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Labe Spring and Pančavský Waterfall - the highest waterfall in the Czech Republic

The Elbe Spring - one of the most popular destinations in the Giant Mountains. One of the highlights of this hike is the view of two large waterfalls - the Elbe and Pančavský waterfalls, which is the highest in the Czech Republic at 148 metres.

A trip to the source of the Elbe has several alternatives. Here, in the brief description below, the least demanding one is given. It is suitable for children, seniors, etc. However, please pay attention to other tips and alternatives on how to enjoy a trip to the Elbe Spring. We believe that everyone will choose.

Brief description of the trip:

  • The route starts at the lower station of the cable car to Medvědín.
  • You take the cable car and from the upper station of Medvědín you go down to Horní Mísečky to Jilemnická bouda, from where the bus goes to Zlaté vrchší - to Vrbatova bouda.
  • Furthermore, only on foot. Following the red Buchar road, you pass the monument of Master Hanč and stop at the highest waterfall in the Czech Republic - Pančavský waterfall.
  • You continue to the Elbe hut, from where it is only 1 km to the source of the Elbe.

However, you return back along the red route to Vrbatova bouda - direction U Čtyř pánů. You will not use the bus from Vrbatova bouda back, but you will return on foot down the road. After 1.5 km, however, you have to turn to Šmídova vyhlídka and continue to the Medvědín cable car. Take the cable car back to Špindl.

The elevation and the map below present the route: Vrbatova bouda - Labská bouda - Pramen Labe - back - U Čtyř pánů - Vrbatova bouda - Šmídova vyhlídka - Medvědín cable car.




Brief route description:

Špindlerův Mlýn - the lower station of the Medvědín cable car → the starting point of the trip - the upper station of the Medvědín → you will walk  300 approx. (Medvědín - Jilemnická bouda = 1 km) → Jilemnická bouda - bus stop → bus direction Zlaté návší - Vrbatova bouda → Vrbatova bouda  - Bucharova cesta direction Labská bouda - on the way you pass the monument of Master Hanč, the highest waterfall in the Czech Republic, Ambrožova vyhlídka. (Vrbatova bouda - Labská bouda = 2 km) → further Labská bouda  → Elbe spring = 1km | Vrbatova bda - Labská bda - Elbe spring = 3,5 km / 1:30 h)

you go back on another  route - in the direction of U Čtyř pánů. (Source of the Elbe - Vrbatova bouda = 3 km) → Vrbatova bouda - down the Masaryk road  - after 1.5 km turn to Šmídova vyhlídka - the upper station of the Medvědín cable car. (Source of the Elbe - Vrbatova bda - Medvědín = 6.5 km / 2:15 h). Take the cable car down to Špindl. Find out the time of the last cable car back before the hike - Skiareal HERE!

Total length and duration: 11 km / approx. 5-6 h (Špindl - Medvědín - Vrbatova bouda - Source of the Elbe - Medvědín - Špindl)
Elevation gain: ascent ↑ 177m, descent ↓ 342 m
Difficulty: 2/5 low, suitable for children
Refreshments on the route: YES - Upper station of the Medvědín cable car, Vrbatova bouda, Labská bouda
Hiking with children: YES
Mountain bike: YES - in yellow. Attention. You have to lock the bike at Labská bouda.
Baby stroller: with a little courage, you will carry it in several places. Take - borrow a children's backpack. You can put it elegantly with the pram if you choose the yellow route in both directions.
Wheelchair users: YES - both directions along the yellow route. Selected buses are barrier-free - see timetable.
By car: not allowed - Krkonoše National Park.

Good to know:






Before the trip, stop at our Infocentre in the center of Špindlerův Mlýn and buy a map. You will make your trip easier and we will be happy to advise you on the details of the trip. The paper map will not discharge and the signal will not be lost. Weather on the ridges - on-line webcam Medvědín, on-line webcam Labská bouda - here Ideal for families with children. A beautiful but undemanding trip. Most of the trip you go downhill. Find out in advance the timetable of the cable car to Medvědín - here. The times of the last cable car may vary daily.

Upon agreement, the cable car will take your pram. The cable car to Medvědín will also transport your dog. Bus timetables - Horní Mísečky - Vrbatova bouda - HERE The weather in the mountains often changes suddenly. Wear suitable clothing in case of bad weather. Mountain service - tel +420 1210 - non stop. Save to your phone in case of accident, incident, danger. You are in the first protection zone of the Krkonoše National Park. Please: protect nature, do not step off the marked paths, do not pick flowers and do not throw rubbish.

