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Hiking trail Velky kotel Vysoka hole

Along the ridges around the Velky and Maly kotel

23 km
Estimated time:
7 h
Elevation gain:
795 m
Highest peak:
1464 m. a. s. l.


Route type:
For strollers:

Karlov pod Pradedem - Velky kotel - Nad Ovcarnou - Vysoka hole - Velky Maj - Jeleni hrbet - Jeleni studanka - Alfredka - Mravencovka

Difficulty level

A challenging route for experienced hikers. It is not suitable for less experienced tourists.
4 / 5

Navigation to the parking lot

Park your car comfortably in the parking lot and go on a day trip to the mountains.


You can leave your vehicle in one of the four car parks belonging to the Karlov Ski Arena. Along the river you will reach the Karlov - Moravice signpost, where the route begins.

From here you will connect to the blue tourist sign and to the Velka kotlina nature trail, which leads along the Moravice River. You will walk along a forest path through a beautiful forest, with a slight climb.

Parkoviště u Ski Aréna Karlov
(image source)

As soon as you get to the signpost Velky kotel - nastup, this is where one of the most valuable parts of the Hruby Jesenik Mountains, the Velka kotlina which is known as the botanically richest locality in the Czech Republic.

What is the Velka kotlina?

Also known as the Velky kotel (Great Cauldron), it is one of the most valuable parts of the Jeseniky Protected Landscape Area. It was formed as a glacial cauldron by the action of a mountain glacier during the last ice age. There are avalanche tracks and the snow lasts on average until June, the longest in Moravia. Avalanche falls maintain the natural forest-free area.

Please note that outside the nature trail, it is not possible to enter the Velky kotel.

Endemics in the Velka kotlina

The Velka kotlina is known as the botanically richest locality in the Czech Republic and one of the richest localities in Central Europe – about 500 plants grow here (of which 117 are endangered). Among the most important and rarest species are the local endemics: jitrocel cernavy sudetsky a hvozdik kartouzek sudetsky.

On the winding trail, there are several vantage points of the Velka kotlina. The Moravice River springs here.
Velka kotlina

Gradually, you will reach the signpost Nad Velkym kotlem. Here you will continue along the blue tourist sign to the Nad Ovcarnou signpost. Then you will continue along the red trail towards Petrovy kameny and Vysoka Hole. In beautiful weather, there is a beautiful view of Praded.

Along the way, you will meet 7-meter-high rock formations called Petrovy kameny.

Peter's stones with Praded in the background

Petrovy kameny, mysterious by legends

There was a belief that these places served as a gateway to hell, which was also strengthened by the presence of a nearby adit.

The name Petrovy kameny (Peter's Stones) has its origins in legends and historical events. According to one legend, a poor blacksmith named Peter fell in love with a rich girl, which her father did not like. When the lovers fled, they found refuge at these rocks, which were surrounded by a dark storm cloud.

The second explanation refers to a historical event from 1680, when during the turbulent era of the inquisition trials in Velke Losiny, a commission climbed to the rock, placed a statue of St. Peter there and consecrated the place. Since then, this rock has been called Petrovy kameny. People were afraid of this place, because to be there was almost certain accusation of witchcraft.

Due to nature protection, there is a year-round ban on leaving the marked path, especially the entrance to the top rock and its surroundings.

The trail, following the red tourist sign, will take you along one of the longest ridges of the Hruby Jesenik. You will set off through Vysoka hole, Kamzicnik, Velky Maj and to Jeleni hrbet, where the spring of the Jeleni studanka is located. The route is easy, not difficult.
View from Vysoka hole to Dlouhe strane, Petrovy kameny and Praded

On the way between Velky Maj and Jeleni hrbet, you will cross the ridge, on the slope of which is the Maly kotel.

Above the Maly kotel
(image source)

Maly kotel

It is a caroid in the Hruby Jesenik, located on the south-eastern slope of Velky Maj. It is a smaller version of the better-known Velky kotel, but unlike it, it was not shaped by a glacier. In the upper part of the Maly kotel, a non-native pine was planted in the Jeseniky Mountains in the past, thanks to which avalanches have stopped. However, the ecosystem of the Maly kotel is dependent on avalanches, and without them, the forest-free area and with it many endangered plant species and animals bound to them would not be maintained. After remediation interventions, the cutting down of the dwarf pines, avalanches were restored and the basin returned to its original character.

The Jeleni studanka is a spring on the slopes of the Jeleni hrbet mountain. There is a stone hut by the well, as a refuge for tourists in case of bad weather.

Jeleni studanka
(image source)

From there, head down, following the red/yellow tourist signs. The route leads through the Pod Jeleni studankou Nature Reserve.
Route to Alfredka

You will arrive at the so-called Alfredka. This location is very popular, as there used to be a tourist cottage here. There is a modest refreshment stand and several places to relax.

Renowned Alfredova Cottage

Alfredova Cottage (formerly a hunting lodge and later a mountain chalet). In its time, it was one of the most visited places in the Hruby Jesenik Mountains. Unfortunately, it has been rebuilt several times during its existence. Several operators were replaced and it was affected by two fires. The fire in 2002 was fatal and only the foundations of Alfredova cottage remained.

From Alfredka, follow the green tourist sign in the direction of Mravencovka. The name is quite justified, as the area is home to an unusually abundant occurrence of ants and an unusually high concentration of anthills.

Mravencovka signpost
(image source)

From the Mravencovka signpost, follow the blue tourist sign to the Jeleni signpost. Then you will continue along the forest path, following the yellow tourist sign. You will find it at the Nad Karlovem signpost, where you will then be on your way through the village to Karlov, to your vehicle.

Difficulty level

A challenging route for experienced hikers. It is not suitable for less experienced tourists.
4 / 5

Navigation to the parking lot

Park your car comfortably in the parking lot and go on a day trip to the mountains.

Services on the route

Parking Lot
Ski Arena Karlov
Parking Lot
7x Shelter
At the Velky kotel
Velky kotel
Velky kotel viewpoint
National Natural Area
NNA Praded
View of Petrovy Kameny
View of Praded
Remnants of a Luftwaffe radar base
Historical Boundary Stone
Mountain Peak
Vysoká hole signpost (1462 m above sea level)
Mountain Peak
Chamois (1420 m above sea level)
Jeleni studanka
Shelter Jeleni Studanka
Natural Area
NA Bridlicna
Natural Area
NA Pod Jeleni studankou
Refreshments at Alfredka
Former Cottage Alfredka
Stribrny spring
Prostor pro
Vaši reklamu
Máte v okolí Hrubého Jeseníku ubytování, restauraci nebo třeba firmu, a chtěli byste se dostat více do povědomí?

What not to forget?

Head out into the mountains with the appropriate gear and gear. Including plenty of water and food.
Do not enter places outside the approved tourist signs.
Don't go alone! We recommend going to the mountains at least in pairs.
Respect nature! Do not destroy it, do not make loud noises and do not leave garbage behind.
Save the phone number in case you'll be in an emergency situation.
Horská služba logo
+420 1210
Don't forget to check the weather forecast before heading to the mountains.
Download the offline map for the Czech Republic in the app
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