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The Tatra Mountains for Beginners

Updated on August 29, 2016
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 beginners. The names are left in the original, as the signs on the trails read only in Polish.

Hala Stoły

Trail
green, blue
Time
1h 20 min
Distance
4.3 km
Highest point
Polana na Stołach, 1340 m
Altitude
413 m
Start and finish
Kiry – Hala Stoły

A little known trail, perfect if you’re up for something easy without hordes of tourists. The path leads partly through the forest, then through a glade. Some good views of Giewont and Ciemniak on the way.

You can go to Kiry by bus or by car then follow the green path up to Lodowe Źródło (Wyżnia Kira Miętusia on the way). Then choose the blue trail that leads straight to Hala Stoły.

Kopa Kondracka Through Przełęcz pod Kopą Kondracką

Trail
blue, green, red
Time
2h 45 min
Distance
3.7 km
Highest point
Kopa Kondracka 2005 m
Altitude
672 m
Start and finish
Kuźnice – Kopa Kondracka

It may be a bit demanding for people not used to exercising, especially the last bit of the trail. However, it is perfectly safe and not that crowded.

It’s best to go to Kuźnice by bus. Then follow the blue trail up to Hala Kondratowa (you’ll walk past Polana Kalatówki). At this point you can stop by at the mountain shelter and have some rest. Then choose the green trail leading to Przełęcz pod Kopą Kondracką, and then the red one to Kopa Kondracka.

Kasprowy Wierch From Hala Gąsienicowa

Trail
yellow, red
Time
1h 20 min
Distance
4.2 km
Highest point
Kasprowy Wierch, 1987 m
Altitude
485 m
Start and finish
Hala Gąsienicowa – Kasprowy Wierch

A really comfortable trail with some pretty views on the way. The path leads among dwarf mountain pine, which means no forest to shield you from the views. If you are lazy you can also use the ropeway that goes to Kasprowy Wierch, but where is the fun in that?

From Hala Gąsienicowa choose the yellow trail and continue until you reach Sucha Przełęcz (Dwoiśniak on the way). From Sucha Przełęcz it’s just a 10-minute walk to Kasprowy Wierch (follow the red trail).

Kasprowy Wierch
Kasprowy Wierch | Source

Wielki Kopieniec

Trail
green, yellow, green
Time
1h 30 min
Distance
5 km
Highest point
Wielki Kopieniec, 1328 m
Altitude
318 m
Start and finish
Kuźnice – Wielki Kopieniec

From Wielki Kopieniec you can have some really nice views of the High Tatras. It is a good trip for the first day in the Tatras, so that you can get used to physical exercise before some more challenging hikes. The path leads mainly through the forest with some glades in between.

It’s best to take a bus to Kuźnice. Then follow the green trail up to Nosalowa Przełęcz, then the yellow one to Polana Olczyska and the green trail again to Kopieniec Wielki.

Nosal

Trail
green
Time
55 min
Distance
1.6 km
Highest point
Nosal, 1206 m
Altitude
262 m
Start and finish
Murowanica – Nosal

Another good option for the first day in the Tatras with pretty views of the High Tatras. The path leads mainly through the forest.

From Murowanica (a bus stop in Zakopne) follow the green trail up to Nosal.

Ścieżka nad Reglami

Trail
black
Time
5h 45 min
Distance
16 km
Highest point
Przełęcz w Grzybowcu, 1311 m
Altitude
349 m
Start and finish
Polana Kalatówki – Polana Huciska

The trail leads through most Polish valleys in the Tatras and is very popular among tourists. It’s quite a walk as well, you’ll need at least half a day. There is a buffet on the way on Polana Strążyska (about 1h 40 min from Polana Kalatówki) where you can eat something before the rest of the journey.

From Polana Kalatówki follow the black trail all the way to Polana Huciska. The glades, valleys and mountain passes on the way: Dolina Białego, Czerwona Przełęcz, Polana Strążyska, Przełęcz w Grzybowcu, Wielka Polana Małołącka, Przysłop Miętusi, Wyżnia Kira Miętusia, Niżnia Kominiarska Polana.

Kasprowy Wierch Through Myślenickie Turnie

Trail
green
Time
2h 30 min
Distance
7.5 km
Highest point
Kasprowy Wierch, 1987 m
Altitude
975 m
Start and finish
Kuźnice – Kasprowy Wierch

The path leads at first through the forest, then through dwarf mountain pine. The last bit of the hike is quite strenuous, but as a reward you can relish some amazing views.

From Kuźnice choose the green trail and continue to Kasprowy Wierch (Myślenickie Turnie on the way).

