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Szlak pieszy: Szlakiem do gwiazd, czyli wędrówka przez pasmo Lubomira i Łysiny

Hiking trail: On the trail to the stars, or a hike through the Lubomir and Łysina range

Zdjęcie ukazuje budynek Obserwatorium Astronomicznego imienia Tadeusza Banachiewicza w Węglówce. Obserwatorium znajduje się na szczycie Lubomir.
How do you reach for the stars? It’s pretty simple! All you have to do is set off on a trip about 40 km south of Kraków and, during a mountain hike, visit the astronomical observatory on Lubomir. Its history dates back almost a century, and it’s the only facility of its kind in Poland organising shows of objects in the sky. Would you like to experience such a stellar adventure? Then come and see how to get there!


Pictogram showing the starting point. Poręba near Myślenice.

Pictogram showing access to the trail's starting point. Driving from the west, get to Myślenice and follow road no. 967 to Dobczyce. Travelling from the east, you need to reach Dobczyce, and from there, follow the aforementioned route towards Myślenice. At the roundabout (1 kilometre from the S7 exit in Myślenice, 11 kilometres from the Dobczyce bypass), head south according to the signpost: Wiśniowa. For 6.5 kilometres, we take the main road to the village of Trzemeśnia, where we turn right to Poręba. From here, it’s another 3.5 kilometres to the trail starting point.

You can park your car at the end of the road, at the bifurcation. If there are no more spaces here, turn left into the car park by the church (about 100 metres from the junction).

Pictogram showing the time to complete the trail.Approximately 5 hours

A pictogram presenting the difficulty level of the trail as easyEasy. The ascent to Kamiennik is a little tiring, especially in the first phase. The ascent from the Sucha Glade to Łysina is steep but short (about 30 minutes).

Note: The car park near the primary school marked on the attached map isn’t open to the public. The indicated stopping place is a little higher up, by the stream!

Through Kamiennik to Sucha Polana

We start the hike by following the green signs back along the street we came in (about 500 metres). Keeping to the trail, we turn right and begin the ascent to Kamiennik. The concrete pavement soon comes to an end, and we walk along a rocky dirt road that largely runs through the steam and is wet and muddy. It’s better to move along the edge of the meadow. The first few minutes or so of walking, when the body isn’t yet used to the exertion, can be tiring as we gain altitude quite quickly.

After about half an hour, we cut through a forest road where a shrine hangs on one of the trees. After a further 10 minutes, the ascent becomes noticeably gentler, so we walk more freely and comfortably. The mood is improved by the emerging views. Once you get to the narrow ridge (less than an hour after the march), you can see the Tatras in a narrow clearance between the trees when conditions are favourable. If we don’t manage to look into the distance here, there will certainly be such an opportunity 10 minutes later from the vantage point on the northern slope of Kamiennik (just over an hour from Poręba). A sweeping panorama of the Raba Valley opens up here, and you can see the lagoon in Dobczyce.

The hardest part of the first section of the route is over. Now we’re hiking on almost flat terrain. After half an hour, we’ll be joined by the yellow trail from Zasańska Pass, and we’ll go by a place with a sign informing us that we’re on Kamiennik (a good opportunity to make a photo documenting that we’ve reached the peak). We then have ahead of us a tiny ascent to Kamiennik Południowy (about 10 minutes from the trail junction), and finally, the descent to the Sucha Pass begins (about 2 hours from leaving Poręba, 30 minutes from the Kamiennik summit). An extensive clearing with a shelter, fire pit and benches invites you to relax.

Note: Despite the extensive grounds, the area is crowded in high season, and it’s difficult to find a pleasant spot, especially in the shade.

On the clearing, there’s a field altar surrounded by 10 stone boulders symbolically commemorating the 10 partisan detachments of the ‘Łysina’ grouping operating in the area during World War II, as well as a plaque describing the ‘Storm’ action in Beskid Wyspowy. In July 1944, partisans carried out a daring rescue of cadet Andrzej Woźniakowski, a.k.a. Prawdzic, from a German post in Dobczyce and drove the occupiers out of Raciechowice, Wiśniowa and Myślenice, establishing the Polish Republic of Raciechowice. An attempt by the Nazis to retake the area on 12 September 1944 ended with the partisans smashing the German troops. After attracting larger forces, the fascists surrounded the massif, forced the Poles to flee, then burned down the observatory on Lubomir and pacified the surrounding villages.

