Best Day Hikes in the Silesian Beskids: From Wisła Center, a Loop Through Stary Groń and Salmopol
Hiking in the Silesian Beskid is just wonderful. Go solo or grab a few friends - you will have a great time!
You can use the day hikes I created or try to make your own combination.
The site mapa turystyczna is a really handy tool. Yes, it's in Polish, but it's really intuitive and you can quickly figure out how it works. It will show you the distances and elevation.
There are quite a few possible combinations of trails to create day hikes in the Silesian Beskids Mountains near Wisła.
A lot of it depends on where you found your hotel/room and your hiking needs and fitness levels. Hiking with just a day backpack takes a lot of weight off your shoulder and makes you walk faster and longer.
During my recent stay in Wisła, I was searching for hikes in the 15 - 23km range and found a few. If those distances are too short for you, no problem - there was quite a number of possibilities
I had to drop because they were close to 30 km. On the other hand, if you need a hike with maximum 10 km, you can do that, too.
With the help of local buses or chair lifts, you can use the web of trails to suit your needs. Hiking in Silesian Beskids is pure pleasure. You will find the perfect mixture of challenging climbs and technical descents, leisurely flat walking, forest paths and open spaces.
Read my post on why Wisła, Poland is such a hiker's paradise to learn more about this little-known area (outside of Poland) in the Outer Western Carpathians.
I used my long weekend break (around the 1 - 3 May holidays in Poland) to go to Wisła for four days of hiking.
I stayed at hotel Pod Jedlami which is close to the center but a bit up the road (actually, quite a walk uphill), very close to the yellow trail going from Wisła Center.
I decided that it was the perfect opportunity, to begin with the first for four-day hikes I did during those days.
Day hikes in Silesian Beskids, hike #1: Wisła Center through Wisła Jarzębata to Trzy Kopce Wiślańskie (yellow).
The yellow trail starts in Wisła Center and leads you steeply up. First on side roads and soon on a 4x4 forest track.
Upon reaching the Jarzębata Settlement, we hit the road again. Somewhat to ease this downside, the trail provides beautiful views.
At one point there is even a very useful table-like board with an image of the view you see and clear info of what are the names of peaks you have in front of you. There is even a short history of the Jarzębata Settlement in three languages: Polish, Czech, and English.
I was unlucky that my first day of hiking was in very gloomy conditions so I could hardly see any view and had to believe this board as to what really was hiding behind the clouds.
Soon the road is so steep, the regular asphalt gives way to particular kind of concrete slabs with holes in them - a much better surface in harsh mountainous areas than a regular pavement.
Finally, after all this climb we reach a crossing. Yellow, blue and green trails meet at Trzy Kopce Wiślańskie point. There are three small rocks there with names of the three towns that come together at this point: Wisła, Brenna and Ustroń.
This point is not particularly scenic but gives you all the information you need as to the direction you should take. From this point on the hike makes a loop - we have a choice to start left or right.
I chose to go left as I knew at one point we have to go down to Brenna valley and back up again. I preferred to have the steep climbing early on in the hike than later. But you might want to go the other way around.
Day hikes in Silesian Beskids, hike #1: Trzy Kopce Wiślane through Brenna Leśnica to Stary Groń (green).
I picked up the green and blue trails, with my green trail splitting away to the right pretty soon. The weather was gloomy and dark but I had a good time hiking there.
Slopes in the Wisła region tend to be covered with forests with some glimpses of cleared areas. You will also see still many traditional houses built in a way which performs best in this climate.
One of them you will see on this trail - after just a short walk, on the right. I loved the view of this old house with the background of mist rising up the slope. Magic.
The green trail leads you toward an open space with great views. As this part leads toward Brenna, most of the trek is downhill.
After reaching a road, you cross it and start your climb up. There is a bus stop there but with no direct connection to Wisła. In case you needed it you can go to Ustroń and then switch for a bus to Wisła.
This spot is pretty far from the Brenna center, just a small road leading nowhere :)
Day hikes in Silesian Beskids, hike #1: Stary Groń to Grabowa (black) and Salmopol Pass (red).
Go on the other side and let the path take you up to the trail again. After some climb, we are rewarded with an amazing view at Stary Groń. There is a wooden viewing tower built at this spot providing 360* views.
