A Trip through the Longest Mountain Valley in Slovakia
A bike trail through the longest mountain valley to the very heart of the Great Fatra National Park.
Start and destination: Ľubochňa, parking lot in the town centre
Trail: 21 km (+ 21 km back)
Marking: green bike trail, no marking, red hiking trail
Surface: asphalt road, paved road
Difficulty level: mildly rising path
Safety: The trail leads through the town along the local third-class road. There is sporadic traffic of foresters and cabin owners in the valley. In the territory of Krátke, there is prohibition of entry for vehicles, but there still might be occasionally passing cars of foresters or cabin owners.
From the centre of the town, we follow the green-marked bike trail along the mildly rising road leading to the valley. Right at the beginning, we pass by the spa park crossed by trails with resting points and benches. We walk through the rest of the town and enter the valley. Here we begin to see the beautiful nature of the Great Fatra, as we are entering into its depths. Passing by the creek, we are entering the territory of Nižné (lower) and Vyšné (upper) Krátke, where there is a ski lift, frequently used especially by the local skiers. The valley starts getting wider and reveals more of what’s within, as we are getting closer and closer to the heart of the Great Fatra National Park. We continue through the valley to the place where the green-marked bike trail turns right from the asphalt road, in the direction to Salatín gamekeeper’s lodge. Here we get off the green-marked bike trail and continue along the asphalt road up the valley without marking. However, it should be easy to navigate, as we only go straight up the valley. We pass by the medical-educational sanatorium for children, from which there is a hiking trail leading to peak Kľak with a viewpoint. We continue, passing by gamekeeper’s lodges and cabins, to the territory of Blatné, in which there are two hiking trails. The yellow one leads to Smrekovica and the red one leads through the valley. We follow the red one, which is going to mark our trail until the end of our trip. Little by little we arrive at a fire-protection tank, which has replaced the former water reservoir. We continue further, until we reach the tourist signposts in the territory of “Močidlo”, where our trail ends, because we have come as far as one can get without disturbing or affecting the rare local fauna and flora. We return to Ľubochňa along the same route. After we have returned from the hike, we can use the services of the restaurant located at the beginning of the trail.
– There is a restaurant at the beginning of the trail.
– There is an educational trail running through the town and the beginning section of the valley, and we can see its information panels along our trail.
– There used to be a well-known climatic spa in Ľubochňa in the past, as evidenced especially by the local architecture. Today, Ľubochňa is the seat of the renowned National Institute of Endocrinology and Diabetes.
– In the vicinity of the trail, there is a small hydro-power station, which used to power the first electrified railway in Austria-Hungary, and it includes an exhibition.
– There used to be a narrow-gauge railway running through the valley in the past, and it is still possible to see a few of its elements, if you look for them.
– In the valley, there are several important protected natural territories with rare flora and there are rare animals living there.
– If you want to, you can make a detour along the green-marked bike trail at the place where we get off of it. The green-marked trail will lead you to an unnamed waterfall situated in the valley by the Salatín Creek right after the bridge (approx. 1.5 km after Salatín gamekeeper’s lodge).
– The green-marked bike trail continues further to Černová (Ružomberok), but the terrain gets a lot more difficult and requires a better-quality bike.
– Bathing in the water reservoir is prohibited.
– At the end of our trail, it is possible to continue further on foot, without bikes, to cabin “Chata pod Borišovom”, where you can buy refreshments. However, take into account that the way to the cabin takes approximately an hour and a half plus an hour to return.