Pictogram showing a tour optionIf the weather is exceptionally bad, you can take the green trail from here directly to the PTTK mountain shelter on Kudłacze (access time about 45 minutes).

Lubomir summons

If circumstances are favourable, we ascend the yellow trail and head towards Łysina, which is visible ahead. The difference in altitude is impressive and may raise concerns that the climb will be very difficult. The beginning is actually quite steep, but the terrain soon gets somewhat less burdensome. When we see a wall of young conifers in front of us, we’re almost on the ridge of the Lubomir and Łysina range. A little more effort and we’re already at the junction with the red trail (about 30 minutes from the Sucha Pass).

After a short rest to calm the breath, we can set off following the red signs towards Lubomir. The terrain is almost flat, and the road is wide, so we walk comfortably. We may encounter some troubles caused by the dogs (they are numerous on sunny days) taken on a hike by their owners, who, let off on a long leash, disregard hikers and get in their way.

On the way, just off the trail, we have another viewing point with a beautiful panorama of the Wiśnicz Foothills (about 15 minutes from Łysina), and just behind it, the astronomical observatory on Lubomir. Detailed information about the facility’s sky shows, solar observations and other educational activities can be found on its website.

A pictogram showing a curiosityIn the Małopolska region, the stars can be admired in 6 astronomical observatories . Two of them are located in the mountains, where, due to the considerable distance from lit-up cities, the conditions for scientific research are excellent. The Lubomir site is the only mountain observatory open to the public.

We should add that until the early 20th century, it was this peak that was called Łysina. The site belonged to Prince Kazimierz Lubomirski, who donated the plot of land for the observatory to astronomers in 1922. Therefore, in 1932, the peak was named Lubomir, and the name Łysina was given to one of the lower peaks of the range.

On the way to Kudłacze

We return to Łysina via the same route. About halfway through, we pass Trzy Kopce, where, years ago, local people used to bury suicides. We didn’t mention this earlier so as not to frighten you off.

From Łysina, we continue along the red trail, with about 30 minutes of walking remaining to the PTTK shelter on Kudłacze. It’s one of the smallest tourist facilities in the Polish mountains, smaller than the shepherd’s huts or qualified tourist shelters, which began to be built in the 1970s.

There are legends about the wild garlic soup served here, although others say it’s beaten by the local pancakes. Well, tastes aren’t discussed. You have to try and judge for yourself.

A pictogram showing a curiosityThe shelter is the only facility of its kind that can be reached on foot from Kraków in one day. The walking time on the blue trail to Myślenice and then on the green or red trail is about 9 hours.

Most people, however, choose to come here by car. Yes, indeed, a comfortable, albeit steep, tarmac road leads almost to the shelter itself from the Pcim side. This is why it’s very crowded and bustling on bright weekend days. This is also facilitated by the fact that there’s a playground in front of the site, a spacious meadow and a place to light a bonfire.

Two unexpected turns

After a rest, it’s time to move on and continue following the red signs. Five minutes after setting off from the shelter, the trail unexpectedly turns at a right angle to the left, although the wide road encourages you to walk straight ahead. Many people don’t notice the change of direction and have to walk back uphill looking for signs.

Initially, the path traverses the slope on which the shelter stands before turning sharply to the right and starting a short, steep descent that quickly eases. After less than 30 minutes of walking, we’ll find ourselves on a tarmac road that will lead us between the recreational cottages standing alongside it.

Looking at the views to the right, it’s easy to miss another change of direction. Your legs carry you straight ahead, but instead, you have to head right diagonally (about 10 minutes from the tarmac entrance), slightly uphill, to the meeting point along the yellow trail (about 40 minutes from the shelter) and, after a while, along the green trail. Signs of this colour will lead us downhill to Poręba.

The first few metres of the route run steeply through the forest (it can be slippery here after a rain), but we soon emerge onto a concrete road, which we hike steadily down. Your feet will be pleased with the even ground, but your thighs may complain a little about the strain, as the gradient of the route is really considerable. As a result, we quickly lose altitude and, just over an hour after leaving the shelter, we find ourselves at the bifurcation of the road in Poręba, from where we set off on our hike in the morning. It’s time to return to everyday life.

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