It's a nice spot to have your break and a snack. There are some educational boards around the tower about the fauna and flora of this area, but only in Polish.
At this point, we turn right and onto the black trail. This walk to Grabowa is really lovely. It is mostly flat over a wide 4x4 road between two grazing plots.
The views are stunning! When I was there, there was quite a lot of water - melting snow and recent rains created big puddles requiring some careful navigation around them.
Pretty soon you are going downhill towards the Salmopol Pass. This is a great spot to catch a bus to Szczyrk and Bielsko Biała as well as having a good meal.
I went to the Biały Krzyż Restaurant and really liked it. It has a uniquely preserved style of an old mountain house. They took a real old house and build around it to add space.
You can clearly see the old wooden floors, low ceilings and beautiful roof racks connected to the new wood made with a lot of attention to details. They serve a lot of local dishes - give them a try!
As a gluten-free person, my choices were limited, but I went with a baked chicken leg (a whole quarter), oven baked potatoes and veggies - three different kinds.
The portion was really big and I couldn't finish it all. I also got myself a nice coffee. All of it? Just 33zł, which is about 8€. The restaurant's name comes from the big white cross behind it. There was an older one before that, but this one was blessed by the Pope John Paul II.
There is another restaurant opposite to this one but I haven't had the chance to check it out.
Day hikes in Silesian Beskids, hike #1: Salmopol Pass through Smerekowiec and Gościejów to Trzy Kopce Wiślańskie and back to Wisła Center (yellow).
After stuffing myself a bit too much I started my trek back to the Trzy Kopce Wiślańskie. At first, the trail takes you steeply down, to later even it out.
When I reached the Trzy KopceWiślańskie viewpoint I couldn't believe how beautiful it was! You see far and wide. There is again a useful board showing you names of the peaks you look at.
From this board, I've learned that the name "Trzy Kopce" (Three Mounds) comes from the old way of marking village and town borders. People used to mark it with special cutting on trees or erecting rocks or mounds.
At this point, there is the meeting of the tree villages - Wisła, Brenna, and Ustroń.
I'm not sure though, if this point is the official meeting point or if it is the one we see early in the day with much smaller rocks and no view at all. It might be that later on, they made the more impressive rocks for tourists' sake, at the beautiful viewpoint.
If you want, you can stop by Telesforówka - a privately owned mountain shelter. I've heard a lot of good things about this place, although was unable to check them out by myself.
By this time I was just tired and wanted to go back to my hotel.
From here in a few steps, we are back at the start of this loop and going back on the yellow trail to Wisła Center.
And it's not pleasant.
After such a long walk this path down on hard surface is just painful. At least it was for me after all those miles walked by then.
When I got back to my hotel I was really happy with this day hike. The only downside was the last part of steep descent - really unpleasant to my knees.
Other than that? Even in gloomy and cloudy weather I absolutely loved it!
Day hike in Silesian Beskids #1: Wisła Center - Trzy Kopce Wiślańskie loop through Stary Groń and Salmopol
The distance: 24,8 km
Time: You should provide about 8h for this hike.
Total ascent: 1102 m
Total descent: 1102 m
Hiking solo in the Silesian Beskids and other concerns:
All four days I was hiking solo. There was absolutely no problem with it and there is little risk that you would have any issues. There are hikers around those areas and although there were no crowds, I was passing others a few times.
If there was any kind of accident - it's easy to call the Beskids' section of GOPR (Mountain Rescue) - SOS phone # 985 or simply scream - there is a pretty big chance someone would hear you ;-) There are people living near the trails and you are never in a truly remote area.
There are no dangerous animals or plants in the Silesian Beskids.
The trails are very well marked. The system is pretty simple: white stripe - trail color stripe - white stripe. There are arrows made of those colors when you need to turn and, what I found particularly useful, an exclamation point before a tricky spot - when you could miss a turn or such. If you see it - be extra vigilant about the marking around you.
Make sure you are well prepared for this long day hike - check out the list of a day hike essentials you should have with you.
Although most of the time the paths are not particularly challenging, there are sections with loose rocks and stones which can be tricky. I hiked in boots (opposite low hiking shoes or trail runners) and recommend it. And don't forget your trekking poles! I found them really helpful during this day hike!