Dear visitors of Dzukija National Park, we are pleased to invite you to discover the environs Marcinkonys by following Zackagiris sightseeing route. The length of the route is 13,8 km but it is possible to choose shorter sections: the one of 7 km long or the other of 10,5 km long. The route begins at Visitors Centre in Marcinkonys. 1. Marcinkonys is the one of the largest Lithuaniain village which originated from a settlement of forest scuots mentioned back to 1637. Up to the middle of the 19th century, it was a small village that expanded only after the railway Warszaw – St. Petersburg was built (in the second half of the 19th century). The environs of the village have been inhabited since the Stone Age. Now Marcinkonys has over 700 inhabitants. Dzukija National Park and Čepkeliai State Nature Rezervation Visitors Centre in Marcinkonys are located here. A small path winding further leads towards Naujaliai or Kremlius, that part of the village that is situated in a depression. Farther on, the Duobupis, a small river that crosses Naujaliai, joins the Zackagiris stream which gives the name to this sightseeing ruote. After leaving the village, the Zackagiris flows into the Grūda that runs through the forest from the Grūda lake that separates Lithuania and Belarus. The lenght of the Grūda is 45 km. It differs from the Park‘s other rivers by its very wide valley and an abundance of the loops and old riverbeds. In the past, the Grūda was famous for its large population crayfish; trouts, graylings and otters can be seen hunting there. The Grūda water-meadows are a favourite hiding place for corn-crakes, while herons look for frogs here and cranes come here during spring. 2. Hill of Shooting-Range. A shooting-range was established here during the Polish Occupation period and then it was used by Germans. There were wooden rails at the feet of the hill that were used for pulling a trolley with attached targets. A cottage stood at the edge of the forest from which they used to shots at the moving target-trolley. The high slope would "absorb" the shots that missed the target. Village children used to look for lead from bullets for their fishing-rods. They used to slide down the sand and look for any piece of a bullet that could come to the surface. 3. Trees with hollows. When you cross the Grūda, you will find a hollow pine. There are very old bee-keeping traditions in the forest of Dzūkija. During hard times, people would face a shortage bread or money but they would never experience a lack of honey. Honey and wax has been the main source of income for many inhabitants for a long time. They used to climb trees by using special equipment that is exhibited at the Ethnographic Museum in Marcinkonys. Bees can be found living in the hollows of the Ancient Bee-Keeping Path located in the environs of Musteika. 4.Hill of Valley. The white sand hill is an open hill in the Roosters corner. Inland dunes in Dzukija pine forests extend for tens of kilometers but all of them have stopped moving since trees and grass have stopped the movement of sand. But this dune is still alive. Helped by the wind, it tries to resist plants by pouring its white sand on them. 5. “The Bear’s Rump”. Lichen forests are replaced by small swamps, meadows and bushes called “The Bear’s Rump”. On the right, there are cultural meadows with the straightened and deepened Zackagiris stream flowing through. On the left, there is a small but very beautiful raised bog. In spring, andromedas burst into blossom and cotton – grass shows its white tuft. Ledums and bog whortleberries grow in drier places and cranberry stems interlace on the hummocks of swamps. Moving toward the Aklažeris, fenced fields called Prudai appear on the left. 6. The Aklažeris. This is a small lake of thermo – karstic origin that appeared when an ice lump broke away from a glacier and was covered with soil. The bogging process transformed the lake of almost 10 hectares (where people could swim only fifty years ago) into a transition mire. Silver crucian carps used to spawn in the lake and fishing boats would be moored along the shores. A lot of mountain arnicas and sand pinks grow on the slopes of the lake’s shores. 7. Beaver’s Places. The path leads through the sections stretching out through the dunes towards the Warszaw – St. Petersburg railroad leaving the Aklažeris behind. On the right, it is possible to see lush sedge meadows and low – lying marshy land quagmires which conceal beavers cabins. On the left, 200 m far from the railroad, there is a circus brimming with numerous springs where the Zackagiris stream begins. After visiting a woody island, there is a wide clearing: these are lanes through which Marcinkonys village cattle were driven to the border of Čepkeliai Raised Bog. Turning on the left, there is the Kastinis Lake nearby, and turning on the right, it is possible to go back to Visitors Centre in Marcinkonys by following the lanes.
