Hop on your "aluminium horse" at the car park at the Church of St. Jacob and cycle across the main road Črnuče-Litija to the field and towards the centre of the settlement. On your left is Belinka, factory of dyes and varnishes , which soon disappears out of sight in the settlement. Cross the road towards Domžale and continue to the overpass over the motorway where you can look over the fields and see the Jožef Stefan Institute's reactor in Podgorica . The cycling is pleasant, flat and the asphalt road gives you a feeling that this route will be a piece of cake.
Quite soon you'll find yourself in the village of Pšata which bears the same name as the stream which runs through it . It is not clear at first whether this is a stream or a river. Regarding its bed, it is more of a stream. Such characteristics have been ascribed to it by the municipal website. However, the Pšata River is the right tributary of the Kamniška Bistrica River and joins the latter already in Domžale. Since you've just started cycling, quickly paddle on and turn towards north in the centre of the village of Bišče. Cycle continuously among the cultivated fields with fertile soil, the result of the hard-working locals.
The convent of the Sisters of the Holy Cross (Mala Loka Mansion) is worth a visit in the village of Mala Loka. The convent consists of two buildings, connected by a tower. A monument in the form of a cross commemorating the victims of World War I and the Eucharistic congress , is located opposite the convent. Continue along the bed of the Mlinščica Stream until the overpass over the motorway. Ascend to the overpass only if you wish to see surrounding fields and the Kamnik Alps above them more clearly. The route will run below the distant Kamnik Alps and, at this point, you may start anticipating more demanding cycling along the Scops Owl Route. There is a direction board about this cycling route , but not entirely, so be careful that you do not go astray because of such and similar boards (which are plentiful along the way). After the Kamniška Bistrica River , cross the Green Axis (Zelena os) Hiking Trail which leads along its banks. You can find the description of that route among other hiking trails . Continue through a small forest to the settlement of Prelog which is connected with Ihan. Turn towards north in the crossroads.
Ihan ski jumps
Cycle along the motorway for a while and at its junction, you'll see an inn on the right side at the Ihan ski jumps. Let's hope that 'Welcome bikers' invitation board will soon be accompanied by a twin board 'Welcome bicyclists'. If you have time, you can take a rest and have a little chat with a large goose family at the pond , which came to greet you in hope of a treat. Take a look at the ski jump centre where unfortunately only small ski jumps covered in plastic are maintained, while the large one has long been deprived of an inrun and is thus sadly decaying. Just after the ski jumps is the macadam road which takes you through the forest towards Gorjuša and Krumperk Castle.
As soon as you come out of the forest, you'll hear gun clanking and neighing. Is Adam Ravbar again assembling his army for a fight? You may have imagined things because of the first small ascent and the expectation of seeing a once mighty castle , but the gun clank was really the lawn mower rattle from the surrounding meadows, while the neighing of playful horses from the equestrian centre was indeed real. At the linden tree, next to the Educational and Research Centre for Horse Breeding Krumperk , the road soon slopes down and the decision whether to rush past Jamarski dom Inn in Gorjuša or ascend to it is up to you. If you have enough time, the decision to visit Jamarski dom will be easy as there are a lot of beautiful collections on display, while in addition, you can also visit Železna jama Cave. If you've made it to Jamarski dom, you can continue cycling through the village of Gorjuša and join the Scops Owl Route 100 m before you turn left to the road that runs past Brezje pri Dobu to Škocjan.
You can choose between two roads; a shorter one, which starts immediately after Brezje, and a somewhat longer one which runs over Studenec where Miran Jarc Cultural Society annually organises many cultural events at the open-air theatre . Škocjan got its name after the Church of St. Canzian , its predecessor was built already at the beginning of the 14th century. The church was later rebuilt and renovated several times.
The route ahead is still very long, so paddle quickly, especially because there is only a short section of easy cycling ahead. Mind that you turn from the road towards Prevoje pri Lukovici before you cross the motorway and continue right to Imovica, but then, just before the village, turn left towards Šentvid pri Lukovici and through it proceed to Brdo. Be careful when crossing Domžale-Celje road, as there is still a lot of traffic, despite the nearby motorway. The road starts ascending and cycling slows down as you realise that you are leaving the flat section behind for quite a while.
