Morskie Oko (The Marine Eye)
Morskie Oko is located at 1395 m above sea level and is the most beautiful lake of the Tatra Mountains and is ranked at the forefront of Europe’s most beautiful mountain lakes. The area around the lake is distinguished by a unique scenery which only further encourages us to journey on in this amazing place.
In order to reach Morskie Oko one must cover 8.5 km one-way, for those who are fond of hiking it should not take more than two hours. Those who value comfort most, can for an appropriate fee, reach their destination by horse-drawn carriages.
The road goes up and switchbacks, coming to the bridge over the Roztoka stream, flowing from the Pięciu Stawów Valley (the Valley of the Five Polish Ponds). From the bridge you can see well the middle of the three waterfalls that make up Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza (the Mickiewicz Waterfalls). The road, which still leads to the south, after 2 kilometers takes us to Wanta forest’s lodge and then, just around the corner provides a wonderful view of the southern clousure of the Białej Wody Valley (the White Water Valley) in the shape a “U”, characteristic of the valleys carved by glaciers. Walking through the forest, in less than an hour we reach Włosnica glade where horse carriages end their trips.
There in front of us appears a pretty close panorama of Mięguszowiecki peaks, bordering Morskie Oko, which is less than 2 kilometers away from this point.
After a while we come out of the forest, on the edge of Szałasiska glade, next we move along the exposed edge of Opalony Wierch (Tanned Peack). The road cuts through a wide gully, called Żleb Żandarmerii (Military Police Gully), famous for big avalanches that come down every year.
A wonderfufl panorama of Polish summits appears before our eyes, exceeding the surface of the lake for almost a kilometer. On the right, the south-western part of the panorama a characteristic silhouette of Zadni Mnich emerges, then Mnich’s (Monk) over the Morskie Oko – the peak which has been (as has been the Alpian Matterhorn) for years both the symbol of beauty of the Tatra Mountains and at the same time the symbol of mountaineering.
On the left a few overgrown ponds can be seen. Finally we arrive at the “Old Mountain Shelter” - nineteenth-century carriage house, used in the old times by the tourists as a "garage" for horse carriages, subsequently used as a shelter. On the moraine stands “New Shelter” which in truth does look new, largely due to the fact that in 1992 it was extensively renovated, nevertheless it was built in 1902. We go to the square in front of the shelter (1404 m above sea level).
The stroll around the Morskie Oko takes about 50 minutes and can certainly be a great way of relieving stress and communing with nature. There are three trails to get back from the Morskie Oko: to the Pięć Stawów Valley (the Five Ponds Valley) through Świstówke or Szpiglasowa Pass and by Rysy, Czarny Staw (the Black Pond), Pod Chołpkiem Pass.