Tržič Alpine Trail
Summit to summit loop trail above Tržič
The Tržič Alpine Trail was planned out in the spring of 1991. It is a 60-kilometre-long loop trail that passes by 10 checkpoints and can be completed by a hiker in suitable physical condition in 5 to 6 days. You can mark the successful completion of the trail by stamping your hiking diary at the checkpoints, and find personal satisfaction primarily in the spectacular mountain scenery and gorgeous views.
- 1 / 23 Tržič Alpine Trail
- 2 / 23 Kofce Mountain
- 3 / 23 View towards Begunjščica an...
- 4 / 23 From Kladivo looking west
- 5 / 23 Korošica
Five to six days of hiking
You will need five to six days to do the Tržič Alpine Trail in one trip. The trail, which is also known as T24, is the most difficult mountain ultramarathon in Slovenia. But take your time, enjoy the peace and quiet of the forests, the colourful alpine meadows in full flower, and the panoramic rocky summits.
The trail starts in Tržič
You can leave your car at the municipal car park or at the Tržič Olympians Arena, then follow the trail clockwise with ascents of the following peaks: Dobrča (1634 m), Begunjščica (2060 m), Vrtača (2181 m), Košutica (1968 m), Veliki Vrh Košute (2088 m), Kladivo (2094 m), Košutnik Tower (2133 m), Stegovnik (1692 m), Storžič (2132 m) and Tolsti Vrh (1715 m).
First to Dobrča
From Tržič, follow the nearest marked hiking trail via Raven and Cenova Guba to Bistriška mountain pasture. Here we join the trail that leads from the town of Bistrica pri Tržiču. Walk along a short section of forest road, which leads to a paragliding takeoff point. Follow the trail markings and turn sharply right up a steep and long slope that seems to go on and on. Finally, Lešanska mountain pasture appears in front of you. Turn west and you’ll soon come to a turnoff, where the trail from Brezje pri Tržiču joins.
If you were to keep going in the same direction, you would reach Dobrča Mountain Hut; however, you should turn right and go uphill. After 15 minutes of walking you will reach the summit of Dobrča, where after the first three hours of walking there is also the first checkpoint. The top is quite exposed, so a view opens up on all sides. To the north you can see Begunjščica, to the northeast Košuta, and to the east the Lom Valley with Stegovnik, Javornik and Storžič. To the south, the view stretches across the Ljubljana Basin all the way to Šmarna Gora and Jelovica, and to the west can be seen the Julian Alps.
Continue to Begunjščica
From the top first descend along the same trail, then after about 400 metres turn right towards Podgorska pasture. For a short rest you can stop at the nearby hut on Dobrča, where you can also spend the night. The trail to Preval pasture leads through varied terrain and is followed by a steep ascent by way of Kalvarija to Begunjščica. The hike from Dobrča to Veliki Vrh on Begunjščica will take a good four hours. Stop for a moment and look around, because the view from here is even more beautiful than on Dobrča. In summer, sheep and goats graze on the southern slopes of Begunjščica; they welcome the company of sweaty hikers.
The trail along the ridge leads west. If your legs are too tired to continue, go down to Roblek Mountain Hostel on Begunjščica and spend the night, otherwise you can cross the steep western slopes of Begunjščica and spend the night at Zelenica Mountain Hostel. Many hikers take a shorter variant and descend directly from the summit to Zelenica across the scree.
The third checkpoint on Vrtača is reached by the only marked path from Zelenica, which runs along the southern slope. It takes about two hours. There are several unmarked routes that attract both enthusiasts of backcountry hiking (Mala Glava and the famous Y) as well as true alpinists who go mountain climbing in all seasons, especially from the high mountain cirque Suho Ruševje. Few people know that Vrtača is the second highest peak of the Karawanks, right behind the neighbouring Stol.
To Košutica, also called Baba
Descend along the same path towards Zelenica. Here you can opt for the much shorter, but unmarked, Border Patrol Trail across Ljubeljščica to Ljubelj Pass and on by way of Rjava Peč towards Košutica, also called Baba (3 hours).
Ljubeljska Baba or Košutica can be seen from the valley as you drive from Tržič towards Ljubelj where the road above the Ljubelj labour camp memorial park turns to the east, and it is also visible the entire time when descending from Zelenica. If you follow the red-marked trails on the map, you have to descend from Zelenica to Ljubelj, and from there towards Korošica pasture and Košutica. This involves losing a lot of elevation, which then needs to be regained on the next ascent.
From Košutica carefully descend towards Hajnž Saddle, where the border between Slovenia and Austria is marked with a sign. To the left is a view of Hajnž Graben, and to the right St. Anne Valley.
And then on to Košuta
Just across Hajnž Saddle you will climb along a protected climbing route to Košuta, Slovenia’s longest mountain. It stretches almost 12 kilometres, beginning in the west with Zajmenove Peči and ending in the east with Tolsta Košuta.
The highest peak, Košutnik Tower (Košutnikov Turn), is 2133 metres. The northern walls are steep and friable whereas the southern slopes are sunny and grassy. Along them, at an elevation just above 1400 metres, lie many mountain pastures where livestock are grazed from June to September.
Veliki Vrh (Big Peak) is located in the western part of Košuta and is accessible from both the north and the south. The climb up the north wall is a true mountaineering experience. The lower part of the wall is more challenging technically, but higher up requires great care because the rock breaks and crumbles easily. Pitons and steel cables have been placed as climbing aids, and a climbing helmet is a must. The higher you go, the more beautiful the views, especially looking back over the route already completed.
After the last sections of rock climbing are behind you you’ll ascend to the exposed ridge and reach the sunny, grassy peak after an hour and a half of walking. Food and drink are available at Kofce Mountain Hostel, where you can also spend the night.
