The Pokljuka gorge

The Pokljuka plateau is a treasure trove of natural wonders, the best-known of which is the Pokljuka Gorge. This nearly 2 km-long ravine is a remnant of a stream which, at the end of the last Ice Age cut up to 50 metres deep into the limestone slopes above the Radovna.The waters gradually flowed away and the stream withdrew into the underground, leaving behind the largest dry fossil gorge in Slovenia.

The Pokljuka Gorge features a variaty of karst formations such as natural bridges, overhanging rock faces and caves. Along the precipitous slopes of the gorge, in some places only several metres apart, overhanging rocks alternate with widenings called »vrtci« (garden-plots). Across the narrowest part of the gorge, wooden bridges, called the Galleries of Prince Andrew were built, by the inhabitants of Gorje in 1930.

The best known attraction of the area is the Pokljuka Hole-a short shaft like traversable cave which boasts three natural windows and two cave entrances. People have long used it as an easy passage to the more level terrain of the mountain pastures of the Pokljuka plateau above.

The Pokljuka Gorge is not visited by crowds of tourists but it undoubtelly deserves utmost attention and admiration. It is protected as a natural monument within the Triglav National Park.

Starting point:
Once you arrive to Bled (from the direction of ‘Ljubljana – Jesenice’ highway) turn right towards Pokljuka at the traffic light. Follow the main road and in the village of Zgornje Gorje look for a signpost for Zgornja Radovna or Mojstrana. Turn right here and then left immediately. You’ll see signs for ‘Pokljuška soteska’ (Pokljuka Gorge). Drive on through a quiet village of Krnica and across the meadow until the end of the road where you’ll find a small parking lot.

Description:
The path through Pokljuka Gorge has been recently renovated and is equipped with nice descriptive panels and is well marked (date of visit: July 14, 2013). We will describe a circular path in the form of a figure eight. You’ll ascend through the bottom of the gorge and return back on the top of the walls and through a cave called ‘Pokljuška luknja’ back to the starting point. If you don’t want to take the circular path you can go there and back the same way through the Gorge.
From the parking lot head uphill by a dry stream bed and soon you’ll be surrounded by steep walls. At the first junction you can peek left into the ‘hidden valley’ where there’s a chance to be surprised by a waterfall in rainy seasons. Otherwise, proceed straight up until you reach a marked crossroad. To the right is an interesting ‘Pokljuška luknja’ (a large semi-open cave), through which you’ll get back if you decide for the circular path. Continue to the left and you’ll be soon surrounded by high steep walls. The ravine becomes quite narrow at times but it gets wider later on.

Walk past the high natural bridge and you’ll come to an otherwise impassable part, where a tourist route and a wooden gallery has been set up in 1930. Climb along the wooden steps and through a narrow passageway and you’ll come to the upper part of Pokjuka Gorge.

From here on there are no more ‘important’ sights, but you can make a pleasant circular route. Continue for another kilometer until you see a sign that directs you left towards ‘Zatrnik’. Ascend along the narrow path and stick to the left. You’ll come to a forest road where you turn left and descend towards the gorge. You will come to the only way across Pokljuka Gorge (just above the wooden galleries). On the other side the trail ascends a little. Follow the markings that will take you to ‘Pokljuška luknja’ (the cave), through which you descend back into the gorge and continue the same way back to the starting point.

Warning: Especially after heavy rainfalls and in early spring there’s danger of falling rocks. A helmet is highly advisable.

Basic:
Duration: 1.5 h (described circular path)
Distance: 4 km
Altitude: 200 m
Type of path: easy marked path