When reading Slovenian words on maps or in books, you will find special characters for ch, sh, and zh (zh like in measure). They are written with c, s and z with a caron - a little v above them, like č, š and ž.
The group I am describing here is named Kamniške and Savinjske Alpe (Kamnik is a town; kamen=stone, Savinja is a river). In German it is called Steiner Alpen (Stein=stone), which is a direct translation from Slovenian language. But I shall refer to the group shortly Kamnik Alps.
Kamnik Alps are the easternmost limestone group of the long chain of Southern Alps. Their area is 900 square kilometers. They look like Carnic Alps or Julian Alps - steep, rugged, with high and almost vertical north walls and with much less steep southern slopes. Although their altitude is not extremely high, Grintovec reaches 2558 m, their slopes are still considerably high. Kočna, for example, rises some 1800 m above Kokra valley and Grintovec rises 1900 m above Kamniška Bistrica valley. On the North Kamnik Alps are hard to distinguish from Karavanke range. You can see on the map below how the two groups are divided. To the South and to the West of the group Sava river plain lies, while towards the East higher mountains softly merge with forehills.
Rising on the edge of European Alps, Kamnik Alps are high enough to offer splendid vistas. The neighbouring higher groups are already a bit remote, so, standing in a nice day on top of Grintovec, you already see them on a horizon. Julian Alps, Hohe Tauern, Niedere Tauern, Dachstein - they are all quite remote, but clearly seen. From the West to the East the long range of Karavanke/Karawanken is passing Kamnik Alps on their North side. Karavanke are a bit lower, but still interesting to see.
Further to the North, beyond Drava/Drau river valley the rounded Gurktal Alps and Lavanttal Alps are clearly seen. Towards the South and the East you can freely see plains and hills of almost the entire Slovenia. While the Slovenian part of Dinaric Alps is well seen (Snežnik, for example), you must be very lucky to see also the Istrian hills and perhaps the mirror of Adriatic see as well. Kamnik Alps as a group itself can best be seen from the summits in Karavanke, above Jezersko - from Stegovnik, Virnikov Grintavec and Pristovski Storžič.
The other great point of view is the panoramic road below Olševa, also in Karavanke. From Gorenjska plane and from Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, Kamnik Alps form a characteristic scenery, which is on all tourist flyers of Slovenia. Also when arriving on Brnik airport, your plane will fly very close to the southern slopes of Kamnik Alps.
You can enjoy all outdoor activities in Kamnik & Savinja Alps. In the group there are two quite popular ordinary ski resorts: Krvavec and Velika planina. The cable-car on Velika planina operates during the whole season, while on Krvavec, you can get in summer by car and in winter by cable-car. As for mountaineering, this is a great place for hiking, climbing (from short to long routes, all grades of difficulty), tour skiing, mountain biking, etc., to name just a few activities. If you plan just a short visit, here are a few highlights:
The best areas for waterfall ice-climbing are:
|View Kamnik Alps in a larger map||
One rarely speaks of Kamnik Alps subgroups, because the entire group is not big. Still I shall divide it into six subgroups. The central one holds almost all important peaks, while in the others there are just a few more important mountains. I shall name these groups:
(1) Storžič group (lite blue),
West of Kokra river Storžič dominates the surroundings. Its small group stretches to Tržič town, beyond which, further to the west there are some more forehills.
Krvavec is not the highest summit of this group. But as it is so eye-catching from Kranj or Ljubljana, and so popular as a ski resort, let's name the group by it. The group rises to its highest point in Kalški greben, 2224 m, north of which Kokrsko sedlo, 1793 m, an important saddle, separates the group from the central part of Kamnik Alps. On the East, the slopes of this subgroup fall down to Kamniška Bistrica valley. On the southern end, there are wonderful, sunny terraces, with villages, cute churches and great views. There, on can do several short hikes as well. The very southern end of this subgroup is a hilly area called Tunjiško gričevje (Tunjice hills). Also a picturesque countryside, interesting for biking.
Two nice biking tours:
Kamnik/Steiner Alps from the North, across Logarska dolina (valley).
In this group all the highest summits are gathered. It is a wonderful mountain resort! High, almost vertical walls are falling towards the north, so Jezersko resort and Logarska dolina (valley) are first-class starting points for all sorts of hard climbs. Borders of the group are: on the West Kokra river and Jezersko valley, on the North Bela valley and Pavličevo sedlo (saddle), On the East Savinja valley and Robanov kot (valley) and on the South Kokrsko sedlo (saddle), Kamniška Bistrica valley and Korošica alpine meadow.
