Hiking in Zakopane: Best Trails for Beginners and Adventure Junkies

Are you thinking about going hiking in the mountains and trying to find the best peaks to conquer in the Tatras? Whether you’re a beginner who wants to explore the tourist trails of Zakopane or an experienced hiker looking for the most challenging trail in the Tatras, don’t worry.

Zakopane offers an impressive range of hiking trails, so everyone can find a suitable route based on their level of experience and expectations.

These hikes near Zakopane are suitable for those with little experience and include:

  • Dolina 5 Stawów (Valley of Five Ponds) (1625-1900 m): a trail from Palenica Białczańska
  • Gęsia Szyja (1489 m): along the green trail from Rusinowa Polana or the green trail from Równia Waksmundzka
  • Nosal (1206 m): along the green trail from Kuźnice or from the bus stop „Murowanica„.
  • Wielki Kopieniec (1328 m): along the green trail from Toporowa Cyrhla or along the green trail from Jaszczurówka.
  • Sarnia Skała (1377 m): on the red trail through the Strążyska Valley and then on the black trail to the summit, or on the yellow trail through the Białego Valley and then on the black trail to the summit.

1. The Five Ponds Valley (Dolina 5 Stawów)

Mountain lovers who do not practice this activity on a regular basis should stick to routes that correspond to their physical abilities. If you’re planning a hiking trip to Zakopane, it’s important to have a preliminary plan of the trails you’ll use to explore the Tatra Mountains.

↳ Make sure to check out my guide to ALL attractions in Zakopane, so you don't overlook anything interesting: 66 Best Attractions in Zakopane 2023 – What to Do – Interesting Places

One of the most popular routes is the Valley of Five Ponds, known for its stunning views and varied terrain.

Source: LonelyPoland.com

The trip, which starts in Palenica Białczańska, usually takes about five hours for a round trip. Alternatively, you can use public transportation to get there, eliminating the need for a car. You’ll reach Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza waterfalls in just under an hour.

The Charm of a Mountain Waterfall

Source: LonelyPoland.com

The next stop is the Roztoki Valley, which takes another hour and a half of walking through the forest. One of the highlights of the route is Wielka Siklawa, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Poland. Following the Green Trail, which offers relativly easy routes in the Tatra Mountains, hikers can fully immerse themselves in the beauty of mountain nature.

The final destination is the Five Ponds Valley, situated at an altitude of 1625-1900 meters above sea level. After a challenging hike, you can recharge your batteries at a nearby shelter before heading back. Although the green trail is usually the entry point, it’s worth taking the black trail on the way down.

The entire route is approximately 17 kilometers long, so hikers should be prepared for a significant physical exertion. However, the breathtaking views along the way are well worth every step you take.

Click Play to See The Views That Awaits You On That Trail

2. Deer Rock (Sarnia Skała)

For visitors to Zakopane looking for easy, picturesque trails in the Tatra Mountains, a trip to Sarnia Skała is highly recommended. Located at an altitude of 1377 meters above sea level, the entire route is approximately 9 kilometers long. The trip begins in the Strążyska Valley, where hikers should make their way to the path over Reglami, which leads to the White Valley.

The forest trail is relatively easy and shouldn’t be too challenging. The charming surroundings of the trail encourage hikers to appreciate the breathtaking beauty of the mountain scenery. The Red Pass is within reach, and from there it’s only a 10-minute walk at a normal pace to Sarnia Skała, where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Tatra Mountains.

The Breathtaking Panorama of the Tatra Mountains

Source: LonelyPoland.com

Hiking on the mountain trails offers a unique opportunity to admire the breathtaking panorama of the Western Tatras, including the iconic Giewont peak. The charming valleys of Strążyska and Biały Potok, as well as the impressive Siklawica waterfall are also worth seeing. The estimated time of the route is about 3 hours and 40 minutes, but it can vary depending on the individual pace and breaks. This trail is a perfect warm-up for more advanced hikes in the future.

3. Nosal (Nose)

The trail itself is well marked and goes through the forest, which can be an added benefit on a hot day. The view from the top of Nosal is stunning and will certainly be a great reward for the effort of climbing it. The view of the Tatras, Zakopane and the surrounding valleys is simply breathtaking.

It should be noted that Nosal is also a popular ski slope during the winter season, so it is worth visiting it in both summer and winter to experience its different faces. All in all, the Nosal Trail is a great introduction to the Tatra Mountains for beginners. It offers a manageable challenge and rewarding views.

Possibility to Choose The Descent Route

It is also important to pay attention to the weather conditions before setting out on this route, especially in the winter months, as the trail can become slippery and more challenging.

It is recommended to check the weather forecast and to consult local guides or Tourist Information Centers before setting out to hike in the Tatra Mountains. It is also important to follow the rules of mountain safety. Stay on marked trails, avoid dangerous areas and be prepared for unexpected weather changes.

