Pieniny & Spišská Magura
My aim is not to make a duplicate of my Dunajec page in SP, neither Konrad's Pieniny or Romuald's rafting page. This is also a famous place for some of the finest bicycle trips of the region, with the rest of the Pieniny range, and my aim is to describe it from the bicycle point of view.
The Dunajec is a river which flows from the Tatras, and tributary of the Vistula (Wisła).
The most famous part of this river is known as the "Dunajec gorges", where during some 20km, it skirts through the small Pieniny limestone range, digging an impressinve canyon full of bends, and whose cliffs reach in many places more than 300m height.
The Pieniny range is a wonder of nature. Probably the Dunajec made its way though long time ago, and then surrounding rock was eroded, which left the Pieniny and its labyrinth left apart.
During all this section, the Dunajec forms the border with Slovakia and Poland. Before and after, Dunajec is entierely in Poland. On the Polish side are located many hiking tails, over the most characteristic summits and mountains of the Pieniny. But none of them is suitable for bicycles.
But the slovak shore is doubled by a cycling track. This is a very popular way to visit the gorges quickly, and avoiding the cost of a raft descent.
Since 2006 there is a pedestrian bridge between Červený Kláštor and Sromowce Niżne, and since 2008 (Schengen space) pedestrian and cyclers can take it freely. This allows the cycler to give this polish pretty village a visit. In Červený Kláštor is also a monastery of the 14th century worth visiting.
As one can figure out easily having a loop on the map, there are several ways to visit these gorges, making a loop, in the slovak part of the Pieniny.
Here are different possibilities of loops:
* For a non-mountain bike (classic bike, or even race bike for road only) : Červený Kláštor - Szczawnica (via the gorges) - Lesnica (via the blue trail along river Lesnicky Potok) - Veľký Lipník - Červený Kláštor (via road 543) + Sromowce Niżne (optional)
* Mountain bike, short loop : Červený Kláštor - pass Sedlo cerla (via the blue cycling trail) - pass sedlo Targov (610m) - Lesnica - Szczawnica (via the blue trail along river Lesnicky Potok) - Červený Kláštor (via the gorges) + Sromowce Niżne (optional)
* Mountain bike, medium loop : Červený Kláštor - pass Sedlo cerla (via the blue cycling trail) - pass sedlo Pod Plasnou (840m, via the red trail) - Lesnica (via the green trail) - Szczawnica (via the blue trail along river Lesnicky Potok) - Červený Kláštor (via the gorges) + Sromowce Niżne (optional)
* Mountain bike, long "8" loop : Červený Kláštor - pass Sedlo cerla (via the blue cycling trail) - pass sedlo Pod Plasnou (840m, via the red trail) - Veľký Lipník - Paluby (via road 543) - sedlo Pod Plasnou (via the green trail) - Lesnica - Szczawnica (via the blue trail along river Lesnicky Potok) - Červený Kláštor (via the gorges) + Sromowce Niżne (optional)
There are also other fine cycling trips to do on the road, until the Polish castles of Czorstyn and Niedzica, which face each other on the Czorstyn Lake.
Getting thereFrom abroad, fly to Krakow. There are many busses going to Szczawnica. From Slovakia you can fly to Poprad or Kosice.
By car, it all depends no the place of the Pieniny you plan to stay in...
Red tapeCycling offtrails, or cycling on hiking trails closed to bicycles , in both Polih and Slovak national parks of the Pieniny, is strictly forbidden.
CampingsThere are several campsites.
The 2 most convenient are the one located in Červený Kláštor (Slovak side, upstream), and in Krościenko (Polish side, downstream).
There is also a handfull of accomodation in the inhabitant, in many of the locations bordering the Pieniny range. Type in google the name of one place, together with "noclegi" (in polish), or "ubytovanie" (in slovak), you'll get hundreds of results.
LinksDunajec Gorge on Wikipedia
My pages about Dunajec, Trzy Korony, and Sromowce.
Pieniński Park Narodowy :