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Szlak pieszy: Sokolą Percią z Trzech Koron na Sokolicę

Hiking trail: Along Sokola Perć from Trzy Korony to Sokolica

Jasny murowany kościół widziany z boku, z gontowym dachem oraz wysoką, kwadratową wieżą, z wieżyczką z baniastym hełmem i sygnaturką. Dalej nawa i niższe prezbiterium z podporami. Otoczony murem z kamienia, z metalowym niskim płotem na murze. Wokół wysokie drzewa i przebijające bezchmurne niebo.
Krościenko nad Dunajcem Tourist region: Pieniny i Spisz
Do you know Kudłata Maryśka, Chuda Kaśka and Gruba Baśka? If not, you absolutely must plan a visit to the Pieniny Mountains! The mountain evergreens, i.e. a hike to Sokolica and Trzy Korony, are a great offer for those who are just getting to know one of the most charming places in the Małopolska region, as well as for those who simply enjoy discovering new and magical places. This trail never gets boring and can be hiked at any time of the year! Come and see our proposal and head for the Pieniny Mountains!

Practical information


The starting point of the trail Market Square in Krościenko nad Dunajcem

Access to the starting point of the trail Provincial road no. 969 connecting Nowy Targ with Zabrzeż and Nowy Sącz.

parking You can use the parking spaces on the Market Square (parking is charged from Monday to Friday) or the free car park opposite the new church. Driving from the north, it’s in front of the centre, on the left. Arriving from Nowy Targ, you have to turn left at the roundabout, and from Szczawnica, you have to turn right, heading for Nowy Sącz, and drive for about 200 metres.

Time to complete the trail    5 hours 15 minutes

Difficulty level of the trail Medium; the section of the blue trail near Czertezik isn’t recommended for people with a fear of heights.

Trail map 

 Important information about the trailI If you spend the night in Szczawnica, you can get to Krościenko nad Dunajcem by bus and descend from Sokolica to the Dunajec crossing in Szczawnica.

We invite you on a trip through the central part of Pieniny, i.e. Pieniny Właściwe. Located here are the most famous peaks of these remarkable mountains formed from limestone, slate, sandstone and their mix: Trzy Korony and Sokolica, as well as one of the three most popular sheep tracks (used by sheep, chamois, shepherds, as well as tourists) in the Polish mountains, namely Sokola Perć. Let’s get moving.

The hike starts at the Market Square in Krościenko nad Dunajcem. Whether we experience the charms of the town now or after the tour is up to us.

Charms of Krościenko nad Dunajcem


Krościenko nad Dunajcem is also an obligatory stopping place on the car route Around Gorce. Attention should be drawn to the small-town buildings at the Market Square, and along Zdrojowa Street (on the other side of the Dunajec river), take a look, at least for a while, at the  Church of All Saints and, if possible, visit the regional chamber in the old vicarage.

From the Market Square, we head west along the diagonally running Mickiewicza Street, which soon joins Jagiellońska Street (the statue of King Władysław Jagiełło stands here). On this section, it’s hard to see the signs of the green and yellow trails. Most importantly, we have to walk about 400 metres to the junction with Trzech Koron Street, where the trails turn left and where there’s an interesting votive chapel in Ptaszkowa dedicated to St Roch, patron saint of the sick and suffering. It was built between 1710 and 1723 to avert the plague pandemic.

At a distance of 300 metres from the site (in the direction of Nowy Targ), there’s the seat of the Pieniny National Park authorities, housing a nature exhibition devoted to nature conservation, geology, architecture, ethnography and ecology, as well as a model of the Pieniny Mountains.

Let’s go to Trzy Korony

Entering Trzech Koron Street, we immediately begin a strenuous ascent that will take more than two hours in total. Fortunately, there are a few almost flat sections along the route and also places where benches have been prepared for tired hikers to rest before hiking further.

The houses soon end, and we continue through the forest. After about three quarters of an hour, the green trail diverges to the left, and we stick to the yellow signs, which, after 20 minutes, will lead us to Bańków Gronik, where we meet the blue trail for the first time. We march following the signs of this colour for about a quarter of an hour to the Wyrobek Glade, passing by a spring by Pieniński Potok, and then, for another 15 minutes, following only the yellow signs. In this way, after about 1.5 hours from setting off from Krościenko, we’ll reach the Szopka Pass, also known as Chwała Bogu.

Here, we once again meet the blue trail, which from now on will take us to Trzy Korony and then to Sokolica. In the other direction, signs of this colour lead in the direction of Czorsztyn, which is part of the route from Poland to Hungary or from Czorsztyn to Niedzica.

Signs at the pass indicate that the hike to the summit will take 45 minutes. During the season, it’s actually hard to define, as there’s a lot of traffic on the route, and it’s difficult to keep your own pace. One should also take into account the fact that only small groups of tourists are allowed on the peak of Trzy Korony; the traffic is regulated by the park rangers. Waiting times in the queue can even be counted in hours. For prestige reasons, to be able to say that you’ve been to Trzy Korony, it’s worth waiting, but if someone doesn’t care, they can move on. The view is equally spectacular from Sokolica, where there’s far less tourist traffic.

