Walking along Biała Przemsza

Are you looking for ideas for a trip or a walk? Have you heard about the Zegarowe Rocks or the picturesque Wodąca Valley? Do you prefer to admire castle ruins and discover amazing caves hidden between the white limestone inselbergs? In fact, in many places, you can find both the one and the other. Our area is crossed by a few extremely interesting and scenic trails: the Desert Trail, the Eagles’ Nests, the Stone Age route, and several educational paths (with information for children as well). There trails are so numerous that it is hard to decide where to start. First, we invite you for a little walk.


The Stone Age route and the Wodąca Valley

Who of us does not know the feeling: I want to go on a trip somewhere - for a day or a few hours, but I have no idea where. All popular places are hackneyed; I have seen them many times. For such a dilemma, we offer a solution: the Wodąca Valley and the Zegarowe Rocks. Additionally, you will see the castle in Smoleń! We suggest starting the trip from this place. Cars can be left at a nearby parking lot by the Wolbrom – Pilica road where there are also picnic sites and bonfire places. From here one can get to the castle ruins in a few minutes. Near the "Smoleń" reserve, the educational path of the Wodąca Valley begins. It crosses areas characteristic of the Jura region, with accumulations of inselbergs and karst rocks. The path is loop-shaped and consists of nine sections. Stops are described on colourful display boards and there are benches and litter bins along the route.


The main attraction of the valley are impressive Zagarowe (Clock) Rocks. They are a favourite place to climb, but it is also possible to reach the top without an ice ax and climbing rope. The highest rock, Grodzisko Pańskie, lies ca. 480 m above sea level and has a viewing platform on its summit. As many as three caves are hidden in the rocks: Na Biśniku cave, the Jasna and the Zegarowa cave. The name of the latter stems from the legend according to which a clock inside strikes hours twice a year: on the eve of Midsummer’s night and Christmas. 


The Wodąca Valley is crossed by the Stone Age route set out in 2005 on an initiative of the Centre of Culture in Wolbrom– not only does the route lead beside the Zegarowe Rocks but it also gives the opportunity to admire the Kyciowa Rock and Jama, the pit hiding the Jasna Strzegowska cave. As its name suggests, the route runs through territories inhabited by our ancestors hundreds of thousands years ago. The Biśnik cave is the oldest site of Neanderthal culture findings in Poland. There, archaeologists led by Professor Assoc. Krzysztof Cyrk of the Nicholas Copernicus University in Toruń, discovered  traces of pre- Neanderthal beings dating back to  500-400 thousand years ago. Another notable sight is Grodzisko Pańskie, where a fake coin mint operated in the seventeenth century and the Jasna Strzegowska cave, in which excavations revealed traces of a settlement where stone axes had been produced on a large scale. The route takes about four hours. In some sections of it, stairs with handrails and chains are mounted along the way.


The Eagles' Nests Trail (Szlak Orlich Gniazd) among limestone inselbergs

The Eagles' Nests Trail (Szlak Orlich Gniazd) will appeal to lovers of old castles and of hiking through the picturesque rock formations characteristic of Jurassic surroundings. The trail is 164 km long and goes from Kraków to Częstochowa. 


Despite the already mentioned castle in Smoleń it is also worth seeing the castle in Bydlin in the Klucze commune. You can get to the castle directly form Bydlin or follow the red trail that starts at the railway station in Jaroszowiec. Signs for the trail head to northwest, passing the Lung Diseases Hospital to the right.  Soon after, we enter the Pazurek Wood. We walk straight on, past the crossing of our route and the red bike trail. The trail goes through depressions between two hills. Both Ostra Góra which we see to the right and the hill to the left contain caves. We descend gently down, past the road and railway track. Here we come across the Liverwort Cycle Route (blue) and along it we get to Golczowice. In the centre of the village visitors can see the cross and boulder with a plaque dedicated to the January insurgents who on April 22, 1863 at Golczowice fought a victorious battle against the Russian forces. If during our trip we feel tired, we can stop for rest and refreshments at the tourist quarters "U Felka” (ul. Plażowa 11, Golczowice), "U Funi" (ul. Powstania styczniowego 6, Golczowice) and at the quarters provided by Mr. Aleksander Mrówka (ul. Jurajska 20, Golczowice). In Golczowice our route again meets the red bike trail and together they head to the northeast. In the place where the river flowing to the right of the road turns right, away from the road, we also abandon the asphalt and turn left, following the path through the forest. It will lead us to the buildings of Cieślin. The town has a very interesting church built in 1923 and dedicated to Stanislaus the Martyr Bishop, as well as a “standing on water" statue of St. John of Nepomuk from the second half of the 18th or early 19th century, carved in Pińczów stone. In the village there are the ruins of a 19th century mill.

