Educational trail “Choč for Us, We for Choč”
The educational trail begins in the village of Lúčky, 13 km away from the centre of Ružomberok. It runs from the Tourist-Information Centre by the municipal authority, past the Lúčanský Waterfall, through the spa complex, through a valley and a wooded area, to the peak of Great Choč.
The trail runs from the centre of the village of Lúčky to a small park with the Lúčanský Waterfall. It continues past the church, to the spa complex, and to the valley above the village. It leads us through wooded areas and mountain meadows into the heart of the National Nature Reserve of Choč. Through a steep uphill section, it continues above the forest line, to notch Sedlo Vráca, from where it runs on rocky terrain through the zone of mountain bushes, to the peak of Great Choč. Along the trail, you will learn a few facts about the village of Lúčky, about the Lúčky Waterfall, Lúčky travertines and Choč. Your reward for completing the trail will be the beautiful panoramic views from the peak of Great Choč.
The trail begins in the centre of Lúčky, by the local Tourist-Information Centre. The first panel of the educational trail informs us about some basic historical facts about the village, and we also learn that there will be a total of seven educational panels on the trail. At the beginning, we should mention that the route is not marked with an educational trail marking, but it runs simultaneously with the red-marked hiking trail. The trail runs past the municipal authority, situated at which is a wood carving of a raftsman, to a small park with a beautiful waterfall, which is a National Natural Monument. The information about the Lúčky Waterfall is provided by another panel, with various facts about the waterfall. The trail continues on the staircase by the waterfall, at the end of which you need to turn left, to a church. Situated by the church is another, third panel, this time about Lúčky travertines, which are situated nearby (approximately 150 m away). After the detour to the travertines, you need to go back to the staircase at the waterfall and then continue to follow the red-marked hiking trail. By the creek, the trail passes by an apiary, where you will find educational panels about bees. The route continues to the spa complex, where, situated above the road, you will see the travertine walls to which you made a detour at the third panel. Running next to the road, the trail leads us through the spa complex, in which, in addition to many benches and artworks, there is also a mineral spring, from which you can fill up your water bottles before the trip. The fourth panel tells us something about the local spa. Situated at the spa park is a chapel, which is usually open for the visitors in the summer months. The route continues through the valley, to the mouth of the Jastrabia Valley, and enters it. Above the road in the valley, there is a resurgence with a flow rate meter of the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute. In a left-hand curve, the route exits the asphalt road to the right, crossing a bridge, and it continues along the creek, in the upstream direction. At approximately two hundred metres further ahead, the route crosses the creek and it continues to the left, into a side valley. At this place, under a tree, there is an old abandoned wooden well with a spring. The route through the valley runs mildly uphill at first, and later, from the place where there is a wooden cross on a tree, it continues steeply uphill. The terrain in the valley is damp and muddy. From the valley, the trail climbs up onto a paved sloping road, which it only crosses to the other side, and then continues into the woods. After a short while, the trail arrives at small meadows, on which there is a hiking shelter and the fifth educational panel, about Žimerová meadows. The next small meadow reveals a view of the rocky peaks of Small and Great Choč. The route continues through the woods, and at the place where it gets close to the border of the Choč National Nature Reserve, there will be the sixth educational panel, about the local woods. A little bit farther, there is a wooden well located on a creek, which directs the water from the creek into a wooden conduit. The trail arrives at a meadow / blowdown, where it makes a sharp left turn and continues uphill through fallen trees. The steeper section is secured with a chain, which you are supposed to hold onto for support. The steep uphill trail continues to the notch, the final section of the ascent to notch Sedlo Vráca is also secured with a chain. In the section from the blowdown to the notch, you get the first interesting views of the Choč Mountains, the Liptov Basin, the Low and the West Tatras. Situated in the notch is the last panel, about the geological conditions and the flora. In the final section, the route runs through the zone of mountain bushes, on rocky terrain. The steepest section of the route is secured with a metal chain for safe passing. The educational trail ends at the peak of Great Choč, and you are rewarded with a beautiful panoramic view of all the cardinal points. The Great Fatra, the Small Fatra, the Choč Mountains, the Low Tatras, the West Tatras, the High Tatras, Oravská Magura, Orava, Liptov and much more you can see from the peak in good weather, from the viewpoint compass rose, which helps you identify the surrounding hills. Descent along the same route is possible, however, you need to be careful in the steepest sections. You can use other routes to descend as well, to Valaská Dubová, Likavka, Lisková, Vyšný Kubín or Jasenová.
After completing the route and returning to Lúčky, we recommend using the services of the local spa and taking advantage of the beneficial effects of the mineral water to regenerate yourselves after the demanding hike to the peak and back.
– The texts on the panels of the educational trail are in Slovak and English.
– The educational trail is 15 km long (there and back), and it takes approximately 7 hours to complete. To this time, you need to add the time spent on rest breaks.
– The route overcomes the vertical distance of over 1000 m.
– The trail is situated in the Choč Mountains.
– The route passes through the protected bird area of the Choč Mountains.
– The route passes through the National Nature Reserve of Choč.
– The route passes in the vicinity of a mineral spring and several other springs.
– At the beginning of the route, there is a grocery store and a refreshment establishment.
– The route is not suitable for children under the age of 10 as well as for persons with reduced mobility.
– In the apiary complex, they organize regular guided tours.
– In the spa complex, you will find a restaurant / pizzeria and a shop with traditional spa wafers.
– At the end of the spa complex, you can make a detour to a boar pen, it takes approximately 20 minutes in total, there and back.
– There are other educational and hiking trails running from the spa complex as well.
– There is a marked bike trail running simultaneously with the route through the spa complex and the valley.
– At the waterfall, there are benches and a map of bike trails.
– There is a hikers’ book at the peak.
– Every year, there is a traditional New Year’s Eve hiking tour to Great Choč.
– You can walk the trail in winter as well, however, you need to take into account that it is a lot more difficult to navigate and move in the terrain covered with snow. In winter, you also need to use climbing irons / crampons.
– In the woods, behave in the way that will not disturb its inhabitants, do not damage anything, do not pick anything or leave anything in the woods.
– For the collectors, the Information Centre in Ružomberok offers a tourist sticker of Lúčky Waterfall, Lúčky Travertines, Lúčky Spa and Great Choč. You can also buy magnets and a tourist stamp of the Lúčky Waterfall.
– Some sections of the route are often muddy and slippery.
– The marking of the hiking trail is sufficient, there are only a few places where you need to pay increased attention and search for the mark.
By car: You can park your car at the parking lot situated in the vicinity of the beginning of the educational trail in the centre of Lúčky, near the park with the waterfall.
By bus: You can ride a bus from the bus station in Ružomberok to bus stop “Lúčky,,OcÚ”, which is located directly at the beginning of the route.
By taxi: Taxi from the centre of the town will cost you about 15€.