Brdo pri Lukovici
The settlement is reached in no time, although the ascents still await. Bare chestnut-lined alley attracts your attention at the beginning. It will not be until spring that the trees will sprout . There is a small pond just after the chestnut-lined alley which reflects lovely colours of the autumn, and the blooming water lilies on the water surface that thrive from the beginning of summer until late autumn will bring a smile on your face. The pond is a part of the Brdo Castle Park . Since only the outer walls have been preserved from the castle, you should rather take a look at the castle park , and then eagerly head up the hill. This time is for real, as you will ascend for almost 300 m after only 6 km.
And so you go. The road runs through the forest , and the slope flattens in some sections, while the forest is replaced by meadows and fields . Be watchful of the Julian Alps and Triglav before you reach Velika Lašna. The view of them lasts only for a short time at the end of the slope above Preserje pri Zlatem Polju, as if the mountains were saying: "We rule here. Neither forest nor the hills can overpower us." As you are almost on the top of the first serious ascent, you can take a break here and have a snack. Do not save on drinks, as you'll soon have the chance to refill your bottles.
"Drive on the right" would a nice GPS lady voice guide you, as you cycle to Velika Lašna. A small village at the edge of the ridge above the Tuhinj Valley has its own charisma. In addition to its simplicity and kindness, a pond in the hollow at the edge of the village contributes to its charm . According to the instructions, cycle right in the centre of the village, and as you ascend for some metres, your effort is repaid by a long descent into the Tuhinj Valley, above which Menina planina Mountain rises .
And what's this... The road is steep and narrow , but be careful despite the empty road. Thus break as you're descending to the village of Vaseno . Do not proceed into the village, but instead, at the last turning before the village, turn left to a narrow macadam path towards the village of Potok. There are two reasons for such a detour.
Firstly: as soon as you cycle to the plain, stop at the source of healing water , which has been nicely maintained by the villagers of Potok and Vaseno. Fill your canteens and bottles, as you'll need water for the next, even more demanding ascent. And secondly: if you continue along this path, you'll only have to cycle for about 50 km along the main road Kamnik-Trojane in the village of Potok until the branching for Snovik Thermal Spa.
You reach Snovik Thermal Spa after a kilometre of an easy ascent through the valley . In addition to a narrow strip of fields and meadows, only the forests surround you. If you want to complete this route in a day, you won't have time to visit Snovik Thermal Spa which is the youngest spa in Slovenia. Thus continue along the valley to the village of Snovik. If you didn't have the will or time to have a snack or you didn't bring it with you, Izba Inn and Pizza Restaurant is your last chance before a really demanding ascent.
Just after the village, the asphalt is replaced by a narrow, but well-maintained macadam road . High above the bed of the Snovišček Stream , you start ascending towards the highest point of this route, Sovinja Peč, which is at 902 m above sea level.
Bela and Sovinja Peč
The settlements consist of a few houses, scattered below the ridge of the western part of Menina planina, so the postman needs to be experienced to find the right address. When you get to the first crossroads , you have to decide whether to continue left on the macadam road towards the houses of Sovinja Peč (basic route) or right on the asphalt road to Osredkar Homestead (Bela Peč) and above the homestead along a flat road towards west (a nice forest path). Whoever is physically more prepared and has a mountain bike should choose the basic route which has more adrenalin, offers more views, some late blooming flowers and a small waterfall of Sovinjski potok Stream .
Cyclists who started the Scops Owl Route with trekking bikes should choose the right option. The macadam to Sovinja Peč is bad and it can quickly happen that the sprocket wheel spins on the steep slope due to the grainy sand and you would have to proceed on foot. The right option is extremely steep; but it is, nevertheless, up to your form, how tired you'll be when you reach the top.
Both routes meet above Bela Peč Homestead (nr. 4) where you turn left (basic route). You'll reach Sovinja Peč after 1.5 km and 120 m of the altitude difference, but with the approaching end of steep slopes in mind, you'll cycle more easily. Occasional views to the south, with the Tuhinj Valley below and the hills behind it, including Krim and Snežnik on the left, variegate the cycling . There are still slopes in the continuation of the route, but they won't be as demanding as the one to Sovinja Peč.
Slowly begin descending to Črnivec and then continue straightforward in Podlom, just before you would turn to the pass. The road is still macadam, but not of the best quality and cycling with a trekking bike is not difficult due to the lack of demanding ascents.
A picturesque settlement of Gozd consists of more houses than the previous two settlements. In addition to individual and scattered settlements, a new settlement and the old village centre form larger settlement groups. The village became known after the wind throw in 2008 which caused great damage and considerably changed the landscape.