Trailheads & Mountain huts:
In this group I am gathering two high plateaus and summits above them and a lower mountain ridge on the other side of Podvolovljek valley. Dleskovška planota (also called Veža) is a high carst plateau, with peaks above it that hardly exceed the 2000 meters altitude. Velika planina is different. Also a high plateau, hosting many opened, grassy alpine meadows. Both plateaus are connected by a sharp ridge with an impressive NW face. The Rogatec ridge is mostly covered with woods, only the two highest peaks are grassy and rocky. The whole area has the following frontiers: Robanov kot (valley) on the North, Savinja valley on the East, Dreta valley and Črna valley on the South and Kamniška Bistrica valley, Kamniška Bela valley and Korošica alpine meadow on the West and North-West.
A broad area of hills, covered with woods, south of Dreta valley. Nice for hiking and mountain biking. The plateau can be accessed from both sides - south and north. From the south you start in Tuhinj. In the beginning the road has a sign that it is prohibited for drive, but the plate below says you can proceed on your own responsibility. Above, the first big meadow is Biba planina, higher on, there's Menina planina. Close to the hut on menina planina (15 minutes away) rises the highest point.
The easternmost part of Kamnik Alps. Raduha is a broad, rocky ridge mountain, while Smrekovec is a long grassy ridge, the only ex volcano in Slovenia. On south-east there is a hilly Golte plateau, hosting a ski resort. Below Raduha summit (10 minutes from the road) there's a nice Snezna jama (Snow Cave), arranged for tourist visits.
Below Skuta, oriented a bit towards the NE, a small glacier persists, the only one in Kamnik/Steiner Alps and, together with the disappearing Triglav glacier the most south-eastern one in Alps. Its altitude is from 2020 m to 2120 m, inclination some 30–35 degrees, and area only some 0,7 hectars. From almost hundred years ago (1913) a picture of Josip Kunaver still shows big crevasses, today the average thickness of ice is only 7 meters.
As a predominantly limestone formation, Kamnik Alps are a nice example of a high, mountain karst. Erosion effects can be seen everywhere, some most typical examples are on Dleskovska planota (plateau). On higher regions all water soon disappears underground. The deepest cave, discovered so far, is the Molička peč system, 1130 m of depth. Two entrances of this system are 200 m apart on the altitude of 1900 m, East of Veliki vrh and Velika zelenica and South of Poljske device ridge. This is nowadays the fourth deepest cave in Slovenia, the deepest one outside Kanin mountain group. On Dleskovska planota and elsewhere there are some more objects, none of them appropriate for a tourist visit. On Raduha, however, there is Snežna jama (Snow cave). It was discovered only in early 1970-ies, when snow on the entry melted enough. Today it is arranged for tourist visit and the 2-hours visit can be really recommended. At the begining there are nice ice waterfalls, while deeper the cave is nicely decorated (even if it is situated rather high on the mountain). In forehills, near Šempeter, there's also a nice cave, called Pekel (Hell), also arranged for tourist visite. Bit it's already very low, not in high mountains. There are some more interesting objects, like for example Medvedja jama (Bear Cave) above Kamniška Bistrica valley. There, bones of hundreds of cave bears were found. It can be an interesting hike, although the place is not so easy to find.
In the vicinity of Jezersko resort, many sources join and flow down towards Gorenjska plane as Kokra river. While offering some nice scenes, Kokra is touristically not very important. But Jezersko itself is a very nice place. A small plane, formed by glaciers, was once a natural lake (today, you can only see a small artificial lake) and is on one side surrounded by a high wall of Kamnik Alps and on the other side by a few lower peaks of Karavanke. Some of the sources on Jezersko have mineral water. In the walls of Kočna one of the sources immediately falls down in waterfall. This is Čedca, the highest waterfall in Slovenia (but poor with water). It is best to visit it early in spring. In Reka valley, the right tributary creek of Kokra tufa was mined. You can still see big blocks close to the mountain road.
Kamniška Bistrica has its source (a small lake) in the valley with the same name. This glacial valley is deeply cut in the heart of Kamnik Alps group. The altitude difference between the river source and Grintovec is more than 1900 meters. The canyon towards Kamnik town is nice to see (in spring, for example), along a big part of it a nice marked path goes. The most beautiful part of it are the two Predoselj gorges. The side tributary creeks of Kamniška bistrica also hide a few nice places. One such place is a small waterfall and some ponds in Repov kot, the other one is Orglice waterfall on Bela creek.
Savinja is also a nice river in the eastern part of the group. Our kids were doing it by tyre tubes, otherwise there are some rafting and kayaking possibilities. The most beautiful waterfall in Kamnik Alps is Rinka, close to Savinja source. A fine stream of water is falling over an interestingly red rock. Further down, the canyon of Savinja is most beautiful on the place, where the river cuts its way between the main part of Kamnik Alps group and Raduha, rising East of the river. Driving through, you can for example stop by Igla (The Needle) and do some sightseeing).
