IntroBabia Gora, Babia Hora, Frauenberg 1725
Babia Gora - Beautiful and capricious queen of Beskidy Mountains
It is the second highest mountain area of Poland (apart from the Tatras), deep in the south, in Malopolskie Voivodeship, on the borderline with Slovakia.
This several kilometer long carpathian ridge forms a prominent part of West Beskidy Mountains, more precisely Beskid Zywiecki also called Wysoki(High Beskid).
According to some old legends Babia Mountain is a sitting old woman ("baba") turned into stone or a huge heap of rubbish raised by women pilgriming to nearby sanctuary in Kalwaria.
Babia’s summit was famous for centuries among local people as a place where witches have their black sabbaths.
Babia Gora often referred to as ”the Queen of the Beskidy”, was mentioned already in late-medieval chronicles, since the early 19th century it has been a major centre of mountain tourism.
Since 1955 the exquisite natural and landscape values of Babia Gora ridge have been protected by the Babiogorski National Park, which was introduced by the UNESCO Organization into the network of world biosphere reserves in 1977.
Dominating in the area - Babia Gora is a brilliant decoration of most Beskidian panoramas.
Babia Góra itself is called by the local people "The Fickle Mountain" (“Matka Niepogod”, “Mother of Bad Weather”)because of very changeable, treacherous weather in the summit area. Also, the mountain sculpture varies considerably - it is gentle on the South and very steep, even with cliff faces on the North.
Babia Gora (1725)
10 kilometer long Babia Gora Ridge extends from Jalowiecka Przelecz pass(997) in the west to Krowiarki Pass(1012) in the east and forms a bent bow opened to the north.
In the center of Babia Gora massif there is its main summit called Diablak (1725).
East of it one distinguishes culminations of Gowniak (1617) ,Kepa (1530) and Sokolica (1367) with its characteristic rocky cliff. To the west: long, mainly flat ridge over Kosciolki (over 1600) ,Izdebczyska and deep saddle of Brona Pass (1408) after which arises the peak of Mala Babia Gora (1517) (“Little Babia Mountain”) also called Cyl.
Summit sections are covered by rocky debris, alpine meadows and dwarf mountain pine.
Through the western wing of Babia massif leads Polish-Slovak border which turns directly to the south on the Diablak summit.
Worth mentioning are beautiful mountain forests of Babia protected not only by National Park but also by some areas of Strict Natural Reservations, there are also a few, little forest lakes on Polish side.
Getting ThereThe best place to start hiking on Babia Gora is Zawoja.
That longest village of Poland extending for 18 km along the valley of Skawica stream (6200 inhabitants) is easily accessible from Cracow using PKS bus lines or other private bus liners. All of them start their courses next to Cracow’s Central Railway Station. Costs up to 18 zlotys (about 4 Euros).
Zawoja - Official Site
Red TapeThis is National Park area and hiking is allowed only on marked trails.
By the summer season there are some small entry fees.
When To ClimbYou can climb Babia Gora all year round.
I think the best time when you can count for relatively long periods of good weather and clear views is from August to October.
In July frequent t-storms and foggy weather.
In winter months check actual avalanche danger state and seasonal closings of some trails (“Perc Akademicka” is always being closed for wintertime).
CampingLots of accommodation possibilities in villages around Babia Gora, especially in Zawoja, huge amount of private rooms to let.
Tourist Accomodation Info Base - Zawoja
In the mountains there are a few chalets.
The most popular one and definitely the best to choose when you want climb the peak quickly is Markowe Szczawiny chalet opened all year(the old chalet is being modernized nowadays). Most of marked trails going from Zawoja into Babia’s massif will lead you there. From there – only about 1,5 to 2 hour climb to the summit in good conditions without snow.
In the neighbourhood of the chalet there is Museum of Mountain Tourism located in a small hut with interesting exposition.
Another nice place to stay for the night high in the mountains, but much further than Markowe Szczawiny from the summit of Babia is Mountain Chalet on Hala Krupowa in nearby Pasmo Polic (Policas’ ridge) (about 5-6 hours in summer conditions).
On slovakian side of Babia Mountain the best place to stay overnight seems to be Slana Voda Hut Tel. 00421 43 559 51 26
Camping in Babiogorski National Park is forbidden.
Mountain ConditionsGOPR - Babia Gora Section
Markowe Szczawiny - Daily Weather Report
Weather Forecast for Zawoja
Rescue Phone Number - 985
MapsBeskid Zywiecki Map (Enter and click "Beskid Slaski i Zywiecki")
Babia Gora National Park - Simple Map
- Babia Gora National Park Official Site
- Beskidy Info
Mountain Chalets ,Marked Trails ...
- Horna Orava - Slovak Natural Reservation
In Slovakian only
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