Slovakia is one of those countries in Europe which is mostly fields and trees with a few cities but right in the north of the country it is very mountainous with two mountain ranges. There is the Higher Tatra’s mountain range which shares a border with Poland and the Lower Tatras mountain range which is a bit closer to the centre of the country. It is here where there is plenty of hiking trails to check out and I chose to do one in the Slovak Paradise National Park (Slovensky Raj). The one particular hike I chose was the Sucha Bela gorge walk as I was told it was an easy and beautiful hike to do.
Starting off at a parking lot near the village of Hrabušice, the Sucha Bela gorge hike heads south into the gorge and steadily goes uphill along the stream. The ground is not smooth as going up the gorge is kinda rocky and slippery and it was soon clear that this hike is not for the beginner, young children and the less able.
Walking up the gorge there are plenty of ladders to encounter which zig-zags across the stream which requires some balancing act. My advice here is to keep focusing. On the way there is plenty of green trees to check out and only the sound of the water can be heard.
The hike eventually comes to a set of waterfalls which are totally worth checking out (and if hiking in the summer, it is really refreshing to wash the sweat of faces), but in this section, there are ladders to climb up (and only up as it is really hard to turn around and go back the way I came).
The route goes up a few hundred meters in hike but after all the waterfalls, the ground does get smoother but high trees still surround the route, so the views of down below doesn’t come until view until the summit. Just remember to keep following the green and white markers.
At the summit there is a picnic area to chill out before following the long gravel path back down the mountain (following the signs for Pod Vitacim Hrbom which also has a yellow and white marker). The walk down is a pleasant and easy one and takes about thirty minutes (non stop).
The hike is one of my favourites in Slovakia and would recommend anyone who is able, fit and don’t mind a bit of water to do this. The waterfalls are worth checking out and climbing the ladders are pretty fun.
- Allow around four hours for the hike which includes rest stops
- Have waterproof boots/shoes as it can be wet in places.
- Make sure you take food with you (and other equipment like first aid etc). There is a shop at the start of the route to buy snacks if needed.
- A map isn’t really necessary, just follow the markers and signs. It’s a pretty straightforward route.