Geographical structure : Carpathians > Western Carpathians > Chocske vrchy
Velky Choc ( Velký Choč ) is the highest mountain in the Chocske vrchy ( Chočské vrchy ) range. It is not well known outside the region, but it is definitely peak worth visiting if you have at least one spare day. It is located in such place that when the weather is good you can see all major Slovak mountain ranges from the summit. It is surrounded by Skorusinske vrchy and Oravska Magura from the north, Mala Fatra from the west, Velka Fatra from the southwest, Nizke Tatry from the south and Zapadne Tatry from the east. It is possible to see High Tatras from the summit as well as Beskyd with the Babia gora massif.
There are about five marked routes to the summit, all well marked and without any climbing, just a walk.
Chocske vrchy range do not have continuous ridge and is divided to three parts : Velky Choc itself, Sielnicke vrchy and Prosecne. They consist mainly of limestone and dolomite. Karstic formations are concentrated mostly in the wetern part ( Velky Choc area ).
Prosiecka and Kvacianska valleys are worth visiting too. There are beautiful waterfalls, canyons, wild creeks. There are also two castles from XIII century in the area : Liptovsky castle and Likava.
There is a plan to create Chocsky National Park to protect the area more strictly.
Main center in the Velky Choc area is city of Ruzomberok. You can get there by train from Bratislava, Czech Republic ( through Ostrava ) and Poland , all these ways lead through Zilina. Timetables can be found here (Slovak railways page) or here (Czech railways page). Starting points for the tour are in small villages within 20km from Ruzomberok. This villages are : Vysny Kubin, Jasenova, Valaska Dubova, Likavka, Liskova, Lucky. There is no train to these places so bus or car is needed.
There are 3 marked trails to the summit, but on their way they cross some other trails, so there are quite many possibilities. Starting points' heights are in the range 480-650m, so the height difference of any trip is at least 1000m.
Starting points are situated like this :
South - Likavka, Liskova, Lucky (west-east direction)
West - Valaska Dubova
North - Jasenova, Vysny Kubin
Main routes :
1. Red trail - connects Lucky and Vysny Kubin through the Velky Choc summit. Starting at Vysny Kubin it follows the road to Jasenova village, then to the cross-point with green ( also from Vysny Kubin ) and straight to the summit. From there it descends to the Vraca saddle (between Velky (=Big/Great) Choc and Maly (=Small/Little) Choc ). Rest of the way to the Lucky village is just a long descent.
2. Green trail - also starts in Vysny Kubin, but ends on the summit. It has two cross-points, one with red and the other with blue at Polana.
Other possibilities :
1. Blue trail - connects two villages, Likavka and Valaska Dubova. From Likavka it leads to the cross-point with yellow trail from Liskova, then to Spustiak saddle ( crossing "local" red trail ), then up the slopes of Velky Choc and on Polana (=Clearing) it meets green trail from Vysny Kubin, which you can use to get to the summit. Blue trail leads then from Polana down to the Valaska Dubova.
2. "Local" red trail - different from the main red trail leading to the summit. It leads from Likavka to the Likava castle and then to the Spustiak saddle, where it ends ( you can continue by blue from this point ).
3. Yellow trail - Leads just from Liskova to the cross-point with blue trail, where it ends.
If you want to start and finish at the same point, Vysny Kubin is the best place. You can use entirely different routes for the way up and down. Start with the green trail and at the cross-point switch to red ( its final part is much more suitable for ascent ). From the summit use green trail and then switch to the red.
There are no fees, but most of the summit part of the mountain is National Nature Reserve so you are required to use only marked trails. There are no seasonal closures.
When To Climb
You can climb it all year long, but if you want clear view it is best to climb it in late autumn or winter ( of course it is harder in the snow ).
Camping is not allowed and there are no huts in the area. It is not big problem since every trip can be done in one day. There are many people in nearly every village offering really cheap rooms, so finding a place to sleep should not be a problem.
Weather forecast for Ruzomberok vicinity is here.
Only new map I know of is :
Chocske vrchy - Vodna nadrz Liptovska Mara
No.111 from Edicia turistickych map 1:50000 by VKU, a.s.
VKU has a page, but it is currently only in Slovak.