PRO TIP: For a small fee (if there is more of you) you my hire a local Tatra guide who will take care of you during the hike and also present you the most popular places and tell you the most amazing stories about Tatra Mountains. Click the link below to find out more.

  • (€) ❤️ Tatra Mountains Hiking Tour: With a local guide, you will walk along trails that offer incredible panoramic views over Zakopane, and see Siklawica Waterfall, and Giewont Summit up close. During the walk, you will enjoy fun facts about the local area.

4. The Great Kopieniec (Wielki Kopieniec)

The Wielki Kopieniec route is relatively easy and does not require advanced hiking skills. This makes it a great option for beginners. The route is marked with green signs and is easy to follow. During the walk you can admire the picturesque landscape of the Tatra Mountains. You can take a rest in the charming Wywierzysko Olczyskie. The place is not only beautiful, but also geologically unique. This makes it an interesting place for nature lovers.

It is important to remember to wear appropriate footwear and to bring enough water and food, especially on hot summer days. It is also a good idea to check the weather forecast before setting off, as conditions in the mountains can change rapidly.

The Route is Friendly for the Youngest

From my experience, I can tell you that Wielki Kopieniec is a great option for beginners. The best part is that it is safe in both summer and winter. It is a good idea to rest in the clearing before descending, as the descent may be slightly different from the ascent.

Alternatively, you can choose the Olczyska Valley and walk down to Jaszczurówka, where you’ll find a bus stop. This route is also suitable for children, according to experienced guides, but always check the conditions and possible warnings before setting out.

5. Gooseneck (Gęsia Szyja)

If you’re new to mountaineering, don’t worry – the Tatras have some easy trails that are perfect for beginners. However, don’t underestimate them – these hikes can still make you tired! Keep in mind that these routes are only a few kilometers long and are mainly intended for recreational hiking. Nevertheless, it’s important to have the right equipment, shoes and a bottle of water.

For beginners, I recommend the route to Gęsia Szyja, which is located at an altitude of 1,489 meters above sea level. The distance is about 10 kilometers and can be completed in just over 3.5 hours. The trip begins at the Wierch Poroniec stop, from where the green trail leads to Rusinowa Polana.

This is an excellent place to take a break as there are tables, benches and even a shepherd’s hut. The forest trail isn’t too demanding, making it a great introduction to mountain hiking.

Historic Architecture

At the beginning of the hike, you’ll come across the characteristic stairs, of which there are almost 900. These stairs will lead you directly to Gęsia Szyja. It’s important to note that the trail continues beyond this point. However, whether or not to continue depends largely on your level of ability and experience. For beginners, it’s best to play it safe and return to the refuge rather than venturing further into the area.

Instead, there are other attractions to visit, such as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Jaworzyńska in Wiktorówki. This impressive wooden structure is a great attraction for lovers of historic buildings and is located in a picturesque setting. It’s definitely worth a visit.

Adventurous Trails With Licensed Guide For Beginners

It is smart to have a guide if you are firs-timer in High Tatras.
Check the best local guide by clicking this link.

When you dive into these trails, let me say, the tranquility that seeps in from having a guide is something you’ll cherish. You see, these guides do more than just keep you on track. They open the door to secret corners of Zakopane and Tatra Mountains, places you’d probably miss if you were going solo.

Imagine your guide as a storyteller. With each step, they animate the sceenery with their insightful narratives. I believe it makes the journey feel more like an immersive tale than just a simple hike, don’t you agree?

Now, if you’re keen on immersing yourself in the local culture and soaking up the area’s rich history, you’re in for a treat. Your guide, armed with a treasure trove of fun facts and captivating tales, will bring the local lore alive. I think it’s an amazing mix of knowledge and adventure bundled into one experience.

Why You Might Want a Local Tatra Guide

Sometimes, it’s worth mentioning, having a local Tatra guide is a smart move. Not only do they show you around, but they also ensure your safety in the mighty Tatra Mountains. You’re getting a taste of the local scene, learning tidbits about the area, and staying safe – all at once.

↳ Book more adventurous guided tours in Tatra Mountains by clicking here!

Appropriate Clothing and Equipment

It’s very important to keep in mind the appropriate clothing and equipment when you are preparing to go hiking on one of the tourist trails in Zakopane. The most important item is the right hiking boots. The choice of shoes should be based on our individual needs, the season and the purpose of the hike.

It depends a lot on whether we’re just starting our adventure in the mountains and are looking for hiking trails for beginners in Zakopane, or if we’re planning to tackle the highest peaks of the Tatra Mountains. It’s important to take into account the type of terrain we’re going to traverse and the frequency of our hikes in the mountains.

Once you are done with hiking, you may also be interested in learning more about other activities you may experience in Zakopane: Discovering the Best Sites of Krupówki: Zakopane’s Old Town


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