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Blog: How to get the best out of the High Tatras

Local guide shares his tips and recommendations about the Tatra hiking trails - including his tips for the best hikes.

Ahoj [ahoi] hiker, traveller and reader. I'm Erik, your local guide from the Tatra mountain region in Slovakia, and I have a few tips for you about trail marking before you will visit our little big mountains.

When you come to the High Tatras in Slovakia, you don’t need to worry you'll get lost. All 600 km of hiking trails are well-marked. Trails lead to the Tatra chalets, waterfalls, tarns, several peaks and saddles though the Tatra valleys.

All marks are perfectly seen on rocks and trees. They are square-shaped (10 cm x 10 cm) and consist of three horizontal lines. The middle one is colourful (yellow, red, blue, green) and the bottom and upper one is white. You always follow the same colour on your route.

These are the trails that will guide you to the most beautiful and interesting parts of Tatra nature and still keep you safe:

If you want to explore ridges, follow the red mark . The trail you should definitely visit is called Tatranská magistrála, the main hiking trail. It is the longest and most famous trail in the High Tatras. If you prefer not to hike on your own, you may like the Easy Guided Walking tour. The tour and the trail cross the whole High Tatras and offers great views to valleys. On this trail, we recommend visiting Popradské pleso and the saddle below the Ostrva peak, or Sliezsky Dom from Hrebienok.

Blue-marked trails will usually guide you to longer distances, like to the peak of Kriváň, the national symbol of Slovakia or to the beautiful Zbojnícka Chata chalet.

The most famous green-marked trail-head is to the Téryho chata chalet. The valley it crosses has the perfect atmosphere. Moreover, I recommend the green trail to the Chata Plesnivec chalet and the Veľké Biele Pleso tarn. This trail is situated in the eastern part of the High Tatras, called Belianske Tatras.

In this part also holds the most beautiful yellow-marked . It heads to the Zelené Pleso tarn and the nearby chalet Chata pri Zelenom Plese. For the advanced hikers, it continues to the Jahňací peak. You won't regret it.

West Tatras are famous for their great views. You can hike to the Baranec peak through the Juráňova Valley or to the Roháčske Plesa tarns. This is a medium-difficulty trail. You will start in a grassy clearing, Adamcuľa, and continue down the valley. Follow the Roháčsky stream and cross the forest up to the Roháčsky waterfall. The forest will change to smaller mountain pines. On your way, you will see the small tarn Zelené Pliesko and in the end the Horné Roháčske Pleso tarn.

There are guideposts along the trails with approximate times to further guideposts or to the final destinations. The times on the posts are very indicative. The way up is more difficult and longer, the way down is quicker. Sometimes you will be surprised how fast you go - or how slowly.

Read also:Blog: 5 things you should do on your visit to the north of Slovakia

Moreover, there are several information boards on the trails. They present information about fauna, flora, geology and history of the park. Take the time to stop and learn new information. They are worth it.

No cars, except those operated by TANAP or those with the permission of The State forests of TANAP, are allowed to the park area. All trails are just for tourists and some for cyclists and the disabled or families with strollers.

I also recommend visiting places that are easily accessible easily thanks to the funicular or cable car. These are Hrebienok or the Lomnický peak (the highest peak in the High Tatras that you can reach without climbing).

If you want to reach higher destinations and peaks with no set trails, you can book a mountain guide.

High Tatras offer great opportunity to see real wildlife. You can choose trails to follow in the steps of chamois herds, marmots or bears. You can enjoy wildlife-watching in the Velická valley (marmots, chamois), slopes of the Lomnický peak (chamois) and in the Tichá valley (bears).

Some trails are closed from November 1 to June 15. This is for your safety (ice and avalanches) and for the safety of animal offspring and the protection of nature. In this period, winter marks are used – tall posts marked with colours. You can hike only up to the level of the Tatra chalets, excepting the Chata pod Rysmi chalet.

Enjoy your hiking adventures in the Tatras.

Erik Ševčík is the director and owner of Adventoura, a provider of tours and adventure experiences in Slovakia.

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