Canoeing through the Czarna Hańcza river and Augustów Canal
Czarna Hańcza is called the most beautiful river in Podlasie. It streams through the fragrant forests, scenic hills and valleys. This river is a house for many fascinating plants, many fish and bird species located around its shiny water. It is a real paradise for canoeists. Canoeing through the Czarna Hańcza might be a one-day trip or a week-long, exciting journey through the wild forest and charming historical Augustów Canal.
The river head is located in the wetland territories of the northern Suwalszczyzna. It starts at the Hańcza lake and streams through the majestic gorge of Suwałki Landscape Park. Then, Czarna Hańcza meanders peacefully through the “Gaciska” valley which was created in the place of its previous streambed, to finally arrive at the Suwałki. After leaving the city it flows into the territory of Wigry National Park and Augustów Primeval Forest.
Right behind the Wigry lake, there is the beginning of one of the most popular Polish lowland canoeing routes. Czarna Hańcza streams there lazily among backwaters and wetland meadows just to speed along at the territory of the wild Augustów Primeval Forest. At this section of the route the wild nature untouched by humanity is the one in charge. While passing the Rygol village we have a chance to get into a very charming route of the Augustów Primeval Forest. While exploring the forest part of the canal we will face the lockage at the Sosnówka lock and then in Mikaszówka. Nearby the local lock, there is a historical wooden church of the saint Mary Magdalene from the beginning of the XX century. In Mikaszówka, right after the lock, there are two recommendable gastronomic points which are famous for serving some local cuisine. What is more, tourists have a chance to tool up themselves with the necessary items in the local shops.
Another important point of this route is the beautiful Mikaszewo lake. It is partly peated and overgrown which makes it even more charming. An extra attraction for the tourists is forest thicket located among the northern shoreline of the lake.
Our next step is Perkuć lock which is located in a pine and spruce fragrant preserve of the same name. Since the year 2000 it has been marked as a special protection area of the wild birds. While streaming further, we are getting into the Krzywe lake where we can see a famous Dowgrida bridge. Dowgrid is a character from the Polish swashbuckler series called: “Czarne chmury”. Krzysztof Dowgird, a Polish nobleman, is hiding along with his friend, Kacper, from the reiters under the small bridge in Augustów Primeval Forest. This bridge will stay forever in the hearts of the series’ fans.
Further route will lead us to the Paniewo lock. Because of the huge land depression, this hydrological building is the only two-chamber lock in Europe. The entire length of the lock is 88m and its width is 5,95 m. The entire lockage time is around 30 minutes and the journey here is truly exciting. Next to another lock named Gorczyca, there is a historical memorial rock of John Paul II’s visit in Gmina Płaska. In 1999, the Holy Father sailed across the Augustów Canal and finished his voyage exactly on this lock. Behind the lock, there is a restaurant called “Jadłodajnia” where you can try some local food such as: kartacze, pierogis with blueberries, soczewiaki and many, many more of our local special dishes!
Later on our journey through the Augustów Canal, we sail through the Swoboda lock and the Studzieniczne lake which is located near the Studzieniczna city. According to the legends, there is a well with the sanative water in this city which can heal your eyes if you suffer from any eye disease. There is a Shrine of Holy Mary from Studzieniczna nearby which is currently the main location of the Mariolatry in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ełk. Further on our route, there is Przewięź lock and the Białe lake. There, in the Przewięź city, there is a stunning beach located on the bank slope. Thanks to the huge pitch of the beach area, this location is truly perfect for sunbathing. Sunbathers can enjoy the warm sand, peace and silence as well as the beautiful view of the shiny sheet of water. Besides sunbathing, we recommend trying the crystal clear water of the lake. The last part of our journey on this route is Serwy lake which we’re gonna talk about in the individual chapter.
Journey through the Czarna Hańcza and Augustów Canal is a exciting adventure full of magical experiences. The wild nature and local people will tell you about the stories you will never ever forget.