Route 15: Exploring Zawoja
Zawoja Centrum, Zawoja Dolna (4 km) Zawoja-Przysłop (9 km) Zawoja Wełcza (19 km) Zawoja Składy (25 km) Zawoja Markowa (30 km) Zawoja Centrum (37 km)
37 km, 4,5 h, difficulty – medium
Altitude profile of the route:
This route, apart from easy and pleasant sections, will require us to make considerable effort during a demanding climb. In nice sunny weather we shall enjoy beautiful views from the slopes surrounding Zawoja. We suggest starting the trip next to the wooden church in the centre of Zawoja. On the other side of the road we can see the Babia Góra Railway Station. We leave the main road passing higher from the left to the other side of the Skawica River. We ride along the river following the green bike trail, crossing the road leading to Przysłop. Two kilometres further we turn left into the cross road, pass the school and start the laboriously "climb" to the pass, where, by the chapel, we follow the blue and red trails to the left. With the next climb (quite steep at the end) we reach the intersection with the asphalt road in Przysłop. We turn right for a moment to see the panorama from the observation tower in the "Beskid Paradise", and after returning we go straight ahead, following the red and blue trails. On the Przysłop pass with the bifurcation, we go straight ahead. A little higher, at the crossroad, with the junction of trails, we turn left. In Smyraki, at the next crossroad, we go right following the red bike trail. Be prepared for a fairly demanding climb followed by a steep downhill ride to Wełcza. We turn left and take the short descent to return to road No 957. By turning left, we will finish the trip in the centre of Zawoja. We can extend it by going right. In Widły we will leave the provincial road, going right, and in Składy going left to Markowa. The headquarters of the Babia Góra National Park offers a visit of the educational centre, and behind the parking lot, where we go right, there is also an open-air museum. We then descend on a dirt path along the trails through Markowe Rówienki to Czatoża. The "Three Cellars" and a Loreto belfry will certainly draw our attention. We go back to the centre of Zawoja through the valley of Czatożanka and then the valley of Skawica.
ATTRACTIONS ON THE ROUTE:
1. Wooden church in Zawoja – erected in 1888, built with material from the previous church, dating back to 1757–59. The building was founded by Albrecht Habsburg, according to the design of Karol Pietschka. It is an eclectic church with features of alpine construction. It is built on a Latin cross plan and has a three-nave basilica layout. Inside, the ceilings were supported by cast-iron inter-nave columns. The figural and ornamental polychromy from 1930 is the work of Z. Milli and M. Arczyński.
2. Babia Góra Railway Station in Zawoja – a historic wooden building with a characteristic gallery. From 1905, it used to house the first tourist station of the Tatra Society in Zawoja.
3. Observation tower in the "Beskids Paradise" – a tower in the hotel complex, 25-metre-high, slightly narrowing upwards, allows us to admire the surrounding mountain ranges: Beskid Żywiecki, Beskid Makowski, Beskid Śląski, Beskid Mały and Gorce.
4. BgPN Educational Centre – the exhibitions present issues related to the nature of Babia Góra Mountain, the culture of the local community and ecology in a modern way. In front of the centre there is a garden with plants from the area surrounding Babia Góra. As part of education activities, the centre's employees conduct educational, stationary and field meetings with young people. Further information: tel. 033 877 51 10, www.bgpn.pl.
5. Józef Żak open-air museum run by PTTK (Polish Tourist and Sightseeing Society) – an open-air museum in Zawoja-Markowa presenting traditional construction of people living in the surroundings of the Babia Góra mountain. It consists of a chapel, forge and three buildings from 1910, 1900 and 1802-15. The latter, until its transfer in 1987, functioned as a house with a chimneyless stove. It was entirely dedicated to the ethnographic exhibition.