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.
Have snow chains ready if you arrive by car and there is some chance of driving even 100 meters off the main road.
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.
Ski lifts of all types close for entry at 15:30. Snow groomers massively enter the slopes around 16:00.
Evening skiing is available only at 13 from Biela Put between 6pm and 9pm, which is most practical if your accommodation is nearby.
Southern and northern sides of the hill are not connected by ski bus, unlike most ski resorts in Alps. Allow enough time to return before lifts close.
If you miss last cablecar on the southern side, your only options to get back to the north from Krupova station are:
- asking your friends to drive you back on their car; round trip from Lucky to Krupova is 2:30 to 3 hours
- ordering a taxi, which is around €90 per car
All offices and shops at Krupova close at 16:00. A bus serving resort empoyees to Brezno (a nearest town on southern side) can ride you to Kuria na Taloch hotel and restaurant, where you can wait for friends or taxi to come. The bus departs from Krupova about 16:30.
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.
Alpine ski and snowboarding
- 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.
Rent can be up to 4 times cheaper if you drive few minutes from the skiing main entry points like Lucky or Biela Put.
Ski rental shop Intershop just next to Lucky chairlifts is open 8am-4pm.
The largest ski school in the area is Tatry Motion (office at Lucky open 8am-4pm daily). Their school for kids is branded as MaxiLand.
There are two ways of purchasing ski passes:
- purchase physical card from GoPass kiosk (8am-2pm daily); recharge it with ski passes online at one of self-service GoPass terminals, from mobile app or with web browser
- from a traditional cash desk (8am-3:20pm daily)--roughly 9% more expensive than the self-service way
Read price calendar at gopass.sk carefully: if there is price drop in the middle of your skiing period, sometimes it is wiser to purchase two smaller periods instead of one covering them both. Online way supports some form of advance purchase, with logistics of card delivery/pickup yet to be researched.
Passes are non-transferable, enforced with some video technology. Multi-day ski passes do not cover evening skiing. You can change a full day of riding with a 1-day ticket valid at Tatralandia and Bešeňová the water parks.
Pistes and skilift details
- Chopok: the station and all pistes starting there (1C, 32, 33a, 34c) are most exposed to strong winds
- Northern side
- piste #13 is most popular with beginners: wide, straight and gently sloping; free of bumps most of the time
- piste #10: great choice for intermediate riders: much less crowded than nearby 10; scenic and varied segment types
- piste #14: upper part gets full of bumps really quickly (e.g. by lunchtime in early January)
- piste #12: one of the most scenic and varied among reds
- the upper part of B4 chairlift, up to Lukova (and therefore upper parts of pistes ##1a, 5a), is much more exposed to strong winds than Rovna Hola and lower stations
- Southern side:
- as large part of 34C is nearly horizontal (which is quite challenging for less experienced riders), only 20 meters height change between Chopok and Derese for a really long "walk", and both alternatives from Chopok are black, it may be smarter to reach Kosodrevina by cable car and start riding from there.
The entire Jasna resort is popular with ski mountaineering practitioners: several dozens of them can be seen in early January; there is even a dedicated equipment rental shop for it at Lucky, open 8am-4pm daily.
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.
Hotel Druzba. Its ski-in restaurant has some of the most interesting menu that you can find for lunch near pistes; for nearly the same prices as in more regular places.
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 across 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.
The whole range is very exposed to weather. In summer you should be prepared for a quick descent in case of thunderstorms. In winter, strong winds and heavy snow can make riding really challenging, and frequently leads to closing some skilifts and pistes.
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 (more in Get around).