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Where to hike with kids in the Tatras? And how to motivate them? Read our manual how the whole family can have fun.
The railway station in Starý Smokovec greets tourists who set out for the trails in the Tatras every day and after each train arrives. Our goal of today was quite simple – to collect stamps at as many chalets as possible. This can serve as the ideal motivation when nice views don’t work anymore or as a reason just to stay in the Tatras.
For more information about this trail, read the original article on MTHIKER.sk. If you want to put some more elbow grease, we suggest adding one more chalet to have a beautiful all-day trip. But if you take your children to the Tatras, this version will be more than enough. The chalets will satisfy your basic needs and you can have your hands stamped for example 🙂 Let’s go!
Stamp no. 1 – Hrebienok
The first thing we look for in Starý Smokovec is a tourist signpost and then we follow a green-marked tourist trail in the direction of Hrebienok. The 2.5-kilometre-long warm-up with a mild rise feels fine in the morning. We can see Mt Slavkovský štít, which cannot decide if it should show its beautiful face or rather stay hidden in fog. If you have some kids in your “hiking crew”, it’s definitely worth taking a funicular to Hrebienok. We have divided in two groups – those who want to make more hiking kilometres have set out sooner and are waiting for the rest of us who are about to take the funicular. While waiting for our ride, we admire carved wooden bears that are the symbols of Hrebienok. The first stamp is in our hands and we can go on.
Stamp no. 2 – Bilík’s chalet
Bilík’s chalet, which is only a 5-minute walk from Hrebienok along a green-marked trail, is our next stop. It’s a mountain hotel located at the altitude of 1,255 metres and embraced by the woods of Studená dolina (valley). We enter the chalet, ask for a stamp and are greeted with a counter question: “Only a stamp? Nothing more?” Yes, we don’t need much to be happy. And a glass of beer at 9:00am doesn’t seem to be that appropriate, anyway.
Stamp no. 3 – Rainer’s hut
Our journey continues and Rainer’s hut is the next destination. The 1.3-kilometre walk to the next stamp passes Dlhý vodopád (Long waterfall). It is almost 16 metres high but doesn’t seem so because it is formed of a lot of rock cascades with various inclinations that begin as high as 1,200 metres above sea level. The trail marking colour changes here from yellow to green, which runs to Rainer’s hut. Later we pass the waterfalls of Studený potok (brook), whose roar emphasises the original hiking atmosphere.
There is quite a lot of tourists as it is an easily accessible locality near Starý Smokovec and Tatranská Lomnica, and very popular with families with kids. However, we don’t stop here. After a short while, we arrive at Rainer’s hut, the oldest mountain chalet in the High Tatras. As proper stamp collectors, we know what we want and step inside to be greeted by tourists in a good mood. With a smile on our faces and a stamp on a sheet of paper, we are moving on after a while.
Stamp no. 4 – Zamkovský’s chalet
From the crossroads known as Rázcestie pod Húpačkami (nicknamed “swings” due to the undulating terrain), we set out for Zamkovský’s chalet, which means joining the main tourist trail in the Tatras, i.e. Tatranská magistrála. Hairpins along the trail lead us either closer to Studený potok (brook) or further away. There is another waterfall created by the brook that we pass. Obrovský vodopád (Giant waterfall) is a bit bigger, i.e. 20 metres high, located at the altitude of 1,330 metres above sea level and it beautifies the gorge of Malý Studený potok (brook) and Malá Studená dolina (valley).
In a while, we pass the Ľad v Slnečnej zákrute (Ice at the Sunny turn) waterfall and get to Zamkovský’s chalet without having to pass any big hairpin bends anymore. And guess what? We want our stamp again. There are quite funny staff members in the small shop where the stamp is placed and they come up with a competition for the three of us, aka stamp collectors – the one of us who puts the most stamps on their hands, will win a lollipop. As the main “stamper”, I manage 4 stamps and the sweet lollipop is won by my friend with 23 stamps. Afterwards we recharge our batteries with a snack to have enough energy to hike to the last chalet.
Stamp no. 5 – Skalnatá chalet
We have 2.7 kilometres along a red-marked trail ahead of us. It runs below Mt Veľká Lomnická veža and our final destination appears on the right. The number of trees around us is falling and soon we find ourselves surrounded by dwarf mountain pines. It doesn’t take long and Skalnatá chalet follows. The last stamp is in our hands too.
We take a short walk to Skalnaté pleso (tarn), which surprises us with a quantity of tourists and a low level of water. Some of them take an aerial tramway high to the clouds. But our family trip to Mt Lomnický štít will have to wait for another time.
We find some benches with a table and take our tourist-farming lunch from our backpacks – home-made bacon and smoked sausages. But if you don’t have anything like that, it’s perfectly fine if you use the services of the Panorama restaurant and café, which will satisfy your stomach and let you feast your eyes on the summit of Mt Lomnický štít.
Off to Tatranská Lomnica
With our batteries recharged and all stamps collected, we slowly hit the road. The last section of the whole journey is coming now, but to be honest, it’s the worst one of the whole day – almost 6 kilometres along a green-marked trail down a steep hill and a more than 900-metre altitude difference. Our green-marked trail crosses the cable car line, passes a ski piste and continues to the Štart station. From there, we take a bike route for a while and then switch to a forest path that runs to Tatranská Lomnica.
For families with children and tired tourists or if you don’t want to miss your train like we did, we suggest taking the cable car from Skalnaté pleso down to Tatranská Lomnica.
As we arrive at the railway station just after our train has left, we use the time to buy something and replenish our stocks, do some short stretching and wait for another train with a satisfied heart and tired legs. But we don’t regret any of the steps made today.
This article was created in cooperation with MTHIKER.sk.