Zelené Pleso hike
The Zelené Pleso hike is one of the most beautiful hikes in the High Tatras, Slovakia. You will hike over a beautiful mountain ridge, down a magical mountain valley to find the magical 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.
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.
|When to do|
15th June - 31st October
Route Description for Zelené Pleso
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 boring part where you would walk under the cable cars for almost 3 hours gaining 710m 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 get up.
You will reach Skalnate Pleso, which is a famous point from where you can go to Lomnicke Sedlo or Lomnicky Peak. Lomnicky Peak is the second highest peak in the High Tatras (2634m) 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 30m extra to reach the Velka Svištovka peak from that point. We really recommend spending an extra 10 minutes just to go up there. You will get 360 degrees of some of the most fantastic views 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, start your descent. It starts easy but it becomes harder the lower you get. The trail is covered in rocks and moving sand so it’s really easy to trip or slip. You will descend in switchbacks for quite some time here. After about 1.0km 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.
We found that the chains are attached a bit far from the trail so it was easier for us to slide on our legs and arms down the stream, closer to the mountainside, than the slope side. In the second part, the chain finally comes to the point where the trail is. It might sound difficult, but it’s really manageable.
After that section, a few more switchbacks and you get into the forest. Here you will see the beautiful Kolowy and Jahnaci mountain peaks. Spend some time to appreciate the Cierne tarn on your left but the real beauty is still in front. Go further and you will finally reach the Zelené Pleso or the Green Lake. The views with the lake surrounded by towering mountains, and streams running down them are just 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.
Take some cash and enjoy a meal or a drink at the mountain chalet. The prices are really affordable.
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.
Allocate some time to spend at the Zelené Pleso Lake and its chalet as the surroundings there are magical.
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