Culminating at 1557m, Pilsko is the second highest mountain in the Polish Carpathians outside the Tatras, and 3rd in Poland (Karkonosze's Śnieżka being higher) behind the neighbouring Babia Góra, located only few kilometers East, in the Beskid Żywiecki.
Pilsko is a bit like its "little brother" since its shape and trails network is almost identical to Babia Góra, but in smaller size.
It is made of a big dome surrounded with forests, whose only upper part is covered with harsh vegetation, bush, and the dwarf pines (very common in these regions, "Kosodrzewina", or "Smrek").
Pilsko is the "lowest" top in this region of the Beskidy which reaches this vegetation level, and where we get open views from the top.
Babia Góra and Pilsko are rising on the main ridge of the Beskidy, and are well visible, like two dark flat domes, from every peak of the Tatras, especially the Western Tatras.
However, from Pilsko, the Tatras look much more distant on the horizon than from Babia Góra. But we also get from Pilsko better views to Chočské Vrchy and the Malá Fatra.
Six valleys are flowing in the Pilsko range: Dolina Potoku Glinne, Dolina Sopotni Malej & Sopotni Wielkiej, Dolina Zabnicy, Dolina Zlatnej, Dolina Glinki.
The biggest waterfal in the Beskidy, 10m of height, is located in the Pilsko range, near Sopotnia Wielka : Sopotnia Wielka Wodospad
Pilsko stretches on the Polish/Slovak border, from Glinka pass (above Ujsoły), to Glinne pass (above Korbielów). More exactly, the top lies entierely in Slovakia some 100m south.
During many years the real top was "officially" forbidden to Poles, despite in the facts there was always a crowd of both nationalities on the top. Now with Schengen nothing to worry about.
Pilsko makes a fine half-day walk, or excursion with children.
However, in winter, it makes a respectable target, and a very good destination on skis or snowshoes.
A small ski-station is located on its north slope, connected with the resort of Korbielów
There is a traditional Highlander's song about Pilsko :
Hej Pilsko, hej Pilsko
Hej wysokie trawy
Którędy chadzali, którędy chadzali
Zbójcy od Orawy...
From Poland, reach Żywiec (where is brewed Poland's most famous beer), and then Korbielów. Then, drive to the Slovak border, just before which is located a guarded (paying... 10zl) car park at the beginning of the trail.
From Slovakia, reach Oravska Polhora (near a very wide artificial lake you will have no troubles to find on a map), and reach the Polish border as mentioned above.
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AccomodationA mountain-hut called Hala Miziowa (http://halamiziowa.pl) is located on the north side some 200m under the summit. However, avoid it during winter, as it serves as a base for tourist skiers, and hence overcrowded.
The idea of creating this hut came out in 1906. It was a way to protest
against the Germans, occupying this part of Poland. The first hut was
built between 1927 and 1930, in the traditional style. There
used to be also a smaller administrative building.
The main chalet could host 176 tourists. The main hut burnt in 1953 and for the next 50 years, the small administrative building was used as a main chalet. The new hut was built at the begining of 21 century.
In Slovakia, in the village of Oravska Polhora is located one touristic accomodation: Bela Farma, 02947 Oravska Polhora: dog-pulled trail, horse riding, bicycles rental, hunting.
On the shore of the big artificial lake Jezioro Orawskie (Oravskej priehrady in Slovak) are located at least 2 campsites. The view of Pilsko overlooking the lake at sunset is stunning, so it's a fine sightseeing spot.
One camping base is also to be mentionned on the north ridge of Pilsko, at the meadow Hala Górowa.
There is a small climbing area above nearby. The rock is very sharp. Routes from V to VI.2-VI.3
Red TapePilsko, unlike Babia Góra, is not a national park, then offtrails allowed, but it is still a national reserve, which means no wild-camping, fires, rubbush, engine motors...
Cycling on Pilsko is allowed, but it makes a very hard ride on the way up.
TrailsHere is a shematic map of the trails on the excellent site of the editor Mapy.cc :
Mountain rescueThere are 3 stations of GOPR on Pilsko with the main near the hut on
Hala Miziowa. Official site od Beskidzka Grupa GOPR:
Emergency call number: 601 100 300
Krzyz Basika-Basik's CrossBasik was the first victim of the Second World War on Pilsko.
There was a Polish bunker located near the top of Pilsko. On Spetember 1, 1939 Basik was ascending the peak to make a reconaissance. He started in Korbielów, then crossed the border and tried to reach the bunker from the other side, to make a report to the Polish soldiers about the situation. Unfortunately, the soldiers thought he was an enemy because he was ascending from the other side and they shot him down before recognizing him.
The small monument called Krzyz Basika is now located while ascending the
top from Hala Miziowa by yellow marks.