Otherwise Stegovnik is quite frequented, from both sides, from Tržič and from Jezersko. Mountain roads are reaching high, but it is interesting that they don't cross the main ridge to connect both valleys. Still, a mountain bike across the main ridge is possible, it requires some struggling only in its higher sections.
So, the summit is first of all a nice hiking goal. On a tour we can visit a few nice natural attractions, find solitude in the surrounding woods and enjoy very nice panorama from the top. Both secured main paths on the summit of Stegovnik are well maintained.
Very close to Stegovnik, just towards the NE, in the main ridge the summit of Ruš is rising. That one will perhaps not be the main goal of your trip, but it is also a pleasant summit, with almost equally broad view around, as the one from Stegovnik. Also Ruš is quite steep and rocky, the only recommended ascent on it goes by the SW ridge.
In the area of Stegovnik two natural attractions are worth of a visit. From below the western side of the mountain the Stegovnik creek flows down towards Medvodje. Before reaching the main valley it jumps over a rocky wall and forms a nice, small waterfall. From Medvodje (reachable by car) to the waterfall you have only a short hike. Of course it is best to come at high waters, in summer, the creek is quite dry. The second attraction is a natural window in the SW ridge of Stegovnik. Through it one of both marked paths on top goes anyway. A few other attractions (caves) are more hidden, hardly reachable, and known only to a few local experts.
GeologyThe Southern Alps are mostly build of Triassic limestones and Dolomites. But just south of the Periadriatic Fault there are a few ranges, which are some 100 million years older, originating from carbonate sediments, which were depositing in the Paleozoic ages of Devonian, Carboniferous and Permian. In addition to the main Carnic ridge such mountains are found also in western Karawanks and in the group west of Jezersko. On these Devonian limestones are not found only in the valleys (at faults) but they are forming also the summits and ridges, being thrusted over younger Carboniferous flysch layers. And Stegovnik is a typical such mountain. Its summit rocks are sedimentary, but almost 400 million years old, from the middle Devonian, the relics of a huge mountain range which raised during the Variscian orogeny. That is why hiking on Stegovnik is interesting also from a geological point of view. Also in lower parts we can observe colourful rocks which can otherwise not be found in younger, Triassic massifs.
By its geological diversity and abundance of fossils, also Dovžanova soteska (canyon) is worldwide known. It is situated west of Stegovnik, where the Tržiška Bistrica creek made its way through many layers of rocks of differen ages.
Dovzanova soteska (gorge)Dovžanova soteska is a gorge on Tržiška Bistrica creek, north of Tržič town. It is famous by abundance of fossils, which were found already end of the 19th century in its diverse Paleozoic rocks (Carboniferous and Permian). In 1988 the gorge was proclaimed as natural monument.
On the left bank of the gorge there are several rock towers, built of more solid limestone. They are called »The Kušpegar's belfries« (by the nearby Kušpegar farm) and are a popular rock climbing area. In 4 sectors there are almost 50 routes of difficulties from 6a to 8a. Here's the link to the climbing site of Dovžanova soteska (in Slovenian).
The second marked path starts just in the valley of Kokra river, on the main Jezersko road, soon above the Kanonir inn. Above the Kokra valley it reaches the big Močnik farm, on some 950 m. Till there we can also drive by a car (from Spodnje Jezersko).
The third trailhead on Jezersko side is the upper valley of Kokra, or in Komatevra. From the main Jezersko road we deter there in Spodnje Jezersko, drive past the travertine quarry and further on, till high below the main ridge. From that mountain road we can deter left already on some 1200 m, or on the last branching on some 1350 m. From those two dead road ends no marked path goes towards Stegovnik, but we are already very high.
From Tržič side, the first very good trailhead lies on the last crossing below Javornik meadow. We drive there by a mountain road from Grahovše, in the Lom valley. At the last farm the ramp lifts up for 1 EUR, but dont forget to have another 1 EUR for the return!
And finally, high up reaches also the road from Medvodje, also from the Tržič side. We reach north below Stegovnik, on some 1300 m, from where we can ascend on top in one good hour.
1. From the SE
From Dol we must do some 950 m of altitude, 3 h. From the Močnik farm we have some 750 m to do (2 h 15 min). By the Swiss Hiking Scale the last sections of the hike up would be graded T3. Gear: only good shoes and poles.
2. By a non-marked SE variant
If we drive by the valley of Zabukovski potok (creek) to the highest point of the mountain road (some 1250 m), we find ourselves already high below the SE wall of Stegovnik. There we deter from the road on a rugged cart-road, and from it soon on a non-marked path towards the left. We soon reach the marked path which goes below the walls, connecting the two main saddles of Stegovnik. Just there the marked path has its lowest point. From there, we can go by the marked path either right on the saddle Pri lojtri, and then on top, or left on the saddle between Stegovnik and Mali Javornik, and from it on top by the route #3. A section of the path towards Pri lojtri saddle is a bit narrow and crosses steep, forrested slopes. Altogether we have to the summit 1 h 30 min, difficulty is T3.
3. From the SW
We start the hike on the last crossroads of the road, which comes from Grahovše towards the Javornik alpine meadow. We are on 1420 m. The marked path goes towards Stegovnik all the time across the western slopes of Mali Javornik. The second option is only a bit longer (offering the alternative and the round tour). We can go by a shepherds path and cart-road further towards the east and even southeast on the main ridge where we turn left and by a marked path cross the eastern slopes of Mali Javornik. On the saddle just below Stegovnik both variants join. Till there we can also reach from the mountain road, coming up from Dol (see the route #2).
In continuation the marked path enters the rocky slopes of Stegovnik. We soon reach the rock window and go through it. There the path is protected with cables and a ladder. When this attraction is behind us, the path turns right, ascends steeply up and in turns reaches the main ridge. There we turn left again. Till the main summit the hike by the ridge takes still some time.
From Dom pod Storžičem we'd need some 4 h to the summit, from the crossroads below Javornik meadow some 2 h, from Dol some 2 h 30 min. By the Swiss Hiking Scale the last sections of the hike up would be graded T3. Gear: only good shoes and poles.
Quite high till below the saddle between Mali Javornik and Stegovnik also mountain roads from Tržič side are reaching, but the path further on are not marked.
4. From the north
All these approaches go over the saddle Pri lojtri. The trailhead is on the road, coming from Medvodje high below the main ridge. On the altitude just above 1300 m we can catch the marked path, which connects Brsnina alpine meadow and Pri lojtri saddle. The ascent is short and easy, the path further on top is described under #1. 1 h 15 min, T3.
5. From the NE
Driving up by the valley of Komatevra, we can park on some 1350 m. From there towards Stegovnik there is no marked path, but we can go towards it by any ravine or forrested ridge, reach the main ridge and close to Fevča alpine meadow reach the marked path, described in #4. In a few minutes we are from there on Pri lojtri saddle.
Ruš, 1614 m
Bukovec, 1506 m
Mountain hutsWe don't need huts to reach the summit of Stegovnik. The only official hut is only the more remote Dom pod Storžičem, in summer also the private hut on Javornik alpine meadow is opened.
When to ascend Stegovnik?We best ascend Stegovnik in dry seasons. As mountain roads are reaching high, also a winter ascent is doable, despite short days. The summit part of course requires winter equipment (ice pick and crampons). On mountain roads a mountain bike can be helpful, and when covered by snow touring skis.
- I Feel Slovenia - The Official Travel Guide by Slovenian Tourist Board: Dovžanova soteska (gorge)
- Plezanje.net - The Slovenian rock climbing site: Dovzanova soteska