Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 48.98346°N / 19.63326°E
Additional Information County: Liptov
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 5748 ft / 1752 m
Sign the Climber's Log



Krakova Hoľa Peaks
The massif of Krakova hoľa seen from the north
Main Summit of Krakova Hoľa
The main summit of Krakova hoľa seen from SSW
One of the most conspicuous massifs of the limestone belt of the Lower Tatras (Nízke Tatry), Krakova hoľa sits 5 km north of Ďumbier, their highest peak. Krakova hoľa looks especially attractive from the north, i.e. from the basin of Liptov. (The mountain first beckoned me while I stared at the Lower Tatras from the train.) Krakova hoľa has three distinctive summits, of which you can only set foot legally on the highest, southwestern peak. Even though its summit area is covered by a wonderful sea of dwarf mountain pine (Pinus mugo) up to 2.5m tall, it offers a panoramic view: All mountain ranges surrounding Liptov can be seen.
View from Krakova hoľa: to SW
SW view
View from Krakova hoľa: to NW
NW view
Northerly View from Krakova Hoľa
N view
View from Krakova hoľa: to NE
NE view
Easterly View from Krakova Hoľa
E view
And just south of the main vantage point on the rim of the bluff, where the southerly view is obscured by the bushes of dwarf pine, one can get the best views of the massif of Ďumbier. Besides being an excellent vantage point, Krakova hoľa is away from the Lower Tatras' main ridge, whose central part is usually packed with people arriving by cable car (see here). The trail traversing the eastern slopes of Krakova hoľa (blue marks) runs through what can be called the Carpathian wilderness, where – except in July and August – it seems that you are more likely to run into a bear than into another hiker.
Ďumbier From Krakova Hoľa
The massif of Ďumbier seen from Krakova hoľa
Lastly, climbing Krakova hoľa can be a reasonable option for those who are unsure of their walking potential, e.g. for someone recovering from illness or injury - a return would be relatively easy and brief. On the other hand, if you feel like extending your hike, this can be done by ascending Poludnica or Ďumbier on the same day, which would make for a full day of hiking.


The trails climbing the slopes of Krakova hoľa are waymarked either blue or yellow. (Please see the online map in the next chapter.) The last stretch of an ascent is a short dead-end path from a trail junction named "Pod Krakovou hoľou". The table below compares ascents via - all or most of the time - blue marks with the most convenient starting points in either of the main valleys: Demänovská dolina to the west and Jánska dolina to the east of the long lateral ridge which branches off the main ridge of the Lower Tatras at Krúpova hoľa (at the west end of the Ďumbier Massif) and runs north to Krakova hoľa and then farther on to Poludnica.


Starting Point Net Elevation Gain (summit minus start) in metres Time for Walk Up & YDS Class Features Marks
Demänovská jaskyňa slobody: west of Krakova hoľa, car park, bus stop
2 hr 15 min; Class 1
quick elevation gain, scenic
Car park at Lipt. Ján-Spa, NE of Krakova hoľa, bus terminal
approx. 1,100
nearly 4 hr; Class 1, occasionally 2
wild parts, a bit strenuous, above tree line path under assault from dwarf pine
green then blue

The summit of Krakova hoľa can also be ascended from the south, via the saddle of Javorie (1479m), with which it is connected by a trail marked yellow. However, a route through this saddle seems to be a better option for a descent, especially when it is about to be getting dark and you are heading for the Jánska Valley. From Javorie the yellow trail runs on south as far as the main ridge (less than 2 hours' walk away), whereas the red marks drop west and east, into the valleys. It should take you about 40 minutes to get from the summit of Krakova hoľa to Javorie. From there you should reach the bus stop at a place called Lúčky (which translates as "little meadows") in the Demänovská Valley in less than five quarters of an hour while a stroll east and then north down the road (a reasonable option after dark) to Liptovský Ján will take about three hours. The shortest round trip to the summit of Krakova hoľa - about four hours' walk - would be: Lúčky-Javorie Saddle-Krakova hoľa-Pusté-Demänovská Cave of Liberty.

South Face of Krakova HoľaS face of Krakova hoľa
North From Krúpova Hoľa Seen from Krúpova hoľa
Krakova hoľaSeen from SE

Bears (including mine)

Fortunately, the bears in these mountains have not been depraved by man yet and despite fairly frequent encounters there have been few accidents. In order to protect both people and bears the B.E.A.R.S. project has been launched by the Slovak Wildlife Society. While browsing the project's website do not miss the pages concerned with safety advice (including this page) and encounters/attacks.  

Krakova Hoľa from N Carpathian bear country
Bear-Proof Part of the B.E.A.R.S. Project

I have had two chance encounters with bears in the area, both on the same day. The first took place late in the afternoon when I was walking up the trail waymarked green towards the saddle between the massifs of Krakova hoľa and Poludnica. Just before reaching a glade (photo on the right), I heard a noise of tree branches being snapped by a big animal. Deer, I thought, and spotted a bear foraging in the bushes about twenty meters away, a bit above the trail and ahead of me. In fact, I could only see the bear's head and back popping up from behind the dense bushes. The wind was blowing in my direction, so the bear didn't know I was coming. I hesitated a moment and gave up the option of trying to take a photo as unrealistic. The sun was blinding me, the vegetation was dense. We might have got too close to one another, was there a mother bear with her cubs by any chance? I made a few clicking sounds with my walking poles. Immediately, I heard the bear leave.

The other encounter really was kind of surreal. It was nearly 10 p.m. I had just finished my hike. but the night was wonderful, fairly warm, the sky packed with the stars of the Milky Way so I was sitting on a bench by the road within the boundaries of the spa resort of Liptovský Ján. This road is pretty well lit by street lamps and has hotels or inns, or houses every few hundred meters, but from my bench I couldn't see any building. I had just called my daughter and told her about my bear sighting that afternoon. Out of a sudden, I heard an unearthly, overwhelming noise behind my back, sounding like a tank making its way through the grove or a UFO landing, breaking the branches of whatever grew in its way. But in fact, I didn't have time to think what it could have been, I just turned round and saw three dark shapes: a mama bear and her two cubs the size of a big dog - like a vintage motorcycle with a sidecar on either side - darting about fifteen meters to my left, across the lawn, or rather meadow and then across the road. After they vanished in the bushes on the other side of the road, I still heard them demolishing vegetation for a minute or two. When I investigated the place a few days later, I discovered that they had run into a fence and had to bushwhack around it until they finally got to the river and the ford which made for the entrance to the other side of the valley with its vast forest. They would have had little difficulty getting there had I not stood, or rather sat, in their way.

Red Tape & Warnings

Trail South of Poludnica s SummitAscending Poludnica
  • The Lower Tatra Mountains are protected as a national park.
  • Camping within the area in question is not permitted. You are supposed to stick to the waymarked trails.
  • In Slovakia those who do not carry commercial insurance have to pay for any rescue services rendered by Mountain Rescue Service (HZS).
  • See the previous chapter.
  • No water can be found along the trails on the slopes of Krakova hoľa, so it is a good idea to make sure you have enough water in your backpack, especially on a hot summer day.

Getting There & Accommodation

Liptovský Jan Liptovský Ján

Liptovský Mikulaš, the capital town of the region is easily accessible by both road (D1 motorway) and rail (one of the oldest railway lines in Europe; several Intercity and fast trains a day). The distance between Liptovský Mikulaš and the trailheads is less than a dozen km.


Panorama from Krúpova hoľa
Krakova hoľa just right of centre - superb work by Gorzi



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

Nízke TatryMountains & Rocks