Please note: From 20 April to 30 October, admission to Trzy Korony and Sokolica is paid. A ticket purchased at one peak is valid on the same day to the other.

A visit to the Pieniny Castle

The highest point on the hike is now behind us, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be all downhill. A few smaller ascents await us, which aren’t, however, overly strenuous.

The first stage is a rather steep descent to the Kosarzyska Glade, where the green trail leaves for Sromowce Niżne and a pleasant hike to the Pieniny Castle. It was built in the 13th century at the behest of Princess Kinga, who entered the Saint Clare Convent in Stary Sącz. The fortress was a shelter for the Poor Clares in times of danger, as it’s only connected to the Trzy Korony massif by a narrow rocky isthmus, with cliffs on the other sides.

Today, it’s a protected permanent ruin with preserved defensive walls, tower foundations and a rock cave with a life-size statue of Saint Kinga.

The castle itself and its surroundings are sure to appeal to children who love places shrouded in legends that are entered by something other than a straight path. An aura of mystery, especially on cloudy days, will also accompany us for another 20–25 minutes as we hike through a tall forest with mighty trees growing on a steep slope. The trail leads along a traverse, with only the final section of this part of the route being slightly uphill. After your exertions, we can rest at the familiar Wyrobek Glade then continue down the path we took earlier going uphill. On the way, we’ll pass Pieniński Potok and soon reach Bańków Gronik (less than an hour from Trzy Korony, half an hour from the Pieniny Castle). If the weather breaks or if you lose your strength, you can descend from here to Krościenko nad Dunajcem in 45 minutes.

Entering Sokola Perć

We continue our hike to the right, following the signs of the blue trail. After 15–20 minutes of leisurely walking, first slightly uphill and then slightly downhill, we’ll enter the first rocky section of the route. We walk along a rocky perch with steep slopes on either side. Trees and other vegetation should make it easier for all those with a fear of heights to pass through it. Half an hour after leaving the bifurcation, we’ll reach a place marked as Burzana. Here, we’ll meet the green trail, another ‘lifebelt’ that you can use to reach Krościenko nad Dunajcem in about 45 minutes.

fun fact

There are several trails in the Polish mountains that are referred to as sheep tracks because of their uniqueness. The most well-known include Orla Perć in the Tatra Mountains, Perć Akademików on the northern slopes of Babia Góra and Sokola Perć in Pieniny. This is the name given to the section of the blue trail between the place called Bańków Gronik and Sokolica (according to some sources, even to Szczawnica). The most spectacular is the section near Czerteż and Czertezik.

The next section of the blue trail, towards Czertezik, is technically difficult (steep rock steps, barriers) and very exposed but extremely picturesque. However, those suffering from a fear of heights or balance disorders should avoid it. It’s better, and safer, for such people to hike further down the slope on the green trail and join those who ascend Sokolska Perć near Czertezik. The further route to the Sosnów Pass leads along much gentler slopes, although there’s no shortage of rocky sections where it’s easy to fall on slippery rocks, especially after rain.

We reach the pass after less than an hour from parting from the yellow trail, with about a quarter of an hour of ascent to Sokolica still ahead of us. This section isn’t tiring, although it leads quite steeply uphill. The prospect of looking once again from above at the Dunajec Gorge, watching the rafts as they flow down the Dunajec River, will certainly give us strength.

The exact time to complete Sokola Perć depends on the weather conditions, the traffic on the trail and your own skills. In case of a jam, you have to wait patiently for the opportunity to continue hiking. Looking to bypass a congested section off-trail is dangerous and prohibited on the nature conservation grounds!

As we mentioned in the introduction, if you spend the night in Szczawnica, you can descend from Sokolica along the blue trail to cross the Dunajec River in rafts and then travel through the town to your accommodation. Otherwise, you have to return to the Sosnów Pass and begin the descent into the valley along the green trail.

Along the national road in the footsteps of Saint Kinga

It’s less than an hour’s walk from Krościenko nad Dunajcem, but already after a dozen or so minutes, we’ll find ourselves on the banks of the Dunajec River, and we’ll be wandering to the town along a comfortable road, which used to have the status of a national road providing access to Szczawnica. It was therefore under the constant supervision of the road engineers of the time, as it had to meet the strict requirements of Austrian regulations for roads of this standard.

The march is made more pleasant by the sight of rafters finishing their rafting (you can watch the rafts being unhitched and loaded onto cars), encounters with roadside shrines and information boards on the historical trail from Krościenko. From one of them, we learn that we’re in a place called pod Ociemne, and the ‘section of fear’ begin, where drowned men, goddesses and phantoms were seen, and therefore no one dared to appear here after dark. Another board will tell us about Saint Kinga’s crossing of the Dunajec River in December 1287. A chapel was erected in 1860 on the spot where Kinga’s footprint was preserved in stone.

Once you reach the Market Square, you can head to the Dunajec River to relax in the recreational areas there or, if you hadn’t done so in the morning, see the local sights.

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