Canoing and Rafting on the Vltava River
 

Down the Vltava river - a guide to the most interesting places
or "Several pieces of advice on how to manage the natural element and not disturb the gods of the Vltava"

Down the Vltava in a boat

Our motto :
What won't kill us, makes us stronger.
Where others leave off, we begin .
Every wave won't kill you.
You will not drink the whole river .

In the following lines we do not wish to compete with the book Guide to Vltava, or appear to rethink and reformulate what has already been thought of and formulated. All we want is just to sum up and complete the above mentioned literature with several minor discoveries made by our research-development team in the stream of the ever flowing sector!

In our region the Vltava is divided into these passable sections :
Horní Vltava (from Lenora to Nová Pec)
Lipno Dam
Lipno dike - Paper mill Loučovice
Paper factory Loučovice - level tank Vyšší Brod
Dolní Vltava: Vyšší Brod - Český Krumlov
Dolní Vltava: Český Krumlov
Dolní Vltava: anything beyond Český Krumlov

Horní Vltava :
from Lenora 396 r. km - via Soumarský bridge 390 r. km - to Nová Pec 363,6 r. km

The upper part of the river called Horní Vltava before the Lipno Dam is of quite a different character than the lower part. The section below Lenora (765 m above sea level) with quiet flowing water, many bends, calms, and little pools (occasionally supplemented by small rapids), and the magnificent Šumava nature with beautiful trees and peat-bogs, are a balsam to the soul. The river seems to live and changes its appearance every day. It looks for new beds and flows around new obstacles. With a normal water flow, there is no danger. But it is not possible to rely on your memories from last year. Watch for fallen trees in the water.

This is a part of the river where you cannot orientate yourself with a compass. Be prepared for the fact that you will see some villages and places more than once. The sun will seem to have gone mad and shine from the front and from the back. I recommend prolonging the journey up to Lenora if the water level is high enough. It is possible to camp in Lenora, by the Soumarský Bridge, and in Nová Pec (750 m above sea level). In case of emergency it is possible to leave the river on the left shore by the bridge near the village Pěkná (r. km 373,5) and to walk about 700 m to the first class road between Horní Planá and Volary.

It is possible to go down from Soumarský Bridge to Nová Pec in 6 hours at a leisurely pace. Please do not offend the defenders of the environment, otherwise it would be to the detriment of all the other water users. Remember the Status of the Vltava river, which provides for many conditions concerning protection of the environment (even though there are some I do not understand, like the prohibition of canoing in winter months, when the only ones who go are those who want to more than just pub crawl!)

(When the river is in spate and the wind blows with a speed of 100 km per hour, the journey can be over in three hours. I do not recommend that - in between the branches and trees, it can sometimes be a battle for survival. The river stops respecting its bed and runs straight to its target.)

If you wish to enjoy the upper parts of the river, do not go among the "madding crowd" during the summer holidays! The early spring and then fall, when Šumava is preparing for its winter sleep are equally beautiful times, and will clear your head from all the burdens of civilisation.


Water reservoir Lipno :
(from Nová Pec 363,8 r. km to the dike of the Lipno Dam 329,5 r. km)

If you have enough time, and strength, you can also try the Lipno. The water does not flow here, it stands still. There is a lot of it, and you have a long journey before of you.

Evening University of the Young Boatman

Perhaps some bits of advice might help :
Do not risk the shortest way, keep close to the shore.
A black water surface predicts rain and wind, and meter-high waves are not only pub stories.
Follow the advice and behaviour of the boat fishermen - when they leave the water, you should too.
To sum up: Lipno takes people's lives as an annual tax.


The dike of the Lipno Dam (329,5 r. km)

I confess this is a weir which I have not gone over yet.

The original bed under the Lipno Dam (the dike 329,5 r. km - the usual start of the water slalom route 329,4 r. km - the end of the rapids above the church of St. Prokop 327,5 r. km - weir at the Paper mill, the beginning of the rapids 326,1 r. km - Vrata 325,3 r. km - the end of the rapids, the beginning of the level reservoir Vyšší Brod 320,7 r. km - the dike of the level reservoir Vyšší Brod 319,1 r. km)

An interesting part of the river, not described in the water guide. From the time when the Lipno Dam was built, the water from the turbines has been led through an underground canal (the largest underground canal in the Republic at that time) to Vyšší Brod.

