The Pope’s Trail – Czarna Hańcza River and Augustów Canal – 4-days

An incredible adventure on one of the most beautiful kayaking trails in Poland - Czarna Hańcza and Augustów Canal - Post-Camaldolian Monastery on the route.



4 days

64 km

accommodation on the route

HB - breakfasts, dinners



An incredible adventure on one of the most beautiful kayaking trails in Poland. The route starts in the Post-Camaldolian Monastery in in the area of Wigry National Park with its picturesque Wigry Lake. Then it continues on Czarna Hańcza River, and Augustów Canal, regulated by manually operated locks.

This is where Pope John Paul II used to admire Suwałki-Augustów Lakeland in a kayak as a young priest, Karol Wojtyła.

The route is relatively easy, perfect for beginners and kids. The river is wide, relatively fast, free of portages (the practice of carrying kayak/canoe over land), with a numerous bends and curves.


This kayaking trip is perfect for everyone, both young and old, who appreciates nature and peacefulness.

Wigry - Pokamedulski Klasztor, spływ kajakowy
Szlak Papieski, spływ kajakowy 4 dni SZOT
Szlak Papieski, spływ kajakowy 4 dni SZOT
Czarna Hancza Kanal Augustowski splywy
Kanal Augustowski szlak papieski splywy


SCzHP1 |11.07-14.07.2019 Sorry, lack of seats
SCzHP2 |25.07-28.07.2019 Sorry, lack of seats


1st day:

till 11.00 – Arrival in Augustów, SZOT Base (how to find us) – office; water equipment rental – kayaks, canoes, bikes, tents; Villa Skomanda – hotel; restaurant; bungalow (8 comfortable rooms); summer houses; playground for children; outdoor sauna; sheltered barbeque area with a fireplace; fenced parking area.

In the neighborhood, there is a large bakery, where you can conveniently do shopping before you start your kayaking trip.

There is a possibility to book an extra night in Villa Skomanda before the kayaking trip – ask about the availability.

Transportation to the kayaking starting point – Wigry Lake; SZOT kayaking marina. We start with a short individual sightseeing of the Post-Camaldolese monastery complex, a place where Pope John Paul II rested during his pilgrimage to Poland in 1999. From here extends admiring view on the panorama of Wigry Lake. Before we start the tour, a short briefing will be provided (organizational and safety issues; kayaking instructions).

Kayaking route: Wigry – Maćkowa Ruda   /10 km

Our starting point is the area of Wigry National Park – Wigry Lake; Postaw Lake; Czarna Hańcza River meandering among tall reeds and water plants. While passing some small villages, the river occasionally divides, and thus we can see multiple small grassy islands along the way.

Night’s accommodation at an agritourist farm – very simple summer houses / campsite with a separate building with showers and toilets.

2nd day:

Kayaking route: Maćkowa Ruda – Frącki   /19 km

This section of the river is very calm and attractive. It is surrounded by high, steep riverbanks overgrown with trees. At the very beginning, the current is fast-flowing but safe; then, the speed decreases. Multiple bends, bifurcations, and backwater areas covered with rustling reeds are common here. The river is pretty wide and overgrown with numerous water plants, what makes the view even more magnificent.

Bonfire party in the evening.

Night’s accommodation at a waterside hotel – renovated summerhouses / campsite with a separate building with showers and toilets.

3rd day:

Kayaking route: Frącki – Mikaszówka   /23 km

This section of the river is calm and runs mostly along primeval grasslands. At the very beginning of this route, the current is slow, and riverbanks are covered with tall reeds. Then, we reach “the heart” of Augustów Primeval Forest, where Czarna Hańcza River runs through deep corners of forested swamplands. Then, the river narrows and strongly meanders. On the route there are some natural obstacles in form of fallen trees. The last two kilometers we kayak through the Augustów Canal regulated by historic, manually operated locks (must-see!).

Night’s accommodation at an agritourist farm – rooms with bathrooms / campsite

4th day:

Kayaking route: Mikaszówka – Płaska   /13 km

In Mikaszówka town there is an old wooden church built in the traditional architectural style, a perfect match for the wilderness of old-growth forests. The route starts on Augustów Canal; then we reach picturesque lakes that perfectly blend into the surrounding landscape of Augustów Primeval Forest. There are three locks on the route, and one of them (Paniewo lock) has two chambers (the difference in water levels is 6,40 m!).

Transportation from the ending point back to Augustów (2-3 PM)


829 PLN /person                 739 PLN /children under the age of 12
STANDARD Option – accommodation at agritourist farms – 2/4-person rooms or summer houses on the route /without bedding/

759 PLN /person                 669 PLN /children under the age of 12
CAMPSITE Option – accommodation at campsites on the route

Price includes

  • seat in a double SZOT KOMFORT kayak with paddling gear (paddle, life jacket, soft seat)
  • accommodation – depending on your chosen option
  • catering (breakfast, dinner); children up to 12 – half servings
  • lifeguard / kayaking instructor guidance
  • transportation from Augustów to Wigry and from Płaska to Augustów
  • Wigry National Park ticket
  • bonfire with sausages
  • daily luggage transports
  • accident insurance (AXA; 20000 PLN)
  • Guarantee Fund contribution of 0 PLN

Parking lot during the kayaking tour – for free.

Paid separately

  • lock fees (4) – 4,30 PLN/kayak/lock (payable in cash at the lock; operated till 7pm)
  • renting a single SZOT kayak – 40 PLN/trip
  • renting a single CAROLINA kayak or kayaking in a double kayak individually – 95 PLN/trip
  • renting a double polyethylene kayak: CRUISER II / VISTA / HORIZON – 15 PLN/os.
  • 1-person room / summerhouse – STANDARD option – surcharge of 90 PLN/person/trip
  • renting a 2-person igloo tent – 100 PLN/trip + deposit of 50 PLN
  • renting a foam mattress – 8 PLN/trip
  • renting a waterproof bag (55l) or barrel (3,5l/10,4l) – 24 PLN/trip + deposit of 50 PLN
  • sauna bathing – approx. 100 PLN/group
  • available to purchase in the SZOT office: maps, waterproof mobile phone cases, sport gloves, sun hats and raincoats.



Spływy kajakowe z pasją, Czarna Hańcza, Rospuda, Kanał Augustowski
ul. Konwaliowa 2
Augustów 16-300, Polska

+48 87 644 67 58

+48 601 146 703