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Papal walking trails

Papal walking trails

In Małopolska Region there are a number of trails and routes that commemorate the Polish Pope, Karol Wojtyła. To fulfi l the plea of John Paul II expressed in the words Pilnujcie mi tych szlaków… – look after these trails for me , a special foundation was established.

Its task is to mark the trails and organise numerous rallies, meetings, and services that commemorate Pope John Paul II. Trails running through the region are marked with special signs (yellow crosses) and furnished with information boards. The first Papal Trail to be established in Poland was a spontaneous initiative that followed the visit of John Paul II to the Tatras in 1983, long before any other route of its kind was established. It is the yellow waymarked trail from then PTTK shelter in the Chochołowska clearing up the Jarząbcza valley. This trail runs parallel to the regular red trail to Trzydniowiański Wierch. The first of the papal trails ends in the place the Pope reached during that short hike; the event and place are commemorated by a plaque.


The “Sursum Corda” Papal Path leads along the road that John Paul II followed during his pilgrimage to Poland in 1997: Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima in Krzeptówki – Gubałówka (1123m) – Ząb – Ludźmierz (Sanctuary of Our Lady Queen of Podhale).

Papal Trails in the Pieniny Mountains: the walking trail from Prehyba (1175m) along the Sielski stream to Szlachtowa commemorates the route that Karol Wojtyła covered a number of times, including on skis in winter, and the water route in the ravines of the Pieniny, along which the future Pope traversed the famous Dunajec Gorge in a canoe.

Papal Walking Trails around Raba Wyżna include: the Path of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła (Rabska Gora – Ubocz – Rokiciny Podhalańskie, Ursuline Convent – childhood home of Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz – Łysa Gra – St Sister Faustina care and rehabilitation centre – Jamne – Rabska Gora) and the Path of Pope John Paul II (Rabska Góra – Millennium Cross – Raba Wyżna – Stromówka – Żeleźnica – Kierówka – Bielanka – Sieniawa – Rabska Gora). They were established close to the childhood home of Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, personal secretary and close collaborator of Karol Wojtyła and later of John Paul II.

Another Papal Trail leads along the route of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła’s last walk in the Beskid Żywiecki Mountains before the memorable conclave of 1978: from Skawica via Sucha Gora to the PTTK shelter in the Hala Krupowa clearing and further along the Polica Range to Krowiarki pass.

The Papal Trail in the Jordanów area leads from Jordanow (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Jordanow) via “Polanka Harcerska” and Toporzysko to Wysoka, and to the blue and yellow waymarked tourist trails on Gora Ludwiki (653m).

The Route of White Hearts from Rzyki-Jagodki allows one to reach Groń Jana Pawła II with its Papal Chapel. It was prepared especially for less able-bodied and elderly tourists.

Marian Papal Trail – along the route of the Golden Rose leads from Krakow’s Dębniki district via Skawina and Radziszw to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska (Sanctuary of the Passion of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary), Wadowice,Sucha Beskidzka and Maków Podhalański (Sanctuary of the Mother of God Guardian of Families). From here, you can go via Jordanów (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Jordanów), Spytkowice, and Raba Wyżna to Ludźmierz (Sanctuary of Our Lady Queen of Podhale) or – also to Ludźmierz – via Zawoja, Krowiarki pass, and Jabłonka.

The Papal Trail Niegowić – Łapanow is linked to the first pastoral role of Karol Wojtyła, namely, that of curate in the parish of Niegowić in thePogorze Wielickie upland.

Leading through picturesque areas in the vicinity of Krakow is the Podkrakowski Papal Trail: Salwator – Kościuszko Mound – Piłsudski Mound – Camaldolese Monastery in Bielany – Kryspinow – Mnikowski Gorge – Krzeszowice – Carmelite Monastery in Czerna (Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and St Rafał Kalinowski), and further through the Jurassic Valleys near Krakow to Balice.

The “In the Paths of the Pope in Krakow” route is also worth following. It connects the places related to John Paul II. It begins by the Palace of Krakow Bishops and leads by the FranciscanmChurch (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sorrows), Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Wenceslaus in Wawel, Church “on the Rock” (Sanctuary of St Stanislaus), Ark of the Lord in Nowa Huta (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima), Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Krakow-Łagiewniki, and further on to the John Paul II airport in Krakow-Balice.

There is one more route, namely the “Trail of Papal sites in the Chrzanow area”. It commemorates the places where Karol Wojtyła stayed in Chrzanow poviat. It leads from Chrzanow via Trzebinia (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima), Płoki (Sanctuary of Mother of God, Patron of Polish Worker Families), Alwernia (Sanctuary of Merciful Jesus), Mętkow (Sanctuary in the wooden church transferred from Niegowić) from where it returns to Chrzanow.