Bee hollow scenic sightseeing path
This path is in the territory around Musteika, five km far from the Village. A walk along this path is a great opportunity to get acquainted with pine trees that have bee hollows in them, which reminds visitors of one of the oldest professions in this region. Also, it is worth seeing the small sand dunes and mosaic of small marshes in the Musteika area. An excursion on this path will also provide useful information about the history of beekeeping and to appreciate the toil of the profession in this region.
Sightseeing on the Forest path
The length of the path is 3.6 km. This path covers the southern edge of the pinewood in Marcinkonys, and goes around the old mill dam. Original recreational installations, gazeboes and beach create an ideal atmosphere for relaxation. Here lay the plants of the pine groves and the mushrooms of Dzūkija. The Duobupis Reservoir birds and water fauna, as well as means or equipment for forest animal preservation, can also be seen. While travelling along this path, it is also possible to get familiar with the closed, shallow water pool’s flora and fauna.
The Skroblus sightseeing path
The length of the path is 4km. This path winds through the Village of Kapiniškiai towards the lower dunes, where the small Bakanauskai marshes and the Bakanauskai Lake are. This lake and marshes formed because of a thermokarst event – when an iceberg was withdrawing from the area, a section broke off, and the block of ice was buried under the silt. Marshes like this are very specific for the sandy flatlands of Dainava. A dock stretches from the edge of the marsh to the lake, from which one the varied plant life can be seen and it is possible to enjoy the colors and the smells of the marsh once settled in the scenic view area. While walking along the path, people get acquainted with one of the most impressive rivers in Lithuania-the Skroblus. There is no other river in Lithuania that is as short (17.3 km) and deep as it. The outflow from the Old Lady’s Garden Spring in Margionys nets only 8 L per second, and into the Merkys- 700 L per second. The Old Lady’s Garden Spring is one of the fountain springs of the Skroblus that has been declared a Natural Hydrogeological Monument. The fountains splash on the Skroblus surface not only through the slopes. However, at the Old Lady’s Garden, they force their way out from deep, watery, intra-moraine layers to the surface, and at the surface, form pools which local people call "burbaklėmis". There is a dock stretching over the marshy pool, which leads right to the spring, whose water flows form caves from the depths of the earth. It is said that the children of Margionys were brought to their parents when they were pulled out of the spring by an old woman. A great portion of the Skroblus Valley has been declared a Reserve territory, and visitors are prohibited.
Water tourism is very popular in the Park. More and more visitors are being lured by the waters of the Ūla, Merkys and the Nemunas. On the Nemunas, you can travel by motorized boats, or kayaks, canoes, etc. On the Merkys, you can travel with all types of non-motorized boats on a sporty-sightseeing excursion. Tourists looking for simpler routes, without too many obstacles of Nature, choose this route. The Ūla is in one of the most scenic areas of the Park, and is one of the most beautiful rivers in Lithuania. It is perfect for water tourism. It flows through the forests of Dainava, through the depths of old, hidden villages, impressive slopes and bends. When travelling by kayak, the eye is drawn to the canyons of the rivers, springs, the thickly growing willows and bird cherries on the shore and exposed meadows. Travelling on it can be quite complicated: it has a fairly strong flow, bends and many fallen trees. Upstream, it flows through wide alluvial fields, and mid-way, the Ūla winds into a canyon-like valley. On both sides of the Ūla, the Landscape Reserve is seen, and therefore travel on this river is limited. Only non-motorized, paddle type craft are allowed from May 1st-October 1st. No more than 100 water craft are allowed per day. In order to travel on the Ūla, a visitor’s ticket is necessary. The regulations of water tourism on the Ūla River are determined by the Dzūkian National Park and the Čepkelis National Nature Reserve’s Management, guided by the Park’s plan, confirmed by the Republic of Lithuania’s Government in 1997, by decision 419 of April 29th, and the Environmental Protection conditions for travelling on the waterways with water craft, and the list of water craft that are limited or not allowed, confirmed by Lithuania’s Minister of the Environment. The route of travel on the Ūla is not separated from the Merkys and Nemunas Rivers. Every year, more travellers, upon finishing the journey on the Ūla, choose to continue on the Merkys up until Puvočiai, or Merkinė. Sometimes the journey ends at the Nemunas, near Nemunaičiai or Alytus.ONE DAY AGENDAS:
Zervynos–Trakiškiai, duration 6h. The journey begins from a plot in the Village of Zervynai, and ends at the Trakiškiai campsite. Mančiagirė–Puvočiai, duration 6h. The journey begins at the bridge by the Varėna-Marcinkonys road. It ends at the Puvočių campsite. Trakiškiai–Puvočiai, duration 3h. Boarding area- The campsite at Trakiškiai. The journey ends at—the Puvočiai campsite.
