Mountain pastures below Košuta
Hiking in the lap of Slovenia's longest mountain
The mountain pastures below Košuta are connected by an easy marked hiking trail that runs along the foot of Košuta, the longest Slovenian mountain, right where the steep grassy slopes start to level out and gradually give way to woodland.
- 1 / 23 Mountain pastures below Košuta
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From Tržič drive through the Dovžan Gorge and Dolina. Park in Jelendol at the former Born Mansion.
Jelendol, once also called Puterhof, was strongly influenced by the Born family in the past. In 1895, a new road was built from Tržič to Jelendol, which was much more suitable than the former route through the hamlet of Na Jamah. This road, which in the narrowest part of the Dovžan Gorge leads through a tunnel and is almost 120 years old, is still the one we use today. Towards the end of the 19th century, the Borns built a mansion in Puterhof, and with their arrival came a boom in forest management. In 1913, an electrified forest railway was built (electricity was obtained from their own power plant), which connected the sawmill and the main loading station in Medvodje.
Kofce mountain pasture
In Jelendol, turn left. The paved road soon turns into a gravel road with potholes in places, which first follows the stream and then ascends above it. When the forest becomes a little more open, you will see a wooden hut in front of you on the left, and in front of it a turnoff to a hiking trail with a sign for "Kofce čež [via] Dovžanko". Follow the trail markings through the forest, which soon lead you past numerous springs to Dovžanka pasture. The path is quite steep but well marked.
You will come to the road again, where you turn right and after a few dozen metres turn left above the road onto a path that leads you past the shrine below Kofce, where the first mountain hostel once stood, to a fence and pasture. In a few minutes you will arrive at Kofce Mountain Hostel and the mountain dairy, which lie on a grassy hill on the southern slope of Kofce Gora and Veliki Vrh. It is an ideal starting point for ascents of the summits along the Košuta ridge.
Time for the first snack of the day? Definitely. But don't eat too much, since there will be more mountain huts and dairies to come in the next three hours and each one offers delicious homemade dishes.
The elevation at Kofce is 1488 metres and you will remain at about this elevation all the way to Dolga Njiva. The forest is below you and the trail leads mostly through mountain meadows and pastures. Of course, you'll need to keep an eye on the ground beneath your feet but your gaze will constantly be drawn to the sunlit peaks of Košuta.
Šija mountain pasture
Approximately 20 minutes of walking will take you to Šija mountain pasture and Šija Scouts Hut, where in addition to refreshments, organized groups are offered various activities, from archery, wilderness survival courses, climbing and other skills that scouts are known for.
As in the past, during the grazing season, which lasts from mid-June to mid-September, the high mountain pastures are grazed by livestock. Time permitting, herders also take care of hungry and thirsty hikers. Try some authentic homemade dishes, especially ones made from dairy products, such as sour milk with mash or masovnek. You haven't yet heard of that? Masovnek is a typical herder's meal made from sour cream, flour and eggs. The neighbouring folk of Jezersko prepare it from buckwheat flour, but the Tržič variant, made with corn flour, cannot be beat.
Pungrat mountain pasture
From Šija to Pungrat mountain pasture you'll follow a cart track, so there is a little more time for sightseeing. The Kamnik-Savinja Alps to the west appear very close. The cart track is also used by mountain bikers, so keep to the right and there will be more than enough space for everyone.
Tegoška mountain pasture
From the renovated herder's hut on Pungrat mountain you will cross a grassy area, then continue eastwards along the marked hiking trail. The cart track soon ends, and the trail leads across hummocky grassland to a pasture fence. Step across it to the pastures of Tegoška. Continue for a short time along a marked trail and turn right by a large ravine. Descend to the forest road, which will take you to the shepherd's hut on Tegoška pasture.
Tegoška pasture is mentioned as early as the 15th and 16th centuries. The owners were mostly from the villages below Kriška Gora and Kovor. In 1892, Karl Born also became a partial owner. Between 1948 and 1993, the pasture was managed by the Križe Agricultural Cooperative, after which it was returned in full to its former owners. Initially, small huts were built on the pasture, and later shepherd's cottages. According to known information, two cottages burned down and one was swept away by an avalanche.
The trail to Dolga Njiva goes through forests, clearings and across grassy slopes. Along the way you'll ascend the ridge of Kisovec and when you reach the turnoff for Košutnik Tower, you are almost at the last mountain dairy, on the pasture of Spodnja Dolga Njiva. Treat yourself to some typical herder's dishes, including curd cheese and excellent dumplings, and during the grazing season you can also spend the night. You will meet young and old. Those who have just arrived from Košutnik Tower, whose rocky walls rise high above the mountain pasture, and those who have arrived at the pasture by car, as the years no longer allow them to walk long distances. And of course the children who have come to the mountain hoping to see domestic animals on the pasture as soon as possible.
Return to the valley
As much as you would like to stay longer on the mountain, it's time to return to the valley. First along a hiking trail, then along a forest road past the small hydroelectric power plant Košutnik. Be careful to turn left, as the right turn leads towards Pungrat. Follow the stream to Medvodje and further along the valley of the Tržič Bistrica to Jelendol.
Below Slovenia's longest mountain Košuta, in the summer months from 15 June to 15 September, 5 dairy pastures are still active. In addition, there are mountain hostels on Kofce and Šija, which are also open outside the summer months on weekends and holidays.
If you set out to visit the pastures below Košuta with young children, choose the shortest route. You can start at the Matizovec farm above Podljubelj or below the wayside shrine beneath Kofce. Walk across Kofce to Pungrat. If you go beyond that point, to the pasture Spodnja Dolga Njiva, you will need to organize transport back to your starting point.
- Karawanks-central part 1:50 000, PZS
- Storžič - Košuta 1:25 000, PZS