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Szlak pieszy: Nartostradami dookoła Krynicy-Zdrój

Hiking trail: Ski trails around Krynica Zdrój

Drewniana wieża widokowa.
Krynica-Zdrój Tourist region: Beskid Sądecki i Niski
Krynica-Zdrój is surrounded on all sides by mountains, which makes it a fantastic place to roam. Hiking trails start in this popular health resort town, but we suggest an unusual way to get to know the curiosities around Krynica – walking between the ski slopes. The trip will take you about 6 hours, but the views along the way will make you not even notice how the time flies by, as there’s so much beauty to see around you! Come with us on a Krynica hike, and see it for yourself!


Practical information

Piktogram przedstawiający miejsce startu Krynica Zdrój, near the health resort church on Piłsudskiego Street, where the green trail runs.

Pictogram showing access From the north-west, take national road no. 75 to the Krzyżówka Pass and then follow route no. 981 from Tarnów. From the west, take route no. 971 from Piwniczna via Muszyna.

Pictogram showing a parking lot There’s no single car park in Krynica that can be recommended; there’s a paid parking zone in the centre. If you enter the town from the north, you can stop in the parking spaces in front of it or in one of the side streets.

If you’re coming from Muszyna, you can make a similar manoeuvre, but the final section of the description below (crossing the health resort part on the red trail) will then be the start of your hike.

Pictogram showing transition time Approximately 6 hours, ascending to the top of Jaworzyna Krynicka and returning to the shelter will extend the hike by nearly 30 minutes. The times given on signposts in the field are generally somewhat exaggerated.

A pictogram showing the difficulty level of the route as medium. Medium, mainly because of the hiking time and the number of ascents. It must be taken into account that, even by mid-May, there may be snow on many sections, which, depending on the thickness of it and the degree of hardness, can make the trek more or less difficult.

Note: The trail isn’t accessible during the ski season, as sections cross the pistes, and one section even runs alongside a ski lift.

There are many ski slopes and hiking trails around Krynica-Zdrój. The trails inevitably intersect with each other, so during the ski season, hikers have to give way to skiers for their own safety. We invite you for a hike that can only be undertaken when the ski resorts aren’t working yet. There are no places on the terrain that are difficult to orientate, but it’s important to keep an eye on which trail you’re currently following.

Stage I: Krzyżowa Pass, green trail, approx. 50 minutes

The hike will allow you to get to know the eastern part of Beskid Sądecki and take a look at the health resort several times from above. The trip starts on Piłsudskiego Street. Regardless of where we park, we have to reach the area around the monument to Jan Kiepura, the great tenor and popular actor of the interwar period, strongly associated with Krynica. The artist was keen to return here, especially since he built Villa Patria in 1933, a very luxurious building for the time – with a lift, telephone exchange and roof terrace.

The initial section of our walk follows the route of a walking path around the city dedicated to the artist and his wife Marta Eggerth. During the march, we’ll encounter plaques that will bring us closer to the couple.

Near the Jan Kiepura monument, turn into Dąbrowskiego Street (left coming from the church, right coming from the north), then follow the green signs. A pleasant stroll along the pavement should not make us less vigilant, because after a few minutes (near the kindergarten), the trail unexpectedly turns left onto a narrow path between houses and leads on to Zielona Street. After about 20 minutes of strenuous hiking uphill, you’ll enter the forest and continue ascending to Krzyżowa Pass. At one moment it’s steeper, then a bit gentler, so generally you can’t complain. After nearly three quarters of an hour, we’ll meet the blue trail, and a short while later, the yellow trail will also join up. It’s a sign that we’re almost at the pass, you can already see the trail junction.

Stage II: To Runek Czubakowski, blue trail, 1 hour 45 minutes

About a quarter of an hour after setting off from the Krzyżowa Pass, we’ll enter the exposed slopes used by the Słotwiny ski station. Soon, on your left, we’ll see the slope of Jaworzyna Krynicka interspersed with ski runs, and looking back, we’ll see the easily recognisable massif of Lackowa (trapezoidal in shape).

