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Need to know: Main Beskid Trail

Main Beskid Trail

聽漏 All photos by Bart Pawlik.

The longest trail in Poland offers a continuous journey through the most beautiful aspects of the Polish mountain region. Known as the ‘G艂贸wny Szlak Beskidzki’ in Polish, this route spans 500 kilometers, passing through three provinces: Silesia, Lesser Poland (Ma艂opolska), and the Subcarpathians (Podkarpackie). From the Czech border to the border with Ukraine, the trail meanders through the Beskidy mountain range. Along the way, you’ll traverse four national parks and cross six mountain chains.

Although this trail does not pass through the Polish part of the Tatra Mountains, you’ll still enjoy breathtaking views of Poland’s most popular peaks from the Main Beskid Trail. The trail is well-marked with red and white trail markers, making it relatively easy to follow. From Chyrowa to Wo艂osate, you’ll even connect with the European Long-Distance Trail E8. While the Main Beskid Trail is easy to follow, some segments can be quite challenging due to steep ascents, descents, and rugged paths. Therefore, some hiking experience and good physical condition are recommended.

Hiking in history

The history of the Main Beskid Trail dates back to the interwar period. The trail marking began in 1925 and was completed in 1935. The trail has its patron, Kazimierz Sosnowski, who was an advocate for mountain tourism and the author of guides on the Beskidy Mountains. Interestingly, the initial route of the trail extended into Ukraine, reaching the border with Romania. This was due to the fact that these areas were part of Poland at the time. However, after World War II, adjustments were made to establish the final route.

Several sections of the Main Beskid Trail pass through areas that held significance during World War II. You come across remnants of bunkers, trenches, or other wartime structures. Additionally, you can sense and see history in some of the mountain huts, as some of them served as shelters or had other wartime functions.

Scenic Trail

The Main Beskid Trail offers a scenic journey that provides you with numerous opportunities to enjoy breathtaking views of the picturesque Beskidy Mountains. The region offers a diverse range of natural landscapes, including lush and dense forests, open meadows, rocky ridges, rolling hills, and charming villages. This area is also known for its traditional wooden architecture, with historic wooden cottages, wooden churches, and other structures that showcase the impressive architectural heritage of the region.

Starting from the trail’s beginning point in Ustro艅, the ascent begins almost immediately into the first mountain range, Beskid 艢l膮ski. It then proceeds towards three peaks in this mountain area: Czantoria Wielka (995 m), Sto偶ek Wielki (978 m), and Barania G贸ra (1220 m). The trail follows the border with the Czech Republic and Slovakia for a significant stretch, leading you along muddy and rocky paths with numerous ascents and descents. This section of the trail is the highest part of the Western Beskids and includes the highest peak of the entire trail, Babia G贸ra (1725 m), located in the first of four national parks, Babiog贸rski National Park.

The trail continues into the next national park, Gorcza艅ski, which encompasses the Gorce mountain area. This region is relatively small but delightful, featuring numerous fields, vibrant flowers, and beautiful views. However, you’ll still encounter some challenging climbs and descents. Turbacz, with an elevation of 1310 meters, stands as the highest peak in this area and holds historical significance, as does the nearby hut. The ascent to the summit of Luba艅 (1225 m) is vicious, but it offers the reward of an ascent to a tower that provides spectacular panoramic views. On a clear day, you can see the Tatra Mountains.

From Kro艣cienko, the trail leads to Radziejowa (1262 m), the highest peak in the Beskid S膮decki mountain range. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to take in numerous views of the surrounding mountain ranges. This area is characterized by flysch, a typical sedimentary rock composed of multiple layers. During this stage, you’ll hike through the Popradzki Landscape Park and eventually reach the lowest point of the Main Beskid Trail in the small village of Rytro (350 m).

Take a break in mountain hut Hali 艁abowskiej. This atmospheric hut is dedicated to the Main Beskid Trail and even hosts an annual celebration for the trail. The path descends through beautiful forests to the village of Krynica-Zdr贸j, one of the most popular spas in Poland. Here, you can drink various beneficial spring waters from taps. The fresh mountain air, the minerals in the soil and water are well-known, leading to the establishment of several health and wellness resorts in the area. Likewise, the spa villages of Ryman贸w Zdr贸j and Iwonicz-Zdr贸j, which the trail later passes through, are adorned with impressively beautiful, authentic, and iconic wooden houses as well.

The next mountain range is the Beskid Niski, or the Lower Beskids. Don’t be mistaken, as you will still encounter regular ascents and descents, along with stunning views. This stage is wilder, more rural, and more remote compared to the rest of the trail. There are only a few mountain huts, and you’ll be frequently reminded by signs that you are hiking through bear territory. The Magura Forest in the Magura National Park adds a mystical element to this section of the trail. Passing by the wooden church of Koma艅cza, which was even a microstate in 1919, the trail leads into the Cisna-Wetlina Landscape Park and the Eastern Carpathians, where you’ll encounter landslide lakes.

