Guest Author - Barbara Swiech
Polish part of Tatra Mountains offers beautiful views, charming valleys and transparent lakes that form a gateway for numerous city dwellers. The High Tatras, apart from ensuring complicated trails for experienced mountaineers, enable common tourists exceptional feeling of being close to the nature. Less complicated routes are attended by whole families providing healthy and high quality leisure activity.
One of tourists’ favourite (out of the spots to which less complicated routes lead) place is the Valley of Five Lakes. One can easily get there on foot from Palenica Bialczanska (that is easily accessible from Zakopane by car or public transport) within 2,5 hours. The trail leads up to the upper parts where the lakes are situated. The valley has the length of 4 km and is situated at the height of 1625-1900 metres over the sea level. Beautiful landscape of that place is created by granite summits of High Tatras, huge boulders, transparent sheets of its lakes and wide terrains covered with dwarf mountain pine. The valley forms also perfect habitat for wide range of wild animals, such as mountain goat or marmot.
The valley has actually six lakes. These are the Big Lake, Back Lake, Black Lake, Small Like, Front Lake and Bull’s Eye. The last one is only seasonal and its dimension changes. Although during Summer Bull’s Eye is the 6th biggest lake in the Valley, during Winter it freezes up to the bottom – therefore the name of the valley includes only five others.
The place has been visited by tourists since 19th century. The first mountain hut was built nearby the Small Lake in 1876. Another hut was added there, enlarged and restored – that withstood till 1927. The mountain hut that one can visit now at the Front Lake was built between 1948 and 1953. It is the highest situated mountain shelter in Polish part of Tatras. While most of the tourists get only to the hut to get some rest and admire the landscape, some upper trails offer beautiful view over the whole valley.
The Valley of Five Lakes is surely the pearl of the Tatras and the must see for tourists visiting Zakopane. Easy routes leading there enable amateur hikers to get to the spot, however, in Winter the trail becomes more demanding and dangerous. The beauty of the place surely rewards for the effort of the hike and hot tea tastes delicious with satisfaction that counterweighs the tiredness.