Straight under the concrete dike of the Lipno Dam (705 m above sea level) the natural water canal starts. During the Championships of the Republic, World championships and World Cups, dangerous water is allowed to run through the canal with great boulders, and the world's top racers put their boats on it. It is referred to as the "water of truth". One cannot train here, but a few hours before the race, here he who knows his ins and outs, he succeeds. The water flows through the original bed via Loučovice and Čertova stěna to the level tank above Vyšší Brod. This part of the river can be divided into the following four sections :

The racing water slalom route below the dike of the Dam

The section marked as WWIV, with cca 150 m WWV (extremely difficult water, rapids, whirls, knowledge of the terrain essential, terrain suitable only for experts and top level racers. The method of qualification changes, it decreases with the increase of the quality of the material and boats. These facts are basic information.)

The first part begins about 100 m from the sluice gates of the Lipno Dam and ends approximately at the place where the forest begins on the right shore. This part is virtually the same as the slalom route. If you are lucky enough, and you have the patience and determination, you can go through it after the last competitor finishes and before the water is turned off.

From the rapids part at the end of the slalom route to the calm above the church of St. Prokop 327,5 r. km.

A part of the river marked WWIV.

The second part begins immediately after the first one - it begins straight below the parking area, and ends on the "oil" (calm water) below the church of St. Prokop above the village Loučovice. At both ends it is accessible to cars for getting in and off the boats. Everybody can fight the water - ideal conditions for rafts or kayaks which finish on calm water. It is advisable to go down this section on a raft before trying the more difficult ones below Loučovice. Be aware of the times of the races. The slalom ends at the first part, but the racing route leads down to the church, sometimes even after the third part - above Vrata. The slalom of rafts takes place in the second part. A single tourist boat in the competitor's way can ruin his race and his entire year of preparation!!! The dates of the different races are available from the organisers.

Take advantage of the possibility to race in an open raft race. During the races it is possible to see 30 to 50 rafts on the water and on the roofs of cars. In all cases it is necessary to have a quality life jacket, a helmet, and tight clothes - neoprene is the best. Even this part of the river has cost some people their lives.


Weir at the Paper Mill, beginning of rapids 326,1 r. km - Vrata 325,3 r. km

The third part is separated from the second by about 2 km of "oil" (calm water) with small rapids in the middle. The section basically starts behind the iron stop on the lower end of Loučovice. Embarking is possible at the right shore near the garages. 100 m of calm water awaits you there. Behind the half metre weir, the water begins to flow. You will pass an iron bridge and go through a section about 150 m long, marked WWV. Behind it there is calm water with originally a great number of branches and trees (on the 10th of March 1998, when we controlled it, it was cut through, and for the time being was clearer) - here you can get off onto the shore and on to a road. Cca 200 m below this point, there is the famous gate (Vrata). I do not recommend continuing to the section below the gate, unless you have competently managed this section.

Loučovice "Vrata" 325,3 r. km - Čertova stěna cca 324 r. km - beginning of the level reservoir in Vyšší Brod 320,7 r. km - the dike of the level reservoir Vyšší Brod 319,1 r. km

Section Čertovy Proudy (Devil's Streams) in the older guides classified as WWVI - the ultimate limit of possibilities, a very difficult terrain - passable only with very high risks, extremely difficult water, rapids, whirls, the knowledge of the terrain necessary, terrain suitable only for experts and top racers.

Vltava River, rapids

In the fourth part it is possible to get on the boat 100 m beyond the gate by the road leading from Loučovice - Vyšší Brod. In addition to a helmet, a special life jacket with a rope, and suitable clothes, I also recommend neoprene gloves, and a spare paddle (it was very useful), maybe even spare underwear. He who hasn't gone would not understand - he who has will never forget. The beginning immediately brings a sense of excitement. On "calm" water between the reinforcement irons and remains of concrete blocks, you have to locate the gate, which is a four meter slope, at the end of which there is a sharp left turn with bushes and whirls, followed by a right turn with more whirls. Here you come to truly understand that water flows downhill. Over a distance of five kilometres it descends about 150 m. To start with you do not see more than 50 m in front of you. The whole journey is, in fact, a twenty minute battle with the water.

