Do you want to take photos of the fox Elishka as I did?


Martin Talač

As I´m trying to gain The Tatra Tourist Badge, the visiting of another high-elevation chalet in High Tatras was a clear option, while I was with my girlfriend in High Tatras for a short holidays. She got unfortunately sick the first day, so I was thinking about, which of the chalets would be the best for me to visit. I didn´t have the right mood to walk alone the most of the day to one of those chalets, which are standing alone in deep valleys and therefore I chose Zamkovského chata (The Zamkovsky´s Chalet).


wild fox
The fox Elischka

This trip is an easy winter hike in High Tatras, also suitable for families with children and it´s very popular, so you will meet a lot of people during your hike. The chalet is set at the beginning of Malá studená dolina (The Small cold valley), through which you can get to the well-known Téryho chata (The Tery´s chalet) or Päť spišských plies (Five spiš lakes). While walking there, you will be surrounded by high mountains, you will pass by several waterfalls and mountain streams and even you might meet the fox called Elishka.

mountain hut
The Zamkovsky´s Chalet

Familiarly called “Zamka” is the lowest situated high-elevation chalet. It is standing in an altitude of 1 475 m. a.s.l. Besides the canteen, which offers rich variety of meals for hungry visitors, it also offers the stay over possibility for 23 people. I recommend to you trying at least their wonderful herbal tea, called “Marmot´s milk” J But it doesn´t taste like its sounds. It was delicious.

lomnicky peak winter
Walking to Hrebienok from Starý Smokovec. The view at the west side of Lomnický štít

You can reach Zamka by the shortest way from Hrebienok by the red trail. For reaching Hrebienok you can take a funicular from Starý Smokovec or simply walk there. I walked to Hrebienok by the green trail, because when I came that day to the station of funicular, the queue of people waiting there was too long. By foot it took me 30 minutes to get to Hrebienok. I assumed that I would spend around one and half hour traveling with funicular under these circumstances.

hrebienok in winter
Hrebienok situated under the Slavkovsky peak

Along the way to Zamka you can stop off at the two other chalets by the green and then blue trail. It´s up to you if you will decide only to stamp your maps or to take a short rest. The first one is Bilíkova chata (The Bilík´s chalet) and the second one is Rainerova chata (The Rainer´s Shelter). The Bilík´s chalet is rather a hotel than a chalet, hidden in the forest among high trees, around 5 minutes far away from Hrebienok. The Rainer´s Shelter is the oldest chalet in High Tatras, but the accommodation was provided only until the year 1884. Both of these chalets were cramped inside. I had no chance to sit and to order at least something to drink. So I only took advantage of visiting these chalets to stamp my maps of Tatras for gaining The Tatra Tourist Badge.

On my way to Zamka I felt like in the city center and not in the wilderness. As I mentioned, this place is popular among families with children and also people, who doesn´t want to take a difficult hike, but they want to enjoy the spirit of High Tatras, in any case. For this reason is Zamka a great destination.

As I was walking the trail to the chalet, I suddenly noticed a group of people standing and looking at something. When I came closer, I spotted the Slovak well-known fox – Eliška. In Slovak language we call the fox – líška, pronunciation is “li:shka”, so it rhymes – líška Eliška (li:shka Elishka). Fortunately I had my camera prepared and I immediately took a few photos of her. Her life is similar to the one of shuttle bus. She shuttles the whole day between the Zamkovsky´s chalet and the Rainer´s shelter. She had made her life as simple as possible by inventing her own food source. She is expecting every tourist passing by to share a piece of his own lunch with her. 🙂

winter hikers
The view at the Great Cold Valley

I decided to not go back through Hrebienok to Stary Smokovec and use the tram from Stary Smokovec to Tatranska Lomnica, but instead I wanted to walk by the blue trail to Tatranska Lomnica. The blue trail begins by the Waterfalls of cold stream (Vodopády studeného potoka). Suddenly I was like in another world. All the people disappeared and I stayed alone. Sometimes I got even slight feelings of fear. I know, I wasn´t alone somewhere at the end of deep valley or at the mountain ridge, but nevertheless it was a strange feeling, walking across the nature, you´ve never been before.

long mountain valley
The Great Cold Valley again

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