It is another rainy night in Kalnica. The water drops hit the metal roof. It is so dark that there is no difference if your eyes are opened or closed. As every other evening, we think about the next trip, but with a storm expected next day it is hard to plan long hiking high in the mountains. Luckily we have plenty of alternatives, suitable for worse weather, for when we are tired or when we feel like cycling instead of walking. Below I present 4 easy hiking trails in Bieszczady.
1. From Kalnica to Dolzyca
The first trail leads from Kalnica to Dolzyca. It is a biking path through the forest. The path is peaceful and not very popular. For the same reason, it is a bit dangerous, since you may meet the bear. During one of our short lunch breaks, we were sitting on a meadow and there was no one around. Suddenly we heard the noise from behind the tree… It was an elderly woman with a bike working in the forest. “Hello. What are you doing here? Are you not scared of meeting the bear?” – she asked. We weren’t until that very moment.
Encouraged to leave the place as soon as possible we walked down the hill. 5 minutes earlier we were sunbathing, now we were swimming in the puddles. Drastic weather changes are no surprise in the mountains. Changing outfits multiple times per day is just part of fun. A good raincoat should be a staple in your rucksack. One of the interesting spots on this trail is steel charcoal retorts. They are the remnants of a vanishing culture. In 2013 there were over 400 retorts. Nowadays there are less than 100. They all would look abandoned if not the smoke from the chimney.
The very last part of the trail goes along the main road. It is not so pleasant and safe to walk there anymore. From there you can get a bus and go back to Kalnica. If you choose the opposite direction you go towards Cisna and it is possible also with the choo-choo train.
2. From Kalnica to Sine Wiry
The starting point of the second trip is the same as before, but we don’t turn left towards Dolzyca. We continue walking straight instead. This road leads to Sine Wiry.
All the way leads along the river Wetlina. On a sunny day, it is possible to have a bath or even a picnic at the rocky riverside.
The first interesting spot on the road is the mountain shelter Jaworzec. To get there you should turn right and follow the black trail for about 20 min. It is a starting point for some proper hiking trails, eg. to Przelecz Orlowicza and a great place to spend a “slow travel” day. Especially that they have no electricity.
The road to Sine Wiry leads through the world that doesn’t exist anymore. ‘Bieszczady odnalezione’ (means found) is a trail through former villages: Jaworzec, Lug and Zawoj. The only remenescents are old basements, cemeteries and abandoned orchards.
The wild meadows are home to many popular medicinal plants and herbs. In the areas outside the National Park you are free to collect them. We even found a book with recipes and tricks when to collect which species in a local store. They were also selling natural cosmetics based on herbs. You can also buy them the hand-made ones during cultural festivals.
Once you reach Sine Wiry you can enter the forest and follow the path directly at the riverside. After the rain it is wet and slippery. Long walk is rewarded by amazing view of waterfalls, huge rocks and the ‘moose tree’- Los z Zawoju. The local legend says that moose drinking water from Wetlina is a prediction of floods.
3. From Smerek to Cisna
My third suggestion is the bike trail from Smerek to Cisna. It starts in Smerek opposite the entrance to the park where the trail to Smerek – the pick leads.
The road is a mostly paved and flat. It is also relatively unattended. The only inconvenience were huge tracks used for transport of the wood, which is cut in the forest. The trail is again full of wild fauna and flora. We met some squirrels and plenty of butterflies. Since it was also very wet, there were plenty of mushrooms – free dinner.
Talking about food, the path is connected with the one leading to Przyslup, where you can get delicious trouts.
4. The road to Lopienka
The inspiration for the last trip came from the video by Kazimierz Nozka – a local ranger. He presented the ‘the world of butterflies’ on the road to Lopienka.
It looked like the perfect place to shoot butterflies. We took the road 897 from Dolzyca towards Polanki. On the left, there is a parking where the road to Lopienka starts. The parking is not big but it is for free. Unfortunately, it was full so we had to find a different spot and we left the car at the private house nearby. The road leads along the Solinka river. It should take around 30 min to reach the destination since it is only about 2,5 km. For us it was definitely longer since we stopped to see retards, we had a short rest at the wooden shelter, and we were hunting for promised butterflies.
The final destination of the trip is a church in non-existent village Lopienka. The door to this church is always open. Once per week, there is also a service. It is famous for the icon of Mary and the wooden sculpture of Jesus (Chrystus Bieszczadzki). Nearby, in the bush, there is also spring with water which what people believe has healing properties.
Those trails are perfect for people who choose cycling or Nordic walking instead of traditional hiking. They are also great for families with small kids, who don’t enjoy long walks and for everyone who wants to admire the beauty of Bieszczady without getting tired. You can also use them for a warm-up before a longer trip or keep it as an option for the rest day. Do you know any other easy hiking trails in Bieszczady?