How university students built stone routes in the Low Tatras

These are the routes tourists still walk on today.

(Source: Ivan Jančík)

“This all was built by university students without any technology. They only had shovels, mattocks and crowbars. These were their tools. They set the stones well into the terrain, so the route is unbreakable,” said Karol Špánik from Liptovský Mikuláš.

That was how the construction of tens of kilometres of hiking trails in the most visited area of the Low Tatras looked.

Tatras travel guide: A fresh take on the stunning soul of Slovakia.Tatras travel guide: A fresh take on the stunning soul of Slovakia. (Source: Spectacular Slovakia)

It was done by university students. They thus connected the rock saddle of Poľana with Chopok Peak, and with the Milan Rastislav Štefánik Chalet under Ďumbier Peak. They also built another trail to Chopok Peak. In Slovakia, such a dense network of hiking routes is unparalleled.

The students worked on more than the area of the ridge. More routes were built from Široká Valley, and a comfortable trail was built from Priehyby to Chopok. It was 2 km long, but was destroyed during the construction of the cable car.

Another route from Široká Valley used to lead to Javorie Saddle. That one was also destroyed due to logging. In some parts, stone benches were built.

“Four years ago, I was on the ridge in a Mountain Rescue Service jacket,” recalls Karol Špánik, now 85 years old. He was working in the Demänovská Dolina Valley in 1959 in the northern branch of the Low Tatras Mountain Service and he was part of the association Telovýchovná Jednota Jasná, which also participated in the construction of routes.

“The Czechs were asking me when we built the trail,” he said. “It is unbelievable. In some parts it has been 50 years and still serves tourists.”

Cannot be counted

The rest of this article is premium content at
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on and

Top stories

News digest: Schools across Slovakia are closing

Problems with regional buses in Bratislava persist. Meteorologists issue warnings against snow for Tuesday and Wednesday.

2 h
Illustrative stock photo

Regional hygienists starting to close schools

Schools in 11 districts have switched to remote learning so far.

3 h
Miroslava Sotáková

The great thing about Slovakia is the lack of crowds, says Slovak living in New York

Miroslava Sotáková works for Google and is bringing up three kids in New York.

12 h
Online shopping, illustrative stock photo.

Online scams spiked during Black Friday

Experts recommend double-checking discounts.

29. nov
Skryť Close ad