En route, there are only a few places at which you can stop. I recommend you do stop and have a good look at what is before you, especially in front of the famous Chink (Škvíra) - a narrow pass near the right shore, where many spectators gather to watch for blood! Before both the Chink and the Stairs (Schody), there is a good opportunity to park on shore. After the Stairs it is possible to leave the river on the left shore, to where you can come, by car, from the railway station Čertova Stěna. There also is the possibility to continue by the right stream through the trees and bushes and leave the river later, after about 500 m again on the left shore. Here you can see the road connecting the railway station Čertova Stěna and Vyšší Brod. If you decide to continue even further, it is possible to go on to the calm of the level reservoir Vyšší Brod. Here the hardship ends and normal touristist slavery starts again! On the calm water you can go straight to the dike above the camp in Vyšší Brod.

Some advice :
Never sit on a raft on which the crew consists of beginners .
A quality helmet and life jacket are a essential!
Neoprene gloves are very useful for protecting the backs of your hands.
There has to be one person on a raft who gives the orders.
Try not to fall out of the raft.
If you do fall out, hold on to the raft as long as you can.
If you do not catch up, fight for yourself.
Try to hold your legs near your body and in front of it. Under water, try to protect your head with your hands.


Dolní Vltava (Lower Vltava) :

From Vyšší Brod 318,9 r. km via Rožmberk nad Vltavou - 308,7 r. km and on to Český Krumlov - 283,1 r. km

 Evening University of the Young Boatman
As stated before, the Vltava has many faces. Under the level reservoir behind Vyšší Brod (550 m above sea level) you can say that the Vltava River is passable all year round with minimal risk. The amount of water released from the level reservoir is regulated and is not really influenced by the weather. The river from its calm journey through nature, through the Lipno Dam and the canyon under Čertova Stěna, flows into another calm part through a flat valley to České Budějovice. This journey on the Vltava river could be compared to a drive on the motorway, because there are plenty of resting places, refreshments, and boatrests. The weirs became the critical cross-roads with a threat of danger, that the boatway would get busy, traffic would get jammed, and there would be accidents with a possible loss of lives. This is why the engineers of the Vltava River decided to build a type of subway, unsightly concrete speed strips, which are referred to as retards (from the word retarded?).

The remaining beautiful kilometres of the river are summed up in the chart below, where I hope everybody will find the information they need.

Finally, please take the opportunity to complete this information with your own exceptional discoveries and feats, to help other visitors to the beautiful Vltava. We will be updating these pages regularly.

Ahoy!

E - mail : pouzar@ck.ipex.cz


Kilometer marker : 318,9

Locality :
under the dike of the Vyšší Brod reservoir

About the river :
access to the river from the camp

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
plenty of possibilities in Vyšší Brod

Access to the water by car :
from the camp and from the parking lot at the monastery

Campground :
AUTOCAMP Pod hrází

What to do while you're there :
Cistercian monastery in Vyšší Brod, Post museum

Notes :
Don't try to ride under the waterfall from the reservoir (drowning in 1997 !)


Kilometer marker : 317,9

Locality :
Weir u Bílého mlýna (at the white mill)

About the river :
weir

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
plenty of possibilities in Vyšší Brod

Access to the water by car :
150 meter walk through garden colonies

Campground :
no

What to do while you're there :
Cistercian monastery in Vyšší Brod, Post museum


Kilometer marker : 317,0 - 314,0

About the river :
quicker section with rapids

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
no

Access to the water by car :
no

Campground :
no


Kilometer marker : 314,95

Locality :
Weir Herbertov

About the river :
weir

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
no

Access to the water by car :
yes

Campground :
no


Kilometer marker : 314,95 - 314,4

Locality :
Herbertov

About the river :
man-made slalom route

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
no

Access to the water by car :
yes

Campground :
no

Notes :
difficult bit - keep distance, and careful when passing.


Kilometer marker : 312,6

Locality :
At the three squirrels (U tří veverek )

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
seasonal tents

Access to the water by car :
from the crossroads towards Kaplice, V. Brod and Rožmberk

Campground :
no


Kilometer marker : 309,0

Locality :
Rožmberk

About the river :
shallows

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
more possibilities in the town of Rožmberk nad Vltavou

Access to the water by car :
yes

Campground :
hotels, pensions

What to do while you're there :
castle, organ concerts in the church


Kilometer marker : 308,5

Locality :
weir Rožmberk

About the river :
the „weir retarder"

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
more possibilities in the town of Rožmberk nad Vltavou

