Babia Góra

Babia Góra

A wavy sea of woodlands crowned with a lone island of alpine pastures - Babia Góra seems innocent enough at a first glance. However, one look at its many monickers - the Queen of the Beskids, the Mother of Bad Weather, the Shrew and the Devil’s Peak - will tell you that it is no Sunday-stroll-and-picnic kind of place.

Like any real royal dame, she can be as malicious and unforgiving, as she can be sweet and welcoming. It is really hard to tell whether Babia Góra is more well known for its famously fickle weather – blizzards and avalanches in winter, violent storms in the summer – or the magnificence of its landscape.

The volatile aura and the fact that it is the highest peak of Western Beskids, and the highest peak in Poland outside Tatras, make it an exciting hiking destination. Babia Góra is considered to be more accessible than the Tatra peaks while being comparable in height. A tourist can reach the summit at 1725 m above sea level and go down to their place of accommodation in the course of one day. It features a well-developed network of trails – including the Perć Akademików
 said to be the most difficult and interesting trail in the Beskids – and the recently renovated hospitable Markowe Szczawiny mountain lodge.

The natural beauty of the mountain unfolds before the hikers’ eyes layer after layer: as altitudes change, so do the climate zones and plant species, right up to the top layer overgrown by the famous dwarf mountain pines, which normally are found on higher Tatra or Sudety peaks. These unique natural qualities earned Babia Góra a place on the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves list, and they were the reason behind the foundation of the Babiogórski National Park.

Not unlike a heroine of a romantic novel Babia Góra is beautiful on one hand, but unpredictable and capricious on the other. Her high-mountain rocky landscape distinguishes her among her lesser Beskid sisters with their mild woodland slopes. And this singularity and inherent incongruity make her mystifying and captivating for those who set out to conquer her.

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