Dolina Roztoki (Roztoki Valley) – Dolina Pięciu Stawów Polskich (Five Polish Ponds Valley) – Świstówka – Morskie Oko Lake, time to walk 8-9 h
This is a full day trip, a difficult one, with altitude difference at 800 metres. This is almost a climbing trip. The valley has got beautiful glacial lakes and the highest Tatra waterfall – Siklawa. In winter time the trail is a very dangerous one due to avalanches and ice, and hence often closed off by TOPR.
With a car or a bus we travel to Palenica Białczańska, then we take the asphalt road to Wodogrzmoty Mickiewicza waterfalls. Past the bridge we turn right and follow green trail southwards, and then we go up the hill along northern banks of the Roztoka stream. Over to the right are the slopes of Wołoszyn (dangerous in winter due to avalanches), to the left Czuba. A lot of stone pine trees grow here in the woods, on the slopes of Czuba also larch. In spring and autumn times brown bears are often seen in the area. We continue across a clearing called Nowa Roztoka and reach the upper forest boundary. (...) The path continues between thick layer of dwarf pines reaching the foot of Świstówka. Over to the right is Mount Krzyżne. Ahead of us is the ridge of the Five Polish Ponds Valley. Over to the left is a steep short cut leading to the shelter on the Przedni Staw lake (black trail, 30 minutes' walk, in winter dangerous and icy). We continue along the path a little bit over to the left towards the biggest waterfall in the Tatras called Wielka Siklawa (siklawa is a local word for waterfall). Roztoka stream springs out from Wielki Staw Polski lake and falls down 70 metres high ridge. It is an extremely picturesque view, especially on a sunny day. The path goes round the waterfall on the left (the rocks might be very slippery here) and continues over to the shelter (1672 m asl).
The shelter was built in 1953 in post-Zakopane style and designed by Michał Górski's team. It is situated on the banks of Przedni Staw Polski. It has got some 100 beds, dinning room, ski room and storage, and it has been managed by the local Krzeptowski family for many years now.
The valley itself is situated above the upper forest boundary, and looks best in winter time. It is then an excellent area for extreme ski alpinism. In fact there are more than five lakes here, the highest situated Zadni Staw is 1890 m asl, only 5 metres lower than Mount Giewont. There is a beautiful view over to Opalony, Midziane and Kozi Wierch from here.
After a short while rest we continue left past the Przedni Staw and following the blue trail we start the ascend. The left hand side of the trail is not sheltered and shows 300-metres wall down the Roztoki Valley, outstanding views!
The name of Świstówka (1855 m asl) is often explained with the fact that strong wind often blows here. The views from Świstówka are spectacular. On one side you can see Five Polish Ponds and Roztoki Valleys, on the other panorama of the highest Tatra peaks.
Continuing along stone pavement we descend from Świstówka and then up to Wolarnia again. We can see Morskie Oko and Czarny Staw lakes from there. Going down the path and across the woods we arrive at Rybiego Potoku Valley, we turn right and after another 10 minutes' walk we arrive at the Morskie Oko shelter. After a short while rest we continue on the asphalt road to Palenica Białczańska.