Dolina Pięciu Stawów

( The Valley of 5 Lakes)

The Valley of 5 lakes is a moderate hike that will take you a good part of the day to make the round trip. It is possible to reach the 5 lakes in Spring, Summer and Autumn. In winter you will require special winter hiking equipment and it is not recommended without a professional winter mountain guide.

The round trip ( to the 5 lakes mountain shelter) is around 17km in total.  You should estimate at least 5-6 hours hiking from the start point plus time for taking in the views when you get there.


How to reach the valley of 5 lakes from Zakopane


Most people choose to base themselves in the town of Zakopane when hiking in the Tatra Mountains.

To reach the Valley of 5 Lakes you firstly must get to the starting point at Palenica Bialczanska. This is the entrance to the National Park located very close to the border with Slovakia. To reach Palenica Bialczanska you can take a local bus from Zakopane town bus station. The bus can be easily found by looking out for the ‘Morskie Oko’ sign on the front. Busses run regularly during the summer. The journey time is around 30 minutes however this can be longer if there is traffic. If you have your own car you can also drive and use the car parks available. 

We suggest that you leave early during the busy summer months as the path to Morskie Oko gets very busy.

Morskie Oko Waterfall

Hiking to The Lakes

The hike starts at Palenica Bialczanska. You must firstly purchase your entry ticked to the National Park. This is just 5zl per adult. 

You then follow the path towards the Morskie Oko lake – Click here to see more about Morskie Oko

After walking for around 30-40 minutes you will see a large waterfall on your right hand side. This is the Wodogrzmoty Mickiwicza waterfall. Just after the waterfall on the right hand side you will see a path leading up. There will be a sign pointing to  ‘Dolina Pięciu Stawów’ ( the Valley of 5 lakes).

From this point you should follow the green trail. You will see the markings painted on trees along the way. After about an hour, the path will split. To the left there is a black trail and straight on the green trail continues. Both paths lead to the Valley of 5 lakes. The black trail is slightly steeper and quicker however along the green trail you will see another spectacular waterfall. We suggest following the green trail and you can then return using the black trail.

After another 15 minutes along the green trail you will see the Siklawa waterfall. This can be quite impressive especially in the spring when the snowmelt produces as fast waterflow. 

Valley of 5 lakes
5 lakes shelter

After passing the waterfall, you will be enter the valley. On the right you will see a sign pointing to Zawrat. This is another peak that you can reach from the valley. If you turn left you will see a sign pointing to the 5 lakes. A short distance along this path you will see the Valley of 5 lakes mountain shelter. Here you can purchase coffee, snacks, beer and also spend the night if you have booked in advance. 

5 lakes map

What lakes are in the valley?


Wielki Staw Polski (The Great Polish Lake)

Mały Staw Polski (The Little Polish Lake)

Przedni Staw Polski (The Front Polish Lake)

Czarny Staw Polski (The Black Polish Lake)

Zadni Staw Polski (The Rear Polish Lake).

The first 4 lakes are close by to the mountain shelter. In order to get to the Rear Polish Lake you must walk for a short while towards Świnica.

There are a number of other ways in which to reach the valley of 5 lakes from other locations in the Tatra Mountains.

In order to get back to Palenica Bialczanska, where your car is parked or you will take the bus back to Zakopane, there are 3 routes that you can take.  You can return via the Green route that you came from however we suggest that you choose one of the other options to see more.

The shorter option is to take the black trail that we mentioned previously. This route starts down from behind the mountain shelter. This way down offers a great view and a fairly steep path down.

Alternatively you can walk via the longer path that takes your past the Morskie Oko lake. This will add around 1 hour to the route but will provide you with stunning views of the lakes. You will then pass the Morskie Oko mountain shelter and walk back down the paved path to Palenica Bialczanska.