Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On Sunday, we decided to escape the city and enjoy our beautiful fall weather in the Kampinos Forest, just 30 minutes outside Warsaw.

We headed to the tiny town of Truskaw because it’s one of the closest locations for parking and hiking trail access at the gigantic Kampinos National Park (Kampinoski Park Narodowy), which covers an area of 407 square kilometres (157 sq. miles). Kampinos is the second largest national park in Poland, with Biebrzański National Park being the largest, located about 200 km northeast of Warsaw. In total, Kampinos contains about 360 km. of marked hiking trails and 200 km. of bicycle routes. So far, I have to disagree about the well-marked part of the trails. This was our fourth time visiting the park since we moved to Warsaw 18 months ago.
Once we parked at Truskaw, we took the trail starting on the far left, and this would be the beginning of our eventual 6-mile (10 km) trek. The first two miles stretched out forever until we finally met a turn we could take. If I had to do this trail again, I would recommend starting on the far right side instead because this side seemed prettier.

Since it’s October, the park is in its autumnal glory right now. Trees lining the paths glittered like jewels and precious metals – amber, bronze, copper, gold and rubies. We found majestic oak and maple trees with leaves the color of pumpkins and birch trees shimmering with golden yellows and verdant greens. Simply breathtaking!
Surprisingly on this trek, we encountered such a varied landscape including small sand dunes, desert-like plant life, marshes and dense forestland filled with towering pine trees. I think the marshy areas prevented us from turning off the trail earlier than we would have liked.
As we walked along, we ended up seeing quite a few other hikers, but there also were long stretches where the two of us were alone. The forest still felt like a great escape from the city – peaceful and rejuvenating. The crisp air smelled fresh and full of pine needles and musty decaying leaves.
Unfortunately, we didn’t encounter much wildlife, (no forest frogs like last time) just a lonely snake that we avoided, and we heard a woodpecker in the distance. According to the park’s website, the forest is home to 81 endangered species. I’m guessing we need to arrive earlier in the morning to encounter much of the wildlife.
If you need a break from the city, head to Kampinos, especially during the autumn months of October and early November.
This Polish sign describes the "Trail to Karczmiska," which is the trail on the far right if you start at Truskaw. 
Here, we followed the yellow/green trail to the right before we turned again. 
How to access Kampinos by public transportation:
Take bus 708 from bus stop/metro stop Metro Mlociny in the Bielany neighborhood.

Alternatively, you can take tram 33 from DW. Centralny or the metro from Centrum or any stop on the north/south line to the Metro Mlociny stop and transfer to the 708 bus line.

Total transportation time: Plan on at least 1 hour.

Website: you can download a hiking trail map here, but I’m guessing there must be a better one out there somewhere.

Other suggested hikes through Kampinos.

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