Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly) in Karkonosze Mountains

Snowy Pits
Lower Silesian VoivodeshipPoland

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The Snowy Pits were a bit of a disappointment: when we finally reached them, there was no snow, Ano miners and no animals (Haha.) Joking aside, let’s explain why we actually went there. Well, to personally settle the eternal dispute among mountaineers: which is nicer – Sniezka or Snowy Pits?

Silesia is beautiful! See the best attractions of Wroclaw and the surrounding area.

Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly) – how to get there? Trail: Szklarska Poreba – Szrenica – Labski Szczyt – Snowy Pits

Cable car to Szrenica

First of all, let us admit that our trip to Snowy Pits from Szklarska Poreba is the light version. Why? We’re a bit ashamed but we entered Szrenica by cable car! We know, it’s shameful, but in our tight schedule we only had a few hours for Snowy Pits, so there was no other option. The chairlift was ours to be or not to be. (Fortunately, we went down on our own, so we atoned for our laziness a bit.) However, we know that many people decide to take the cable car, especially families with children. And this is a great thing if you don’t want to get tired, your health doesn’t allow you to go on long trips or your time is limited.

Snowy Pits Szklarska Poreba

However, if we are honest, the lift ride tired us more than the subsequent walk. Really, really. The entire queue creaks, looks antediluvian, moves at the speed of a snail, and about halfway through you have to change to the second stage of the journey. The advantage of the entire ride is that for about half an hour you can enjoy the beautiful views of the Karkonosze Mountains (we recommend looking back during the trip). Everything bad ends as quickly as everything good. Finally, you get off the chairs and start walking along the trail to Snowy Pits. The hallmark of this place: a gray building with a green roof, i.e. the shelter on Szrenica.

Snowy Pits Szrenica

Labski Szczyt / Violik

The route from Szrenica to Snowy Pits has an element of magic. Theoretically, we were walking uphill all the time, but the terrain seemed to be flat because our legs were basically carrying us. Do we owe this impression to the unique beauty of the Karkonosze Mountains? Surely. Alpine landscape, unique vegetation, vast plains and fancy rocks are their hallmark. As you can see in the attached picture – if you go here in the late afternoon, even in the middle of summer you can enjoy these wonderful views almost alone.

Snowy Pits best trail

One of the stops on the Szklarska Poreba – Snowy Pits route is Labski Szczyt (also called Violik) located at an altitude of 1,471 m above sea level. Why does it deserve special attention? The stones (or rocks, if you prefer) at its top are covered with a characteristic intense yellow-green coating. This is due to a unique species of lichen. And here’s a small note, but a big request. Protect nature and don’t climb on rocks just to take a nice photo. You can take an equally good photo ‘from the ground floor’, without damaging these delicate organisms.

Snowy Pits Violik

RTON – a building on the edge of Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly)

The closer you get to the viewpoint on Snowy Pits, the more the characteristic tall building with a red tile roof will grow in your eyes. Currently, it is the Radio and Television Broadcasting Center, owned by EmiTel company. The TV tower, opened in 1960, is 24 meters high and looks really impressive (especially since there are no other buildings nearby). However, its history is more interesting than its current state.

Snowy Pits summer time

Generally, this building was built in 1897 as a shelter. It was so exclusive that it was even called a ‘mountain hotel’. During World War II, the facility was taken over by the German army, which established a radar station there. After its completion, the shelter became the property of Poland again. It underwent a general renovation, and since it resembled the royal castle in Krakow, it was called ‘Wawel’. However, it was not a tourist attraction for long. In 1960, the Olympic Games in Rome were broadcast from it, and since then it has only served as a broadcasting station.

Snowy Pits building

Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly) – peak and viewpoint

Have we already discussed all our stops on the Szklarska Poreba-Snowy Pits route? Yes. Have we finally reached the viewpoint? Sure. Did the amazing landscape take our breath away? Definitely. And not only because during our visit the wind was so strong that we couldn’t catch our breath, our baseball caps flew off our heads, and Wiolczi’s hair blocked her visibility. It is not without reason that Snowy Pits is said to be ‘the most Tatra corner of the Karkonosze Mountains’. It’s rocky, steep, and when you look down, it’s just terrifying. This is one of those places that confirms that nature is an amazing artist and sculptor!

Snowy Pits photos

Before you move on to the rest of the article, it’s time for a short geography lesson with Travel-Mates so that you know exactly what you are watching. Well, Snowy Pits are glacier cirques i.e. bowl shaped depressions surrounded on three sides by steep walls. We distinguish here the Little Snowy Pit and the Great Snowy Pit. The smaller one is 300 meters deep and the latter one is 250 meters deep. The height of their walls is from 100 to 150 meters. We do not recommend this attraction to people afraid of heights. Unless they look forward instead of looking down. And there is a lot to admire. Snowy Pits offers a view of the Jizera Mountains, the Kaczawskie Mountains, the Jelenia Góra Valley and the Rudawy Janowicke Mountains. Wiolczi liked Snieżne Stawki the most, i.e. seasonal lakes at the bottom of the cirques visible in the photo below.

Snowy Pits height

How much does it cost to enter Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly)? – Tickets to the Karkonosze National Park

Remember that in accordance with the regulations of the Karkonosze National Park, you must pay to enter its area. The easiest way to buy tickets is online. The amount is truly symbolic.

  • 1-day individual ticket – PLN 9 normal, PLN 4.50 reduced.
  • 2-day individual ticket – PLN 18 regular, PLN 9 reduced.
  • 3-day individual ticket – PLN 24 regular, PLN 12 reduced.
  • 1-day ticket for participants of groups with a Sudetes guide – PLN 8 normal, PLN 4 reduced.