After another 15 minutes, we’ll reach the top cable car station of the Słotwiny Arena ski station and a viewing tower with a nature trail among the trees. The entrance ticket is quite expensive, and it takes some time to reach the upper platform. It’s only worth the expense and sacrifice of a few dozen minutes when the visibility is good and you can look really far from the viewing platform.

Another quarter of an hour and we’ll part with the yellow signs accompanying us so far and the information boards on the path dedicated to Jan Kiepura. They head right, and we turn left. Now, we have to descend for a few minutes to a vast connector linking the ridge we’ve been following so far with the Jaworzyna Krynicka massif. We then move for a few minutes on almost flat terrain, but when the trail turns right, and a gentle ascent begins. Almost as far as to Runek Czubakowski, we move over undulating terrain: it’s slightly uphill (steeper at times), then the terrain levels out and goes up again. We reach the summit, where we meet the red trail about 3 hours after leaving Krynica.

Stage III: Jaworzyna Krynicka (or not), red trail, about 40 minutes (with a climb to the top, about an hour)

This section constitutes a fragment of the Main Beskid Route leading from Ustroń (in Beskid Śląski) to Wołosate (in Bieszczady) and is by far the easiest on the route of this trip. We walk all the way along the main ridge of the Jaworzyna Krynicka range. Admittedly, there are descents and you have to regain the lost altitude, but the differences in elevation are small and don’t hinder the hike.

After about half an hour of hiking, you’ll reach a bifurcation in the trail below the top of Jaworzyna Krynicka. You have to decide whether you want to conquer it or just set off directly to the shelter on Jaworzyna Krynicka.

What’s interesting about the summit? The upper station of the gondola lift and several catering facilities. During the ‘dead’ season, when the railway isn’t running, they are closed. It’s also not possible at that time to ascend to the observation deck above the upper station, which, in good visibility, offers an extensive view. It takes about 20 minutes to climb to the summit and get back. However, it’s quite tiring, as evidenced by the slope visible ahead.

Stage IV: Through the valley of Czarny Potok again to the Krzyżowa Pass, green trail, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

It’s now about a 5-minute hike from the shelter along the green trail. With a few hours of walking behind us, it’s high time for a meal and a longer rest.

After gaining strength, we move on following the green signs. We descend steeply down the steps in front of the shelter, cutting a corner, and then begin a pleasant hike along the access road to the shelter. Unfortunately, we can’t get used to this comfortable path. After a few minutes, we have to turn right and overcome a steep ascent that will lead us onto a narrow, not very pleasant path, which traverses, sometimes slightly upwards, through the slopes of Jaworzyna Krynicka. After 15–20 minutes, we’ll emerge onto one of the pistes. Let’s cut through diagonally, heading downwards, and after a while, we’ll clearly see the place where we’ll re-enter the forest. Here, we’ll meet the red trail that descends from the summit (if someone didn’t feel like entering the shelter but wanted to climb to the top, this is where they would arrive, following the red signs all the way).

As soon as we enter the forest, Diabelski Kamień (Devil’s Stone) catches our eye.

A pictogram showing a curiosityAs is the case with these types of natural wonders, there’s a legend associated with it. It tells of a rich knight from Muszyna and a poor shepherdess from Krynica who were in love with each other but could not marry due to the objection of the young man’s father. He sent his son off to war, hoping that his love for the poor girl would pass. As the boy was returning home, he was attacked by robbers on the slopes of Góra Parkowa and was severely beaten and left behind. The injured man’s moans were heard by a shepherdess who rushed to his aid and began to pray to Our Lady for the healing of her beloved. Her prayer was answered: a spring gushed forth nearby, with which the girl washed the boy, and he recovered soon after. These events prompted the wealthy knight to grant permission for the young couple to marry, and they lived happily ever after.

