In the mountains with a child. Suggestions for five easy trails in the Małopolska region
Routes with a mountain hostel
A mountain hostel at the end of the route gives the little ones special motivation for the trip. When they hear that they can order a large cake at the hostel and get a stamp that will be tangible proof of the effort they have made, they are sure to be eager to pack their rucksack and set off on a route that will challenge them!
Route #1. Beskid Myślenicki – PTTK Hostel on Kudłacze (730 m above sea level) and Lubomir
If you set off towards the hostel from the top of the Działek in Poręba (600 m above sea level) along the red trail, the route should take you about an hour (2.2 km one way). You can get to Działek by car, turning right in the centre of Poręba. At the top of Działek we leave the car and continue on foot. There are many attractions for children at the hostel. You can light a bonfire and roast sausages either bought in the hostel or have brought with you, or you can play on the playground. It is of course possible to stay overnight in the hostel, which can be a major attraction for children!
It is worth adding that the red trail from the hostel runs towards Lubomir (904 m above sea level) with its Astronomical Observatory, which can serve as the objective of our subsequent hikes. The route from the Kudłacze mountain hostel to the observatory is quite gentle; with a child it might take about 2 hours.
Route #2. Myślenicki Beskid – PTTK Hostel on Kudłacze (730 m above sea level)
Should you wish to reach the Kudłacze hostel, there is one more variant. It can be the starting point for further hikes, as the approach from a car to the hostel takes 10 minutes at most. Just turn from Zakopianka to the bridge in Pcim and then immediately after the bridge turn right, continue along the asphalt road that before long curves in a wide arc to the left. The ride continues through serpentines. At a certain point, the asphalt road ends, and on the right you will find a large paid car park where you can leave your car for the day. A concrete walkway leads to the hostel, so even a stroll with a pram will be possible here.
Route #3. Gorce – PTTK mountain hostel on Stare Wierchy (964 m above sea level)
On this route leading through the Gorce mountains your children will be captivated by the beautiful views of the Tatra mountains. The trail starts on the border of the villages of Obidowa and Rdzawka, at the petrol station, right next to Kułakowy Wierch. There is a small car park next door, where you can leave your car. The route follows the blue trail, largely in open spaces. The route is almost 6 kilometres long, so it is worth planning a few hours to get to the hostel at Stare Wierchy. Adults can cover it in about 2 hours.
Route #4. Low Beskids – Magura Małastowska (721 m above sea level)
This is a very pleasant short route, especially on hot days. It runs almost entirely through the woods of the Low Beskids. The route starts by the Gorlice – Konieczna road, on the Małastowska Pass, just by the car park, where you can leave your car. The route is only about a kilometre long, so with children, you will complete it in about 40 minutes. Of course, the destination you reach after the hike is the closed mountain hostel on Magura Małastowska. It is currently being renovated.
With this route we also have a minimum variant for you. If you find that even this 40-minute route is daunting for your little one, we suggest a pleasant alternative. By car, on the Małastowska Pass, drive past the above-mentioned car park and turn right (from the Gorlice side) onto the narrow, asphalt road leading towards Nowica. When you see a barrier and a gravel road on your right, park your car and follow this route through the forest and after only 500 metres you will see the hostel and reach your goal.
If the children haven’t had enough, it is worth going farther and reaching the top of Magura Małastowska (813 m above sea level). It is certainly easier to motivate older children to reach the summit.
It is worth knowing that just about 100 metres below the top of Magura Małastowska, there is a historic cemetery from World War I, where 136 soldiers from the Austro-Hungarian and Russian armies were buried (War Cemetery no. 58 Przysłup).
Another one can be found right at the start of the trail, by the Gorlice–Konieczna route, on the Małastowska Pass. It is one of the most beautiful of the World War I cemeteries in Małopolska (War Cemetery no. 60).
Route #5. Beskid Sądecki – Observation tower on Koziarz
This time on the last trip, for variety’s sake we invite you not to a mountain hostel, but to the observation tower on Koziarz (description of the observation tower on Koziarz) (943 m above sea level) in the Beskid Sądecki. This is the shortest and one of the easiest routes to this peak. It is only 2 kilometres one way.
We walk to Koziarz from the top of Okrąglica, which we reach by car from the village of Brzyna. The route is paved and partly surfaced with concrete slabs. It takes about 45 minutes to walk from Okrąglica to Koziarz along a fairly gentle, marked route. One of the most beautiful views in the Beskid Sądecki can be seen from the observation tower on Koziarz. From the tower, you can admire the Gorce Mountains, Beskid Sądecki, Island Beskids, Pieniny, and Magura Spiska.
Małopolska is the perfect place for first mountain expeditions with small children. Everyone will find trails suited to their children’s needs and abilities. And over time, you can choose more difficult and longer ones. However, you must remember that in selecting each route, you are choosing a specific goal for your child to achieve. Just going to the mountains may not be enough of an incentive for them.
It’s also worth thinking about company. Peers can motivate each other very strongly.
We’re keeping our fingers crossed!