Soteska Pekel - Details
Some 40 minutes from Ljubljana, there is a wild gorge to be seen for an adventurous walk.
It starts rather easy but as the path continues the landscape becomes more rough and steep with a few stairs to pass sections that are otherwise impassable. Hence the name Pekel, meaning Devil, used in Slovenia to describe hard to reach places.
There are five named waterfalls between 5 and 20 meters high in the Pekel gorge along the way and the second half of the path can be a circular walk. With breaks this can easily be a three hour walk.
During this walk there are some less easy sections after the second waterfall. Nothing that is dangerous, but there are a few steep sections secured with steel cables and pins, and two sections with steep wooden stairs. This walk is not good on a rainy day, way to slippery because parts of the path get muddy and dangerous.
How to get there
Along the highway from Ljubljana to Koper, take exit 38 at Vrhnika. At the main road in Vrhnika turn left to Borovnica at traffic lights, and at the next traffic lights turn left again, to Borovnica.
In Borovnica there is a point where the main road turns left to Podpeč, drive straight ahead to Brezovica and Pekel.
Past Borovnica you will cross a rail bridge, directly after that turn right to Pekel.
You will come through the hamlet of Ohonica and 1,5 kilometers after that the road ends at the parking of the Pekel gorge.
During the walk
At the parking, walk to the start of the gorge, marked with a big information board. The whole path is way marked, there is a sign at every of the five named waterfalls.
The first section of the path is rather level and you will cross the Otavščica creek several times.
In this section you will find the first waterfall, Prvi slap, 5 meters. After this point the path gets more steep.
You will see a sign to the second waterfall, Drugi slap, 16 meters, for which you cross the creek via a footbridge to the right bank to see the waterfall and then return to the main path. From there you will pass the first stairs (two after each other) followed by a rocky section secured with steel pins and cables to arrive at the third waterfall, Tretji slap, 18 meters, at a picnic table. Our favorite spot and a nice place for a longer break.
After that you will pass the second stairs with a narrow passage between the rocks, and another section with steel pins. You reach a junction of paths, continue to the left, along the gorge (if you decide to do the circular walk you will be coming down along the other path). Later on the path crosses the riverbed another two times and you will reach the fourth waterfall, Četrti slap, 17 meters, while you walk along the left bank again.
After a section where the path zigzags up along the slopes you cross the riverbed once more and after less than 10 minutes walking along the right side of the riverbed you reach the fifth and last waterfall, Peti slap, 20 meters.
From here you could walk back the same way, or cross the riverbed and do the circular walk.
The circular walk is described here, so find a way to cross the riverbed below the waterfall. On the other side, to the right of the rock wall, there is a path some 5 meters above the water level that can’t be seen when you’re not there yet.
The path continues rather level for a while, further away from the riverbed with nice views as I remember. Then suddenly the steep 90 meter descent back into the gorge starts. Here are some sections that are certainly impassable when the ground is very wet.
You will come to a solitary rock, freestanding above the gorge. I believe this rock is called Hudicev zob (devil’s tooth). From here you have wide views over some villages. It is hard to believe that after this rock the path continues down into the gorge, but it does.
After zigzagging down you will first reach the junction of paths where you took the other path on the way up, shortly after you arrive at the third waterfall with the picnic table again. Follow the path back to the parking the same way as you came.
Duration: 1 hour and 55 minutes
Length: 3,1 kilometers
Height difference: 315 meters
Parking coordinates: 45.890587,14.372278