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Rospuda – a kayaking adventure for those who have no fear

For kayaking trips down the Rospuda river we provide kayaks from our seat in Maćkowa Ruda. There is also a free parking lot for your car to wait while you enjoy your trip.

The Rospuda river winds over the Lake Czarna at 175 m above sea level and ends at the Rospuda Lake at approx. 122 m above sea level. The river basin amounts to 900 km2. The Rospuda route is 68 km long and it takes 5–6 days to complete it.

In its section, Rospuda flows through narrow lakes, and the forested hills and boulders scattered on the shores of the lakes make the landscape somewhat mountain-like. In the sections between the lakes, the river bottom is rocky, while Rospuda itself is narrow and there are numerous shallows. Further on, the river flows through a swampy valley up to the Lake Długie, and it is almost impossible to go down this section at low water levels.

For the kayakers who desire adventures, the middle section of the Rospuda river will be attractive. Once you leave the Lake Garbaś the current becomes faster, the water flow is fast, the bottom is rocky and the river goes through the first gorge. The banks are high and steep in many places, and numerous bends and fallen trees make the flow diverse. The Rospuda river is picturesque and wild up until Raczki. You can experience sandy and rocky rapids, sharp bends with a fast current here.

Having passed Raczki, Rospuda enters the area of the Augustów Forest. It meanders among marshy meadows surrounded by forests. The 3 km long section with numerous gorges past the village of Jaśki the river presents a lot of forks and isles. The banks are alternately steep or flat, covered with magnificent pines and spruces, and astonishing alders that grow nearly in water. A lot of fallen trees lies in the river.

In its lower section, the Rospuda river becomes wider, however the current is still fast. It meanders among wet meadows in a tunnel covered with reeds and calamus. In its final section the river is wide and peacefully slow. The section near the river's mouth is tightly surrounded by the forest. It may seem like you entered the Amazon forest.

Rospuda – START

The end of Supienie village by the asphalt road from Filipów to Czarne (you can get there by taking a bus from Suwałki) is a convenient set off point for the kayaking trip. You can start on the right bank before the road bridge in a sandy cove surrounded by the forest. There is a campsite as well. We will deliver your kayaks to the set off point from our seat in Maćkowa Ruda. You can also use our free parking lot in Maćkowa Ruda to leave your car while you enjoy your trip down the Czarna Hańcza or Rospuda rivers.

When the water level is low, the less experienced kayakers are recommended to start their trips down the Rospuda river from the north end of the Lake Garbaś, as the upper river section may be troublesome due to numerous shallows.


Example sections of the trip:

Note: when the water level is low, the trip down the upper section may be troublesome. Therefore we recommend starting from the third section.

  1. 1. Lake Czarne–Filipów (10 km) - start the trip on the isthmus between the Lake Czarne and the Lake Rospuda Filipowska. You enter Lake Rospuda –– a ribbon lake that is 6 km long and ends with a narrow and low tunnel. Next, the isthmus will take you to a small Lake Kamienne. The water level here is shallow and the river has a rocky bottom. At the southern end of the lake there is another bridge with a tunnel, followed by the town of Filipów.
  2. 2. Filipów– Lake Garbaś (11 km) - it’s a very difficult, however interesting section of the river. Having passed Filipów, the Rospuda river becomes narrow and shallow, and it meandres heavily. Rocky shallows and fallen trees make the trip more diverse, however if the water level is low, you are required to carry your kayak yourself. Next, the river goes through a swampy valley to the Lake Długie and the banks are covered with rusher densely. The very beginning of the Lake Długie is also shallow and muddy. Right before the Lake Garbaś, the river drop is more significant so the current becomes faster. You can observe moraine hills on the banks and in the riverbed there are numerous fallen trees and wooden stakes, shallow submerged or protruding from the water, which used to reinforce the banks.
  3. 3. Lake Garbaś–Lake Sumowo or Kotowina village (12–14 km) - at the end of Lake Garbaś begins an unusually attractive section of the kayaking trip –– you can experience low-suspended bridges, rocky shallows and fallen trees there. The current is incredibly strong and the river is deep and meandres heavily. Fast and straight rapids alternate with sharp turns. High banks are covered with forest. You go across the mid-forest Lake Głębokie and then through the gorge with even faster current, sharper bends and fallen trees. Right before the road bridge in Bakałarzewo you need to carry your kayak 50 m down the left bank. (There’s also a shop available 500 m from the bridge in Bakałarzewo) Next, you reach the picturesque Lake Sumowo, which shores will welcome you if you want to pitch a tent there, or to the village of Kotowina.
  4. 4. Lake Sumowo or Kotowina–Małe Raczki (12 km) - after the road bridge in Kotowina the river presents long and rocky shallows with fast current. Later on, it becomes more peaceful and meandres through swamps. The outflow from Lake Okrągłe is a charming forest-grown area, the water in the river is very clean and the current is very calm. The long and narrow Lake Bolesty resembles a river and you will find several convenient camping spots on its shores. In Małe Raczki you need to carry your kayak for a while. There's also a river hostel.
  5. 5. Małe Raczki–Uroczysko Święte Miejsce (15 km) - down the Raczki village the Rospuda river enters the area of the Augustów Forest and flows through no lakes up until its mouth in the Lake Rospuda Augustowska. It meanders among marshy meadows surrounded by forests. There are two unusual places worth visiting on the way: the ruins of the Pac’s Palace in Dowspuda and Uroczysko Święte Miejsce –– a place of religious worship. The park and the ruins of the Pac’s Palace are located a few hundred meters from the river bank. Initially, there are boulders and fallen trees in the clean water with fast current. You need to go through another gorge near the village of Jaśki –– the river will welcome you with fast current, a rocky bottom and numerous meanders and forks there. Four kilometres down the river you reach the “Święte Miejsce” wilderness. Near the wooden bridge, in the glade, there is a place of worship with stone and wooden crosses and chapels.
  6. 6. Uroczysko Święte Miejsce–Augustów (17 km) - this is the last section of the kayaking trip down the Rospuda river. It meanders among wetlands and reeds. You may feel as if you are going through a tunnel, because you can hardly see the banks. Down the mouth of the Blizna river, Rospuda gets wider and carries a lot of water in its bed. The section near the river's mouth is tightly surrounded by the forest –– deciduous trees nearly reach the water. The kayaking trip ends on the “Goła Zośka” campsite by the Lake Rospuda Augustowska.


You can find convenient spots to pitch a tent on the lake shores. There are also several campsites on the route, e.g.:

  • scout's hostel by the Lake Garbaś
  • in Bakałarzewo, right before the spot where you need to carry your kayak over
  • by the Lake Sumowo
  • in Kotowina
  • river hostel in Małe Raczki
  • in Chodorki
  • in Jaśki
  • Święte Miejsce wilderness

Shopping opportunities

We recommend taking food and water with you when you go on a kayaking trip. There are three bigger villages on the route (Filipów, Bakałarzewo and Raczki) where you can buy provisions near your resting spot.


You need to have your camping equipment with you such as a tent, a sleeping bag and a camping gas cylinder. There are a lot of long shallows on the route where you need to carry your kayak over. We recommend taking appropriate footwear. Also, a rope for towing kayaks may be useful.


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