Trip alternatives:

The source of the Elbe - the Elbe meadow and the highest waterfall in the Czech Republic - Pančavský waterfall

It is perhaps everyone's duty to visit the place where the European Elbe river is born when visiting the Giant Mountains. We are honored that it is near Špindlerův Mlýn and that Špindlerův Mlýn has the honor and uniqueness of being the first town on the river Elbe. You should also see the highest waterfall in the Czech Republic - Pančavský waterfall.

But how to get there? There are several ways to get to the Elbe Spring:

1) More expensive, but least demanding route: by cable car + bus + on foot a total of about 10 km. This route is listed above. First you use the cable car to Medvědín. The price of a return ticket is 330 - 400 CZK / person. Price list HERE. After exiting the cable car, follow the yellow road for about 300 meters and from the asphalt road, take the narrow path on the right side of the ski slope to Horní Mísečky to Jilemnická bouda (approx. 1200 m). From Jilemnická bouda there is a regular bus service to Zlatá vrchší to Vrbatova bouda - timetable HERE. Entry is allowed only for 

buses with a permit, as this is an entrance to the Krkonoše National Park and cars are not allowed to enter. The bus will take you to the Golden Hill - to Vrbatova bouda. From now on, it's just you and in front of you is a beautiful 3.5 km hike along the red - Buchar road to the source of the Elbe. You will pass the monument of Master Hanč, you will reach the highest waterfall in the Czech Republic - Pančavský waterfall. The water rushes 148 meters down into the valley of the Elbe mine. Then Ambož's viewpoint is definitely worth a stop, discreetly hidden among the knees. It is about 150 m from the Pančava waterfall. Don't miss it! Continue in the direction of Labská bouda. After a short stop, you are just 1 km from the source of the Elbe.
However, you do not return on the same route. At the source of the Elbe, follow the yellow direction in the direction of U Čtyř pánů and Vrbatova bouda. After 3 km you are at Vrbatova bouda. Do not take the bus, as it would take you back to Horní Mísečky. Go down the hill on the road for about 1.6 km, where you must not miss a turn to the left - in the direction of Šmídova vyhlídka and Medvědín. After 420 m, a beautiful view awaits you from Šmíd's viewpoint. You have the final kilometer of your trip ahead of you. You walk across the bridges of Svinský puddles to the Medvědín cable car. If you caught up with it, you will drive back down to Špindlerův Mlýn. It is this route to the Source of the Elbe and back is marked below on the map and the elevation chart. There is no bus Horní Mísečky - Golden Hill on the route.
The elevation and the map below present the route: Vrbatova bouda - Labská bouda - Pramen Labe - back - U Čtyř pánů - Vrbatova bouda - Šmídova vyhlídka - Medvědín cable car.




2) More expensive option, but without a bus: Medvědín cable car + on foot: if you dare, you can walk from the top of Medvědín first along the red route through Svinské louže to Zlaté vrchí with a climb of 3 km and an elevation gain of 190 m. During this trip, we highly recommend you to visit the Šmídova vyhlídka viewpoint, which gives you a beautiful view of the Krkonoše panorama. The whole route to the source of the Elbe and back is about 13 km long in the duration of 6 hours.

3) The most demanding - only walking variant: Very demanding variant with a large climb. If you put it on foot along the red markings from the center of Špindlerův Mlýn along the Vodovodní cesta over Horní Mísečky to Zlaté vrchí, I will smack in front of you. You will overcome an elevation gain of 700m in a length of 7 km. You are heroes. Furthermore, according to our above-mentioned itinerary.

4) Ideal route for prams and wheelchairs: from Špindlerův Mlýn you will drive your car in the direction - Vrchlabí - Jilemnice - Horní Mísečky in the length of 40 km. One drive takes from Špindlerův Mlýn to Horní Mísečky 50 minutes. Please note that there is no shorter route by car. From Jilemnická bouda from Horní Mísečky there is a regular bus service to Zlatá vrchší to Vrbatova bouda. If you choose the yellow tourist signs at Vrbatova bouda, then the whole route is ideal for prams and wheelchairs. Following the yellow route from Vrbatova bouda to the source of the Elbe and back, it is a total of about 6.5 km along a good road. This route is undemanding and even small children can do it.