However, the existence of the miraculous spring didn’t please the devils. One of them took a boulder from the Tatras to destroy it. When he was in the area, a hen crowed, which made the devil drop his stone, and it still lies there today. In the place where the miraculous spring is located, the local people have created a Forest Sanctuary of Our Lady, Queen of the Springs of Krynica – Healing of the Sick.

After a few minutes of hiking, we come out onto the piste again. The red trail turns right, we cross the slope, go around the water reservoir used for snowmaking and descend steeply along one of the ski lift paths. Our thighs can get really tired here. Fortunately, after a few minutes, we turn right onto a road running almost flat, and after a short while, we turn left. The further descent into the valley of Czarny Potok simply has to be done. When setting off from the hut, it’ll take us about 1 hour (according to signs in the field, the walking time is 1.5 hours).

If the weather conditions are unfavourable for further hiking or if you’re very tired, you can return to the centre of the town from here using health resort transport.

If we feel up to a bit more effort, we continue following the green signs for the last steep ascent on our route to reach the Krzyżowa Pass, which we had already passed through in the morning. The duration of the hike largely depends on your level of fatigue; basically, it takes about 30 minutes.

Stage V: To the health resort centre, yellow trail, about 1 hour

From the Krzyżowa Pass, the shortest descent to the centre of Krynica runs along the familiar green trail. However, we suggest you make up a little distance to see a curiosity.

To begin with, we set off following the yellow signs, which turn right after a few dozen metres from the pass, and monotonously ascend to the top of Góra Krzyżowa. The difference in elevation is only 40 metres, so it’s not that tragic. At the summit itself (less than 15 minutes from the pass), there’s nothing of interest except the top station of another ski lift. It’s not even necessary to stop, so let’s go on. From the moment when the trail turns at a right angle to the left, look out for a path bounded by a wooden barrier leading to the base of the starting tower of the former ski jump.

Piktogram przedstawiający ciekawostkęA makeshift facility of this kind was built here in 1924, and three years later, the construction of a jump that fulfilled all the requirements of the time began. The starting tower was 32 metres high, the inrun 100 metres long, and the design point was 55 metres. At the time, it was the largest ski jump in Poland and one of the largest in Europe. In 1929, the International Jumping Competition was held here, followed 10 years later by the World Academic Championships. The building was burnt down by the Germans during World War II and was never rebuilt.

After a few minutes of walking, we’ll meet the blue trail, with which we’ll hike to the centre of the health resort. On the way, we’ll pass through a place from where we can see Krynica in plain sight. On the right is the historic building of the Old Mineral Baths, opposite is the grey main pump house, and more to the left is the health resort house and historic wooden buildings. After descending to the Krynica-Muszyna route, we need to cross to the other side of the road and walk down, then cross the stream and enter the main promenade.

Stage VI: Walk through the health resort, about 15 minutes or more

Here we’ll meet the red signs again, which will lead us to the health resort church where we started the tour. A quarter of an hour’s slow walk separates us from it. The actual walking time, however, can be much longer if you want to rest on one of the many benches in the pedestrian zone, visit the pump room or listen to the sound of the fountain in the square. It’s also worth looking around and admiring the wooden buildings of the former health resort.

Tasting the mineral waters is pretty much a must-do in Krynica. Let’s take, for example, Zuber, which doesn’t smell very nice but is a kind of showpiece of the health resort, just like Kryniczanka, which is probably well known to everyone.

Slightly above the pump room stands a monument to Adam Mickiewicz, and above the monument, we can see the wooden Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord and Our Lady of Częstochowa, which was the first temple in Krynica. On the other side of the stream, the distinctive building of the Nikifor Museum, or Epifaniusz Dworak, one of the most famous primitivism painters, draws attention. A few dozen metres further on and we meet his monument. Deep in the Nikifora Alley, there’s the Jan Pump Room, which stand opposite to the lower station of the cable car to Góra Parkowa.

We’re almost at the crossroads where the promenade and our hike ends. Let’s just add that the temple we’re standing in front of is the Church of  the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the building next to it houses the Toy Museum, with a collection of 3,000 world-class exhibits.

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