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Szlak pieszy: Trzy doliny tatrzańskie w jednej wycieczce

Hiking trail: Three Tatra valleys in one trip

Bita droga, na niej kobieta i mężczyzna spacerujący z kijkami do nordic walking. Po lewej na polanie drewniane ogrodzenie. Po prawej na polanie wysokie drzewo, za polanami dalej drzewa i wysoka po lewo zalesiona góra .Po prawej między drzewami widoczny dom z drzewa. Za górą kolejna w oddali i pochmurne niebo.
Kościelisko Tourist region: Tatry i Podhale
One of them ‘played’ Alaska in an American film production, another is said to have hidden robber’s treasures, and the third is famous for having the best dessert of all the Tatra shelters. Lejowa Valley, Kościeliska Valley and Chochołowska Valley - You can go through all three in one trip! How to do it easily, well timed and with a view? We give you some hints below!

Practical information

The starting point of the trail Kiry, head of the Kościeliska Valley.

Access to the starting point of the trail Road no. 958 connecting Zakopane with Chochołów and Czarny Dunajec.

Parking you can leave your car at one of the numerous car parks at the head of the Kościeliska Valley; all are paid, but those on the western side are slightly cheaper. If you’re hiking alone or with one other person, consider getting there from Zakopane by bus. The cost of the tickets will probably be less than the parking fee.

Time to complete the trail 6 hours 45 minutes to 8 hours, details below

Difficulty level of the trail/Difficulty level of the trail Medium/difficult, mainly due to the hiking time in the chosen variant.

Trail map

From Kiry, i.e. the starting point of the Kościeliska Valley, it’s possible to reach the Chochołowska Valley by several routes. We offer three options to choose from according to your own tastes and assessment of your fitness:

1. Take the green route, or Droga pod Reglami, for a walking time of 1 hour 45 minutes.



2. Initially on the green trail and later on the yellow trail through the Lejowa Valley, the longest alpine valley, which measures 4.5 kilometres; walking time 3 hours. 


3. The green trail through the Kościeliska Valley and then the black one known as Scieżka nad Reglami. This variant joins the other in the upper part of Lejowa Valley; walking time: 2.5 hours. 


As options 1 and 3 are the simplest, we’ll take a closer look at the option through Lejowa Valley. The route continues from the head of the Dudowa Valley in the Chochołowska Valley to Kiry: 


Wichtige Informationen zur Route Note! Entrance tickets are required in the Tatra National Park.They can be purchased at cash points at the head of most valleys. As queues form in high season, a good option is to buy your ticket on-line and download it to your phone.

Along the selected route to Chochołowska Valley

tour option

Having chosen the first or second variant from Kiry, we follow the green trail along the road towards Chochołów (don’t enter the Kościeliska Valley). You can hike according to the signs, i.e. initially on the pavement and then cross to the other side of the road (after about 5 minutes) and continue on the path that runs between the trees parallel to the road, or you can stick to the pavement the whole time. Having chosen the second option, we leave the pavement at the point where the buildings reappear, and then we follow the green signs southwards. After a while, we cross a small ski slope, heading slightly diagonally to the left, then walk along meadows and soon arrive at the Biały Potok Glade (about 25 minutes from the start of the route).

Choosing the least strenuous first variant, we continue along the green trail knows as Droga pod Reglami to Siwa Glade (50 minutes from leaving Kiry) and Hucisko Glade (1.5 hours) up to the head of Dudowa Valley, where all three initial variants join. The path is very pleasant, and the orientation in the area and the hike itself are no trouble at all.

For those who prefer more demanding routes, we suggest walking through Lejowa Valley, which is crossed by the yellow trail starting at the Biały Potok Glade. We enter the valley through a rock gate, where rock climbing enthusiasts can often be met.

The Lejowa Valley, where there was a mine and a small smelting centre in the 19th century, isn’t very popular among tourists, although it has its own special atmosphere and is very pleasant to walk through. The first half hour is spent walking on almost flat ground, then the surface goes more noticeably uphill, after which the ascent eases. About an hour after setting off from the Biały Potok Glade (1.5 hours from Kiry), we reach the point where the valley turns right and the more demanding ascent to the Ścieżka nad Reglami begins, along which runs the third of the proposed starting routes (black trail).


We enter the Kościeliska Valley and follow the green trail. After about 20 minutes, we reach Cudakowa Glade, where we meet the black signs and head further into the valley. After a few minutes of walking, we turn right, and from then on, we’re accompanied by black signs only. We begin a leisurely ascent, which we’ll complete in about half an hour, then hike gently downwards for another 10 minutes. A little over an hour after leaving Kiry, we’ll reach the Niżnia Kominiarska Glade, where we’ll meet the yellow signs that accompanied those who chose the second variant, i.e. the trek through Lejowa Valley.

Further on, the signs of the black trail will guide us. After a while, we come out onto Niżnia Kominiarska Glade, where there are several huts and a table where you can rest. Initially, the route follows a wide road which later turns into a rocky footpath and begins a fairly steep ascent. Approximately 50 minutes after setting off from the clearing, you’ll reach the highest point on this section with a beautiful view. Standing face to the valley, slightly to the right, we shall see Czerwone Wierchy ahead of us and Giewont in the distance. If visibility is good, you can see Babia Góra on the horizon to the left.

