Route 1: Through the sands of the desert
Klucze, Rabsztyn (11 km) Jaroszowiec (17 km) Golczowice (20 km) Kwaśniów (23 km) Ryczówek (25 km) Rodaki (27 km) Klucze (36 km)
36 km, 4h, difficulty – medium
Altitude profile of the route:
During this trip we will visit one of the major natural curiosities in Poland – the Błędowska Desert. We will admire beautiful panoramas of both the southern and northern parts from the viewpoints located in Klucze and Chechło. From the roundabout in the centre of Klucze we head west by Rudnicka Street, then we pass the Red Pond (Staw Czerwony) and the Green Pond (Staw Zielony) and we continue around the desert to the northern Czubatka and then by the western side. We leave the trail and turn left on the second asphalt road. We continue by road No 791 and head south, then, after 1 km, at the height of the power line, we turn left onto the side road. In Bogucin, we turn right and then left before the climb, onto a dirt road. After reaching the main road, we turn left and then left again, into the side road leading to the Rabsztyn Castle, the picturesque ruins of which are worth visiting. The road further leads along the Jura Bicycle Trail (red). We cross the hamlet of Czarny Las and then Jaroszowiec. We turn left and then left again. In Jaroszowiec, we go right, passing the sanctuary, and then through Golczowice we reach Cieślin. In Golczowice, we can shorten our route by choosing the road to the left, leading to Klucze. In Cieślina we turn left, then a bit further at the bifurcation we choose the right arm. In Rodaki, after the curve of the road, on the right, there is a wooden church which is worth visiting. We turn back to the black trail departing to the right and we go to the village of Chechło. To see the historic church and cemetery, turn right in the centre. We return to the intersection and head slightly right to the blue bike trail, which will accompany us until the end of the trip. On the way, on the Dąbrówka Hill, we can find the ruins of an observation bunker from World War II. This place also offers a beautiful panorama of the Błędowska Desert, and the further route leads, along a sandy road, to the borders of Klucze.
ATTRACTIONS ON THE ROUTE:
1. Ruins of the Rabsztyn Castle – in the second half of the 13th century, a small upper castle was built on the top of the rock, later extended with a middle and lower castle. At the turn of the 16th and 17th century, a Renaissance palace was erected on the site of the demolished lower castle, the walls of which can be seen to this day. In 1657, the castle was burnt down by Swedes retreating from Poland and soon abandoned, then it fell into ruin. Currently, thanks to the efforts of the commune of Olkusz, part of the walls has been reconstructed, and tourist infrastructure has been created as well.
2. Sanctuary in Jaroszowiec – associated with the cult of the painting of the Mother of God, Help of Christians painted by Jan Szczęsny-Stankiewicz, a student of the famous Jan Matejko. Main celebrations: 24 May.
3. Wooden church in Rodaki – one-nave, partly with arcades, with a sacristy from the north, built before 1601. On the main altar in the late Baroque style there is a painting of St Mark – patron of the church. In the side altar there used to be a statue of St Nicholas from the beginning of the 15th century, which was, however, transferred to a new church in Rodaki.
4. Church and cemetery in Chechło – church of the Blessed Virgin Mary from 1807 refers to Baroque style. Next to the temple there is a belfry from 1830 and a cemetery with a stone obelisk of the Kmita family from 1789 and a grave of partisans.
5. Błędowska Desert – the largest area of volatile sands in Central Europe (covering about 33 km2). Up to about the 12th–13th century, this area was covered with pine forests. Their depletion, usually for the needs of the mining in Olkusz area, led to the creation of a desert landscape. The northern part of the desert is closed and serves as a military training ground. The southern part is an attractive area for hiking and horse riding. The most beautiful view of the Polish Sahara is available from the new observation deck called "The Rose of Winds".