Who would have thought that a trek in High Tatras, Slovakia, will be tougher than our hike on Tour du Mont Blanc? Well, now we know. Our 5 days were full of sweat, chains, steep descents, and last minute changes. It might be because it is more difficult to convince Patrik to stay in the carrier. Or because on top of the load, we also carry a big secret. In fact, two, 7-weeks old, big secrets. But still, it was 5 days to remember. We’d recommend High Tatras to anyone, anytime.
Our 5-day hike in High Tatras, Slovakia
Planning is easy, we pick all the mountain chalets first and then pick a reasonable trail to get to them. Most of the time, we follow Tatranska Magistrala, the main “red” trail across the mountains. For an unknown reason, we plan in an opposite direction, than is usual. An issue? Naaaah. Come on, there probably isn’t even a good reason apart from tradition.
We cannot be more wrong. There is a reason, and it’s called Priecne Sedlo (2,352 m / 7,717 ft). The pass connects two chalets, Teryho and Zbojnicka. The trail was one-way only, for a long time. It opened up to both directions in 2013, and online reviews say it is a little difficult, but smooth. In reality, it seems that no-one noticed the change. Fellow hikers convince us over dinner that it’s really not a good idea. Apparently there are crowds, stuck on chains, getting a little nervous when waiting for others to pass. Let alone a family with a 15kg boy in a carrier. And so we give up, descent all the way to the valley to ascent all the way up to the next chalet. It is a long day, no kidding.
Our itinerary with real walking times:
If you want to pass through Priecne Sedlo, consider going in the other direction. It really makes more sense.
- Arrival and sleep over in Penzion Pleso. We park the car at Hotel Magure in Monkova Dolina, where we will finish the track in 5 days.
- Day 1: Strbske Pleso – Popradske Pleso – Sliezsky dom (15km, 8:00h), sleep in Sliezsky Dom (1,670 m / 5,479 ft)
- Day 2: Sliezsky dom – Polsky Hreben – Prielom – Zbojnicka Chata (7km, 5:30h), sleep in Zbojnícká Chalet (1,960 m / 6,430 ft)
- Day 3: Zbojnicka Chata – Rainerova Chate – Teryho Chata (11km, 7:30h), sleep in Téryho Chata (2,015 m / 6,611 ft)
- Day 4: Teryho Chata – Zelene Pleso (13km, 8:00h), sleep in Chata pri Zelenom Plese (1,551 m 5,509 ft)
- Day 5: Zelene Pleso – Siroke Sedlo – Monkova Dolina (9km, 6:00h), and home.
…when we see Gerlach, the highest peak in High Tatras, just as we ascend from Sliezsky Dom to Polsky Hreben. Totally unexpected, as the whole day is cloudy. And just when we take a break, there it is. Peaking through the clouds in time for just one photo.
…when we get a first view of Zamrznuté Pleso, on our way from Polsky Hreben to Prielom. There are no crowds, it is a calm, slow, steep ascent. And as a reward, we get our hearts pumping at the end climbing on chains and a rocky slippery descent to the most authentic chalet in Tatras, Zbojnicka Chata.
…is our midnight fight with inconsiderate fellow hikers on Teryho Chata. A young couple comes to the shared dormitory late at night, opens all the windows and doors, loudly commenting on their need for fresh air at night. The fact that it is freezing outside and we have a 2 year old baby with us, does not resonate with her. She calms down only when the whole dormitory wakes up. Anyhow, these things happen very rarely, but when they do, it just sucks.
Tips and tricks
- Book early. Tatra Mountains are popular, and especially with kids it is better to secure a comfortable bed. We booked 5 months ahead as we did not have much flexibility on time, but we probably overplayed the planning a bit. Just book as early as you can.
- Pack light. You will feel every kg. No need to pack much food, if you follow the more popular routes, there are places to eat and refresh along the way.
- Oh, the chains. Just be ready, hiking in Tatra Mountains is not a walk in the alpine meadow. Rocks, cliffs, and oh, the chains. Take a baby carrier you trust.
- Crossing of Priecne Sedlo. “Despite the two-way access, it’s more advantageous to go from Mala Studena dolina from Teryho Chalet to Zbojnicka Chata.” Dominik Michalik from Tatra National Park.
So this is it for Tatras. Interested in Mont Blanc?
Tour du Mont Blanc with a baby
Wondering what carrier we recommend?
Things we love.