On the upper part of Savinja river basin there are three famous mountain valleys: Robanov kot, Logarska dolina and Matkov kot. Above all of them high walls of surrounding mountains are rising, the first two are flat in the lower part, with nice meadows, while Matkov kot is covered with woods. At the end of Matkov kot, already quite above the valley, each year the so called Matkov škaf (Matk's Tub) is formed. Big amounts of snow are falling over the walls, but in spring, water carves a broad hole, from the top to the bottom of the snowdrift. In old guidebooks it is said that the phaenomenon can have a diameter from 20 m - 30 m on top and can be 40 m deep! When I visited it in 2008, it was half of that size, but still very impressive.
RAIL. Timetable for Slovenia Austrian train schedules
ROAD. The roads leading to the trailheads may be seen by clicking the coordinates in the primary info, and then using the map version.
By car. See the map. You can reach Tržič and the Lom valley (behind Storžič). To Jezersko resort and up by a few forrest roads. To Kamnik and in Kamniška Bistrica valley. Further up by a few forrest roads. To Kamnik and Črnivec pass (902 m), further north to Volovljek pass (1029 m) and down in Podvolovljek. From Volovljek pass up by forrest roads to Mala planina. From Podvolovljek up by forrest roads to Dleskovška planota (plateau). From Savinjska dolina (valley) deep into valleys of central part: Robanov kot, Logarska dolina, Matkov kot. By a forrest road to Koča na Grohatu. From Austria into Bela (Vellach) valley. Further over Pavličevo sedlo (pass, 1339 m) to Savinjska dolina (valley). By forrest roads to Smrekovec hut and Golte. By forrest roads on Menina planina. Etc.
By bus. The main trailheads may be attained by bus. Bus info: enter Jezersko, Kamniška Bistrica, Logarska dolina, Lom or Tržič in the destination field. Here is info for the Vellach trailhead (Austria).
In the whole area there are no major limitations. Currently some areas are protected as natural reserves, but that has no impact on mountaineering and visiting those areas. On December 19th, 2005 an agreement was signed that almost the whole central area of the group will become a regional parc. The formal establishing of the parc is foreseen in 2007. Natura 2000 For the road into the Logarska dolina (valley) you must pay toll.
In summer best months are from start of July till end of October. For tour skiing the best months are from February till May. First snow usually falls in November, in certain areas skiing is possible till start of May. Best areas for tour skiing: Parts of Storžič group, the whole Krvavec group, Grintovec, area around Rinke, Ledine area, Okrešelj area, Dleskovška planota, Velika and Mala planina. Best areas for climbing: Walls above Jezersko, walls above Logarska dolina, walls above Robanov kot, many shorter climbs in areas above Savinjska dolina, sunny walls above Kamniška bistrica (valley) and a shadow wall of Rzenik.
In valleys there are many tourist resorts. Huts are mentioned above. In the massif itself there are no camping places. Some mountain farms are also licensed to accept tourists. That's certainly one option to recommend. People who spent vacation on Roban's farm, for example, can not praise enough the quality of their service - zither concerts in the evening included. Camping around the range: Ljubljana Kamnik, Luce, Tržič, Voelkermarkt
For weather see here.
- Jun 29th, 2009: Links updates, pictures attached/detached. - Jan 12th, 2007: The 'One Tiny Glacier' chapter added. - Dec 11th, 2006: A major renewal of the page. Links to Križevnik page added. - Added links to new SummitPost Pages: Dobrča, Mrzla gora, Veliki vrh. - Info about establishing a regional parc posted. - Nov 5th, 2005 - Added links to the new SummitPost Page: Krofička. - Jun 24th, 2005 - Added links to the new SummitPost Page: Rzenik and Konj. - May 12th, 2005 - Added links to new SummitPost Pages: Planjava, Brana. - Apr 25th, 2005 - Added links to new SummitPost Pages: Vrh Korena, Veliki Zvoh and Krvavec. - Mar 13th, 2005 - Inserted an overview picture from north. - Mar 13th, 2005 - Added links to the new SummitPost Page: Košutna. A detailed map of Krvavec group added. - Mar 9th, 2005 - Added links to the new SummitPost Page: Kompotela. - Feb 16th, 2005 - Added links to the new SummitPost Page: Velika Raduha. - Jan 16th, 2005 - Added links to the new SummitPost Page: Velika Baba. - Dec 13th, 2004 - Added links to the new Rinke SummitPost Page. - Sep 17th, 2004 - Added links to the new Skuta SummitPost Page. - Sep 3rd, 2004 - Added links to the new Kalski greben SummitPost Page. - Jul 5th, 2004 - Added links to Ojstrica SummitPost Page.