The John Paul II Małopolska Papal Trail was created to commemorate the journey from Krakow to Stary Sącz made by the Pope in June 1999. The actual route is slightly diff erent from the one that was taken by the papal motorcade. The John Paul II Małopolska Papal Trail proposes visits to places that Karol Wojtyła particularly loved in the Beskidy and the Tatry Mountains. It is a well-known fact that mountain walking was especially close to his heart. He would walk the ridges and forests of the Polish pathians, whether on his own, with a group of friends or as a pastor to the young. He would go in the Beskids, and even in the Tatras, not only in summer, but also cross-country skiing in winter. The Małopolska Papal Trail, which opened in, is at the same time the discharge of our obligation to John Paul II who asked Poles: Pilnujcie mi tych szlaków… – look after these trails for me. The Trail is not a specially waymarked route, but follows existing waymarked trails which in many places received additional yellow-cross markings.

The main part of the route – from Kalwaria Zebrzydowska to Stary Sącz – is approximately 230 km (143 miles) long. The trail starts in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska (Sanctuary of the Passion of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary). Further on the trail leads through the mountainsof the Beskid Średni: Kalwaria Zebrzydowska – Żar (527m/1730ft asl) – Jaroszowicka Gora (544m– to Wadowice. Wadowice is the starting point for entering the Beskid Mały – the “home mountains” of Karol Wojtyła: Wadowice – Groń Jana Pawła II (890m) with its papal chapel – Leskowiec (922m) – Łamana Skała (929m) – Hucisko. Further on, the trail crosses the Beskid Żywiecki mountains: Koszarawa – Czerniawa Sucha (1062m) – Hala Kamińskiego – Zawoja – Skawica – Hala Krupowa – Polica (1369m) – Krowiarki pass – Zubrzyca Górna (Orawski Ethnographic Park) – Bory pass – Raba Wyżna – Rabska Gora (783m) – Sieniawa – Pieniążkowicka pass – Ludźmierz (Sanctuary of Our Lady Queen of Podhale) – Nowy Targ. From Nowy Targ, it crosses the Gorce Mountains: Kowaniec – Hala Rusnakowa with its Papal Chapel – Turbacz (1310m) – Czoło Turbacza (1259m) and the “Ołtarz Szałasowy” altar – valley of the Kamienica stream (“Papieżówka”) – Gorc (1228m) – Ochotnica Dolna – Lubań (1211m) – Krościenko nad Dunajcem. The last section of the trail leads through the Beskid Sądecki Mountains: Krościenko – Dzwonkówka (983m) – Prehyba (1175m) – Stary Sącz (Sanctuary of St Kinga).

Besides the main route, there are also the Papal paths: alternative routes to the main Trail:

– in the Beskid Średni Mountains: Kalwaria Zebrzydowska – Lanckorońska Góra (545m) – Lanckorona – Myślenice (anctuary of Our Lady of Myślenice) – Uklejna (677m) – Chełm (613m) – Myślenice

– in the Beskid Żywiecki Mountains: Krowiarki pass – Babia Góra (1725m) – Markowe Szczawiny –Krowiarki pass

– in the Beskid Wyspowy Mountains there are three diff erent paths to follow: Rabska Góra over Raba Wyżna (783m) – Rabka-Zdrój – Luboń Wielki (1022m) – Szczebel (976m) – Lubogoszcz (968m) – Kasina Wielka – retreat centre by Śnieżnica – Ćwilin (1072m) – Jurków – Mogielica (1170m) – Przysłop pass; second alternative: Mogielica – Słopnicka pass – Cichoń (928m) – Łukowica – Limanowa (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sorrows); third alternative: Jasień (1062m) – Mszana Dolna

– in Podhale and in the Tatra Mountains: Ludźmierz (Sanctuary of Our Lady Queen of Podhale) – Szaflary – Ząb – Gubałowka (1123m) – Zakopane-Krzeptowki (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima) – Chochołowska Valley – “Ścieżka nad Reglami” path – Hermitage of St Brother Albert in Kalatowki – Jaszczurowka – Rusinowa Polana clearing and Wiktorowki (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Jaworzyna, the Queen of the Tatras) – Palenica Białczańska – Morskie Oko lake

– in the Gorce Mountains: Turbacz (1310 m) – Knurowska pass – Lubań (1211 m)

– in the Beskid Sądecki Mountains – Radziejowa Range: Dzwonkowka (983 m) – “Błyszcz” (945 m, commemorative chapel) – Tylmanowa

– and in the Beskid Sądecki and Niski Mountains: Stary Sącz (Sanctuary of St Kinga) – Barcice – Makowica (948m) – Hala Łabowska clearing – Jaworzyna Krynicka (1114m) – Krynica-Zdrój and further across the Beskid Niski mountains, along the red-waymarked K. Sosnowski Main Tourist Trail in the Beskids

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