Landslide lakes form when rock material slides down into a river valley and obstructs the flow of the river. Initially, you’ll hike through beautiful forests, including primeval forests in various forms. The high peaks are back in Bieszczady, the third largest national park in Poland, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Smerek features an iron cross at its summit to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining independence.聽

The trail continues at a high altitude to the most southeastern corner of Poland, with the peak of Tarnica (1346 m) as the highest point, before descending to its endpoint in Wo艂osate. The finale of the Main Beskid Trail over the ridges of Bieszczady is nothing short of spectacular.

The Stages

Since you can earn a PTTK badge by completing the trail in 21 days, we’ve divided the trail into 21 stages. To enjoy the trail even more, we would recommend taking more time.

Stage 1: Ustro艅 – Mountain hut PTTK na Sto偶ku
20 km
Stage 2: Mountain hut PTTK na Sto偶ku – Mountain hut PTTK Przys艂op Pod Barani膮 G贸r膮
16 km
Stage 3: Mountain hut PTTK Przys艂op Pod Barani膮 G贸r膮 – Mountain hut S艂owianka
26 km
Stage 4: Mountain hut S艂owianka – Camp G艂uchaczki
27 km
Stage 5: Camp G艂uchaczki – Mountain hut PTTK na Hali Krupowej
28 km
Stage 6: Mountain hut PTTK na Hali Krupowej – Rabka Zdr贸j
32 km
Stage 7: Rabka Zdr贸j – Mountain hut PTTK na Turbaczu
16 km
Stage 8: Mountain hut PTTK na Turbaczu – Camp na Lubaniu
22 km
Stage 9: Camp na Lubaniu – Mountain hut PTTK na Przechybie
22 km
Stage 10: Mountain hut PTTK na Przechybie – Mountain hut Cyrla
20 km
Stage 11: Mountain hut Cyrla – Krynica G贸rska
26 km
Stage 12: Krynica G贸rska – Camp w Regietowie
29 km
Stage 13: Camp w Regietowie – Mountain hut PTTK w Bartnem
19 km
Stage 14: Mountain hut PTTK w Bartnem – Chyrowa
31 km
Stage 15: Chyrowa – Ryman贸w Zdr贸j
25 km
Stage 16: Ryman贸w Zdr贸j – Hut w Przybyszowie
26 km
Stage 17: Hut w Przybyszowie – Koma艅cza
19 km
Stage 18: Koma艅cza- Mountain hut PTTK pod Honem
24 km
Stage 19: Mountain hut PTTK pod Honem – Smerek
18 km
Stage 20: Smerek – Ustrzyki G贸rne
24 km
Stage 21: Ustrzyki G贸rne – Wo艂osate
22 km

Accommodation

Along the Main Beskid trail there are a lot of mountain huts. On the westside there are many, making it easy to adjust the stage planning. On the eastern part of the trail there are less options, but you can combine mountains huts with accomodations in little villages. Make sure you make reservations when hiking this trail in july or august.

Camping is possible next to most huts and there are some wild camps along the trail.

Overnights in the mountain huts / accommodations per stage:

Stage 1: Ustro艅 – Mountain hut PTTK na Sto偶ku
Stage 2: Mountain hut PTTK Przys艂op Pod Barani膮 G贸r膮
Stage 3: Mountain hut S艂owianka
Stage 4: Camp G艂uchaczki
Stage 5: Mountain hut PTTK na Hali Krupowej
Stage 6: Rabka Zdr贸j
Stage 7: Mountain hut PTTK na Turbaczu
Stage 8: Camp na Lubaniu
Stage 9: Mountain hut PTTK na Przechybie
Stage 10: Mountain hut Cyrla
Stage 11: Krynica G贸rska
Stage 12: Camp w Regietowie
Stage 13: Mountain hut PTTK w Bartnem
Stage 14: Chyrowa
Stage 15: Ryman贸w Zdr贸j
Stage 16: Hut w Przybyszowie
Stage 17: Koma艅cza
Stage 18: Mountain hut PTTK pod Honem
Stage 19: Smerek
Stage 20: Ustrzyki G贸rne
Stage 21: Wo艂osate

More information about the huts: PTTK.

Good to know

There are ATMs available in Ustro艅, Rabka, Kro艣cienko, Rytro, Krynica G贸rska, and Koma艅cza, where you can also resupply your provisions. Most mountain huts accept card payments.

During your jtrekking, you can collect stamps and earn badges. To do this, you can request a trekkers pass at the PTTK offices or in the mountain huts. Stamps can be found in all mountain huts and at specific locations, such as viewing towers. Each place has its unique stamp, crafted from wood and featuring beautiful graphic designs.

It’s worth noting that you’ll be hiking in an area inhabited by wild animals like bears, wolves, and lynx. While the chances of encountering them are small, it’s essential to be prepared and take caution.
Check out a full recap of this trail at our Instagram.

Useful links
Foundation of volunteers and enthusiasts of this trail: Main Beskid Trail
Good map/overview: map
Useful map for stage distribution: map

More information:
Main Beskid Trail
Poland Tourism Organisation
PTTK

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