Access to the water by car :
yes

Campground :
hotels, pensions

What to do while you're there :
castle, organ concerts in the church


Kilometer marker : 307,0

Locality :
below Rožmberk

About the river :
rapids

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
yes

Access to the water by car :
road uphill to the castle and afterwards at the fork, downhill to the camp

Campground :
Boater's Campground Rožmberk


Kilometer marker : 298,1

Locality :
pod Čeřínem (crossroad towards Větrná and Malšín)

About the river :
panel ford

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
seasonal at the campground, also U Fíka, and more

Access to the water by car :
from the left bank, for the river by car, or across the bridge below the Zátoň rectory, go right, and upstream about 3 km

Campground :
yes

What to do while you're there :
swim


Kilometer marker : 292,4

Locality :
Na Pískárně

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
yes

Access to the water by car :
yes

Campground :
Autocamp Na Pískárně - possible to sleep in cottages

What to do while you're there :
swim


Kilometer marker :290,2 - 288,2

Locality :
Dobrné - Větřní

About the river :
calm

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
no

Access to the water by car :
no

Campground :
no


Kilometer marker : 288,2

Locality :
Weir Větřní - papermill

About the river :
the „weir retarder"

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
no

Access to the water by car :
no

Campground :
no


Kilometer marker : 286,35

Locality :
Weir Spolí - under the scrawled cliffs

About the river :
weir

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
yes

Access to the water by car :
across Český Krumlov and Nové Spolí on the right shore

Campground :
Boater's Campground Spolí

Notes :
the only campground for Český Krumlov


Kilometer marker : 285,4

Locality :
Nové Spolí

About the river :
calm

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
yes

Access to the water by car :
across Český Krumlov and Nové Spolí on the right shore

Campground :
Boater's Campground Spolí

What to do while you're there :
swim, visit Český Krumlov

Notes :
only Campground for Český Krumlov


Kilometer marker : 284,9

Locality :
Weir Rechle, Český Krumlov

About the river :
weir

Campground :
Boater's Campground Spolí

What to do while you're there :
Český Krumlov

Notes :
only Campground for Český Krumlov


Kilometer marker : 284,4

Locality :
Český Krumlov

About the river :
turbulent

Access to the water by car :
yes

Campground :
no

What to do while you're there :
Český Krumlov


Kilometer marker : 284,14

Locality :
Weir U vozíčkárny, Český Krumlov

About the river :
weir

Access to the water by car :
no

Campground :
no

What to do while you're there :
Český Krumlov


Kilometer marker : 283,1

Locality :
Český Krumlov - Myší díra

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
River spa Rumyší díra

Access to the water by car :
no

Campground :
no

What to do while you're there :
Český Krumlov

Notes :
Don't give in to the temptation to cut across the canal at Rumyší díra, because there's a beautiful section of weirs and magnificent architecture on the way.


Kilometer marker : 283,0

Locality :
Weir under the church of St. Vitus in Český Krumlov, town of Český Krumlov

About the river :
the „weir retarder"

Access to the water by car :
no

Campground :
no

What to do while you're there :
Český Krumlov


Kilometer marker : 282,85

Locality :
Weir U Plášťového mostu (at the Cloak bridge) in Český Krumlov

Weir on the Vltava River under the St. Vitus church in Český Krumlov

About the river :
weir (U utopeného Pstroužka - at the drowned trout)

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :
yes

Access to the water by car :
paring lot Jelenka 250 m

Campground :
no

What to do while you're there :
Český Krumlov


Kilometer marker : 282,0

Locality :
Na fortně

About the river :
rapids, concrete panels

What to do while you're there :
on the right shore is Myší díra, you can cut through the canal for about 150m and float through the town again


Kilometer marker : 282,0 - 281,0

Locality :
Český Krumlov, around the brewery and former slaughterhouse

About the river :
rocks, shallow water, rapids

Possibilities for refreshments, recommendations :

Access to the water by car :
parking lot below the post office

Campground :
no

What to do while you're there :
Český Krumlov


Kilometer marker : 269,0

Locality :
Weir Zlatá Koruna

About the river :
the „weir retarder"

Access to the water by car :
on the right shore

What to do while you're there :
Monastery Zlatá Koruna


Kilometer marker : 268,6

Locality :
Zlatá Koruna

Access to the water by car :
on the right shore

Campground :
Campground

What to do while you're there :
Monastery Zlatá Koruna

(lp)

 



© Sdružení Oficiálního informačního systému Český Krumlov, 1999
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