Hiking The Scenic Chopok Loop in Low Tatras

Hiking The Scenic Chopok Loop in Low Tatras

When it comes to hiking in Slovakia, people tend to overlook the Low Tatras in favor of their more adventurous and popular siblings, the High Tatras. The Slovakian mini Alps indeed have an appeal to hikers and mountaineers because of their way steeper and more demanding peaks. But, the Low Tatras have also much to offer, especially during summer when the snow melts and the buzzing ski slopes turn into steep grassy looms leading to picturesque peaks that are chained with broad ridges.

One of the most intriguing hikes in Low Tatras is the circular route of Chopok, also referred as the loop of Chopok, and sometimes the loop of Dumbier. It starts at the central section of the mountain range, ascending the south slopes of Jasna — Slovakia’s biggest ski resort — all the way to the peak of Chopok. From there, it turns east following the mountain line’s main ridge to Dumbier, Low Tatra’s summit, before descending to Stefanikova refuge. From there, it’s all downhill through the tree line, back to the starting point. There is also another version that starts from the north foot of Low Tatras, in Demanovska dolina and ascends the northern slopes of Jasna, but that’s for another time.

Walking the Chopok Loop

As usual, we started a bit late at ten o’clock, but we were not in a hurry. It was early September, and the days were still long. The chill of the early morning had subsided, and the sunlight pierced the scattered clouds easily, warming the atmosphere. We dropped our car at the parking, next to Trangoska bus station, put our packs on, and set out on the main road towards the lifts outside Hotel Srdiecko. Not an ideal start since Veronika and I dislike walking on tarmac, but thankfully it didn’t last more than fifteen minutes. The lifts in Srdiecko work only in winter, so if you want to take it easy, you have to walk a bit further to Krupova and take the chairlift to Kosodrevina (1488m), or even straight to Chopok (2024m).


The ski piste was steep and the first couple of hundred vertical meters lacked any kind of trail. Walking up the mountainside took some effort, and our pace was steadily slow. The lifts were passing by above our heads every now and then, dawdling, like us, across the mackerel sky. It took us 50 minutes to Kosodrevina. There, we took the yellow trail to Chopok — Tatra’s third highest peak, whose north and south slopes form the main part of the popular Jasna. After a strenuous one hour and a half, we reached the top. Chopok is a granite field, piled with huge boulders and slabs. A perfect spot to have a lunch break and admire the High Tatras north in the distance. We had tackled the toughest part of the hike and were looking forward to the rest.

low tatras landscape

Fed and re-energized, we took the red trail eastbound to Konske peak (1875m), with Demanovske and Krupovo saddles being next. The scenery was breathtaking, with mild ups and downs, and astonishing views to both sides. Naturally, the ridge was windy, but thankfully nothing more than a mild breeze, picking up from time to time. Everything to the south bellow us was covered in thick forest — a common theme in Slovakia since its forest coverage is astonishingly more than 40%.

At the junction near the peak of Krupova Hola, we stayed on the red trail, and soon, we were standing on Dumbier (2043m), Low Tatra’s summit, which like most big peaks in Slovakia is marked with the country’s double cross. Meanwhile, clouds had started to gather, and in the distance, the atmosphere above Chopok was getting dark, but thankfully there was no sign of rain. After a short break for snacks and hydration, we turned back towards Krupova Hola, since the direct way to the refuge is closed during summer because of its susceptibility to rock falls. From then on, it was all downhill, and forty-five minutes later we were enjoying our beer at Stefanikova refuge (1740m).

The final section of the trail descends back to the tree line and into the bear country, thus hikers should be vigilant and make a bit of noise every now and then. The trail cuts through one of Slovakia’s lushest forests and it was quite a treat. The mellow afternoon sun was skimming the treetops, and we could hear nothing but the rustle of the leaves and the sound of gargling water streaming next to us. By the time we got to the parking, it was already getting dark and an eerie blue light was dominating everything. A great end to a perfect day.

Chopok Loop Info

Distance : 15.5km

Elevation Gain : 1200m

Time to Complete: 7hrs

Conditions : This is mostly a late spring to mid autumn route. Pay attention to the forecast and be aware of strong winds.

Gear : Waterproof layers. Shoes/boots with relatively hard midsoles. Constantly stepping on granite edges can wreak havoc on your feet if you are wearing shoes with thin and soft soles.

Looking to Up Your Game?
Take the Chopok loop one step further by adding Derese peak before Chopok!
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Chrisostomos Kamberis
I'm a travel photographer and writer. Having worked in the tourism industry for years, I created Trip & Trail to share my love for
travel and photography with friends and anybody who has the same passion.


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