The descent to the Chochołowska Valley takes about 35 minutes; it’s initially steep, over stones, and then runs along a forest road. After a while, we’ll meet wooden stairs that will lead us to a path traversing the slope. We’ll follow it through a gully through which one of the tributaries of the Chochołowski Stream flows, and soon we’ll come out on the beautiful Jamy Glade, where there’s another resting place.

From here, we still have about 10 minutes of walking left to the Chochołowska Valley. There’s a point along the way where it’s easy to take the wrong route. The view of the convenient road may prompt you to go right; however, you should go straight ahead along the narrow path.

Through three valleys

After descending to the road through the Chochołowska Valley, we turn left and continue along the green trail into the valley. On clear days, especially in the summer season, there’s a lot of traffic, it’s bustling, sometimes even noisy, and it’s difficult to hear the sound of the stream. You will just have to get through this section, for example by diversifing your hike by looking at the rocks rising above the valley.

After about 20 minutes, at the exit of the Starorobociańska Valley, we turn left, and from then on, we’ll follow the yellow trail. Initially, up to the Iwanówka Glade, we’ll also be accompanied by black signs that lead across the valley. At the aforementioned clearing (after about 10 minutes), we turn left again to climb up to the Iwaniacka Pass through the Iwaniacka Valley.

Initially, we walk between larger and smaller boulders, at times along the bed of a stream that appears from time to time. The landscape is constantly changing, providing a range of experiences. A little higher up, a stream appears, making the difficulty of the ascent less burdensome.

At the point where the trail clearly deviates to the left, the steepest section of the ascent to the pass begins. The turn to the right is a sign that it’ll be a little gentler further on, and the hike begins to be more pleasant thanks to the views that appear between the trees. After another left turn, the ascent is now very gentle. About 2 hours after leaving the Chochołowska Valley, we reach the Iwaniacka Pass, where crocuses can still be seen at the end of May.

We now face a descent of around an hour to the Kościeliska Valley. Initially, the path descends gently before turning into steep stone steps. You need to place your feet carefully, choosing less slippery stones. The monotony of contemplating the next steps is ended by the appearance of a bridge over the first stream and the need to cross another stream on stones a little further on. From here to the end of this stage, we still have about 15 minutes of pleasant walking left. The bustle from the Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society shelter on Hala Ornak will soon reach us.

TouroptionIf the weather is good, the time is right and you have plenty of energy to spare, you can consider walking the black trail to Smreczyński Staw (30 minutes one way). This reservoir is smaller and much less popular than Morskie Oko, but it captivates visitors  with the views from its shore.

A visit to the dragon

The walk through the Kościeliska Valley to Kiry takes 1 hour and 40 minutes. The hiking time will be longer if you decide to visit the nearby attractions, for example the Raptawicka Cave and the Mylna Cave or the Kraków Gorge.

It’s best of leave the exploration of the caves, to which the trails leave about 20 minutes after we set off from the shelter, for another occasion; this should be combined with a visit to the nearby Mroźna Cave. During our hike, however, we’ll pass through the Kraków Gorge, located a little further on, and take a look at Smocza Jama.

We start implementing the plan just after the descent from the caves, following the yellow trail signs to the right. We march for a while along a path not much different from the one we just left, but after a while, we get between the rocks, and then the attractions begin. For a few dozen metres, we walk along a stone rubble path along a narrow rock corridor, admiring the work of nature. After about 100 metres, we come to a place called the Rynek, where there’s a metal ladder leading to the entrance of the Smocza Jama Cave.

Wichtige Informationen zur RouteNote! From now on, the trail is one-way, with no possibility of returning via the same route.

Once you pass the ladder, there are two options: the first is to go through Smocza Jama (a torch is essential, preferably a headlamp, so that both hands are free and you can safely move down the ascending corridor by holding on to the chains); the second is to bypass the cave via the rock walkway (here, once again, both hands are useful to pull yourself up on the more difficult sections and to hold on to the chains). We advise against the first option in the case of hikers afraid of the dark or enclosed spaces, while the second isn’t advisable for those with a fear of heights and no experience of tackling more difficult sections with chains and clips.

From the upper opening of Smocza Jama, the path follows a slope, gradually descending to Hala Pisana, along which we ascent to a spot not far away from where we started walking to the Kraków Gorge.

Walking along the Kościeliska Valley

The rest of the hike is already a pleasant walk through the Kościeliska Valley lasting less than an hour. Along the way, you’ll pass the place where the blue trail diverges to the lovely Polana na Stołach Glade (left), and the black trail leads to the aforementioned Mroźna Cave (right). A little further on is Wyżnia Kira Miętusia, which was previously encountered by those who chose the second variant to reach the Chochołowska Valley, and still further on is the turn (to the right) to Ścieżka nad Reglami Małej Łąki Valley and Strążyska Valley.

An obligatory point of your stay in the Kościeliska Valley is to have a look at a shepherd ‘s hut located near its head. Here you can taste sheep products and hear about the work of the shepherd and sheep breeding.

From here, it’s only a 10-minute walk to Kiry, which, in high season, is only disturbed by the bustle of the crowds of tourists wandering through the valley. We soon pass a carriage stop and the entrance gate to the Tatra National Park, and we’re in Kiry. It’s time to head to your accommodation and rest after the hardships of the hike.

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