Tatra National Park is located in the Tatra Mountains of the southern middle part of Poland. The national park encompasses an area of 81.71 miles (211.64 sq km).
The Tatra Mountains create a shared border between Poland and Slovakia. Slovakia invests in protecting the mountain area with the sister national park under the same name (Tatra National Park Slovakia).
The High Tatras and the Western Tatras make up this part of the mountainous region of Poland. The Tatras are characterized by sharp-jagged peaks and stunning rock formations. Rysy is the highest summit in Poland reaching a height of 8,199 feet (2,499 m).
Wielka Sniezna is the longest from over 600 caves found within the national park boundaries. It stretches a distance of 11 miles (18 km) with a maximum depth of 2,671 feet (814 m). Wielka Siklawa is the tallest waterfall with a height of 230 feet (70 m).
Morskie Oko is the largest lake based on the surface area encompassing an area of 3,756,604 square feet (349,000 sq m). Wielki Staw is close in surface area, but it is a hundred feet deeper topping out at a depth of 260 feet (79.3 m).
Tatra National Park is home to endangered and endemic wildlife species. Some of the park's popular species include brown bear, gray wolf, Eurasian lynx, and the European otter. The Tatra chamois and marmot are two of the highly protected species of the park.
Tatra National Park is a European highlight recognized by CNN as one of the world’s 30 best parks to visit. It is a true alpine national park and the most visited national park in Poland.
For mountain lovers, Rysy is one of the highlights of the park. It is the highest peak in the park as well as the country. Rysy has a summit of 8,199 feet (2,499 m).
Rysy actually three peaks on the mountain. The middle summit accounts for the highest point with the north-western peak coming second at 8,199 feet (2,499 m) and the south-eastern peak at 8,114 feet (2,473 m).
The Rysy mountain actually sits on the border between Poland and Slovakia. Although not the highest point, the northwestern peak lies on the Polish side and is part of the Crown of Polish Mountains. The other two peaks are in Slovakia.
There is a glacial lake, Morskie Oko in Polish, affectionately called "eye of the sea." The lake is located on the Polish northern side of the Rysy mountain.
Trails of Tatra National Park
There are over 170 miles of hiking trails for visitors to explore the national park and the abundance of alpine wilderness offered to travelers.
Hikes vary in length ranging from a short hour-long to all-day treks and even multi-day outings. The trails vary in difficulty and some are paved making it accessible to all. Because of the terrain, the majority are rated moderate to difficult.
Kuznice, Murowaniec, Ksiezowka Trail: This is a moderate rated trail that covers a distance of 9.3 miles (15 km). It is a loop trail that provides a scenic view of and along a lake. It does have an elevation gain of 3,681 feet (1,122 km) however it is over lesser inclines.
Chuda Przelaczka Loop Trail: This is a 9.9-mile (15.9 km) loop trail with 3,487 feet (1,062 m) of elevation gain. The loop travels up the mountain and along a river. It is commonly taken for backpackers and camping.
Wielki Giewont Trail: This trail travels up the most noted peak in Poland. The trail is difficult with 3,162 feet (963.8 km) of elevation gain. It provides panoramic views of the mountainous landscape as well as chances to see wildlife. It covers a distance of 8 miles (12.9 km). Birdwatching is a popular activity of this trail.
- High Tatras
- Western Tatras
- Rysy Mountain (tallest mountain in Poland)
- All Trails, Best Trails in Tatra National Park, https://www.alltrails.com/parks/poland/lesser-poland-malopolskie/tatrzanski-park-narodowy, retrieved June 2020.
- Altius Discover Zakopane, The Tatra Mountains, https://discoverzakopane.com/tatras.html, retrieved October 2019.
- Over Here, The best places to visit in Tatra National Park Poland, https://overhere.eu/blog/where-its-worth-to-hike-in-polish-tatras-near-zakopane/, retrieved October 2019.
- Poland, Tatra National Park, https://www.polska.pl/tourism/national-parks/tatra-national-park/, retrieved October 2019.
- Poland Travel, Tatra National Park, https://www.poland.travel/en/nature/tatra-national-park, retrieved October 2019.
- TANAP, Tatra National Park Tourist Guide, https://www.tanap.org/english/, retrieved October 2019.