Northern Slovakia is filled with unusual and natural wonders. One just needs to have the time and willingness to explore them. Slovenský Raj or Slovak Paradise National Park is one such natural beauty which has numerous trails for hikers. After visiting the Belianska Cave and Štrbské Pleso we decided that this was going to be our next experience.
The best thing about these trails is that they are not the usual walking paths, they have been specially made by installing metal and wooden ladders, iron planks, iron chains and many more so that visitors can experience nature and venture into places which would not have been possible otherwise.
One of the most famous trails among them is the Sucha Bela trail. Numerous people visit this place to hike this trail and it is quite crowded in the summer. We were lucky to have attempted it in mid September so there were not many people hiking.
If going by public transport, the nearest bus stop is Hrabušice and there are buses from Poprad to this place throughout the day. From Hrabušice, one has to walk around 2 kms to reach Podlesok which is the starting point for the different hiking trails.
The day was really beautiful and ideal for hiking. After a good breakfast, we started on the Sucha Bela trail.
The trail actually takes you in the opposite direction of the flow of water in a river. I am not sure if it can be called a river as the flow of water is inconsistent throughout the trail. At some places there is a good flow of water and in other places the water just trickles.
However, during the rainy season, the water can go up to one’s knees so one needs to be adequately dressed.
The initial part of the hike is quite easy and requires just walking along the trail amidst beautiful natural views.
After crossing few wooden ladders and some elevated trail path, we reached the first waterfall and we had to climb the metal ladders to cross it.
The view was beautiful and the idea that we would be walking past the length of the fall was damn exciting. It would be the first time that we would have such an experience.
Although it might not look much, the ladders and other supportive structures are quite safe and firmly secured so one need not worry about safety.
Climbing the first waterfall was quite easy and after a look at the water flowing below us we kept climbing upwards.
Without the help of the ladders, this experience would never ever be possible for us and many others.
Eventually we arrived at a beautiful narrow passage in the trail which we had to cross sideways because the space was too less to walk straight.
Immediately after crossing the passage, we arrived at the second waterfall. This one was even more beautiful and the whole place had a very damp and magical feeling to it.
This ladder was even longer and we had to be even more careful. After climbing the ladder, we realized that climbing the ladder was the easy part and the tougher part was in front of us. The path from the ladder to the place where we could stand properly, was a path along the side of the rocks and it was just rocks with minimal foothold and it was slippery from rain water.
Very carefully we crossed the path and continued on our way.
We reached the next waterfall relatively quicker than the previous one. The height of this one was much less than the previous one but again after we climbed the ladder we found that the path along the side of the rocks was even longer and slippery than the previous one.
We took our time to carefully walk this path with the help of the chains and were able to successfully go past it. Once you start walking this trail, you need to go only forward and not backwards. If you’re found walking in the opposite direction, you might be fined by park officials.
I must say that the waterfalls and the trails along them are the best part of the hike. After getting past all of them we encountered some more rugged trail.
The final part of the hike took us through some more wooden ladders amidst beautiful nature.
The last part of the hike does not have much to offer as it is just a steep trail which joins a road meant for vehicles. When we reached the end of the trail we realized that we had gained a lot of altitude along the trail but weren’t aware of it. At this point one can rent a bicycle to get back to Podlesok which takes less than half and hour or hike back via a different route which takes 1.5 to 2 hours. We chose to hike.
Finally we were back to Podlesok and got down to some snacks and beer after a wonderful day. We wished that we had more time to explore more of the beautiful national park as it has much much more to offer.