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Babia Góra – the queen of the Beskids

Babia Góra together with its peak Diablak (1725 m a.s.l.) is the tallest mountain of the Żywiec Beskids, the tallest mountain of the Western Beskids and the Polish Beskids, and also the tallest mountain in Poland outside of the Tatras. The track of The Loop on Babia Góra was led in such a way, so that it particularly marks out the queen of the Beskids. The trail does not go through the peak ‘just like that’, but it loops a smaller loop that can have its base in the Markowe Szczawiny Hostel.

Babia Góra – legendary trails on an extraordinary mountain

Babia Góra is an icon of Polish hillwalking. On its hills the first Polish hostel in the Beskids was opened and nature has been attracting explorers, conquerors and researchers for ages. The Loop suggests ascending it by a yellow trail, the so-called Perć Akademików. It is an iconic trail marked on the 11th of June 1925 by Władysław Midowicz, showing the mountain character and the beauty of nature. The trail leads through the most steep slopes of Babia Góra and crosses a few altitudinal donations. The trail has an almost Tatra nature, because it mostly consists of stony steps, and also a bunch of facilitations in the form of chains and staples. Through the ridge of Babia Góra and Markowe Szczawiny glade goes the red Main Beskid Trail, that the track of was suggested in 1923 by Kazimierz Sosnkowski. The Loop also leads us through less demanding, but just as valuable trails such as Perć Przyrodników and Górny Płaj.

Babia Góra like the Polish Kilimanjaro or Fuji

In the tourist environment Babia Góra is well known for its shape and the lie of the land. It reaches the height of 1725 m a.s.l., while the majority of surrounding mountains reach 1100 or 1300 m a.s.l. In addition to that, from the south the slopes of Babia Góra go straight to Kotlina Orawsko-Nowotarska. The climate conditions on Babia Góra are considered to be harsh. The peak is usually very windy and regularly covered in fog, and due to numerous days with subzero temperature and precipitation, higher parts of Babia Góra are white for many months throughout the year. Thanks to that, if we look at the queen of the Beskids from afar, we can admire its fabulous landscapes. While being on the Babia Góra during that time period we feel the harsh conditions and variable aura, due to which it is sometimes called ‘the mother of inclement weather’.

Markowe Szczawiny Hostel is the only hostel in the Babia Góra National Park

At the peak of Babia Góra the Polish-Slovakian border meets. The Slovakian part falls under the highest level of protection within the CHKO Horna Orava. Poles put their side under the protection of the Babia Góra National Park in 1954. The desire to protect nature and avoid degradation of the unique environment of the southern slopes of Babia Góra resulted in the fact that after the World War Two there were no attempts to reactivate or rebuild the late Beskidenverein mountain hostel. Due to that up to this day the only mountain hostel on Babia Góra and in the entire national park is Markowe Szczawiny Hostel, built in 1906 out of Hugon Zapałowicz’s initiative. Since 2009 hikers are welcomed by a completely new building of the hostel, that is more efficient, comfortable and capacious. We can learn about old pioneer tourism while visiting the local Cultural Center of Mountain Tourism. In proximity of the mountain hostel there is a GOPR center and a crossing of trails, that’s why Markowe Szczawiny is considered a comfortable base and nodal point on The Loop trail.

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