 From Cieślin, we follow the trail along a path at the forest edge, avoiding a large hill visible to the right, and then we encounter the Liverwort trail again. Soon after, we come to the main road and follow it. It will lead us to the ruins of the Bydlin castle on top of a high, wooded, rocky hill (340 m.). We can regenerate in the “Zacisze” guest house, (ul. Turystyczna 86, Bydlin) and in the Sports Pavilion (ul. Legionów 41, Bydlin). On the south-western slope of the Holy Cross Mount (Wzgórze Św. Krzyża), the name of which derives from an old castle-church dedicated to the Holy Cross, can be seen several hollows shafts and several small heaps of rubble left over from an old galena mine. On the western slope there is also a water-spring, whose waters (apparently with curative properties) fall into a nearby creek called Sączenica. On the hill, you can also see traces of the trenches of legionnaires who fought a pitched battle here in 1914, the graves of the fallen are at the Bydlin cemetery, below the ruins, next to the road in the direction of Załęże. There rest the ashes of 46 legionnaires killed in battles with the Russians. Anniversary reunions of legion veterans and admirers of Marshal Piłsudski were held here as well. This practice was resumed in 1980.


In the same village it is also worth seeing the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Consolation from the 18th century and the church of St. Margaret from 1865 as well as a water mill from 1884. Going forward, we get to the neighbouring village of Krzywopłoty. Here we can regenerate and rest in the restaurant "Gościniec AmiG” (ul. Hardego 15, Krzywopłoty).


Next, we follow the trail signs initially through an open area, and then we enter a beech forest. After a short time we reach the Góry Bydlińskie hamlet.


The Desert Tourist Trail along Biała Przemsza

The Desert Tourist Trail      The trail begins at the nearby Błędów – from there it goes east, through the Błędowskie forests, parallel to the valley of the Biała Przemsza River. Soon after, the route enters the Błędowska Desert. Following the route markings, just before reaching Klucze, to the right we see Mount Czubatka - a great vantage point of the Błędowska Desert we have just crossed. The trail leads us to the main streets of Klucze, next to the health centre and swimming pool. It is a good idea to briefly stray from marked trails and see the old manor house from the early twentieth century, the church of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, and in Klucze Osada -nineteenth-century buildings damaged during the construction of a paper factory. Visitors interested in cavers will enjoy seeing the Mąciwody Cave located near the church. The Desert Tourist Trail crosses, among others, amazing areas of the Błędowska Desert. We recommend it but remember that till the end of 2013, in order to enter the desert you have to have permission from the Klucze commune. The entire PTTK Desert Trail is 28.5 kilometres long and connects Błędów and Ryczów - both villages are located near the borders of the Klucze commune.

The Desert route continues along the north-eastern borders of the village (on the right we pass the Marglok and Kamyk hills, from which you can admire the panorama, and then through the forest towards Jaroszowiec. Before we get to this village, on the right, we pass the Maniakówka hill and its ski-lift. We follow the route signs along the northern edge of Jaroszowiec, past a 1929 chapel and then along the main road. Not far behind the "Jaroszowiec Olkuski" railway station, the route turns left and runs through the forest to the north (crosses the asphalt road and old railway tracks).

We cross the Biała Przemsza and in Kobylica we encounter the blue markings of the Przylaszczkowy Cycling Route and continue along it to Golczowice. If during our trip we feel tired, we can stop for rest and refreshments at the tourist quarters "U Felka” (ul. Plażowa 11, Golczowice), "U Funi" (ul. Powstania styczniowego 6, Golczowice) and at the quarters provided by Mr. Aleksander Mrówka (ul. Jurajska 20, Golczowice). In the centre of the village we pass the cross and boulder with a plaque dedicated to the January insurgents. We turn right and head north through wooded areas. We pass a wayside cross, cross the asphalt road, and go on through the Blachówka wood until we reach the river and the hamlets of the nearby Kwaśniowa. Soon after, on the left we pass the slopes of the Kwiecynek hill - a good vantage point. Yellow signs lead to the north to the border of the commune, and further west to Ryczów, where the trail ends by the ruins of a guard tower.


