Karkonosze Overview

Karkonosze National Park, situated in southwestern Poland, borders the Czech Republic and is part of the larger Karkonosze mountain range, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Established in 1959, the park covers an area of approximately 55.76 square kilometers (21.53 square miles), protecting the highest parts of the Karkonosze Mountains, including Śnieżka, the range’s highest peak at 1,603 meters (5,259 feet) above sea level. This diverse and stunning landscape is a significant natural and cultural heritage site, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, biodiversity, and geological features.

The park’s landscape is characterized by dramatic rock formations, lush alpine meadows, and dense forests, transitioning into subalpine and alpine vegetation at higher elevations. Among its most notable geological features are the glacial cirques and post-glacial lakes, which add to the park’s scenic beauty. The Karkonosze Mountains are also known for their “karkonosze’s beards,” which are peculiar formations of moss hanging from trees, adding a mystical feel to the forest landscapes.

Karkonosze National Park is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, some of which are endemic to the area. The park’s ecosystems support a wide range of species, including the rare alpine marmot, reintroduced to the area, and the lynx, alongside a diverse array of bird species. Its plant life includes several protected and endemic species, making it a vital area for botanical research and conservation.

The park offers numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging treks, allowing visitors to explore its natural wonders. The trails provide access to some of the park’s most beautiful sites, including the stunning Śnieżka peak, the picturesque Kamienczyk waterfall, and the mysterious Chojnik Castle ruins.

Karkonosze National Park is not just a haven for nature lovers and hikers; it is also a place of legend and folklore, deeply ingrained in the local culture. Its rich natural diversity, combined with its cultural significance, makes it a cherished destination for visitors seeking to experience the beauty and mystery of the Karkonosze Mountains.

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Park Map
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Karkonosze National Park Pictures

Karkonosze National Park Trails

Śnieżka Summit Trail

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 4.3 miles one way with an elevation gain of about 2,600 feet (792 meters)

Description: This trail leads to the highest peak in the Karkonosze Mountains, Śnieżka.

Hikers will experience a challenging ascent through varied terrains, including rocky paths and wooden boardwalks, culminating in breathtaking panoramic views from the summit.

The Great Waterfall Circuit

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3.1 miles loop with an elevation gain of about 500 feet (152 meters)

Description: A scenic loop that takes hikers to one of the park’s natural wonders, the Great Waterfall (Wodospad Kamieńczyka).

The trail meanders through dense forest, offering serene woodland scenery and the soothing sounds of flowing water.

Szklarska Poręba to Szrenica

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 4.5 miles one way with an elevation gain of about 2,300 feet (700 meters)

Description: Starting from Szklarska Poręba, this trail ascends to the summit of Szrenica, offering hikers diverse landscapes, including spruce forests and alpine meadows.

The route provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

The Blue Ponds Circuit

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2 miles loop with minimal elevation gain

Description: This leisurely walk takes hikers around the picturesque Blue Ponds, known for their striking color.

The trail is well-marked and accessible, making it perfect for families and those seeking a peaceful nature walk.

Samotnia through the Valley of Lakes

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 6 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet (305 meters)

Description: This trail offers a unique journey through the Valley of Lakes, showcasing a series of glacial lakes nestled among the mountains.

The path leads to the historic mountain shelter, Samotnia, providing a chance to rest and enjoy the alpine landscape.

  • All Trails, Best Trails In Karkonosze National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Karpacz, Karkonosze National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Poland, Karkonosze National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Poland Travel, Karkonosze National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • UNESCO, Krkonose/Karkonosze,, retrieved April 2024.