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Gorce and Island Beskids

Gorczański Park Narodowy
It is worth going on a trip to Gorce and Island Beskids with a previously developed plan, even the most general one. We suggest starting the hike from the Gorce National Park, where you will find a number of nature paths surrounded by beautiful trees; spruces, beeches and firs – many of which are even 100 years old! Although the natural richness of the GNP must be seen with one's own eyes, we also recommend to take a look at the exhibitions of the Educational Centre of the Gorce National Park in Poręba Wielka.

Of course, nothing can replace visiting real peaks and glades, which is why we encourage you to get to Bukowina Waksmundzka and Turbacz – two Gorce peaks offering picturesque views of the Tatra Mountains, the Nowotarska Basin, Pieniny and Lake Czorsztyn. Mountain panoramas can also be admired from observation towers, which are numerous in the area. One of them is located about 3 km north of Rabka, on the Królewska Góra peak. It is a wooden building over 25 m high, from which there are beautiful views of the Gorce, Island Beskids, Babia Góra and the Tatra Mountains. On the peaks of Gorce, namely Lubań, Magurek and Koziarz there are 30-metre lookout towers, which architecturally refer to wooden Gothic churches from the region.
Gorce and Island Beskids are separated from other ranges by two rivers: Raba and Dunajec. However, these two are not the only picturesque rivers in the area – Kamienica Gorczańska and the Spad falls prove that very well. Mogielica Reserve is located on the top the highest peak in the Island Beskids – Mogielica and has a lookout tower. In addition, there are 3 other nature reserves in the area: Kostrza, Śnieżnica and Luboń Wielki. They are all located on the slopes of the mountains with the same names. Luboń Wielki (1,022 metres asl) is one of the most characteristic mountains of the Island Beskids. On its south-eastern slopes you can find the inanimate nature reserve “Luboń Wielki”. It was established in 1970 and covers an area of 12 ha. You can find there – the largest in Island Beskids and one of the most beautiful in the whole Carpathians – flysch landslide with stone runs. The area is covered with rock forms of original shapes. They form rock perches and humps, several meters high, called Dziurawe Turnie. Moving along the trail leading to Mogielica or Krzystonów it is impossible not to cross the Stumorgowa Glade, from which we will see not only the surrounding peaks of the Island Beskids, but also the range of Gorce, Beskid Sądecki, Pieniny, and even the Tatra Mountains and the peak of Babia Góra. What more could you want?

If you haven't been to Gorce and the Island Beskids yet, you'll be pleasantly surprised after the first trip. Past centuries are the background of many Gorce and Beskid legends. One of the more interesting is the one that explains the origin of the formation of a huge boulder, known as the Devil's Stone, near Szczyrzyc. This famous monument of inanimate nature supposedly owes its existence to the devil himself. According to the legend, an evil demon, wanting to demolish the Cistercian abbey in Szczyrzyc, unexpectedly dropped a boulder not far from the target. Apparently, the devil was disturbed by the sound of the monastery bell. It is worth noting that on the eastern side of the Devil's Stone, there is a hermitage dedicated to Saint Benedict, today visited by pilgrims and travellers. In the vicinity of both these sites, you can admire the chapel of St Benedict as well.

On the east, the Island Beskids end with the Łososiński Range. It is a mountain ridge that stretches between Limanowa and Lake Rożnów. You can find here unusual landscapes with glacial glades and the most beautiful beech forests in the entire Island Beskids. The highest peak of the Łososiński Range is Jaworz (918 metres asl), on the slopes of which partisan units used to have their base during World War II.


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