The second area of the park is, Szczeliniec Wielki, located in the Klodzko Valley. The trail starts at a large clearing, and the first section of the trail takes you through the woods. First, you will pass several rock formations, and observation points. Eventually, you will make it to a slot canyon, called "Pieklo" (Hell). Once you get through the canyon, there is a section that requires crawling. If you can make it through, you will reach the edge of the cliff, the highest point in the park, for some spectacular views. About half way up the trail, there is a place to rest, and buy food, and postcards.
The park has two main areas, Bledne Skaly, and Szczeliniec Wielki. Both are worth visiting.
We visited Bledne Skaly first.
In Polish, Bledne means, "misleading". The area is also known as the "Rock Labyryth", and it was named by a man who got lost while exploring them. The area is full of narrow passages, stagnent pools, and cool rock formations, the most famous of which, are the "rock mushrooms". The rocks looked really small in pictures, but they're actually pretty big, and really cool to walk through, and climb on. You can also get some nice views, and at the north end of the rocks, if you venture a few feet off the trail, you will be in the Czech Republic.
My uncle visited this area long before Schengen. His friend crossed over the border, just for a few seconds and was arrested by border guards. Today, you don't have to worry about that. Several plaques mark the border, and since both countries are part of Schengen, there are no guards, and you can cross back and forth as many times as you want.
We got lucky, because we arrived after closing time, around 5 or 6. And here, closing time just means, no staff. Since there was no one to collect an entrance fee, we got to see the rocks for free. Though the park wasn't closed for pedestrians, it was closed for cars. We had to park our car about a mile down the road, and hike uphill to get to the park, but it was worth it. Since it was after closing time, we were the only tourists in the park, and had the whole place to ourselves. We even saw a baby Zigzag Viper.
I highly recommend visiting after closing hours, when all the tourists have gone, and all the animals start coming out. Just make sure you have enough daylight left. You don't wanna be stuck here at night.
An word of warning, there are some tight squeezes. This is NOT a place for fat people.
Actaully, this chapel, located near the park in the town of Czerma, freaked me out! They allow about 20 people in at a time and close the door behind you. Then they tell you the story of how back in the late 1700's, the local priest got together with a grave digger to decorate the chapel with skulls. Creepy!
You aren't allowed to take photos inside the chapel, so I got this picture from the Internet.
Having a car is pretty much a must to getting around here, unless you rent a bike or enjoy walking really long distances.
Start in Karlow and follow the signs to get to the park's main attractions: "Bledne Skaly" and "Szczeliniec Wielki".
What to buy: Outside many of the trailheads, you can find vendors selling traditional cheese, made from goat's milk. Try a small one first if you are wary. If you like it, buy a big one! It has a full flavor -Yum!
This park is home to the highly venomous, European Adder, or Zigzag Viper. While hiking in the Bledne Skaly section of the park, we saw several warning signs about these vipers. We didn't think we'd see any, but we did. It was late evening, and we were the only ones in the park. We were exploring a remote area on the Czech border, when why my uncle spotted a baby viper, and called us over to see. The thing looks big in my pictures, but it was smaller than the palm of my hand. The thing was so tiny, that you could've walked right by, and not seen it. I honestly don't know how he saw it, especially since the light was dim. It was more afraid of us, than we were of it. We watched it for a few minutes, and then left. It made no attempt to bite, but I read that baby snakes are more aggressive, because they don't control their venom. We're lucky it didn't bite any of us, especially my cousin, who was wearing open toe shoes. I heard their bite is really nasty.
They can come out at any time of day. I spotted one on Czorstyn Lake, in the mid afternoon.
Just wear close toed shoes when you hike this park, and watch where you step.
I actually consider myself lucky to have seen one. I love reptiles, venomous or not. What a beautiful snake.
With a bicycle and a passport you can explore the park area quite well.
There are two main routes you can take (both are moderate in difficulty):
The "Wall" route (red) allows you to pedal through the most attractive parts of the Table Mountains on both sides of the border.
Take the "Table Mountains" route (blue) if you prefer to see the health resorts of Kudowa Zdroj, Duszniki Zdroj and Polanica Zdroj.