A TWO DAY EXCURSION: Zervynai–Puvočiai, duration 8h. Boarding area-the plot by the Village of Zervynai. Lodgings- the campsites of Trakiškiai or Mardasava. The journey ends at the campsite of Puvočiai. For water tourists travelling on the Ūla River, there are three campsites in the territory: Pauosupė, Mančiagirė and Trakiškiai. The campsites of Pauosupė and Mančiagirė are designated for water tourists only, and the one in Trakiškiai can be used by visitors travelling by car. The Mardasava and Puvočiai campsites are tied in with excursions on the Ūla, where a large part of the travellers on the Ūla stay.
A bicycle tour on the paths of the Dzūkija National Park is an opportunity to get acquainted with the value of nature and culture in Dzūkija, the “riverine”, “field”, and “forest” Dzūkai etnic groups who live in the pinewoods, near the Nemunas, their households and traditions. Ethnographic villages, architectural monuments, monuments in Nature, forests rich in mushrooms and berries, and flowing rivers, all of this lures travellers. In the pinewood near Zervynai there is the largest area for picking boletus and bee aviaries and sand dunes can be found too. On the shores of Liškiava and the Merkinė – large mounds, rafter and fishermen‘s villages. Towards Subartonys – loamy clay hills, strings of lakes, the birthplace of Vincas Krėvė-Mickevičius, and the legendary Lake Gilšė. In Margionys, a spring flows from "Bobos Daržas" which flows into one of the coldest and clearest streams in Lithuania called– Skroblus, Barn theatre and mysterious meadow of Skerdzimai.
This is not an intense journey, and there are plenty of roads and paths which create good conditions for reaching even some of the most remote parts of the park. Along the way, one can find short-term rest areas, shady huts, and paths near the springs, so that every traveller can get refreshed by the icy and pure water.
We offer ten signed routes:
1. Marcinkonys-Darželiai-Kapiniškiai-Margionys-Marcinkonys The beginning of the route is the Visitors Centre in Marcinkonys (Miškininkų str. 61). The length of the route is about 26 km. This route is signed like this :
What to see: exposition about the Dzukija National Park and Čepkeliai National Nature Reserve, river of Skroblus, village of Darželiai, river of Grūda, field of Skerdzimų, well of Atončiko, swamp and lake of Bakanauskai, village of Margionys, well of „Bobos dažas“.
2. Marcinkonys-Čepkeliai-Musteika-Margionys-Marcinkonys The beginning of the route is the Visitors Centre in Marcinkonys (Miškininkų str. 61). The length of the route is about 39 km. This route is signed like this :
What to see:exposition about the Dzukija National Park and Čepkeliai National Nature Reserve, wild beekeeping exposition in the village of Musteika, river of Grūda, village of Margionys, well of „Bobos dažas“.
