Kozubnik – Góra Żar – Porąbka, Beskid Żywiecki


The trail is a moderate route with a distance of about 9 km and 800 m of elevation gain. It starts in Kozubnik and ends in Porąbka. The time needed to complete the trail, excluding the visit at the power plant on top of Mount Żar, is about 3,5 hours. At the beginning the route follows an asphalt road but soon it enters the forest and leads along a black trail, very well marked. There are some steep approaches on the way to Mount Żar, but also some beautiful views on the Czaniec lake.


Mount Żar is a very good vantage point. From its summit you can admire the peaks of Beskid Śląski and Żywiecki and three lakes down in the valleys. However the biggest attraction is a pumped storage power plant with a water reservoir on top of the mountain. The huge reservoir is an integral part of the power plant, attracting crowds of tourists during the holiday season and on weekends.

It is the second largest hydroelectric power plant in Poland, using as a lower reservoir the Międzybrodzkie Lake while the upper reservoir, completely artificial, is built on top of Mount Żar. The location of the power plant was determined by exceptionally favourable topographic conditions: a large gradient with a small distance between the reservoirs and the possibility of using the regulated Soła River. It has the capacity of 500 MW and a drop of 440 m. It is the only underground power plant in Poland, designed to regulate the power system during peaks and load collapses. Located inside the mountain, the turbines, along with other installations, occupy a space comparable in size to a gothic church.

The power plant is designed to regulate the power system during peaks and load collapses. The short start-up of the power plant (180 sec. for generation operation) also qualifies it for emergency operation. The task of a pumped storage power plant is the conversion of electrical energy into gravitational energy of water pumped to the upper reservoir and the reverse process. Here, electricity is converted into gravitational potential energy by pumping water from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir during periods of excess production over electricity demand (e.g., at night), and then, during peak hours, the process is reversed. This is also the basis for the economics of operating this type of plant. Electricity is bought during the period when it is cheapest, and put back into the system (sold) during the period of highest demand and at a high price. A visit at the plant is a great idea for a school trip in connection with the physics curriculum. We provide some ideas for such a learning experience in the following scenario.


The trail starts and ends in two different villages so the best idea for a class trip is to hire a bus which can bring the students to one point and collect from another. However, there are other options. The trail can be easily modified in such a way that the group hikes to the top of Mount Żar, where the main attraction is located and then comes down the same way. It is possible to reach both the villages by a communal bus, unfortunately not by train. Both the villages are located about 20 km from Bielsko-Biała and there are good bus connections as both are popular tourist destinations.


Międzybrodzie żywieckie

Międzybrodzie Żywieckie is a village in the Beskid Maly in the Żywiec District, Silesian Province, 15 km from the city of Żywiec. It lies on the southern slope of Mount Żar and on the eastern shore of Międzybrodzkie Lake.

Międzybrodzkie Lake

Międzybrodzkie Lake is a great place for lovers of water sports, swimming and fishing. There are many beaches with playgrounds and swimming areas. This is an ideal place for family recreation. 


Czernichów is a charming communal village, located on the Soła River, between Żywieckie and Międzybrodzkie lakes. The village is surrounded on all sides by the forested hills of Beskid Mały protected as a landscape park.