Nízke Tatry

Low Tatras

The Nízke Tatry (Low Tatras) are a mountain range of the Inner Western Carpathians in central Slovakia. The east-west running mountain range is separated from the surrounding mountains by two east-west running valleys. In the north the Váh river drains to the west and then turns south to the Danube, and the Poprad river drains the eastern end of the valley to the east and turns north, to flow through Poland to the Baltic Sea. In the south it is bordered by the valley formed by the Hron River, which is 80 km long. The Čertovica pass divides the range into two parts, the western part has more high peaks. the highest mountains are the Ďumbier (2,042 m asl) and its neighbour Chopok (2,024 m asl). There are chairlifts to the summit of the Chopok from the Demänova Valley in the north and from Bystra in the south. Other peaks are the Dereše (2,004 m asl) and Chabenec (1,955 m asl) in the western part and Kráľova hoľa (1,946 m asl) in the eastern part. The area is popular for walking in the summer and skiing in the winter.

Several karst areas are situated in limestone and dolomite strata at the southern and northern edges of the main ridge. As the ridge is composed of granite and gneiss it is drained on the surface. When the water reaches the limestone it vanishes underground, forms huge cave systems, and reappears in karst spring in the valley. This is called contact karst.

The low Tatras are a geological and geographical unit and its borders differ from the political borders. Actually the mountain ridge is the border. The area belongs to two different krajs, Banska Bystrica on the southern side and Žilina on the northern side of the ridge. Most show caves are located on the northern side though.