Rača Blue Loop
Hiking times: Rača – Malá Baňa ¾ h. – Blue and red crossing ½ h. – Zbojníčka ¼ h. – Pánova lúka ¼ h. – Bystrické ½ h. – Medené hámre ¾ h. – Biely kríž 1 h. – Rača 1 ¼ h.
Total: 5 ¼ h.
Total climb: 328 m
This easy half-day hike follows a mostly forested route with easy navigation along marked hiking trails. The trail only leaves the Rača Blue Loop once in order to give hikers the chance to enjoy some refreshments near Zbojníčka, one of Bratislava's best known wells.
The trail sets off in a northerly direction from the MHD stop on Detvianska ulica in Bratislava's borough of Rača(170 m). At Námestie hrdinov turn to the left and follow the blue-blazed hiking trail (2403). Traditional vineyard homes surround both sides of Alstrova ulica and accompany the route up to the first crossroad. The street to the right heads off to the Zbojníčka summer pool complex. From the swimming complex's parking lot turn to the left onto the hiking trail with switchbacks up the slope of Knižkova dolina. The slight incline quickly leads up to the rounded top of Malá Baňa (361 m). A short branch trail leads to the top. An amphibolite rock quarry just below the top offers a unique outlook over the forested landscape of the slopes of the Small Carpathians with Veľká Baňa (444 m) jutting out to the north of Knižkova dolina. Return back to the main trail and continue along the flat forested hill. Continue around the Brichtov kríž, which serves as a memorial marking the death teamster Florian Brichta in 1875 who fell beneath a wagon wheel at this spot. Head towards the crossing of the blue-blazed and red-blazed hiking trails (Štefánik Trail E8, 0701, Variant I) named Vypálenisko (390 m). Turn to the right onto the Štefánik Trail and continue in a northerly direction. The paved forest road soon leads the trail to the Zbojníčka well (400 m, Variant II). The cold water from the modified spring is truly refreshing and the trail continues by turning to the left along the yellow-blazed hiking trail (8126) in the direction of Pánova lúka (390 m). This meadow surrounded by beech trees features a gazebo with benches and is perfect for a picnic. In good weather the meadow offers beautiful outlooks over the surrounding landscapes of the Small Carpathians. From Pánova lúka the trail follows by turning to the left to the north to the spring-fed section of Vydrica Brook, which meanders below the trail. The blue-blazed hiking trail (2403) cross through a shallow valley with Vydrica Brook at its base. The route follows along a picturesque forest road that once stretched from Rača to Medené Hámre. A number of trails meet at the Bystrické crossing (410 m) and destinations include Marianka and Borinka. The blue-blazed trail turns to the left and follows the same shared route with the yellow-blazed trail from Biely kríž to Stupava. At the Svätý vrch crossing (405 m) the trail turns to the right and begins to descend (sometimes steeply) into a deep cut valley of the Stupavský Brook to the Pod Dračím hrádkom crossing (270 m). Once again the trail turns to the right and continues along the blue-blazed paved road. The trail soon reaches the hamlet of Medené Hámre (290 m) which is home to a number of recreational cottages, a building formerly used to process copper ore and a Baroque chapel. The blue-blazed trail turns to the right before actually reaching the hamlet onto a paved road that rises slightly at the southern edge of the Strmina natural reservation. The blue blazes turn off the road after around 20 minutes to the right onto a forest trail that beings to climb, slightly at first and then more steeply, to the east. The forest path soon disappears and soon the trail reaches the meadow near the warden's house at Biely kríž (498 m). This is the highest elevation along the basic trail and is the perfect opportunity to relax at the Včelín snack bar or around your own fire, which is permitted under the proper conditions. Hikers should not miss the opportunity to visit Vydrice spring (505 m) located just a short distance from the warden's house. Follow the red-blazed trail north to reach the spring. The blazes turn into the forest and then around 100 m later there is an inconspicuous turn to the left that leads directly to the spring after a few meters. Return back to Biely kríž after visiting the spring. The final section of the basic trail along a paved road with blue hiking blazes (2403) is all that remains. The road leading down into the valley ends in Bratislava's borough of Rača (170 m), where a glass of local Rača wine at one of the local wine taverns is the perfect way to end a beautiful trip.
Variant I: Instead of turning to the Zbojníčka well, a blue-blazed trail can be followed to Medené Hámre and then to the warden's house at Biely kríž and back to Rača. This variant travels the entire blue loop (total: 5 h.).
Variant II: The basic trail route can be shortened significantly by taking the red-blazed paved road from the Zbojníčka well to the warden's house at Biely kríž (total: 3 ¾ h.). A shortcut is to take the green-blazed trail near the Zbojníčka well to Bystrické and then to follow this trail to the Pod Dračím hrádkom crossing in the Stupavský Brook valley and then to continue along the basic trail (total: 4 ¾ h.).
Variant III: The basic trail can be shortened by turning to the right onto the yellow-blazed trail at the Bystrické crossing that leads to the meadow near the warden's house at Biely kríž (total: 4 ½ h.).
Foto: Peter Mach