With low cloud in the sky and constant drizzle threatening to turn to rain I wanted to get out for a walk but not a big mountain day.
While only a quarter of the Tatras National Park sits in Poland there’s still a wealth of shorter walks for wet days.
Sarnia Skala 10km 660m ascent
Sarnia Skala is a small rocky outcrop sitting on the edge of the national park and easily accessed from Zakopane by the black route which runs along the edge of the park from the snowland ski slopes.
The black route is popular with runners, being relatively flat. It is however, as I discovered as I set off in my running kit, quite slippy in places when it is wet.
I followed this route all the way to meet the red path into Dolina Strazyka and to the national park gate where you need to pay entrance fees.
The red path continues gently uphill to Polana Strazyka where it meets a crossroad of paths. Here I took the black route which heads steeply uphill.
The route is stepped all the way and much steeper than the yellow route I descended, but being polished limestone steps I preferred going up them to trying to go down.
Where the path flattens out at the top of the col there is a seating area and the small path to the top of Sarnia Skala.
The top of Sarnia Skala is rocky but wide. It provides great views across Zakopane into the Tatras.
I returned back to the top of the pass and then descended left and picked up the yellow route. This zigzags down through the pine trees into the beech woodland and then into the Dolina Bialego valley.
This valley is really pretty, with high rock walls and waterfalls as the river runs downhill to the mouth of the valley.
Look out for the cave as you leave the area which I later found out is where the Russian forces mined uranium for the atomic bomb in the early 1950s.
This was a great route for a wet day and a nice way to explore a part of the national park I might not have visited otherwise.