Exploring Koscieliska Valley in the Tatra Mountains, Poland

If you are an outdoor enthusiast and love hiking, then the Tatra Mountains in Poland should be on your bucket list. One of the most popular destinations within the Tatra Mountains is the beautiful Koscieliska Valley. This picturesque valley offers breathtaking views, diverse flora and fauna, and a range of hiking trails for all levels of experience.

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Koscieliska Valley Tatra Mountains Map

Koscieliska Valley is located in the Tatra National Park, which is situated in southern Poland, near the border with Slovakia. The valley itself is about 4 miles long and can be accessed from the town of Zakopane, which is known as the Winter Capital of Poland.

Related: Chocholowska Valley: A Guide to the Tatra Mountains in Poland (prohealthylife.org)

Getting to Zakopane is relatively easy, with several transportation options available. You can reach Zakopane by train, bus, or car from major cities in Poland, such as Krakow or Warsaw. When you arrive in Zakopane, you have the option to catch a local bus or taxi to reach the entrance of the Kościeliska Valley. Additionally, there are various paid parking lots available if you prefer to park your car.

Things to Know Before You Go

Before embarking on your adventure in Koscieliska Valley, there are a few things you should know:

1. Weather and Season

The weather in the Tatra Mountains can be unpredictable, so it’s important to check the forecast before your trip.  The valley is open year-round, but the best time to visit Koscieliska Valley is during the summer months, from June to September, when the weather is generally mild and the trails are more accessible. However, if you prefer a quieter experience, you can also visit in the spring or autumn.

Related: Discover the Charm and History of Warsaw’s Old Town (prohealthylife.org)

2. Mountain Lodge Accommodation

If you wish to extend your stay in the Kościeliska Valley, there is an option to stay at a mountain lodge located at the end of the trail. The lodge offers essential amenities like cozy beds, hot showers, and delicious meals.

3. Hiking Trails and Caves

Koscieliska Valley offers a variety of hiking trails and caves, ranging from easy to more challenging treks. Some of the popular trails include the Dolina Koscieliska Trail, and the Ornak Trail. For a more challenging experience, explore caves such as Mrozna Cave, Mylna Cave, and Smocza Jama Cave. Make sure to prepare yourself and understand what to expect before venturing into the caves.

4.Horse Carriage Rides

For a more leisurely experience, horse carriage rides are available in the Koscieliska Valley. This allows visitors to sit back and relax while enjoying the stunning scenery. It is a great way to explore the valley without exerting too much physical effort. The carriage is driven by local men (gorals) dressed in regional costumes, who usually tell stories about the Kościeliska Valley along the way

Related: Poland Must-Visit Destinations You Won’t Believe Exist – Pro Healthy Life

Hiking Trails in Koscieliska Valley

Now that you’re familiar with the basics, let’s explore some of the hiking trails you can experience in Koscieliska Valley:

1. Dolina Koscieliska Trail

This trail is the most popular and well-marked route in Koscieliska Valley 8 miles out-and-back route. It takes you through the heart of the valley, offering stunning views of towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and lush forests. Along the way, you’ll also come across traditional wooden huts, known as “bacowki,” where you can rest and enjoy local delicacies.

2. Ornak Trail

The Ornak Trail is a more challenging option, perfect for experienced hikers seeking a higher elevation. The trail leads to the summit of Ornak Mountain from Mountain Lodge 5 miles out-and-back route. It’s a steep ascent, but the reward is well worth the effort.

3. Koscieliska Valley – Mrozna Cave – Smreczynski Staw

Koscieliska Valley Tatra Mountains

This trail is an 8.7-mile out-and-back route that typically takes around 4 hours and 49 minutes to finish. It’s a well-liked hiking spot, offers stunning views no matter when you visit.

4. Smocza Jama Cave

Smocza Jama Cave (Dragon Cave) It is located in the Kraków Gorge – a side branch of the Kościeliska Valley. This trail is perfect for those seeking a short yet exhilarating hike. It leads you through a unique cave passage that cuts through the rock. The cave is 121 feet long and is a tunnel rising to a height of 54 feet.

Mylna Cave

Mylna Cave is a one-way tourist route that runs through it, which is approximately 886 feet long. You can explore it on your own, but you must bring your light source. The cave is damp, with narrow and low passages. To explore comfortably, wear suitable shoes and clothing that can get dirty.  The cave tour takes approximately 45 minutes.


Koscieliska Valley in the Polish Tatra Mountains is a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts. With its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and a range of hiking trails, it offers a truly unforgettable experience. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced hiker, exploring Koscieliska Valley is a must-do when visiting the Tatra Mountains in Poland.

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