There is the Church of St. Anne in the village with a nicely preserved well in front of it. Turn right just after the church and you'll have a yellow house on the left, and then after the house, turn left to the macadam road towards the village of Brezje nad Kamnikom. A view of Velika planina and the Church of St. Primus below opens up soon after you leave the village. The road after a large meadow slopes down to the northern side of the ridge below Vovar. If there weren't the forest, you could enjoy the view of Grintovci and the hills below, thus only rare blank spaces between the trees offer you a view. After 1.5 km of more or less flat road, you start descending faster into the valley.
From the starting point, you've now cycled around 40 km and the round number awards you with the asphalt road. The descent from Gozd was 200 m in altitude, so you'll proceed even faster from now on. A double hayrack in the village attracts your attention. After a long descent you arrive to Zduša where the ruins of Zduša Manor are located on the left. It is a sad sight, but nothing can be changed, so quickly cycle to Mekinje.
The monastery at the edge of the village has been the landmark of the village since the 13th century. Together with the church , it forms a marvellous complex which can be seen from afar. Once in Mekinje, cycle past its walls towards Kamnik.
Cycling to Kamnik is easy and comfortable which is also what you deserve after all the efforts. The cycling is comfortable also due to the empty road. Kamnik used to be the capital of the Carniola for a long time, and the trade thrived there as early as the Middle Ages. Numerous cultural monuments testify of its importance, including the entire old city centre . The city centre is closed for traffic and you can thus safely cycle through it and, at least briefly, take a look at its peculiarities: the chapel at Mali grad (Little Castle) , the monument to Rudolf Maister , the Franciscan monastery , Plečnik's façade of the house at Maistrova ulica 2 and Šutna which maintains the medieval string of houses in the street. They'll be described in more detail some other time. However, you should definitely ascend to Mali grad , as the view of the town rewards you for the walk you had to make to reach the slope.
Kamnik is a small town with an even smaller centre, so you are through it in no time and can continue at the crossroads to Kranj and the railway station. Do not continue to the railway station, unless you've arrived by train and started cycling there. Continue towards Podgorje . The road is less busy there so you can cycle safely.
Join the road towards Kranj at the roundabout before the village of Križ. There is not much time, however, you should still cycle right to the Križ Pond , stretch your legs and ascend to the ruins of Križ Castle, from where a marvellous view of the village and Mengeš Plain opens up . Return to the pond and continue along the local road to the road towards Kranj.
Cross the road and cycle along the narrow asphalt road across the field towards Mengeš. After half a kilometre you can see on the left the Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels which was painted by Matija Koželj and has been located there for more than 250 years. It is worth looking back at Grintavci which were watching you from the distance throughout the day . Continue past the chapel and a farm to the crossroads. Don't let the nice asphalt mislead you towards left (bypass) or right (Komenda), instead cycle to a poorly maintained macadam road towards Mengeš. Join the road Mengeš-Komenda at the beginning of Mengeš commercial zone on the right and the end of Mengeš on the left. Turn left to the traffic lights and 100 m after it to Šolska Street which you leave just after the bridge. Turn to the school over the Pšata Stream and then through the tree-lined alley to Glasbilarska Street, and continue to Trdinov trg Square. Proceed past the monument to Janez Trdina, his birth house which houses today a music school and the instrument factory Melodija Mengeš, and then continue past the Church of St. Michael , towards Trzin.
The road to Trzin is empty and the traffic is additionally slowed down by to speed bumps. Continue past the National Liberation War monument , village of Loka and the Church of St. Florian .
Trzin is probably one of the fastest developing cities in Slovenia. It owes it to the visionary leadership and the vicinity of Ljubljana to made bold moves and turned from a village into city in just three decades. You will not linger there for a long time, as you must be quite tired after 60 km of cycling and 1,250 m of altitude difference. Save a visit to the sites for another time, as quite few of the cycling routes run through the Municipality of Trzin. The cycle lane runs through the entire municipality and enables safe cycling through all three areas of Trzin: the old village centre with new buildings, the new residential area and the OIC (Commercial and industrial zone) , . The cycle lane does not end at the OIC, but continues along Ljubljanska Road to Štajerska Road where it crosses Ljubljanska Road at the settlement of Dobrava. There it runs between both Štajerska roads, closer to the one intended for local access and ends at the traffic lights at Dunajska Road. Somewhat less safe is Zasavska Road, so be careful there. Luckily, traffic control is often present there, thus the motor traffic is slower. Turn right to Zajčeva Street after about 3 km and continue past a sign to the car park - your starting point.