Žiarska Dolina Overview
Žiarska Dolina ("Resplendence Valley", the well named !) is a 6km valley (8 if starting from the Žiar village), that climbs a steadily with a final elevation difference of nearly 500m. It is entirely asphalted so it can be done with a race bike.
A hut, Žiarska Chata, ends the valley. One can eat, drink or sleep here. Restored in 2005 after a fire, the building is very new and nice. The valley is usually very quiet and spared with crowds, so it is unlikely that we find the hut fully booked.
Žiarska Dolina can be either a short scenic ride, or just a way to shorten the approach to the peaks. One can pin the bike at the hut (bring a locker).
Two hiking trails leave this point, one going to the pass Smutné Sedlo, the other to the peak Banikov. Even for those not having the bike, a bike-rental system is working at the hut. For a modic sum it is possible to rent a bicycle or a bike-scooter that we leave at the mouth of the valley: the guy is regularly taking them back up.
In winter, the region is famous for having Europe's most dangerous avalanches. A particularly huge one occurred in 2009, which explains the numerous dead trees one can observe in the upper end near the hut.
Žiar is served by bus from Liptovský Mikuláš when it comes about public transportation. By car, here below, the routes in order to get there from Bratislava or from Southern Poland :
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When to Bike
According to the TANAP regulations hiking higher than Žiarska Chata is prohibited, for nature conservation purposes. The valley however is still open. Everyone will do accordingly to the weather.