Planning a mountain hike can be a bit of a headache, especially when you have to deal with unpredictable weather. Let me say, I’ve faced this issue quite a few times. I’d plan a five-day itinerary and the forecast would show sunny, rain-free skies. But then, just a day before leaving, the weather would take a turn for the worse. If you’ve been in this situation, I know how frustrating it can be.
But don’t worry. When planning a trip to the beautiful Tatra Mountains, you don’t have to give up on your adventure. You just need to adapt your itinerary to match the weather and your own abilities.
You may also want to real about all available options in Tatra mountains: The Beauty of the Tatra Mountains – 20 Best Hiking Trails
So, I’m going to share with you my five-day itinerary for exploring the Tatra Mountains. It is based on my personal trip I had some time ago in the highest mountains of Poland.
↳ Before you head to Tatra Park, I highly recommend reading my complete guide to Tatra Mountains. I showcase the most scenic places you won't want to miss. Make sure to check it out, so you don't overlook anything interesting: Tatra Mountains – An Insider’s Guide to All Attractions and Info
Day 1: Conquering Turbacz at 1,310 Meters Above Sea Level
On the first day, the weather wasn’t ideal for exploring the higher parts of the mountains. So, I chose Turbacz in Gorce for a short and easy hike. The total walking time is about 6 hours, covering just over 18 km. We decided to park our car at the Ostoja Górska Recreation Center. It’s a paid parking spot, but pretty affordable at only 25 PLN per day.
This route is perfect for a day trip. We started our hike at 10:00 AM, and after taking a break at the shelter, we came back to parking lot by 6:30 PM. Just as we descended from Turbacz, it started to rain lightly. The forecasts were accurate, so we felt lucky to make the most of our day.
Day 2: Scaling Grześ at 1,653 Meters Above Sea Level
Grześ is an exceptionally gentle mountain. It’s not too high compared to its neighboring peaks and is easily accessible and not very demanding. On this day, we woke up to the sound of raindrops hitting our guest house windows at 5:00 AM. We had initially planned a longer route, with Grześ as one of our stops. However, due to the forecasted storms and heavy rainfal, we had to cut our trip short.
We hit the trail in Siwa Polana at 6:00 AM, and the sky cleared up, giving us a pleasant hiking experience. By 9:00 AM, we reached the summit of Grześ. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see much due to the surrounding fog. As we descended, the weather improved, and the sun greeted us at Polana Chochołowska. However, looking at the higher parts of the Tatra Mountains, we could see blurred images and a gray, foggy landscape. By 4:00 PM, heavy rainfall and lightning filled the sky in Zakopane. We knew our decision to return early was the right one.
- Here you can find the trail map to Grześ
Day 3: Reaching Starorobociański Wierch (Klin) at 2,176 Meters Above Sea Level
On the third day, the weather was expected to be the best yet. No storms or rain were in the forecast, which was surprising considering the rain the night before. Waking up at 4:00 AM, we were delighted by the silence. After checking multiple weather channels, we realized that this was our perfect weather window for the entire trip.
With no time to waste, we jumped out of bed and hit the trail by 5:00 AM. We had a long hike ahead of us, with 10 hours planned and 3 peaks to climb. Our route allowed for the option to turn back after reaching the first peak, Trzydniowiański Wierch, in case the actual weather conditions didn’t match the forecast. This kind of planning is essential when venturing into the higher mountains during unpredictable Tatra weather.
Luckily, the weather was on our side, and we managed to conquer Trzydniowiański Wierch, Kończysty Wierch, and Starorobociański Wierch!
- Here is the trail map: Click Here
Night 3/4: Sunrise at Giewont – 1,894 Meters Above Sea Level
The third day was amazing, but the forecast for the next night was something we couldn’t pass up. We decided to watch the sunrise from Giewont, even if it meant waking up at midnight after only 3 hours of sleep and an exhausting hike the previous day. These moments are rare, and our passion for adventure drove us forward.
- Here is Giewon location: Click here
We set off at 1:00 AM and made our way through the Strążyska Valley towards the Zakopane knight. By 4:00 AM, we reached the summit, and we were completely alone. This was quite unique, as Giewont is usually a popular and crowded destination with long queues to the top during the day. The breathtaking views were absolutely worth it.
Day 4: Conquering Nosal at 1,206 Meters Above Sea Level
After our night trip to Giewont and only a few hours of sleep, we woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed. Our appetite for adventure remained strong, so we decided to embark on another mountain hike. This time, we opted for a shorter, less demanding trek to Nosal. The weather was capricious that day, with drizzling rain and a constant fog blanketing the Tatra Mountains.
We hit the trail at 1:00 PM, and by 3:00 PM, we were already enjoying lunch at a cozy inn on Krupówki. Our timing couldn’t have been better, as the forecasted thunderstorms began at 4:00 PM and continued into the evening.
If you haven’t heard about mystery of Ice Pass in Tatra Mountains, you want to read this article too: 25 Fascinating Facts About the Tatra Mountains You Didn’t Know For Sure
Day 5: Sarnia Skała at 1,377 Meters Above Sea Level
On our return day, we decided to go for a light hike. It’s best not to overexert ourselves when we have a long journey home. We chose a fairly short route to Sarnia Skała. The loop trail around this low peak was so enjoyabl that we also visited the Siklawica Waterfall and the Dziura Cave along the way.
Of course, this trail is popular among tourists, but we arrived at the waterfall at 8:00 AM and didn’t encounter anyone. The weather that day wasn’t ideal, with a constant drizzle, but the waterfall looked magical in these conditions! I highly recommend visiting it on a rainy day, away from the crowds
Although we didn’t get to see the extraordinary panorama from Sarnia Skała due to the weather, we still felt a sense of acomplishment. On our way down, we also explored the cave, where we were alone once again. Despite the less-than-perfect views from Sarnia Skała, we enjoyed the unique experience in the cave. There are definitely some advantages to hiking in rainy weather!
We reached the parking lot around noon and started our journey back home, satisfied with our Tatra Mountains adventure.
Summary – A Successful 5-Day Tatra Mountains Itinerary
Our 5-day Tatra Mountains plan was executed flawlessly. Despite the unpredictable weather, we managed to make the most of our time in the mountains by hiking every day. This experience proves that sensible planning based on current weather forecasts and personal fitness levels is essential for a fulfilling trip to Zakopane.
Everyone has their preferences, but we returned home happy and invigorated, with a wealth of incredible memories that have inspired us to plan even more mountain adventures in the future. So, if you want to explore the Tatra Mountains, remember to stay flexible and adapt your plans to the ever-changing weather conditions. With the right mindset and preparation, you too can enjoy a memorable and rewarding mountain getaway.