Friday, March 14, 2014

Day hikes in the Slovak Tatra Mountains

View from Ľadový štít (available only with a mountain guide)
There are many options for one-day hiking trips in the Slovak Tatras. Generally you will not find so difficult trails accessible without a mountain guide as there are in Poland. But on the other hand some of the summits are higher than Polish ones. And what is the most significant – the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia are less crowded than in Poland.

Western Tatras
Typical valley of the Western Tatra Mountains
Valleys in the Slovak Western Tatra Mountains are quite long and not very steep. They are suitable for people who seek easy trails with beautiful views. Žiarska dolina, Studená dolina, Bobrovecká dolina and Tichá dolina have even asphaltic floor what makes them really easy to reach but on the other hand more tiring for people returning from longer trips.

Most of the summits in the Western Tatras which are accessible by the marked trails are easy to reach. They only require good physical condition because the hikes are quite long. Some technical difficulties you will find at the main ridge between Roháče and Salatín. 
There are shelters in some valleys – good place to rest and have a meal. You can also spend there night or two but it is not necessary to sleep there, even if you want to do hikes in the higher parts of the mountains. Good starting points for a day hikes are Oravice, Pribilina, Jalovec, Zar and Podbanske. Zuberec is a bit to far from the beginnings of trails - you can sleep there, but than it is better to drive into the valley to start a trip.

High Tatras
The High Tatras
Hiking trails in Slovak High Tatras mostly lead through valleys and passes – some of them are really spectacular like Sedielko, Prielom, Závory or Poľský hrebeň. There are also few high summits you can ascend on your own (Rysy, Východná Vysoká, Kôprovský štít, Jahňací štít, Slavkovský štít and Kriváň). All of them are suitable for one-day trips but require good physical condition.

Rest of the summits is accesible only with a licensed mountain guide – the highest Tatra peak Gerlach too. The second highest peak Lomnický štít is available also with a cable car.

Shelters are located in most of the valleys. They are good starting point for day trips.

Belianske Tatras
Belianske Tatras are very beautiful but generally inaccessible. Very fiew trails lead there and there is only one shelter called Plesnivec. The great attraction is Belianska Cave - the largest and the only one open to the public cave in the Slovak Tatras.

You can of course drive between entrances of the valleys by car and leave it on the parking spots. In the Western Tatras it is the best idea. But in the High Tatras there is better way – a train which connects all the beginings of trails. It is cheaper and very convenient. Remember to buy ticket on the train station. If you sleep in shelters you can also drive into some valleys by car.

Hiking trails in the Slovak Tatra Mountains are not accessible to public between 1 November and 15 June. 
Picturesque gorge Tiesňavy in the Western Tatras

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