Bear Trail Cycling
Combine two outdoor activities – cycling and wildlife observation. Accompanied by a guide, take the most picturesque biking trails and listen to nature. With some luck, you will be able to spot some of the forest inhabitants. Join us for an unforgettable cycling trip.
Length of the programme: 3 days
Altitude difference: +1790m
Terrain: paved road 55.0km (56%), gravel road 44.0km (44%)
Physical fitness: high (with an e-bike – medium)
- On the first day you will cycle 27km to Kočevska Reka;
- You will occasionally stop and see the Karst features and other sights.
- On the second day you will cycle 35km, partly along the River Kolpa, also close to the Krokar Virgin Forest.
- You will ascend the hill to the Kostel Castle;
- You will end the day in Laze pri Predgradu.
- The third day will be mostly cycling, when you will cycle 37km;
- You will ascend from the valley into the mighty forests of Kočevsko.
- You will choose your overnight accommodation.
Day 1: Kočevje – Kočevska Reka
A well-maintained gravel track with not too steep ascents and beautiful descent sections leads mostly through the forest, until we descend into the Gotenica–Reka valley and cycle along a paved road through the Karst landscape full of typical sinkholes to the destination of the day, Kočevska Reka. We can listen to the singing of different birds along the way, stopping occasionally to observe them and listen to the stories of the guide about the other inhabitants of the surrounding forests. If we are extremely quiet and lucky, we may spot some of them, maybe even a bear in the early morning or late in the evening.
Kočevska Reka is the central village in a valley that was inhabited 3,000 years ago and by German and Tyrolean farmers in the 14th century, who began to emigrate at the end of the 19th century due to economic conditions. This process ended during and mainly after World War II. Decades after the war, Kočevska Reka was also part of the enclosed area, so the landscape around it remained all the more preserved and untouched. Today, it is known for the widest walnut tree in Slovenia, measuring 434cm in diameter and an artificial lake below the village, which is an important natural habitat. Together with the surrounding forest, the area is declared a forest reserve, where one of the few living pairs of white-tailed eagle nest. According to the latest information, only about 8 pairs of this rare species supposedly live in Slovenia.
Among the stops along the way, you will be able to see the Rožni Studenec forest educational trail, part of which is the Short Bear Trail, a circular educational trail with the presentation of bears. We can also stop at Koče, where some renovated houses with original architecture are located, one of them being the birthplace of Peter Kozler, author of the first Slovenian map and national awakener, who was also the co-founder of the Kozler Brothers Brewery, the predecessor of one of the largest Slovenian breweries – the Union Brewery, as well as Ranch Marina, where you can swap your bicycle saddle for a horseback.
Upon arrival to Kočevska Reka, where we will spend the night, you can take a tour of the Reško Lake with the Eagle Trail, walk along the Borovec hiking trail, or just part of it to the Krempa saddle, with a beautiful view of the Kolpa valley on one side and the mighty trees of the Krokar Virgin Forest, entered in the UNESCO List of Natural Heritage, on the other. You can see the Bear Room or catch some fish in the lake. You can finish the day by observing the animals from the observation stands on the Eagle Trail, or for an extra charge and accompanied by a local hunter, go on a bear observation tour on specially built observation stands.
Day 2: Kočevska Reka – Laze pri Predgradu
The second day of cycling along a beautiful panoramic road brings us first to the Forest Reservation of the Krokar Virgin Forest on the slope of the Borovec mountain above River Kolpa, the largest of the six forestry remains in Slovenia, which is also entered in the UNESCO List of Natural Heritage. It is only a half hour walk from the village of Borovec, from which the cycling path begins to descend mainly down to the Kolpa valley. As soon as we reach the valley, we can ascend steeply up the hill on which the once mighty Kostel Castle stands. The Castle offers great views of the Kostel valley.
Continuing our journey to Laze takes us all along the Kolpa River, offering countless opportunities to stop for a rest by the water, perhaps even for some swimming if the season is right. We will also see some old, better or worse preserved mills and get some refreshment opportunities. This is also available at the final destination, at the Homestead near Skender, where you can brighten up your day with fishing, canoeing, kayaking, or with archery.
Day 3: Laze – Kočevje
The last day is mostly cycling. From the Kolpa valley, the path ascends to the mighty forests of Kočevski Rog, which follow us all the way to our final destination. After the first ascent, a beautiful view of the Kolpa valley opens, in Predgrad you can try what it is like to be on a "pranger", an ancient shame pillar, and in Knežja Lipa you can see the archaeological Unknown Spaha hiking trail.
Other opportunities for sightseeing along the trail are related to the extension of daily cycling and are very inviting. Among them is the Rog sawmill with the remains of what used to be the largest sawmill in the region of Kočevsko, forest railways and a beautiful picnic clearing. The Rajhenavski Rog Virgin Forest, one of the most famous remains of virgin forests in Slovenia, and especially one of the first beginnings of preservation of virgin forests, since its owners began to exclude it from any economic use in 1892, and even the "Queen of Rog", a 500-year-old beauty, the most majestic tree in this area, which stands tall at over 50m in height.
The following can be included in the package:
• Transportation to Kočevje and back to your chosen destination
• Tour of Ljubljana
• Additional overnight accommodation
• Additional activities