3. Marcinkonys-Lynežeris-Kašėtos-Zervynos-Marcinkonys The beginning of the route is the Visitors Centre in Marcinkonys(Miškininkų str. 61). The length of the route is about 35 km. This route is signed like this : What to see: lake of Kastinis, lake of Lygutis, etnographic village of Lynežeris, lake of Lyno, river of Ūla, Museum of A. Matutis in the village of Pauosupėje, the etnographic village of Zervynos, wood of wild beekeeping, ethnographic homestead-museum of Marcinkonys.
4. Marcinkonys-Zervynos-"Ūlos akis"-Žiūrai-Marcinkonys The beginning of the route is the Visitors centre in Marcinkonys (Miškininkų str. 61). The length of the route is about 30 km. This route is signed like this :
What to see: complex of forest and swamp of Stėgaliai, lake of Stėgaliai, etnographic village of Žiūrai, wood of wild beekeeping, well of "Ūlos akis", village of Žiūrai, lake of Versminis, ethnographic homestead-museum of Marcinkonys.
5. Zervynos-Trakiškiai-Puvočiai-Marcinkonys The beginning of the route is in Zervynos village. The length of the route is about 26 km. This route is signed like this :
What to see: etnographic village of Zervynos, well of „Ūlos akis“, rivers confluence of Merkys and Ūla, tower of view in village of Puvočiai, ethnographic homestead-museum of Marcinkonys.
6. Merkinė-Subartonys-Samūniškės-Merkinė. The beginning of the route is in Merkinė town. The length of the route is about 26 km. This route is signed like this :
What to see: exposition of Dzūkija national park, town of Merkinė and column of this town, oak-wood of Subartonys, memorial museum and home of V. Krėvė, lakes of Gilšė and Bedugnis, village of Pelikiškės, mound of Merkinė with view of rivers confluence.
7. Merkinė−Česukai−Pašilingė−Maksimai−Ucieka− Žiogeliai−Druskininkai−Gailiūnai−Liškiava−Žeimiai− Gudeliai−Panara−Merkinė The beginning of the route is in Merkinė town. The length of the route is about 70 km. This route is signed like this :
8. Puvočiai–Dubininkas–Viršurodukis–Roduka– Kasčiūnai–Glyno ež.–Mardasavas–Puvočiai The beginning of the route is in Puvočiai. The length of the route is about 31 km. This route is signed like this :
9. Varėna–Lavysas–„Ūlos akis“–Zervynos–Pauosupė– Palkabalis–Varėna The beginning of the route is in Varėna town. The length of the route is about 49 km. This route is signed like this :
10. Merkinė–Lankininkai–Roduka–Noruliai–Maksimai–Česukai–Merkinė The beginning of the route is in Merkinė town. The length of the route is about 37 km. This route is signed like this : Travelling by car
For tourists travelling by car, these routes are suggested: Visitors' Center at Marcinkonys, Miškininkų str. 61 - the Spring at Zervynos, the Eye of the Ūla - the Ethnographic Homestead-the Museum at Marcinkonys (duration 2 hours, length - 30 km). Visitors' Center at Marcinkonys, Miškininkų str. 61 -the Ethnographic Homestead-the Museum at Marcinkonys–Margionys–Grybaulia–Musteika– finish at the starting point-Visitors' Center at Marcinkonys, Miškininkų str. 61 (duration 3 hours, length-35.5km). Visitors' Center at Merkinė, Vilniaus str.3 –Subartonys–Vincukas’ Oak- finish at the starting point-Merkinė Visitor’s Center (duration 2 hours, length 7 km). Visitor’s Center at Merkinė, Vilniaus str. 3 –the Hill of Crosses–a Mound– the Masters of Black Pottery– finish at the starting point -Visitors' Center at Merkinė, Vilniaus str. 3 (duration 3 hours, length 4.5 km). Visitors' Center Merkinė, Vilniaus str. 3 –Liškiava Mound and Church-the Rare and Protected Plant and Flower Collection- finish at the starting point – Visitors' Center at Merkinė, Vilniaus str. 3 (duration 6 hours, length 50 km).