The Malá Fatra National park (NP)

Falco peregrinus/Sokol sťahovavýThe Malá Fatra National park (NP)

The mountain range Malá Fatra with its beautiful, varied and well conserved nature is among the most valuable areas in Slovakia. The River Váh separates it by the Domašín Meander  into Krivánska and Lúčanská Fatra (after the highest peak in this region).
In 1967, this territory was declared a Protected Landscape District Malá Fatra.  In 1988, the Krivánska  part of Malá Fatra was declared a National Park. The acreage of the National Park territory (NP) is 22 630 ha, the protective zone covers an area of 23 262 ha.
It is the westernmost core mountain range in the Carpathians with a great variety of topography and an altitude difference of 1400 m in a relatively small area.
Extends to the districts: Žilina, Martin, Ružomberok, Dolný Kubín.
In order to preserve the rarest and most threatened habitats and species, the territory of the national park was included in the framework of protected areas NATURA 2000 as an area of European importance and a protected birds‘ zone Malá Fatra. There are 26 types of protected habitats, 6 kinds of plants and 29 kinds of animals of European importance protected here.
Within the territorial scope of the Administration of  Malá Fatra National Park, 8 areas of European importance are proposed - Malá Fatra, Varínka, Kozol, Kľak, a part of the river Orava, Zázrivské lazy, Močiar and Šujské rašelinisko (Šujské peat bog).

Small protected areas
The most preserved forest communities were declared as small protected areas with the 5th –  highest degree of protection - 14 National Nature Reserves : Rozsutec, Chleb, Minčol, Krivé, Šútovská dolina (Šútovská valley), the Old castle, Prípor, Šíp,  Šrámková, Tiesňavy,Veľká Bránica,  Kľačianska Magura, Suchý and Sokolec), 9 Nature Reserves : Dubovské lúky (Dubovské meadows), Goľove mláky (Goľove puddles) , Hajasová, Hrabinka, Hrádok, Močiar, Paráč, Pod Rígľom and Veľká Lučivná, 5 Natural Preserves: Bôrická mláka (Bôrická pudle), Domašín Meander, Krasniansky luh (Krasniansky meadow), Šútovská epigenéza (Šútovská epigenesis) and Kraľoviansky Meander, and 1 Protected Zone: Hate (Dams).

Over 900 species of non-vascular and more than 1 140 species of vascular plants have been found thus far in the territory of the National Park and its protection zone. Of these, 22 are Western-Carpathian endemics, 14 Carpathian endemics, 15 Carpathian subendemics, 1 Pannonian subendemic and 4 endemics of Malá Fatra - Alchemilla sojakii, Alchemilla Alchemilla virginea, Euphrasia stipitata, Sorbus margittaiana. 169 kinds of plants are included in the Red List of endangered species, 67 kinds are critically endangered and very vulnerable. The richest flora is on dolomites and limestones.

Forests occupy 70% of  Malá Fatra National Park.  There are seven forest vegetation grades from  the oak-beech through the beech-fir-spruce to the dwarf pine zone. The original mixed forest on this territory was composed of the so-called Carpathian mixture: i.e. beech, spruce and fir, with the admixture of other plants such as sycamore, hornbeam, ash, birch, pine and others.
Currently, conifer plants (40%) are dominanted by deciduous plants (60%). The most widespread is the beech tree (55), spruce (30%), fir (6%), scrub (3%) and sycamore (2%).  Winter oak, ash, birch, linden, alder, pine, larch and yew-tree are less represented.

The rugged terrain of rocky terraces (e.g. gaps) contain pine forest communities (so-called relict Boriny) in which remain larger plantations as in the past. Large numbers of European yew trees are found in Lučivná. In places with a warm climate, the Old Castle for example, communities of acidic oak beech are preserved. It is the northern limit of their expansion in Slovakia. Continuous bands of dwarf pine are found in both Malý Kriváň and Veľký Kriváň and Chleb.

TOP 10  in Malá Fatra National Park
The highest peak Veľký Kriváň (Big Kriváň) with altitude 1709 m.a.s.l
The lowest point Mouth of Hradský stream to the river Váh below the Old Castle 350 m.a.s.l
The biggest waterfall Šútovský waterfall (38 m)
The best known peak Veľký Rozsutec (Big Rozsutec) (1609 m.a.s.l)
The best known rock Modliaci sa mních v Tiesňavách (Praying monk in Tiesňavy)
The most important centres of tourism in the territory of the NP Malá Fatra Vrátna dolina (Vrátna valley), Malá Lučivná
The most important centres of tourism in the protective zone  NP Malá Fatra Trusalová, Zázrivá, Terchová
Length of the main ridge 26 km
Overall lenght of marked hiking trails 157 km
The most visited hiking trail Educational path Štefanová - Diery

Visiting rules of the NP Malá Fatra and its protected zone
Visitors are required to move carefully within the confines of the National Park (NP) and its protected zone so as to avoid unnecessary damage to nature, living or non-living. Damage to or perishing of plants and animals is prohibited, as is the damage and destruction of their environment. This includes littering and the disturbance of peace and silence. Using equipment causing noise and light effects outside enclosed buildings and designated spaces is not permitted. It is forbidden to move all products of nature, particularly rocks, in the national park.

Visitors can move

on foot, on hiking and educational trails, as well as in places dedicated to the movement of visitors and outside non-marked hiking  and educational trails in the period between 16th April to 31st October (summer), from 6.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. inclusively. Between 1st November to 15th April (winter), from 7.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. The time limit does not apply to places reserved for existing construction sites,

by bicycle, only on the roads in accordance with the law, dedicated cycling trails and single-purpose roads,

by motor vehicle, ATVs/four wheelers, three wheelers and scooters only on the roads in accordance with the law and specific regulations and on dedicated roads and trails, where the movement of them is not prohibited or restricted. In the National Park, visitors can only lead a dog on a dog-lead.

Contact details

Správa Národného parku Malá Fatra (Administration of the Malá Fatra National Park)
Hrnčiarska 197, 013 03 Varín
Tel.: +421 (0)41 569 23 11
Fax: +421 (0)41 507 14 15

Informačné stredisko OP Štefanová (Information Centre OP Štefanová)
Tel.: +421 (0)41 569 53 38 Web:

distanceDistance from Žilina: 29,5 km

Source: Mgr. Anna Lovritšová, Štátna ochrana prírody (State Protection of the nature) - Správa Národného parku Malá Fatra (Administration of the Malá Fatra National Park), Varín

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