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The Polish Tatra Mountains for Absolute Beginners. Trail Descriptions

Updated on August 24, 2017
Virginia Matteo profile image

Viriginia is an experienced hiker. She goes to the Tatra Mountains in Poland every summer.

This is a comprehensive guide to the Polish routes in the Tatra Mountains for absolute beginners. The names are left in the original, as the signs on the trails read only in Polish.

Gubałówka and Butorowy Wierch

Trail
green
Time
1h
Distance
4.2 km
Highest point
Butorowy Wierch, 1160 m
Altitude
323 m
Start and finish
Krupówki – Butorowy Wierch

An easy trail ideal for the whole family. Gubałówka is a very popular tourist destination, so be prepared for crowds, restaurants luring you to try traditional Polish delicacies, and many, many shops with souvenirs you don’t really need. You can get a fairly reasonable view from there at the rest of the Tatra mountains, although nothing as spectacular as from higher mountains. But kids are sure to love it.

From Zakopane (Krupówki Street) follow the black trail to Gubałówka, then find the red one leading to Butorowy Wierch. For people not used to and/or not willing to do any exercising it is possible to use the tram to Gubałówka and then from Butorowy Wierch the ropeway down (so all that remains is a 15-minute walk from Gubałówka to Butorowy Wierch).

Views from Gubalowka
Views from Gubalowka | Source

Dolina za Bramką

Trail
green
Time
20 min
Distance
1 km
Highest point
Dolina za Bramką, 1000 m
Altitude
66 m
Start and finish
Wylot za Bramką – Dolina za Bramką

This is unfortunately a one-way trail, which means you have to go back the same way you came. The altitude is nearly non-existent, which makes it another accessible trail for families with children. You can admire interesting rock formations on the way.

From Wylot za Bramką follow the green trail to the end.

Dolina Lejowa

Trail
yellow
Time
1h 10 min
Distance
4 km
Highest point
Niżnia Polana Kominiarska, 1150 m
Altitude
220 m
Start and finish
Polana Biały Potok – Niżnia Polana Kominiarska

An easy, although not very interesting trail. It leads mainly through the forest.

Start from Polana Biały Potok and follow the yellow trail all the way to Niżnia Polana Kominiarska.

Droga pod Reglami

Trail
black, green
Time
3h 30 min
Distance
12.5 km
Highest point
Murowanica, 941 m
Altitude
0 m
Start and finish
Murowanica – Siwa Polana

This is a more demanding trail in terms of distance. The path leads mainly through the forest and crosses a couple of valleys and glades. If you are a bike lover, it is possible to use it on this path.

Follow the black trail from Murowanica to Kiry (Dolina Białego, Wylot ku Dziurze, Strążyska Street, Wylot za Bramką, Gronik and Nędzówka on the way). Then from Kiry to Siwa Polana follow the green trail (Polana Biały Potok on the way).

Dolina Kościeliska

Trail
green
Time
1h 20 min
Distance
6 km
Highest point
Hala Ornak, 1100 m
Altitude
173 m
Start and finish
Kiry – Hala Ornak

The trail leads through a very popular and beautiful valley, so if you are up for some pretty views that require a minimal amount of effort, this is your best bet. On the way you can take a detour to one of the many caves that Dolina Kościeliska has on offer – Jaskinia Mroźna, Smocza Jaskinia, Jaskinia Mylna and Jaskinia Raptawicka.

To get to Kiry you can take a bus from Zakopane or go by car. Then follow the green trail all the way up to Hala Ornak.

Dolina Koscieliska
Dolina Koscieliska | Source

Smreczyński Staw

Trail
black
Time
30 min
Distance
1.5 km
Hughest point
Smreczyński Staw, 1226 m
Altitude
126 m
Start and finish
Hala Ornak – Smreczyński Staw

A pleasant walk to a little pond, from where you can admire part of the mountains on the Slovakia side. The trail leads mainly through the forest.

From Hala Ornak follow the black path all the way to Smreczyński Staw.

Morskie Oko

Trail
red
Time
2h
Distance
9.3 km
Highest point
Morskie Oko, 1395 m
Altitude
405 m
Start and finish
Palenica Białczańska – Morskie Oko

The most hated trail by many, but also one of the most frequented. The trail leads through an asphalt road (with a few shortcuts through the forest) and offers nothing interesting for two hours. Many tourists choose to go by horse-drawn wagons, but I strongly urge you against it for ethical reasons – the horses are treated very badly.

However, the destination is one of the most popular ones. Morskie Oko is the biggest lake in the Tatras and a very beautiful one too; although the crowds of tourists hogging its banks all the time can spoil it a bit.

You can go by bus or by car to Palenica Białczańska. Then follow the red trail.

Morskie Oko
Morskie Oko | Source

Hala Gąsienicowa Through Boczań

Trail
blue
Time
1h 35 min
Distance
5 km
Highest point
Hala Gąsienicowa 1500 m
Altitude
490 m
Start and finish
Kuźnice – Hala Gąsienicowa

Hala Gąsienicowa is one of my favorite mountain pastures in the Tatras. It is utterly beautiful with views of the High Tatras. This is the first hike on the list which is likely to leave you out of breath. The beginning of the trail leads through the forest, but after about an hour the leafy shield disappears revealing stunning views.

From Zakopane you can take a bus to Kuźnice or go on foot (30 – 50 min on foot, depending on your whereabouts in Zakopane). From there choose the blue trail and follow it until Hala Gąsienicowa.

Hala Gasienicowa
Hala Gasienicowa | Source

Hala Gąsienicowa Through Dolina Jaworzynki

Trail
yellow, blue
Time
1h 35 min
Distance
5 km
Highest point
Hala Gąsienicowa, 1500 m
Altitude
490 m
Start and finish
Kuźnice – Hala Gąsienicowa

This is the second trail leading to Hala Gąsienicowa. Dolina Jaworzynki is more demanding physically, as for some time it forms a virtually flat path before going suddenly up until you reach Przełęcz między Kopami, where the route through Boczań and the route through Dolina Jaworzynki meet. My advice is go through Boczań to Hala Gąsienicowa and then choose Dolina Jaworzynki when going down.

From Kuźnice follow the yellow trail up to Przełęcz między Kopami. Then choose the blue trail to Hala Gąsienicowa. You can go to the mountain shelter there to have some well-earned rest and a piece of delicious apple pie.

Hala Gąsienicowa from Brzeziny

Trail
black
Time
1h 40
Distance
6.6 km
Highest point
Hala Gąsienicowa, 1500 m
Altitude
485 m
Start and finish
Brzeziny – Hala Gąsienicowa

The third and arguably least interesting trail to Hala Gąsienicowa, as it leads all the time through the forest.

You can go to Brzeziny by bus from Zakopane. Then follow the black trail all the way up to Hala Gąsienicowa.

Dolina Białego

Trail
yellow
Time
1h
Distance
3 km
Highest point
Polana Białego, 1100 m
Altitude
190 m
Start and finish
Dolina Białego – Polana Białego

Not what you were looking for?

Too easy? Click here if you are looking for more difficult trails.

Click here if you are looking for something even more challenging.

A very pleasant walk that doesn’t require much stamina. On the way you can admire interesting rock formations, cascades and flora.

Follow the yellow trail from the beginning of Dolina Białego to Polana Białego.

© 2016 Virginia Matteo

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