunately, the outbreak of war halted further development of the trail, turning the Blue Ridge Trail into a half-forgotten legend.

The Ridge Trail at present

When the idea to revive the famous Ridge Trail came about, it originated in the historical birthplace of the trail, in the territory of today's Ústí and Liberec regions. Both regions began negotiations and preparations. The new tourist bridge, which was built in September 2021 over Stožecké sedlo (known locally as Šébr, after the historical name Schöbersattel), became the symbolic connection of these efforts and the actual connection of routes leading through the territory of both regions. In the summer, it serves hikers and cyclists; in the winter, it connects cross-country skiing trails. This tourist footbridge marks the beginning of the eastern link of the Ridge Trail through Bohemian Switzerland, which stretches via Stožec and Jelení skála to the east exit to Jedlová station. On the other hand, the Ridge Trail will be connected to its Ore Mountain part in the west by the western connector from Tisá to Petrovice. Hřebenovka once again became an essential member of the ever-growing family of long-distance routes in the Czech Republic.

The landscape and tourism have been transformed in the years since the Blue Ridge was frequented by hikers. As a result, the current ridge through Czech Switzerland does not follow the exact route of the historical one and does not aim to connect the destination points as quickly as possible. Instead, its goal is to connect all the remarkable places and integrate them into the tourist infrastructure, making it easy to reach hubs with facilities for eating, drinking, and accommodation. Furthermore, the creators of the new Ridge Trail aimed to steer clear of the most crowded areas with visitors, allowing pilgrims to enjoy the journey peacefully, at times even in complete solitude, surrounded only by beautiful nature. The Ridge Trail accomplishes this in Bohemian Switzerland. The best time to fully enjoy it is outside the high season - in early spring, autumn, and winter.

bottom of page