To Great Choč in Winter
A hike to Great Choč is one of the most interesting trails used during winter, especially for the views and the relatively safe ascent in winter conditions.
Start and destination: Valaská Dubová, centre of the town (bus stop “Valaská Dubová,,OcÚ”)
Trail: 10 km (in total, there and back)
Estimated time: 5 hours (in total, ascent and descent)
Marks: blue, green, winter, red, the same trail on the way back.
Vertical distance: 942 m
Difficulty level: Trail of medium difficulty level. Depending on the weather and the snow conditions, it can change to a high difficulty level. It is not long, but it has large vertical distance.
Safety: The initial section of the trail leads through the town and along a field road. The section through the woods is usually icy and slippery. During the section in the woods, you are protected from the wind. On the meadows of Poľana, it is usually windy, and the wind might accompany you up to the top. There is also more snow starting from Poľana. A dangerous area in the rocky terrain below the peak is secured with chains. We do not recommend this trail if you do not have crampons (climbing irons or shoe chains). The trail is frequented, so the pathway is clear almost at all times, except for heavy snowfalls. At the top, be careful about the snow drifts at the periphery of the mountain peak.
By car: Parking in the town is possible only at the metered car park by the local cemetery.
By bus: From the bus station to the bus stop called “Valaská Dubová,,OcÚ”
By taxi: Taxi from the centre of the town will cost you about 10€.
We are starting the trail in the centre of Valaská Dubová, at the navigation signpost. We follow the blue marked hiking trail, which leads us uphill in between the houses. After a few minutes we are leaving the town and, from here, a field road will lead us all the way to the woods. By the entryway to the woods, there is an educational panel about the woods, ”Les”, and a shelter. We enter the woods and the path gets a little steeper. After a few minutes we pass by another shelter, near which there is a well with water. We continue through the woods to a place with another educational panel, about “Tesné Skalky”. Here, our path gets a bit steeper once again, but we are rewarded by getting a view of the rock wall of “Tesné Skalky”. After a few minutes, we arrive at something which looks like a gate made of rocks, consisting of rocks along both sides of the pathway. The path continues straight up to the educational panel about Fauna. We continue further to a place where we take a right turn from the straight path, and here our path gets even steeper. After a short but steep section of the way, we get out on the meadows where we are welcomed by the last educational panel, about “Flora”. We arrive at the signpost in Stredná Poľana. Here we get the first views. We continue on the snow-covered meadow following the green marked hiking trail, but after a few metres we get off this trail to get on the winter ascent trail. The winter trail alternates through woodland areas and meadows and leads us to the red marked hiking trail, along which we continue further. We continue to pass through alternating areas of woods and meadows, from which we get views of the surroundings. We arrive at the place where mountain bushes begin and, after a few minutes, we get to the most difficult section of the way. Help in this section will be provided by the metal chains, which are placed here for safety reasons. Then we continue along a mildly rising path through mountain bushes up to the very top of Great Choč. At the top, there is a signpost and, a little bit above it, a viewpoint compass rose. If the visibility is good, your climb will be rewarded with views of the wide surroundings. We use the same route to get back.
– The town of Valaská Dubová is known for the tavern where they allegedly captured Jánošík.
– The town has a restaurant and a tavern.
– If you follow the blue trail from the signpost in Stredná Poľana, after a short while you will get to an old shepherd’s hut “Hotel Choč”, where you can find sanctuary in the case of bad weather.
– Winter trail is also marked with winter pole marking.
– Don’t forget to bring some spare clothes.
– Also don’t forget to have enough warm liquids.
– If the weather gets worse, you should turn around, the conditions may change quickly.
– The trail passes through the territory with the highest level of protection.
– Start the hike early in the morning, as the time of your way up and back down may be prolonged significantly depending on the current conditions.
More information about the peak can be found HERE.