5) We have another very interesting route for you to the Elbe Spring - by bus to Špindlerův bouda (CZK 50 / person) via Petrovka, Dívčí and Muž kameny, Vysoké kolo and Sněžné jámy. It's a really beautiful route. It therefore deserves its own description - you can find it HERE

Detailed route description:
From the points above, you have certainly chosen the most suitable variant for you.
So let's choose the Golden Hill - Vrbatova Bouda as the starting point of the route. You are at an altitude of 1410 m above sea level. Let's take either the red or yellow route.

If you have a pram, bicycle or you want a barrier-free route, be sure to choose the yellow route.
For a hiking tour and beautiful views of the Pančava Waterfall, Labský důl, Ambrožova vyhlídka, choose the red tourist signs. So we follow the red ...
After 400m, in addition to a beautiful view of the Elbe meadow and the unique panoramas of the Giant Mountains, you will discover the remnants of the war - the so-called "řopíky" - small concrete bunkers, as a reminder of the turbulent history of the pre-Munich republic. I smack in front of those who built them. Even today, in extremely unfavorable weather conditions, they still have their strength and dignity bravely.

A small stone mound on the way between Vrbatová bouda and Pančavský waterfall recalls the scene of a sports tragedy from the spring of March 24, 1913 - a monument to Master Hanč. In these places, a true story of friendship for life and death happened, when the leading Czech skier Bohumil Hanč and his friend Václav Vrbata died in a snowstorm during the races. The sudden change of spring weather in a cruel mountain blizzard became fatal for both him and his friend Vrbat. Not far from the place where Bohumil Hanč - the master skier of the Kingdom of Bohemia, lay, Václav Vrbata - Hanč's friend, who came to encourage him, also froze. Not far from the place where Hanč lay, Václav Vrbata also froze - Hanč's friend, who came to cheer him up and lent him a coat and a hat in a snowstorm ... just beautiful experiences.

300m further you cross Pančava and in a few meters you are in a truly magical and magical place - Pančavský waterfall, which with its 148 meters is even 

the highest in the Czech Republic. Such a wonderful place has so much in it! The breathtaking valley of the Elbe mine, below you the meanders of the Elbe, as if you were in a fairy tale! Stop and quietly receive the energy of such a beautiful place.
You will miss another surprise on this road - just 200m from the Pančava waterfall, Ambrož's viewpoint is hidden in a kneeling place - another of the magical places in the Giant Mountains.

You will remember such a wonderful view for a long time to come.

The place is named after one of the pioneers of nature conservation. An unforgettable panorama of the Elbe pits and the Elbe mine will open in front of you.
From Ambrož's viewpoint it is only 700m to the Elbe hut. We will not open a debate on the architecture of Labská bouda here, for us it is authoritative that it is a stop on the way with the possibility of hiding from bad weather, locking the bike, refreshments and possible use of the toilet. It should be noted on the spot that Labská bouda has a well-deserved history.
The history of Labská bouda begins in 1830, when an enterprising woman called die Blasse built a small booth of stones, bark and grate in these places, in which she sold goat cheese, milk and brandy. The later owners Devátová and Šírová from Rokytnice nad Jizerou extended the original primitive building to accommodate visitors. In 1878–1879, Count Jan Harrach rebuilt the hut and in 1904 established the first nature reserve in the Giant Mountains. Since 1934, the tenant of Labská bouda has been Bedřich Hloušek, an important mountain lover and patriot, whose life ended after his arrest by the Gestapo ...
On November 6, 1965, Labská bouda completely burned down due to the careless handling of craftsmen with a petrol lamp. On June 12, 1969, the foundation stone of a new, modern nine-storey reinforced concrete panel building was laid, which was ceremoniously opened on November 15, 1975.
The current Hotel Labská bouda has 79 rooms with a total capacity of 120 guests. Since September 2012, the building has been operated by AEZZ a.s., which is also the owner and operator of Luční bouda. Since then, a shift can be seen at Labská bouda both in the area of ​​provided catering services and in the area of ​​accommodation. We recommend you spend at least one night in the heart of nature. For this contemplation, we also recommend tasting the local Paroháč beer.

