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    Map of trails

    WHAT DO THE COLORS OF THE MOUNTAIN TRAILS MEAN?

    People who are spending time in the mountains go for a walk, trek, or even a full-day trip. It is a great way to spend time actively, combined with the possibility of connecting with the nature of the Podhale region.

    However, choosing a route for yourself is worth knowing what its color means.

    In the case of ski slopes, the color of a route defines its difficulty, so the darker the color, the more commitment and more skill it requires. However, the colors of hiking trails have a completely different meaning. And it is still worth knowing them, because it may turn out that after entering the path it is not possible to leave it earlier than in a few hours. And the black trail can be an easy walk, but it can also be dangerous and impossible for an amateur.

    Read on

    A little bit of something interesting

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    THE BEGINNING OF THE TRACK

    The marking of trails depends on PTTK guidelines. The start of the trail as planned, for example, should be in the center of the given city or near the public transport stops. However, for smaller towns, the starting points of the trails should start in one place. It allows tourists, especially those untrained or wandering under challenging conditions, to better orient themselves.
    The markings at the beginning and the end of trails changes to a circle mark colored appropriately to its trail and surrounded by a white circle.
    Although currently, almost everyone has GPS on the phone, in the mountains, there are problems with coverage.

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    ARRANGEMENT OF TRAILS

    Also, for the safety and comfort of tourists, it was established that the trail of a given color could not intersect with another, marked the same – for example, green with green. If not for that, we would wander around or in a completely different direction than was planned. Anyway, even the location of two trails of the same color near to each other not practiced. For the same reason as before – for example, after leaving the trail to shorten our way, we could go on a different, of the same color, and not even realize it.

    What do the colors of the hiking trails mean?

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    RED TRAIL

    It is the main trail that leads through the most exciting places in terms of landscape, viewpoints, attractions. The longest red trail and the longest route in the (Polish) Tatra Mountains is the Wyżnia Miętusia Kira – Krzyżne. It leads, among others, through Orla Perć, the most difficult marked trail in Poland. The time to beat it is almost 17 hours, so in practice, it requires several approaches – through the access routes.

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    BLUE ROUTE

    It is the so-called long-distance route. However, this concept does not necessarily mean something specific. For example, the trail Palenica Białczańska – Zazadnia is two hours trail around the walking area. But the blue trail Morskie Oko – Dolina Pięciu Stawów Polskich – Hala Gąsienicowa – Kuźnice – Kondratowa Polana – Giewont is the second longest trail in the Tatras, with a crossing time calculated over 10 hours, partly requiring the use of buckles and chains.

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    GREEN TRAIL

    Theoretically, according to PTTK guidelines, it is a short trail that will lead us to some of the most characteristic points of the area. However, this is not always true. For example, Siwa Polana – Zawracie is an easy route and a classic route – i.e., connected in many places with other trails. A similarly straight route (although without connections) is Kondratowa Polana – Przełęcz pod Kopą Kondracka, which takes 1.5 hours to complete. However, if we go on Czarny Staw pod Rysami – Mięguszowiecka Przełęcz pod Chłopkiem we will find ourselves on one of the most difficult routes in Poland. Partly leading over a precipice measuring several hundred meters and from which there is no other return than by the same road.

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    BLACK TRAIL, YELLOW TRAIL

    It assumed that these are short, connecting, and access routes. However, before entering it, you should read the course. Although the connecting rule used to be the default, the basic assumption of the trails is that the same colors cannot cross or come near each other. For example, the black trail Czarny Staw Gąsienicowy – Kościelec theoretically, can be reached in an hour and a half. And yet it is considered the most challenging route in Poland, with a steep approach, vertical climbing and without artificial protection. Besides, the only descent from Kościelec is to return by the same road … By contrast, the famous Droga pod Reglami (Huciska – Kuźnice) measures 17km, comparatively a light walk, but still taking about 7 hours. And this is also a black trail, fortunately, with numerous descents.

    Methods for marking hiking trails

    FOLLOW THE COLORS

    The basic form of trail marking is a rectangle with three horizontal stripes. The middle means the color of the trail, and the outer is white.

    The markings at the beginning and the end of trails changes to a circle mark colored appropriately to its trail and surrounded by a white circle.

    When we approach the change of direction of the trail, we will see a turn sign – 90 or 135 (around two o’clock) degrees. After the turn, an arrow in the color of the trail is placed, ensuring us the right path.

    Rarely, in cases of particularly sudden or unexpected changes of direction, a large white exclamation mark is painted over the trail sign.