This mountain range has the shape of an irregular ellipse, like a “butterfly wing”. At the Strečno Gorge, the Malá Fatra is divided by the River Váh. The northern section is called the Krivánska Malá Fatra, the southern part the Lúčanská Malá Fatra. The Malá Fatra divides the Žilina Basin from the Turiec Valley.
Its highest peak is Veľký (fatranský) Kriváň (1708 m), which offers a phenomenal view in every direction. The shortest route to the summit is from the Vrátna valley via the mountain pass at Snilovské sedlo. The pass can be reached by cable car. It is an easy half-hour walk from the cable car station to the summit with fine views.
The mountain that has come to stand for the whole range is Veľký Rozsutec (1610 m), whose rocky silhouette towers over the surrounding area. People used to think Jánošík’s treasure was hidden near its summit. There is a treasure there, but it is botanical. The mountain is one of the richest botanical habitats in the country. One of a number of routes to the summit lead through the charming gorges of Jánošíkove diery. This system of canyons and gorges is one of the best known and most beautiful routes in the Malá Fatra. The lower section, Dolné Diery, is relatively easy, while Horné Diery and the route towards Veľký Rozsutec are more demanding. It is necessary to climb ladders and in some places hold on to chains. There are more than 20 waterfalls in the system. The gorges can be reached by marked trails, footbridges, ladders and chains from the village of Terchová.
Another hard but rewarding climb is Malý Rozsutec, whose summit is also accessed with the help of chains. The marked trail also leads through Jánošíkove diery. It is only for experienced walkers in good condition. The western part of the ridge is less demanding; its slopes are mostly grassy. You will still need a good condition though, to cope with elevation gains of over 1,000 metres. If you are not ready for such a demanding hike, you can easily get up to the ridge with the cable car from the Vratná valley to Snilovské sedlo. Walking on the ridge, which is mostly grassy, is not very demanding and the spectacular views that it offers are worth a little effort.