The Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy lake is surrounded by the Tatra Mountains. It‘s the fourth largest lake in the Polish Tatras, reaching the depth of 51 meters! This cold mountain lake can be reached by a path located close to Zakopane. It starts next to the cable car going to Kasprowy Wierch (although we really recommend climbing the peak yourselves instead of using the cable car). When we came here, we saw a really long line of people waiting to go up the mountain. It was probably faster to climb the mountain yourself than waiting in this line for an hour.
The path leading to the lake is indicated by a blue color, so you should follow the signs indicated by this color. The first part of the hike took us towards Schronisko Murowaniec (Hala Gasienicowa). There‘s a guest house with a pub/cafe where travelers can stop to spend the night as well as just take a bite. There weren’t too many tourists. Speaking about food, you can choose everything from roasted meat to desserts and beer.
The beginning of the trail goes through the forest and mostly uphill. Therefore, the first half an hour of the hike wasn’t offering great views. But once we came out of the forest, the view of the mountains and the surroundings was in front of us. The climbing became much more pleasant, and when we stopped for a rest, we could enjoy the view of the beautiful Tatras.
At the end of the path, we reached a valley with small old cottages and a guesthouse nearby. Here you can take a rest, go down to the Hala Gasienicowa and look around. Or you can immediately continue your hike towards Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy lake. We didn‘t stop for long and continued our hike. We decided to stop at this place on the way back. From here, you should follow the blue-marked trail until you reach the water.
The lakeshore is beautiful as well as crowded. However, there‘s enough space for everyone, and the shore is a great place for stretching out your legs, eating a sandwich and taking some time to enjoy the trail you just completed.
There are a few different trails you can take to continue climbing to the mountains. We chose the black trail leading towards Karb. You should see a steep and high strip – that’s exactly where we continued our hike. This part of the trail is short but very steep. The Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy lake and a few smaller lakes on the other side of the mountains can be seen from the top. In this mountain crossing, we took a rest and admired the spectacular cliffs. If you have the power, you can also climb to the nearby Koscielec peak, which is particularly rocky.
We continued our hike by going down from Karb to the other side of the mountain, towards the smaller lakes. In the valley, there are lots of good spots for stopping and having some snacks. You can also see Kasprowy Wierch (if you have the strength, you can climb it as well). Following the path along the lakes, we came back to the guesthouse and then took the same path we came back to the city.
On one of the crossroads, we decided to take the yellow trail instead of the blue so we could go down by a different path than going up. It was really steep on the way back, however, going down is always easier than going up. It‘s interesting that going down you can feel more your knee joints than going up. Finally, we came back to Zakopane, went back to the car parking and drove to search for a champions’ dinner.
This route is not an easy one, but also not too difficult. If not rushing, travelers with different physical capabilities can complete it.
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