Rakytov, 1567m, is not a well-known top neither the most visited in Velká Fatra, despite amongst the tallests (tallest out of the Ostredok group). Rakytov is also the name of a settlement of houses in Ľubochnianska Dolina, as well as the river that flows through it, from ... Rakytov. On old Hungarian maps, it appears sometimes as "Rakytor", and as "Rakitów" on Polish maps.
The etymology probably comes from the plant Rakyta, a sort of local "pussy-willow" (Salix caprea).
Rakytov is a long-shaped grassy summit well visible from Liptovské Revúce, partly covered with dwarf pines. NE and SW on this ridge, it is bordered with two identically named passes, "Rakytovské Sedlo", then we use the names "Južné Rakytovské Sedlo" (south) or "Severné Rakytovské Sedlo" (north) to differenciate them.
North of Rakytov, on the map, is drawn a yellow trail that circumvents the top north linking both of these passes. However this trail doesn't seem to exist anymore, since not maintained and covered with vegetation (so it was in 2007).
On the top of Rakytov is located a metallic mailbox into which is a real hiking-log book. Add your name but no garbage in the box ! On the southern descent is located a curious rocky outcrop made of two giant limestone rocks, between which the path goes, fun part of the hike.
Further on the western ridge, next to Rakytov and after peaklet Minčol, is located another characteristic part of Velká Fatra called Čierny kameň (1479m), badly translable as "black rocks" since their limestone is rather bright. Their allure is totally different allure than what we see around, made of unpenetrable dolomitic outctrops, where grow a dense bush of dwarf pines.
Čierny kameň is protected by the status of natural reserve, and one cannot go offtrails in it (probably for bird nestling reasons). However main the ridge trail allows visiting it via the north slope bordering it, proving a decent glance into the area.
In winter, Rakytov, like the mentioned neighbours and the rest of Velká Fatra, make excellent winter excursions, by ski or snowshoes.
Podsuchá and Liptovské Revúce, located west of the Velká Fatra range, are the most convenient trailheads to reach this mountain. They are served by bus if needed.
By car, these points are best reached via Ružomberok.
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The main ridge-trail that runs over Rakytov is marked in green. As mentionned in the overview, do not look for the yellow diversion on the north of the peak. The green trail links Ružomberok to Ploská, next top after Čierny kameň, where it connects to the main red trail of the Velká Fatra ridge.
A yellow-marked trail starts also from Teplé (bus stop), just under Liptovské Revúce on the road to this village. This trail climbs into Tepla Dolina, but, at least in 2007, the steepest part through the forest was hardly recognizeable due to forestry works.
From Stredná Revúca, a similar trail (red marks) climbs to the same ridge, and reaches the SW end of Čierny kameň.
* Wildcamping, bicvouacquing :
Beware, Velká Fatra is one of the areas most populated with bears in Slovakia. Only over the tree-line. At your own risk ! Otherwise consider option #3 below.
* Mountain huts :
The massif has three guarded mountain huts of very various standard, and one of them located near Rakytov: Horský hotel Smrekovica, perhaps convenient for those making the traverse.
* Huts, cabins, shelters ("Koliba", "Salaš", "Útulňa", "Prístrešok", etc):
Velká Fatra is probably the range in Slovakia, where one can find the highest density of unguarded huts of such types. They are all listed on this page of the site hiking.sk, and are almost 20. Beware, far from all are open (use Google to translate the Slovak description), and all of them belong to someone, mostly sherperds. They, and only them, decide if they want you to stay or not, if you are seen... For Rakytov, two of them can be mentioned in the SW : Koliba nad Malou Tureckou and Salaš Krátka. Click on "Mapa" for each of them to see the exact position.
* Hotels in the valleys:
In Vyšná Revúca is located a convenient basic hikers hotel : Chata Horec, where one can request to leave the car parked in front of it for a couple of days thanks to the kind owners.
Perhaps we can also mention Májekova chata, quite distant from Rakytov on the north, near Vlkolínec.
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