Educational Trail “Medvedia Cesta” (The Bear's Path)
The educational trail is situated in the Hrabovská Valley near Ružomberok. It starts from the recreational zone situated approximately 3 km away from the centre of Ružomberok, and leads to the area of Vlkolínec meadows above the town of Vlkolínec.
The area is known by the visitors especially for the ski resort with a ski run which ends right here in the valley, and for the bike park which is open here during summer. As the access road to the upper part of the resort has been for some time used as a track for mountain cars and scooters during summer, there was a need to change the route of the walking visitors going to the upper part of the resort or to Vlkolínec. A few years back, the valley also became known for a video recording of a bear running from a cyclist, which might have been one of the key reasons for creating a trail with this theme. Bears are found in large numbers in this area, however, fortunately they aren’t too much trouble. The setting of the trail is more attractive than an asphalt road, and the trail has been designed to provide you with basic information about our largest prey animal, the brown bear, and about the area you are passing through.
The trail starts below the parking lot by the station of the cable car lift. The entrance portal to the trail can be found right by the road leading to the apartment houses situated above the local dam. We cross the bridge over the creek, which flows through the sedimentation tanks into the dam. The asphalt road leads us past the apartment houses hidden in the woods, where you will find a restaurant with excellent food. We continue past the cabins and, after the last cabin, we exit the asphalt road to the left to a gravel-paved road. This road leads us through the woods to the ski run. We cross the ski run and continue forward. It is easy to navigate, because after crossing the ski run, there is only one major turning option from this road, and it would not occur to you to turn there anyway. The trail passes by educational panels, photo panels with life-size bears, a bear den or a place with bee hives, as those are closely associated with bears. Towards the end, we get on the asphalt road which leads from the bottom part of the resort, where we started the trail, to the upper part of the resort. We go downhill to the left, passing by the tourist signpost, which informs us that we are in the territory of Vlkolínec meadows. At the signpost, we take a turn to the right to the gravel-paved road leading to a wooden shelter. Here the trail ends and you can either return to the upper part of the resort or, as we would recommend, continue along the gravel road for about 300 metres to the Mini Farm below Sidorovo, where we can look at domestic animals during summer months. At the end of the farm, we can either take the path to the right and continue to the upper part of the resort, or the path to the left to a meadow ridge, from which we can walk down to Vlkolínec. From here we return along the same route, or we can continue from the signpost in Vlkolínec meadows along the asphalt road running above Ružomberok’s Calvary, where we get a view of the town. If you get tired, you can use the cable car lift to get down from the upper part of the resort.
After finishing the path of the educational trail, you can use the restaurant services or other services in the Hrabovská Valley.
– There are two places where the educational trail is crossed with the downhill bike trails, please pay increased attention here and wait for cyclists to pass through, as they might not notice you early enough at these places.
– We do not recommend using this trail during winter months, as it crosses with a frequented ski run.
– In winter, the trail is sometimes used as a cross-country skiing trail.
– The educational trail is approximately 7 km long (there and back), and it takes approximately 3 hours.
– The trail does not have traditional marking of educational trails, but it is marked with navigation arrows. – Therefore, pay increased attention at every turn and intersection.
– As it mostly leads along a gravel road, the trail is not suitable for the youngest visitors and for strollers.
– Along the trail, you will find places with a bench, where you can rest.
– Entry of motor vehicles is prohibited for the majority of the trail, but there are cyclists passing through, so pay increased attention there.
– The trail enters in the territory of the Great Fatra National Park, therefore you must observe its rules for the visitors.
– There are many attractions in the Hrabovská Valley, for example, boating, mountain downhill cars and scooters, zip line, a climbing route, aqua zorbing, an oxygen path with exercise elements, and two more educational trails.
– Restaurant establishments can be found in the upper part of the resort and in Vlkolínec.
By car: There is a parking lot by the station of the cable car lift, where you can comfortably park your car.
On foot: It is approximately a 45-minute walk from the centre of the town.
By train: From train stop “Ružomberok Rybárpole” you can get there on foot in approximately 30 minutes. From the main train station, it will take approximately 50 minutes on foot.
By bus: From the town centre or the train station, you can comfortably ride a bus of the local public transport system to the bus stop called “Katolícka univerzita” or “Hotel Áčko”, from where it takes about 30 minutes on foot to get to the start of the trail.
By taxi: Taxi from the centre of the town will cost you about 4€.