Kasprowy Wierch and Giewont
Kasprowy Wierch and Giewont | Source

Polana Chochołowska From Hala Ornak

Trail
yellow, green
Time
2h 25 min
Distance
7.7 km
Highest point
Iwanicka Przełęcz, 1459 m
Altitude
419 m
Start and finish
Hala Ornak – Polana Chochołowska

Choose the yellow trail from Hala Ornak up to Wyżnia Brama Chochołowska (Iwanicka Przełęcz on the way, quite a steep hike there). Then from Wyżnia Brama Chochołowska to Polana Chochołowska follow the green trail. There are mountain shelters at the beginning and end of the journey.

Kończysty Wierch From Polana Chochołowska

Trail
red, green
Time
2h 45 min
Distance
6.8 km
Highest point
Kończysty Wierch, 2002 m
Altitude
854 m
Start and finish
Polana Chochołowska – Kończysty Wierch

A trail in the Western Tatras, which look much more gentle than the High Tatras. A very safe trail with stunning views all around; the final bit of the route leads over the ridge. One thing that may cause some inconvenience is gravel, so it may be a good idea to take walking sticks with you. Definitely worth recommending.

From Polana Chochołowska follow the red trail up to Trzydniowiański Wierch. You can have a rest there and absorb the stunning views of the West Tatras. Then choose the green trail to Kończysty Wierch. If you’ve got the stamina, you can continue your trip to Starobociański Wierch or Jarząbczy Wierch.

Trzydniowianski Wierch
Trzydniowianski Wierch | Source

Gęsia Szyja From Zazadnia

Trail
blue, green
Time
1h 45 min
Distance
4.7 km
Highest point
Gęsia Szyja, 1489 m
Altitude
527 m
Start and finish
Zazadnia – Gęsia Szyja

From Gęsia Szyja you can admire views of the High Tatras. There is a chapel on the way where you can get a free cup of tea and a mountain hut you can buy something to eat. The path leads through the forest and a glade.

You can go by bus from Zakopane to Zazadnia. Then choose the blue trail and follow it up to Rusinowa Polana. From there follow the green trail leading to Gęsia Szyja.

Zawrat From Dolina Pięciu Stawów

Trail
blue
Time
1h 45 min
Distance
4.4 km
Highest point
Zawrat, 2159 m
Altitude
491 m
Start and finish
Dolina Pięciu Stawów – Zawrat

The trail from Dolina Pięciu Stawów (by the way one of the most beautiful valleys in the Tatras in my opinion) is perfectly safe and easy. You can admire the famous five Polish ponds as you walk higher and higher on a convenient path made from rocks.

But beware of the other trail to Zawrat, from Hala Gąsienicowa. This is a bloody difficult one. So if you don’t have the necessary hiking experience DO NOT go down from Zawrat to Hala Gąsienicowa.

From Dolina Pięciu Stawów follow the blue trail right up to Zawrat.

Dolina Pieciu Stawow
Dolina Pieciu Stawow | Source

Dolina Pięciu Stawów Through Dolina Roztoki

Trail
red, green, (black)
Time
2h 10 min
Distance
9 km
Highest point
Dolina Pięciu Stawów, 1671 m
Altitude
678 m
Start and finish
Palenica Białczańska – Dolina Pięciu Stawów

An utterly beautiful trail. It leads past the biggest waterfall in Poland, Siklawa (which actually isn’t THAT big, just about 65 m, but still beautiful). Once you’ve left the forest you can enjoy the magnificent mountain range looming over Dolina Roztoki and then the path takes you to one of the most beautiful valleys in the Tatra Mountains – Dolina Pięciu Stawów. All of which means that this trail is usually rather crowded, so if you want to enjoy more intimacy your best bet is to start as early as possible.

You can take a bus from Zakopne to Palenica Białczańska. Then follow the red trail for about 30 minutes. Find the green trail on the right leading into the forest. Keep going for about an hour and ten minutes until you arrive at the fork of the road. You can either choose the black trail or continue with the green one. The black route leads straight to a mountain shelter where you can have a rest and admire the stunning valley.

Siklawa
Siklawa | Source

Wrota Chałubińskiego

Trail
yellow, red
Time
1h 50 min
Distance
3.5 km
Highest point
Wrota Chałubińskiego, 2022 m
Altitude
235 m
Start and finish
Wrota Chałubińskiego, 2022 m

It’s an easy hike to a mountain pass. You can see from there Wyżni Ciemnosmreczyński Staw – a pond located on the Slovakia side of the Tatras.

Follow the yellow trail from Morskie Oko until you reach Dolina za Mnichem. Then choose the red trail that will take you straight to Wrota Chałubińskiego.

Will you come?
Will you come? | Source

Not what you were looking for?

Click here if you are looking for easier trails.

Click here if you fancy something more difficult.

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