Do you love exploring caves and discovering hidden wonders? If you want to experience something new, let me say that the Raptawicka Cave is a must-visit destination for you. This cave is nestled 180 meters above the Kościeliska Valley’s bottom, and you can easily explore it without a guide. Alongside the Mylna Cave and Obłazkowa Cave, it’s part of the fascinating Pawlikowski Caves system.
The Raptawicka Cave is 15 meters deep and 150 meters long, making it perfect for a quick adventure. To reach it, you’ll need to do a bit of rock climbing and then use a vertical ladder to descend several meters into the cave.
Essential Details for Your Trip
- Return time: 30 min + Sightseeing
- Distance: 400m
- Elevation: 63 m
So, you know what to expect, here’s a quick rundown of the esential info:
- Visiting the Raptawicka Cave takes about 30 minutes
- The cave is located in the Kościeliska Valley
- The trail to the cave is insured for safety
- If you need more adventure, I recommend expanding your trip to include the nearby Mylna Cave and Pawlikowski Window
- Do not forget learning more about Tatra Mountains before your trip.
Finding the Trail to Raptawicka Cave
To find the trailhead, walk about 400 meters past Hala Pisana in the Kościeliska Valley. Hala Pisana is easy to spot, with plenty of space to relax by the stream, and it’s also where horse-drawn carriages arrive. As you continue along the valley floor, you’ll see yellow trails leading to the breathtaking Kraków Gorge on the left.
Afterward, on the right side, you’ll notice red markers for the one-way trail that starts from Mylna Cave. Finally, red and black trails will lead you to your destination. I can tell you that it takes around 15 minutes to reach the Raptawicka Cave from the valley floor.
Once you begin, you’ll encounter a manageable chain section before facing a fairly steep ascent. After 10 minutes of climbing, the red trails separate from the black ones. The red trails head straight to Mylna Cave, while the black ones turn right and reach the Raptawicka Turnia wall after four minutes. At this point, you’ll need to do a bit of climbing, but the adventure is well worth it.
Climbing To The Raptawicka Cave
Climbing to the Raptawicka Cave can be a thrilling experience! However, you need to be cautious since the limestone can sometimes be slippery due to the countles tourists. Don’t worry, though, as chains are available to help you through this journey.
I think it’s fascinating that the entrance to the Raptawicka Cave is hidden from the wall. Only after climbing up will you see the ladder handrails descending into the cave’s depths and the opening.
Now comes the most challenging part! First, you need to step over the cave’s threshold, turn around, and place your foot on the ladder’s first rung. Then, descend into the darkness on the 4-meter ladder, singing cheerfully „hello darkness, my old friend”.
In winter, reaching the cave can be icy, making it more difficult to access the interior. However, during the summer peak season, small traffic jams can form on the narrow climbing section.
Raptawicka Cave – A Glimpse of Information
At the intersection of several tectonic cracks lies the main hall of Raptawicka Cave. The main entrance hole has a diameter of about 3 meters, slightly illuminating the darkness inside. Thanks to this, you can briefly view the main compartment in daylight without a flashlight.
If you want to explore further, you need to know that several side corridors lead from the main chamber. Your cellphone light won’t be enough here, so bring headlamps if you plan to venture deeper into the cave.
The Left Corridor descends to the left, containing a funnel-shaped depresion that connects to the Mylna Cave. However, for tourist safety, this passage has been filled in. The cave’s upper part was formed due to the collapse of the chambers below, while the lower part resulted from water erosion, as evidenced by pebbles and visible vortex cauldrons. The cave was first described by Jan Gwalbert Pawlikowski in 1887.
Raptawicka Cave Map
I am convinced that the history of Raptawicka Cave is just as fascinating as its geology. The cave was opened to tourists during the interwar period when the first ladder was installed and the trail leading to the Mylna Cave was built.
Chains leading to the cave entrance were added later on. In 1938, a heartbroken dentist from Zakopane decided to commit suicide in an unusual way. He walled himself in the final corridor but changed his mind, embedded a picture of the Virgin Mary in the wall, and carved an inscription in gratitude for his change of heart.
The cave’s temperature stays around 6/7 degrees Celsius, and it’s home to two species of bats – big-eared bats and golden bats. The return journey is the same until the black and red trails connect.
If you’re already there, I believe you must visit Pawlikowski Windows – a hundred times more incredible place! And then, you can either crawl through the Mylna Cave or descend the same way back to the Kościeliska Valley.