Snowy Pits easy trail

Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly) – how far does it take?

In our reviews, we only share with you adventures that have been proven by our own experience. This means that we will tell you how long the route Szklarska Poreba – Szrenica (entry by cable car) – Snowy Pits – Szklarska Poreba takes.

  • Climbing by cable car Szklarska Poreba – Szrenica: takes about 30 minutes.
  • Walk Szrenica – Snowy Pits: takes about 1 hour.
  • Descent Snowy Pits – Szklarska Poreba: takes about 2 hours 15 minutes.

The Internet says that if you decided to cover the route Szklarska Poreba – Schronisko Hala Szrenicka – Trzy Swinki – Violik (Labski Szczyt) – Snowy Pits – Sniezne Stawki – Pod Labskim Szczytem (shelter) – Szklarska Poreba on foot, it would take you less than 7 hours.

Snowy Pits Poland

Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly) from Szklarska Poreba – how to get?

  • Public transport. The nearest large and well-connected city near Szklarska Poreba is Wroclaw (130 km). You can get there by both trains and buses from other large cities. From Wroclaw you can get to Szklarska Poreba by train or Koleje Dolnoslaskie in +/- 3 hours.
  • Car. Near the cable railway to Szrenica, i.e. Szrenica Ski Arena, you will find many municipal and private car parks (of course, the municipal ones will be cheaper).

Snowy Pits Karkonosze

Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly) – interesting facts and tips

  • If you are going to Snowy Pits with ‘the cable car to Szrenica’ option, remember to check the timetable in advance. The chairlift closes in the late afternoon. Make sure you make it in time.
  • The geological structure of Snowy Pits is an ideal place to stay for Lower Silesian ghosts – at least that’s what folk legends say. More than one witness saw a hairy black devil sneaking through rock rubble, narrow crevices or lush vegetation. Unfortunately, as you probably guessed, no one managed to capture this moment – the devil was too fast and agile. However, if you see any ghost here, don’t worry. It hasn’t done anything bad to anyone yet. 😉
  • Due to the carelessness of tourists, an entire book could be written about accidents at Snowy Pits. One incident in particular went down in history. It happened in 1911. A group of friends skied along the Karkonosze trail in heavy fog. One of the group’s participants completely lost visibility and fell into the abyss of Snowy Pits. Rescuers wanted to help him, but the conditions were too dangerous. To everyone’s surprise, the man escaped from the deadly trap on his own. Of course, he lost consciousness along the way and fell down steep rocks several times, but he survived, suffering only bruises and scratches.

Snowy Pits Polish mountains

Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly) – reviews

  • Patrix – 10/10. A very pleasant route that beginners can easily handle. The view from Snowy Pits was amazing. I felt like I was standing on a precipice. Beautifully. When entering, we saw a lot of greenery. Truly recommend.
  • Wiolczix – 9/10. The mountains have everything I love, so you’d have to look elsewhere for completely objective reviews. 😉 But let’s get back to Snowy Pits… For me, the hike from Szrenica to the viewpoint was a pleasant and easy walk. We went on a late August afternoon, so the sun wasn’t so hot. However, on the way back it was slowly setting, so the views were amazing. There was a strong wind at our destination, but that was a plus. Firstly, we cooled down a bit, secondly, the photos looked like from a professional modeling session (the effect below). Seriously – be careful up there, it’s better not to stand on the edge. Personally, I rate the trip to Sniezka a notch higher, but if you find time for Sniezne Kotly, be sure to go see them.

Snowy Pits viewpoint

Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly) – FAQ

Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly) – what is it?

Snowy Pits are glacial cirques located in the western part of the Karkonosze Mountains. It consists of the Small Snowy Pit and the Great Snowy Pit. They also include Sniezne Stawki (small lakes) and moraines (front, side and bottom). From a tourist’s perspective, Snowy Pits look like two huge cliffs on three sides surrounded by high, steep walls.

How many meters are Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly)?

The Great Snowy Pit is approximately 250 meters deep, its walls are approximately 150 meters high, and the bottom is 1,245 meters above sea level. The Small Snowy Pit is ‘small’ only in name. Its depth is about 300 meters, the height of the walls – about 100 meters, and the bottom reaches about 1,175 m above sea level.

What building is on the edge of Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly)?

In Snowy Pits, at an altitude of 1,490 m above sea level, there is RTON Sniezne Kotly, i.e. the Sniezne Kotly Radio and Television Broadcasting Center. The building with a 24-meter high tower has served as a relay station since 1960. In the past, there was a tourist shelter here, which was converted by the Luftwaffe into a radar station during World War II.

What is the best place to set off to Snowy Pits (Sniezne Kotly)?

The best, easiest and fastest trail to Snowy Pits leads from Szklarska Poreba through: Kamienczyk Waterfall – Hala Szrenicka Shelter – Trzy Swinki – Mokra Przełecz – Violik (Labski Szczyt) – Snowy Pits. You can cover the entire route on foot or make it easier by taking the cable car to Szrenica (Szrenica Ski Arena). Regardless of the variant you choose, the hike will be beautiful and pleasant.

How long does it take to reach Snowy Pits / Sniezne Kotly?

Hiking along the yellow trail from Szklarska Poreba to Snowy Pits will take you about 3 hours. If you choose to take the cable car to Szrenica, this time will be significantly shorter – our trip in this version took just over 1.5 hours. For us, the route was easy to complete, but apparently in less favorable weather, especially in winter, it can be demanding. However, you will certainly be rewarded by the picturesque views.

Snowy Pits map

Snowy Pits / Sniezne Kotly – map

Snowy Pitsare located in the Lower Silesian Voivodeship, in the Karkonosze Mountains, in the Piechowice commune. A stone’s throw from the Polish-Czech border

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