The mountain range resides right in the central part of Slovakia, and belongs to Carpathian Mountains range.
The peaks of the range are much less pronounced than those of High Tatras, but the height difference from foot of the mountains to the top is approx. 1200m. The most "important" peaks (west to east) include:
- 1 Veľká Chochuľa. 1753 m, see also South-Western Liptov
- 2 Chabenec. 1955 m
- 3 Dereše. 2004 m
- 4 Chopok. 2024 m
- 5 Ďumbier. 2043 m
- 6 Kráľova hoľa. 1948 m
Flora and fauna
In the summer months (mid-July - August), there are plenty of blueberries and cranberries on some of the hills and on nearby hike trails (but don't expect to find them near the cable cars).
For most one-day tourists, "Chopok" peak is the destination - and thus they arrive from north ("Demänovská dolina" valley) or south ("Bystrá dolina" valley) and go up by cable cars.
There are other hikes possible, for possible entry/exit points see below.
Fees and permits
National park rules are similar to those in High Tatras, though much less enforced. No permits or fees are required for walking.
Magnificent views to surrounding mountains is possible from each peak.
Multiple accessible caves:
- 1 Demänovská freedom cave (Demänovská jaskyňa slobody). The most visited cave in Slovakia, 2150m and 1150m long excursions available. Temperature inside is around 6°C. €4-15 only payable in cash.
- 2 Demänovská ice cave (Demänovská ľadová jaskyňa). Approx. 650-m long excursion to a cave, where the temperature is around 0°C all year long. €4-8 only payable in cash.
- 3 Cave of dead bats (Jaskyňa mŕtvych netopierov) (Easiest access route is from Trangoška, nearby the south cable car base station of Jasná. Go on the path towards M. R. Štefánik, you should see the branch towards the cave in about 1h.). 1050 m-1750 m long excursions available (priced according to that). €4-34.
- 4 Brankov waterfall (Brankovský vodopád) (Easy access from Ruzomberok). Highest waterfall of the mountain range, esp. nice in winter.
- 1 Jasná ski center (Accessible from both north via Liptovský Mikuláš, and south via Brezno or Banská Bystrica.). This ski center around the peak Chopok is said to be the biggest one in Slovakia.
Hiking is probably the most common sport around. Mostly done in the warm months - but with proper equipment, also winter ski-alpinism is possible.
A beautiful and not too demanding multi-day hike is possible through the whole mountain range, from Donovaly all the way to Telgárt, or the other way around. Depending on the start and end, the hike can take anywhere from 1 to approx. 5 days.
Common starting/exit points:
- 1 Donovaly, accessible by bus from Banská Bystrica or Ružomberok
- 2 Korytnica, a former spa area. Nowadays, you can at least find mineral water streams and a small restaurant.
- 3 Liptovská Lúžna, bus stop "Nocovňa SAD", direct connection from Ružomberok
- 4 Liptovský Ján (hike trail to Chata M.R.Štefánika), bus to Liptovský Mikuláš. A spa village also with some restaurants.
- 5 Čertovica
- 6 Telgárt
While not as satisfactory as walking for days with heavy backpack, it's possible to take cablecar almost to the top of Chopok. It's one few minutes hike up from there, also done in ski shoes in the winter.
Ďumbier peak is approx. an hour away from there - probably the most visited peak apart from the previous one.
The manned huts usually provide small refreshments, soups and similar. Also the ski centers provide the usual range of (fast) foods.
In the villages around Jasná, there are many lodgings available also for big groups of people. This article only lists the separate (alpine) huts, where one can sleep during hike accross the mountain range (in order from west to east).
- 1 Útulňa Ďurková pod Chabencom (Ďurková pod Chabencom refuge) (A few houndred meters off the main path.). Sleeping in own sleepbag, simple foods (some soups etc.), beer and other beverages available. Fresh water steam nearby, dry toilette is outside. €4.
- 2 Kamenná chata pod Chopkom (Right under the top cable car station.). Sleeping in bunk beds, warm food, beer and other available. €20-23.
- 3 Chata M.R.Štefánika. Sleeping in bunk beds, showers, warm food, beer and other available. €13-21.
- 4 Útulňa Ramža. A small refuge, sleeping in own bags, drinkable water is nearby. No service or personnel.
- 5 Útulňa Andrejcová. A refuge at altitude of 1410 m. Sleeping in bags for 15 persons, drinkable water is nearby. No service or personnel. Free.
- 6 TV tower at Kráľova hoľa. An emergency sleep room available.
There are few fatal accidents happening yearly, most commonly heart problems, fall from a cliff or ski accidents. You should however not underestimate weather - the whole range is very exposed to weather. Especially in the summer you should be prepared for a quick descent in case of thunderstorms.
During strong winds, the cablecar in Jasná can stop operating - be sure to check the weather forecast before skiing, or you may be left stranded on the wrong side of the hill (and need a couple-hours detour or hard hike up).
Banská Bystrica also provides for cultural and shopping needs.