Zelené Pleso hike
- Physical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
- Technical DifficultyThis is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
The Zelené Pleso hike is one of the most beautiful adventures in the High Tatras, Slovakia. You will hike over a rugged mountain ridge and down a magical valley to find the phenomenal Zelené Pleso Lake (Green Lake) and its traditional Mountain Chalet. After resting at the chalet, you will continue through an old pine forest, immersing yourself deep into the woods before you come back to the starting point.
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Route Description for Zelené Pleso hike
The hike is moderate to challenging, so make sure you are wearing proper footwear as some parts of the trail are covered in rock debris or slippery gravel. One part of the hike has chains (descending from Velka Svištovka) and will test your flexibility. Nevertheless, the hike to Zelené Pleso is not too exposed and absolutely worth all the effort!
The hike starts from Tatranska Lomnica. From the train station, you can either start by going on the green trail and ascend quite steeply for the first part of the hike or take the cable car and skip the first 2:30 – 3 hours of plain ascent through the forest. We recommend using the cable car and spend the extra time in the Zelené Pleso mountain chalet. The cable car costs 19 Eur one-way (21, but they pay you 2 Eur back when you return the ticket card at the top). It allows you to skip a fairly uneventful part of the hike, where you would walk under the cable cars for almost 3 hours and gain 710 m of elevation. If you take the cable car, you need to go to Skalnate Pleso and make one change of the cable car route along the way. It only takes around 20 minutes to reach the top.
Upon exiting the cable car,you will reach Skalnate Pleso, which is a famous point from which you can access Lomnicke Sedlo or Lomnicky Peak. Lomnicky Peak is the second highest peak in the High Tatras (2,634 m) and one you cannot hike to. You can only get there by a lone cable wagon, which you would need to reserve in advance. It’s expensive and only takes a small number of people up the peak per day. You can enjoy the Skalnate tarn while you’re up there and take in the wonderful views of the Lesna region and the Mokriny Park.
Start your ascent by following the red trail, which is well marked like all the other trails in Slovakia. The ascent starts easy, but it becomes a bit harder as the mountain slopes get covered in rock debris and scree and you really need to watch your step. The exposure isn’t too bad, but as it gets higher, it becomes a little bit more strenuous.
After that, you will go through a few switchbacks, and reach the saddle. From here, you can either continue down the other side of the Velka Svištovka Mountain or climb the peak of this mountain first. It’s only around 30 m extra to reach the Velka Svištovka peak from that point. We really recommend spending an extra 10 minutes just to go up there, asyou will receive 360 degree views of some of the most fantastic terrain in the High Tatras. The mountains behind the Zelené Pleso look slightly different from the rest of the Tatras because the eastern part of the ridge mainly consists of dolomites. This part of the ridge is called Belianske Tatras.
After you enjoy the views from the peak, you can begin your descent along the trail, which will start out easy but become harder the lower you get. The trail is covered in rocks and moving sand, so be sure to watch your footing, as it’s really easy to trip or slip. You will descend in switchbacks for quite some time here. After about 1.0 km of descent, you will come to a section of the mountain where a small stream runs down to the valley. The stream has created a huge crack on the side of the mountain and you will have to get to the other side of it and continue down. Here you will find chains to help you out.
The chains here are attached a bit far from the trail, so it may be easier to just slide on your hands and feet down the stream, closer to the mountainside, than on the slope side. In the second part, the chain finally comes to the point where it is usable along the actual trail. It might sound difficult, but it’s really manageable.
After that section, you will make your way through a few more switchbacks, before enteringinto the forest. Here you will see the beautiful Kolowy and Jahnaci mountain peaks. Spend some time appreciating the Cierne tarn on your left, but keep an eye out, as the real beauty is still in front. Go further and you will finally reach the Zelené Pleso or the Green Lake. The views here of the lake surrounded by towering mountains and streams running down their slopes are simply breathtaking.
Here, we recommend spending some time at the Mountain Chalet by the Green Lake (Chata pod Zelenem Plese). You can actually get some proper food, drinks, beer, and other refreshments. The draught beer is really cold and cheap, so it’s a perfect reward together with the views, after the hardest part of this hike.
After the break, go down the yellow trail. You will walk into a pine tree forest and continue on a gradual descent. You will pass numerous streams and great openings to see the forest views together with the mountains covered in meadows. It’s a great place to see some different landscapes compared to other hikes in Vysoké Tatry.
There are numerous ways to get back to Tatranska Lomnica, but we recommend the Yellow-Blue-Yellow-Green trail. It descends gradually and goes through a beautiful forest all the way down to Tatranska Lomnica. It makes for a great relaxing walk after the strenuous part of the hike. The route Yellow-Green-Blue-Green can also be taken, but this route will lead you directly to the trail part where you began or got up to with the cable car, which is a steep slope without any shade that goes down via a gravel road. The views are not as great and it’s harder.
Zelené Pleso (The Green Lake)
Situated 1,545 m above sea level, Zelené Pleso or Green Lake is a picturesque emerald lake set in the High Tatras of Slovakia. Local fables about the striking colour of the water maintain that a gem had once fallen from the nearby Jastrabia veža or Hawk’s Tower, an idea that was initially believed by early tourists. Scientists have since come to the realization that the colour comes from a series of underground springs that feed into the lake.
Zelené Pleso Mountain Chalet (Chata pri Zelenom Plese)
Located on the north shore of Zelené Pleso, the Chata pri Zelenom Plese (formerly Brncalova Chata) is a traditional mountain cottage that is open year-round to visitors in the region.
The area has a history of tourism dating back to the 16th Century; however, the first hut in the area was only constructed in 1876. This hut and a number of successive cottages were destroyed in a series of local feuds, with the present building dating back to 1894. The years following the First and Second World Wars saw an increase in tourism, resulting in the renovation and expansion of the cottage to its current state.
Offering comfortable accomodation and reasonably priced fare, the cottage is a popular destination for tourists and mountaineers, with its busiest season being the July-August window.
Find more amazing hikes in the High Tatras
Insider Hints for Zelené Pleso hike
- You can also do the hike the other way around, but we recommend sticking to the one from Skalnate Pleso. The reason for that is that the descent from the Velka Svištovka is quite strenuous, so you would have to ascend this part after a long hike from the other side. We think it’s nicer to get the rewarding views after the hardest parts are already behind you.
- If you decide to alter the trail and want to find out how long it might take, check out this hiking time calculator. It will help you allocate the right amount of time for the trail.
- Take some cash and enjoy a meal or a drink at the mountain chalet. The prices are really affordable.
- Allocate some time to spend at the Zelené Pleso Lake and its chalet as the surroundings there are magical.
Getting to the Zelené Pleso hike Trailhead
To get to the Zelené Pleso Trailhead, use the electric train to get to Tatranska Lomnica train station. In Tatranska Lomnica, search for a guidepost directing you to the green route directing to the Skalnate Pleso (north from the train station). If you plan on reaching the Skalnate Pleso (where the nice part of the hike begins) via cable car, you will find it in the eastern part of the Tatranska Lomnica town.
Zelené Pleso hike Elevation Graph
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Zelené Pleso hike Reviews
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