At Labská bouda, go 350 meters below the shed. There is an Elbe waterfall. The few meters are really worth it.

But we have been here mainly since the visit to the Elbe Spring. It is only 1 km away from Labská bouda. Following a pleasant winding path, you are at the place of your destination - the Source of the Elbe in half an hour.

The life of the Elbe river is born from the peat bogs of the Elbe meadow at an altitude of 1386.3 m. On a stone wall near the spring there are 26 colored signs of the cities through which the Elbe flows.
According to the historical event of September 19, 1684, the Bishop of Hradec Králové, Jan Kryštof of Tallenberg, set out to consecrate the source of the Elbe in order to confirm the affiliation of the Elbe spring to the Czech lords. The camel carried the things he needed for the ceremony. The steep ascent through the impassable forest and the unfavorable weather made everyone tired and also the camel in the middle of the mountain fell exhausted. According to the parish chronicle at the consecration of the spring, when the bishop dipped the cross into the water, the storm died down, the sun shone and a bright, calm day shone over the mountains. This ended long-standing disputes over who the source belongs to. Even today it is necessary to travel to the springs for our healing. The Dean of Vrchlabí, V. Weber, took care of the further consecration of the spring in 1884.

Accept the invitation to a strong energy place - the Source of the Elbe.

Near the source of the Elbe, a country trail, also called the "Czech Trail", used to take place in the distant past. It connected Bohemia with Silesia. It was one of the oldest commercial salt trails.

If you still have enough strength, we recommend you to visit the Snow Pits - about 2 km or 45 minutes walk from the source of the Elbe - one way.
Again a beautiful and magical place.

And how back from the Source of the Elbe to Špindl?
Again, you have more options:

1) Someone chooses the way back to Labská bouda and Labský dol to Špindlerův Mlýn. At the beginning of the route, a steep descent along the serpentine slopes of the Elbe Mine awaits you - an elevation gain of approximately 200 m in the length of 1 km. this route is definitely not suitable for bicycles or prams. You continue through the valley of the Elbe mine, where you can see the Pančava waterfall from below. Then a quiet and romantic journey along the Elbe - through the Elbe Mine back to Špindlerův Mlýn awaits you. From Labská bouda to the center of Špindl, follow the blue path for about 10.5 km. Have a nice trip.
2) You can also choose the same way back if you want to see Ambrož's viewpoint and Pančavský waterfall once again.
3) However, we RECOMMEND the way from the Elbe Spring to the yellow - direction U Čtyř pánů - Vrbatovo hill. You will walk 3 km and about 1 hour on a leisurely road, part on asphalt (calculate the time around one hour so that you do not miss the last bus from the Golden Hill to Horní Mísečky!) The yellow marked road from the Elbe Spring to Vrbatouva hut is suitable for prams and is barrier - free. This route also has a lot to do with it, because you can see the whole panorama of the Giant Mountains in the palm of your hand, like never before. Sněžka, Violík, Kozí hřbety, Sedmidolí, Malý and Velký Šišák - 

it will all spread out before you in all its full beauty. At the end of the trip on Vrbatov Hill near the Hanče and Vrbata mounds, please dedicate a silent memory to the victims of the mountains and also to the story of two great friends, athletes and heroes who tragically died here in the spring of March 24, 1913 in a snowstorm. This moment will enhance your view of the Giant Mountains from the highest point of today's trip - you are at an altitude of 1400 m above sea level.
Now you can return either by bus to Horní Mísečky and down to Špindl, but we recommend a return on the road with a turn of about 1.5 km along the red road to Šmídova vyhlídka, via Svinské louže to Medvědín and by cable car to Špindl. From Vrbatova bouda to the upper station of the Medvědín cable car, count on a distance of 3 km and a time of about one hour.

I think that this day trip filled you with so many powerful experiences - the story of Hanča and Vrbata, the highest waterfall in the Czech Republic, Ambrož's viewpoint, the Elbe waterfall, the source of the Elbe and much more - that you will decide to do it next time. Maybe at a different time of year, maybe in a different mood, but with the conviction that you'll definitely like to see it again someday.


The elevation and the map present the route here: Vrbatova bouda - Labská bouda - Pramen Labe - back - U Čtyř pánů - Vrbatova bouda - Šmídova vyhlídka - Medvědín cable car.

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