hike to the 2 Waterfalls of Martulek Forest (Gozd)
We heard about these waterfalls from a guest who had hiked up to the first falls, but not the second.. so of course we were determined to go visit them both and fully investigate yet another water filled day trip adventure for our guests!
The nearest town to head for is Slovenia's main Alpine ski resort of Kranska Gora, which is also a nice stop off for a bite to eat or a coffee. You head off to the nearby little village of Martulek Gozd and find the car park for the walk of the same name, near to the big bridge in the middle of the village.
From here the plan couldn't be simpler.. just follow all the signs to Waterfall 1 and 2.. (in Slovene, waterfall is Slap).
The first bit of the walk goes through a little forest.. this is the Gozd bit of Martulek Gozd and it's a fairly gentle stroll past a very pretty man made waterfall which confusingly is NOT waterfall 1.
You then get to walk alongside a stunning crystal clear river with little stone rock men built up on the shore. We call it the "valley of the rocks".. you will see why, its a very special place and worth the price of the ticket alone. (just a phrase, there is no ticket)!
A family with small kids or people not so keen on walking could then just climb the wooden steps at the end of this little valley to see waterfall 1 in the distance and this would be plenty enough excitement for the day.
Waterfall 1 is a tall, tall falls and the wooden bridge is really the perfect spot from which to see it. We would like to think that Waterfall 2 was at the very top and fed waterfall 1, which in turn sent all this water gushing down the valley, or is that just too much to ask?
The whole Slap 1 trip and back to the car park could take about an hour or more as there are plenty of natural distractions along the way, not least that incredible passage of water with pebble lined rocky shore.. magical!
Now if you want to continue to Slap 2 you will need another couple of hours and plenty of gas in the tank! You might need a sandwich in your pocket and a few lollipops as well. The walk to the second waterfall is very different indeed, a real adventure, with the waterfall as your mystery target and reward at the end.
We did this walk in the early autumn and the covering of red and golden leaves in the forest was like a multicoloured carpet. You follow the nice big red signs, which turn into little red circles on trees or rocks, but we should warn you that the further you get along this walk and deeper up into the forest, the fewer are the signs.
Towards the end, there are so few signs that we thought we might have even taken a wrong turn.
Once you leave the viewpoint for waterfall 1 there is a bit of a narrow scramble up the side of the hill and you follow the forest path, generally going up. This is definetley a forest walk, but you also have this amazing Alpine feel to your day as well.. every now and then you get a break in the trees and realise how far you have walked up!
You also get to cross a river, tip toeing across the rocks, but in summer, the river will probably be lower of course.. for us the water flow was pretty powerful, but we still found our own special rock path across and this was really exciting.
After some more scrambling and some pretty fierce stony uphills, curving and winding our way up into the forest, we walked along a high narrow path cut into the side of a steep slope and then finally, we were there at waterfall 2!
Even the drizzling rain that had started an hour before had not stopped us.. we absolutely do not want to put you off doing this hike, but we should tell you again, this is a demanding walk and due to the nature of Slovenia's rocky Karst surfaces, much of the way can be a bit slippy underfoot, so wear decent shoes.
As said, the reward was some more rock grappling, hanging on to the odd steel wire and a bit of scrambling to get close up and personal with the waterfall. This is one that is in multiple drops, so no really long drops, but you also get to feel the power of the water up close and personal.
We thoroughly enjoyed our day trip to Martulek Gozd and were really proud that in damp conditions we had found the second falls!
We took a slightly different way home from halfway back so we could know what to recommend to you guys and this route avoided the first waterfall route. It still went through the forest, but there was a very, very steep, knee punishing downhill along a stone path at the end, not long before the car park.
We certainly would not have enjoyed walking up this path had we taken it on the way up and by coming back this way, we also missed seeing waterfall 1 again and the beautiful valley of the rocks, so our advice would clearly be to go and come back exactly the same route via Slap 1..(even with that scary scrambly bit just after the bridge).
We will try this same route in the summer and expect the footing to much better, but of course then the water levels in the river and falls should be lower.. you can't have it all!