Gasienicowa Valley. This 1 day hike to the Gąsienicowa Valley and Czarny staw (black lake) is by far one of the best hikes to do in the High Tatras. You get some beautiful views along the way and get to visit a less famous but very beautiful mountain lake. You’ll need to be fairly fit or take quite a lot of breaks along the way.

How to get there

The route starts at Kuznice, Zakopane. You can take a bus there from the main station or just walk to Kuznice in about 40min. Once at Kuznice turn left past some restaurants and souvenir shops. There you will find a small booth and entry to the National Park. It will cost you 5pln to enter the park here. After the entry turn to the right straight away and follow the path towards the Jaworzynka Valley. The path is quite easy and you will reach the valley opening within 10 min. The Valley has many old shepherds huts and a good picnic location. After walking through the valley (25 min) you'll start ascending towards Mount Mala Kopa Krolowa. Walk on the stone pavement where the path turns a sharp right and you’ll start climbing the Kopa Krolowa slope called Siodlowa Perc. There is a view point up there and a good place to rest after the 15 min climb. From here you can see Mount Kopa Magury and the Zleb pod Czerwienica ravine below.

There is another sharp left turn with more uphill climbing that leads around the hill to views  of the entire Jaworzynka Valley. After a total walk and climb of about 1 hour 45 min you should reach the Miedzy Kopami Pass and join another trail which you will be descending on your return. Here are plenty of space to rest and amazing views over the entire area. From here it'll take you about 30 min to get to Hala Gasienicowa. Continue right on the path and follow a big stone pavement road all the way to Gąsienicowa Valley. There's a mountain lodge here with shelter and food. From there keep following the path right towards Czarny Staw. It'll take you about 40 min to get to the lake from Murowaniec (The mountain shelter).

Once at the lake you can walk around it and take in the scenery. It is one of the most beautiful lakes in the area! Then head to the right of the lake and up toward the Karb Pass and Mount Kościelec. This is a very demanding 30min climb. The trail is steep but the views are worth it. From the top you will see a path leading to Mount Kocielec. This is a much harder climb - it will take you an extra hour and is very demanding (only for those looking for an extra challenge).

From the pass, follow the marked route to the right back toward the Gąsienicowa Valley. This path leads down back the slope next to the Zielony Staw and a few other smaller ponds. Follow the route back towards Murowaniec shelter. From here back track along the stone pavement and follow the blue path to the right towards Kuźnice przez Boczań. This path will lead you over the ridge towards Skupniowy Upłaz and through the forest all the way back to Kuźnice. From the mountain lodge back to Kuźnice takes about 1 hour 40 min.

Useful Information

  • Make sure to start your hike in the morning - the Sun sets quite early in autumn!
  • Always have water and something to eat with you. The hike usually take around 8 hours with breaks
  • Take some warm gloves and a few layers of clothing - the temperature changes quite quickly and often up there.
  • This route can be very busy with school trips around May.


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