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Koscieliska Valley

It is sometimes considered one of the most beautiful Tatra valleys, rich in natural attractions and historical memorabilia.The tour begins in Kirach. You can leave your car, motorcycle or coach in one of the many paid parking lots in the area. Kiry also has excellent transport links to Zakopane and nearby towns, including Witow, Chocholow, Czarny Dunajec. At the mouth of the valley there are many restaurants and guesthouses, as well as information and educational boards of the Tatra National Park. In addition, tourists have the opportunity to use the services of fiakr, who, for a fee, offer transportation by horse carriage from the mouth of the valley until the Pisana Polana.

There is a fee for entering the Koscieliska Valley (which lies within the borders of the TPN), which is paid on site. The trek towards the PTTK Shelter on Hala Ornak initially leads along Koscieliski Creek. After passing through the Niżnia Kościeliska Brama called Kantak Gate, we enter a vast clearing - Wyżnia Kira Miętusia, where cultural sheep grazing is carried out. You can taste sheep's milk products (cheeses, cheeses - zéntyca) in the local shack. After a while we reach the place from which the trails diverge: the black one to Przysłop Miętusi (a fragment of Ścieżka nad Reglami), the red one through Adamica to Czerwone Wierchy, and the one we are hiking, the green one, towards the Shelter on Hala Ornak (actually on Mala Polanka Ornaczanska). For a short time along the bottom of the valley, the green and black trails lead together, but even before Zbójnicka Kapliczka the black one goes to the right, towards Kominiarski Przysłop, Lejowa Valley and Chocholowska Valley.

You, on the other hand, reach Stare Koscieliska. It used to be a lively place. Indeed, there were buildings associated with the mining and metallurgical industry, a forester's lodge, later an inn, and a small hostel of Count Władysław Zamoyski. Today there is no trace of these buildings. The exception is the ruins of the foundation of the smelter furnace, the existence of which is attested to by a commemorative plaque. Being in this place, it is worth noting the species of trees: dune pine or a huge linden tree, from the area of which the distant Bystra (2248 m), the highest peak of the Western Tatras, is discernible.

At the southern end of Stare Koscieliska there is a junction of trails: the black will lead to the Jaskinia Mroźna, and the blue, marked in 1892 by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, to Plana Stoły. Just after the trun of the trail to Stoły, you pass through the Pośrednia Koscieliska Gate (so-called Kraszewski Gate), and soon we pass the place where the descent trail from the Jaskinia Mroźna leads. You can find tourists resting here.There is also a toilet in this place.

The next point you reach is Pisana Glade. Here, in addition to wooden benches and tables at which tourists can relax, there is also an end stop for horse-drawn carriages. The Pisana Glade area, due to its scenic qualities, is also a popular place for tourists who take souvenir photos. It is impressive due to the limestone rocks visible here and there, the massive Kominiarski Wierch rising above the clearing, and the Kościeliski Creek meandering nearby. Just beyond the clearing, after crossing a wooden bridge, you pass the entrance to the Krakow Gorge ending in a cave called Smocza Jama (Eng. Dragon's Den). A yellow trail leads deep into the gorge. Travelling further along the bottom of the Koscieliska Valley, you pass the exit of the Wodna Cave under Pisana, the exit of the Mylna Cave, and, in the area of the Wyżnia Koscieliska Gate (Raptawicka Gate), the departure of the trail leading to the Raptawicka, Obłazkowa and the aforementioned Mylna Caves. From this point, the valley gently widens, indicating that we are entering an area transformed by a glacier. Soon, on the right, in the forest, the Cross of Wincent Pol will be visible on the hill, and just beyond it the outlet of the Smytnia Valley. After 10-15 minutes you reach a trail junction. The black trail starts at this point, leading in approx. 30 min to Smreczyński Pond. The green one, which you have hiked so far, goes to the left, leading through the Tomanova Valley to Ciemniak (Czerwone Wierchy). If you want to reach the PTTK Shelter on Ornak Hall, you should follow the yellow trail straight ahead to Chocholowska Valley through Iwaniacka Pass.