• On the ridges of the High Tatras

Orla Perc’
the most difficult marked trail in the Polish Tatras

Beauty and the Beast

For many enthusiasts, the Tatras are a magical place where they come back regardless of the weather. It is here that many legends were born and new ones are created. The greatest climbers of the world took their first steps in the Tatra Mountains.

Such outstanding mountaineers as: Kukuczka, Rutkiewicz, Zawada, Cichy, Wielicki, Pustelnik, Baranowska and many others, trained in the Tatra Mountains before their future expeditions to the Himalayas or Karakoram.

Tatry Mts. compared to the Alps are like a miniature, but the Tatras have this magic that cannot be found anywhere in the world.

Orla Perć is like the icing on the cake for almost everyone who feels the magic of the Tatra Mountains and begins endless wandering through this unique area.

It has also left its mark on me. A stigma which is a never-ending fascination with the Tatra Mountains and this exceptional fragment in particular. Orla Perć has attracted me like a magnet for over 30 years. Once, while browsing through countless photos of the Tatra Mountains, I started to systematize them and it turned out that Orla Perć has the biggest number of them. So far, I have climbed Orla Perć 52 times in different weather conditions and at different times of the year. Is this the end? Probably not, because fascination does not fade and enchantment is still as strong. Whenever I am in the Tatra Mountains, either on the Polish or Slovak side, climbing subsequent peaks or ridges, my eyes involuntarily try to find in the distance a jagged ridge running from west to east.

There is no need to convince anyone that this is the most beautiful mountain trail in the Polish mountains. Many have already found out that it is also a Beast. For over a hundred years, since the trail was mapped out and equipped with aids in the form of clamps and chains, many people have lost their lives there and many have been injured. Too much faith in one’s own abilities, lack of humility and prudence, lack of preparation and knowledge of the specificity of the area and sometimes a minor mistake. It does not take much for a pleasant journey to turn into a tragedy. It is not a trail for everyone. If someone decides to cross the ridge, I would have a few tips for these daredevils.

The path

To start your adventure with Beauty and enjoy it, it is worth planning an overnight stay in the Tatras and set off from the shelter before dawn.

Usually, the Orla Perć hike is divided into two or three one-day trips, using the approach and descent routes. You can also try to walk the entire trail in one day, but then you should expect a 10-hour effort, taking into account that the starting and ending point is a shelter in the Tatra Mountains.

The best place for such a base is a shelter in the Valley of Five Polish Ponds. This is the shortest way to get to the Zawrat peak. It is also worth remembering that there is a one-way trail from Zawrat to Kozi Wierch.

The ridge trail itself is 4,160 meters long, but taking into account the large number of ascents and descents along the entire ridge, the time to cover this section is estimated at about 6.5 hours. Of course, the approach to the Zawrat Pass, where Orla Perć has its beginning, and the descent from the Krzyżne Pass, where “Grań Orłów” ends, should be added. The ascent to Zawrat and the descent to the shelter takes another 1.5 hour for each of these sections. For people who often hike in the mountains, it is not too much effort, but for those who hike occasionally, it is good to be fit. Starting from the shelter, we begin at an altitude of 1672 m above sea level. and the highest point is Kozi Wierch at 2,291 m a.s.l. However, if we start the climb in Kuźnice, we will set off from below 1000 m above sea level.

The trail was mapped out and marked in the years 1903-1906 thanks to the involvement of the Tatra Society and the great enthusiast of the Tatra Mountains, priest Walenty Gadowski, who was supported by Jakub Gąsienica Wawrytko, Klimek Bachleda and several other highlanders. In 1904 and 1911, connecting routes were marked out, which allow the route to be hiked, dividing it into shorter sections.

Beauty and the Beast is worth every effort and will reward us with beautiful views.

Start from the Valley of the Five Polish Lakes

4.2 km of mountaineering trail

6.30 hours
the entire route

Kozi Wierch (2291 m) the highest point

Albin Marciniak

Photojournalist, mountaineer, climber. Initiator of the largest ecological campaign in Poland “Czyste Tatry” (Clean Tatras). He cooperates with Onet.pl, EastNews.pl runs a travelers club and a travel portal. Author of maps and guides.
Albin Marciniak collaborates with Raven as an ambassador and product tester.


Raven is engaged in the distribution and trade of high quality clothing, footwear and outdoor equipment. It is based in Krakow and distributes AKU footwear throughout Poland.

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