I wanted to visit the poplar thermal baths at Chocholow and decided to run the red route across the Gubalowka ridge to get there. Whilst it was dry it was very windy so not ideal for being in the mountains so this made a great alternative.
North of Zakopane and out of the Tatras, this hill is mostly farmland and gentle rolling hills. If you’re not in the area for long it wouldn’t be on your list to do, but if you have time it’s a nice alternative to the mountains.
To Chocholow – 21km
From the centre of Zakopane there are two routes up to Gubalowka (there’s also the cable railway which is incredibly cheap). The black route takes you directly up the hill next to the railway – having used this later in the week I can say its steep and a very worn path.
I opted to use the blue route for my run, which meanders up the hillside through the farm fields and woodland. Its not as well way marked and I met a very barky dog protecting his flock of goats. At the top of the hill I turned left to head towards the RTON Gubalowka television mast.
This is the busiest and most touristy bit of the whole of the hillside as I popped out of the woodland into tacky tourist shops, restaurants and bars. That said there is a great view of the Tatras from here.
The red route to Chocholow begins on the road as it takes you through the tourist strip to then head downhill past houses. Eventually it turns onto tracks and through farm fields.
Its a fairly easy route to walk though does require navigating as its not well way marked. Its also pretty muddy underfoot as motorbikes and farm quad bikes clearly use the track a lot.
The route undulated as it crosses the hillside and continues along until you finally descend downhill into Chocholow and arrive near the pretty church.
Here its another 2km down the main road to reach the thermal baths – its possible to catch the bus here from Zakopane but this made for a better adventure. At least I felt like I deserved a few hours in a thermal baths!