Natural sights

Rakov Škocjan

Rakov Škocjan is a wonderfully wild karst valley. It was formed by Rak river, which springs from Zelške caves on one end, runs on the surface for 3.5 km and then goes underground again in Tkalca cave on the other end of the valley. The whole area is packed with karst phenomena, and a route with educational boards runs through the valley. Natural environment is incredible and the highlights of the trip are two natural bridges at each end of the valley - the "Great natural bridge" and the "Small natural bridge". Rakov Škocjan is proclaimed a regional park.

1 - Rakov Škocjan2 - Rakov Škocjan3 - Rakov Škocjan4 - Rakov Škocjan5 - Rakov Škocjan

Basic information
LocationCerknica, Notranjska
Type: karst valley
Entrance fee: no
Altitude: 520 m
Trip duration: 3 h
Difficulty:
Download GPX data
How to get there:
Leave the motorway 'Ljubljana – Koper' on exit Unec. In village of Unec tourist boards direct you to the right. Follow the boards for Rakov Škocjan and a dirt road will bring you to the first description board near the 'Geat natural bridge' (= Veliki naravni most). A good kilometer ahead on the road you will come to Hotel Rakov Škocjan, where the most appropriate parking lot is. We can also come here from Cerknica (look at the signposts by the road).

Description:
River Rak comes to daylight at the eastern end of the valley. It springs from Zelške caves, and brings water from Cerknica Lake. Imposing high walls rise above the river source. This used to be a cave, but its ceiling has collapsed and the impressive 'Small natural bridge' (= Mali naravni most) remained. An educational route (marked with blue-red markings) leads us to the top of the 'bridge', and if the water level allows it, we can descend all the way down to the water or to the entrance into Zelške caves. The view of the magnificent walls is spectacular!. Rak river immediately goes underground again and a few hundred meters further it rises to the surface once more. The educational route takes the right side of the valley between the 'Small natural bridge' and the hotel. Before the hotel you'll have to cross a small wooden bridge and continue on the left bank. In this part the valley widens and Rak flows peacefully along marshy meadows. On the way there are many karst sources that come suddenly from below the rocks and flow into Rak river. On the west side of Rakov Škocjan the nature becomes wilder again: the 'Great natural bridge', towering walls and gloomy Tkalca cave, into which we can descend (there is a steel cable for security) and watch how Rak roars off into the underground and continues on its way towards Planinsko Polje.

A road runs through Rakov Škocjan and we can actually drive through by car and stop only at the main sights, but the beautiful nature will be best experienced on foot. We should take at least 3 hours for the whole route (from Small to Great natural bridge and back). A very nice trip for all nature-lovers.

Basic info:
Duration: 3 h
Length: 8 km
Altitude difference: 70 m
Type of path: easy partially marked path (the descend below the 'Small natural bridge' and into the entrance of Tkalca cave is demanding!)




Comments



Rakov Škocjan
Rakov Škocjan is a wonderfully wild karst valley. It was formed by Rak river, which springs from Zelške caves on one end, runs on the surface for 3.5 km and then goes underground again in Tkalca cave on the other end of the valley. The whole area is packed with karst phenomena, and a route with educational boards runs through the valley. Natural environment is incredible and the highlights of the trip are two natural bridges at each end of the valley - the "Great natural bridge" and the "Small natural bridge". Rakov Škocjan is proclaimed a regional park.