Ahead of you is one of the most beautiful sections of the Tržič Alpine Trail, the traverse of Košuta, which will take about five hours. Many hikers opt for this thrilling traverse even in winter, though of course only in suitable weather conditions. The views from the Košuta ridge of the sea of fog above the Ljubljana Basin and of Austrian Carinthia are unforgettable.
The path runs mostly along the ridge on a grassy surface, so to avoid slipping wear hiking boots with a good grip. Kladivo can be reached in an hour and a half via Toplar, Kofce Gora and Malo Kladivo. From Kladivo descend towards Škrbina through rocky shrubland. There is a fairly challenging and partly unmarked path to Škrbina from the Austrian side via Malejska pasture.
From Škrbina to Košutnik Tower you’ll cross Tegoška Gora and Macesje. The trail has slight ascents and descents throughout. Stop at Užnik for a moment and look north to nearby Cjajnik, where a new via ferrata was constructed in 2006. There is also a view of the southern slopes and the mountain pastures of Šija, Pungrat and Tegoška. The thought of the delicious herder’s fare to be had makes your legs start feeling a bit heavy.
To Košutnik Tower
The route to the next checkpoint, Košutnik Tower, is steeper and more exposed, and just below the summit there is a short section requiring climbing.
The peaks on Košuta are fairly indistinct, with Košutnik Tower being the most prominent. Its solid northern wall is of particular interest to climbers, as the rest of Košuta is quite friable. The view from the top of the Slovenian and Austrian sides is magnificent, as for all the other peaks of Košuta.
The beginning of the descent is quite steep and caution is needed. You then walk across the grassy slopes, above the rocky cliffs and through shrubland to the pasture of Zgornja Dolga Njiva. The more demanding ascents are now behind you for a time; those in need of a rest can spend the night at the mountain dairy on Spodnja Dolga Njiva.
By unmarked path to Stegovnik
The path from Zgornja Dolga Njiva to Stegovnik is not marked and in some places difficult to follow due to numerous new logging skid trails. The route goes around the mountain of Plešivec and up Pečovnik.
Well warmed up from hiking through rugged terrain, you will quickly ascend Stegovnik from the north. Stegovnik is a mountain ridge between Košuta and Storžič, and has the oldest rocks in the Tržič area. It offers a beautiful view of the Košuta ridge, Stol, Vrtača with the Julian Alps in the background, Kočna, Grintavec and Skuta to the southeast and Peca, Raduha, Olševa and Uršlja Gora to the east.
Extra caution is needed when descending from the summit along a narrow gully, when your legs are already tired. Head southwest through the natural window. Mali and Veliki Javornik can be bypassed on the eastern or western side, as both trails merge on Javornik Pass.
A detour to the summit of Veliki Javornik can be especially magical in the late afternoon. From Javornik Pass you can reach Storžič Mountain Hostel in just over half an hour, where you can rest up in preparation for the last stage of the Tržič Alpine Trail.
Ascent of Storžič
The mountain rising like a large cone above the Ljubljana Basin, Storžič, is the highest peak in the western part of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, and was mentioned by Janez Vajkard Valvasor in his 1689 work The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola.
Due to its abundant and diverse flora, the area was also of interest to many botanists, such as Scopoli, Wulfen and Hohenwart. The southern grassy slopes of Stožič are clearly visible from the motorway; as you descend towards the valley these give way to forested areas, which extend all the way to the Ljubljana Basin. The mountain casts a much starker image to the northern, Tržič side, where the landscape was sculpted by a glacier in the past.
From Storžič Mountain Hostel you can climb the mountain along a very challenging trail through Žrelo (three hours) or along a section of the Slovenian Mountain Hiking Trail over Škarjev Rob (three and a half hours).
From the top there is a view of the Ljubljana Basin with its many settlements, fields and forests. The view to the south extends all the way to Krim, Snežnik and Nanos and the Škofja Loka Hills. The Julian Alps with Triglav dominate in the west, and somewhat closer are the Karawanks with Stol, Begunjščica and Košuta.
You can also see and take photos of Obir, Olševa and Peca to the northeast and the summits of the central group of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps to the east.
Final checkpoint on Tolsti Vrh
From Storžič descend to Mala Poljana, and from there an hour-long ascent will take you to the top of Tolsti Vrh and the final checkpoint.
Tolsti Vrh, and the lower Kriška Gora form a ridge which begins to descend steeply towards the Tržič Bistrica Valley to the west. The sun-exposed southern slopes are overgrown with forest, but as you near the top there are more and more grassy meadows. Between the Ljubljana Basin and the slope of Kriška Gora with Tolsti Vrh there is a large terrace, where the village of Gozd is situated. It is an excellent starting point for the ascent to Kriška Gora, also popular among paragliders.
After a rest at Kriška Gora Hut hike down to Tržič by way of Velika and Mala Mizica, and return to where you started the Tržič Alpine Trail some days earlier.
Karawanks-central part 1:50 000, PZS
Stol and Begunjščica 1:25 000, PZS
Storžič – Košuta 1:25 000, PZS
Diary for the Tržič Alpine Trail
Worth visiting nearby:
- Ljubelj (Loibl) Pass
- Ljubelj labour camp
- Dolga Njiva Mountain Dairy
- Kosmač Gallery and Workshop
- Dobrča Mountain Hut
- Preval Mountain Dairy
- Zelenica Mountain Hostel
- Ljubelj Mountain Hut
- Tegošče Mountain Dairy
- Kofce Mountain Hostel
- Kriška Gora Hut
- Tržič Museum
- Kurnik House
- Dr. Tone Pretnar Memorial Room
- Raj Restaurant