The Partisan Tourist Trail of the Olkusz area

The trail passes through the places associated with the activities of Polish partisans during the Second World War. The entire Partisan trail designed by the Olkusz PTTK has a length of 44.7 km and runs from the Wiesiółka railway station to the Udorza station. A part of the route runs through the north-western part of the Klucze commune, through Skałba, Chechło and Rodaki. The trail goes in the direction of the castle ruins in Udorz. The trail is marked in black.

The hike begins at the western border of the Klucze commune, in Skałba. This is a small village, near which a large Karn spring may be found. We follow the route markings along the asphalt road to the west. On our way we pass the picturesque Centuria, one of the tributaries of the White Przemsza River.

After a while we arrive at Chechło. We can rest here at the tourist quarters provided by Mr Janusz Wójcik (ul. Kluczewska 1, Chechło). A troop of the Home Army was active in the vicinity of the village in the years 1939 to 1944 under the command of "Hardy". At the cemetery we find the mass grave of the “Surowiec” partisan battalion of the 23rd Infantry Division of the Home Army. Its soldiers died in 1944 at the battle of Błojec. There is also a tombstone of 1789 in the shape of an obelisk with the Śreniawa coat of arms and the Kmita family initials. In Chechło, the neoclassical Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is well worth seeing, as well as the adjoining bell tower from 1830. Other sights include the wooden building of the nineteenth-century rectory. Southwest of the village there is the Dąbrówka hill, which is a great vantage point from where you can admire the panorama of the Błędowska Desert.

The trail leads us along an asphalt road, and then along a hardened dust road to the north-east accompanied by the blue markings of the Przylaszczkowy (Liverwort) cycling trail

We come to the Rodaki. In this village we find the pearl of the Jura’s wooden architecture - the larch wood church of St. Mark built in 1601, within which one can admire its seventeenth-century furnishings. Following the further signs of the trail, we pass the regional road No. 791, and a little further we cross a stream, the source of which is located nearby and is called the Love Spring. Here we can stop for rest in Horse-riding centre “Rancho Geronimo” (ul. Grabowska 3, Rodaki).


Further on, on the left we see Mount Świniuszka, the slopes of which- in addition to numerous limestone rocks – hide the Na Świniuszce cave. We continue in the direction of Strzegowo, where the brick Gothic church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross may be admired. Its structure was expanded in the eighteenth century and adorned in the baroque style. The next stop is the village Udórz with the ruins of a castle.

Learn more about nature - educational trails


In our area, there are also nature trails set out for those who would like to learn more about nature and its mysteries. We have already mentioned the path leading through the Wodąca valley and the other trails are presented below.


Around Rudnica and colourful ponds


Educational route "Around Rudnica" begins in Klucze in Osiedle XXX-lecia and is about 1.5 km in length. It  provides an opportunity for visitors to get acquainted with the so-called Jurassic “kuesta” or hill range (Mount Rudnica and Mount Czubatka) separating the Kraków-Częstochowa Jura from the Silesian Upland (Desert Błędowska). The route leads past two ponds, Czerwony [Pol."Red"] and Zielony [Pol. "Green"], formed in areas where iron ore was formerly mined. The ponds are named after specific water colours associated with the presence of various minerals in the rocks. At the top of Mount Rudnica one can see interesting rock formations: inselbergs or limestone rocks shaped by water (karst processes) and the Rudnicka cave, which is about 30 m long. The route continues through a picturesque beech forest, with some 3 centuries-old beeches considered monuments of nature and with many interesting species of plants in the undergrowth, to Mount Czubatka, also known as Jałowce, which offers a view of the Błędowska Desert, where the trail connects to the yellow Desert Trail, along which we return to Klucze.


Beech and mountain flora in the lowland


The path through the "Pazurek" reserve. It leads between interesting rock formations, offers an insight into the different types of beech forest  - (fertile Sudety beech of the typical variant) where it is possible to encounter Allium ursinum  (a rarity in Jura), as well as the acidophilous lowland beech and thermophilous orchid beech -  and its relationships with the natural topography. The path starts by the Olkusz - Wolbrom road, near the Pazurek village. Driving from Olkusz, it can be found at about 0.5 km after the road-crossing with the road leading to Podlesie. Access by train is possible to the Jaroszowiec station, from where the path may be taken in the opposite direction.

Here you may come across plant species very rare in the lowlands, and mainly related to the lower mountain forest zone: Dentaria enneaphyllos, Lunaria rediviva, Allium ursinum, Phyllitis scolopendrium, Polystichum aculeatum and several species of orchids, including Epipactis helleborine, Cephalantera longifolia, Cephalantera damasonium and Cephalantera rubra.


In the spring but not only! Liverwort flowers and birds

Educational Route Rudnica – the Błędowska Desert – Biała Przemsza. It starts at the end of Rudnicka Street in Klucze. From there, the route leads to the north-west to a mixed forest with a predominance of the common beech. In spring, as early as March, it is possible to see liverwort flowers, which grow in abundance in the area. Generally, spring is considered the best time to visit this part of the trail, due to good bird-watching conditions. It is possible to see blackbirds, robins, jays, magpies, tits, nuthatches and woodpeckers in the area. Amphibians include the toad and the common frog. Further along, the route passes through typical Jura hills with rocky inselbergs. Here you can see a protected foxglove, lily of the valley, several species of ferns, orchids and Turk's cap lily. The insects are represented by numerous species of beetles.


We continue to the area burnt in the great fire in 1992.  The area is being replanted with trees such as larch, maple and pine. The Quercus robur oak and the aspen are self-sown. There are numerous mosses. The flowering plants include mullein. Sometimes a hare may be seen running through the burnt area; birds include the wagtail and the Black Redstart.

Further along, the path enters the Błędowska Desert and the pine forests overgrowing its parts. On the sands we see grasses which grow in hot and dry conditions. Plants known to grow here include sand ryegrass. Among insects, the predatory Myrmeleontidae may be found here. From the desert we enter the young pine forest. Among the trees may be found the protected red viburnum. In addition to frequent clumps of blueberries we come across rare plants, such as the Carlina acaulis. Edible mushrooms include numerous specimens of Suillus and Saffron milk cap. The reptiles include the swift sand lizard. Many of the trees show signs of the forging of the Great Spotted Woodpecker. The route ends in the White Przemsza, in an ash and alder forest. The route includes 8 stops, where there are information boards, wooden benches and litter bins. The route is marked in red.

The wildest area of Jura


Educational route Mount Stołowa in Jaroszowiec. The route is about 4.5 km long. It is marked in blue and begins by the chapel of Our Lady in Jaroszowiec. Its main value is the opportunity to see one of the wildest parts of the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland - a group of limestone hills covered with beech forests with many rocks, caves, rock shelters, and remains of excavations left by ore and stone mining. It is worth noting that the first of the hills of the educational route - Maniakówka, is used as a ski slope with a ski lift in winter. Monadnocks encountered on the route form a picturesque maze of corridors. Other karst formations are noteworthy caves and shelters in the forms of wells, cracks and crevices, as well as the largest cave - Błotna (120 m in length) and the Lodowa cave (30 m in length). Artificial hollows left by stone excavation in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, are a valuable source of information about the distant geological past of the area, as they contain numerous fossils: ammonites, belemnites, brachiopods, molluscs, sponges, corals and sea urchins. The "Mount Stołowa" route crosses the yellow Desert Trail, the red Eagles’ Nest Trail (Szlak Orlich Gniazd) and the green and red cycling routes. The blue liverwort (Przylaszczkowy) cycling trail runs nearby.


We invite you to hiking trips – not only in our region!


In the area of Batizovce there are numerous excellent hiking trails in the High Tatras (for the more athletic) and the Slovak Paradise, which is located in the eastern Slovakia. For thousands of years the river carved here characteristic of this terrain gorges with waterfalls. There are plenty of trails here - some of them lead through sections with climbing ladders attached to the rocks and swaying footbridges over the rivers.

In Ocland we recommend two hiking trails. The first runs along the valley of the stream Varghi to Cheile Varghiului, an unusual, five-level karstic gorge with caves. The other leads through a field of daffodils in Hagymas, then to the castles of Kustala and Attila and to the Rika mountains.

In the area of Hungarian Cserépfalu we recommend a few trails. The easiest one is a walk around the village (10 stops, 2.5 km, 2 hours). The interesting one is the Devil's Tower Educational Trail (Ördögtorony tanösvény) (21 stops, 8 km, 4 hours). The Devil's Tower is a characteristic of the foot of the Bükk mountains stone cone of volcanic origin. Our ancestors used it either as a hive, or for the purpose of worship.

The other hiking trails are marked on the tourist map of the Bükk mountains (A Bükk-hegység turisztikai térképe).

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