Hiking in Slovenia » Karst Plateau » Kokoš from Lokev
Kokoš is one of the summits in the range of hills that divides the Sežana Karst (more accurately Lokavsko polje) from the Gulf of Trieste. These hills are criss-crossed with hiking paths and cycling and horse-riding tracks and so are ideal for spring and autumn walks (you'll probably avoid going in summer because of the heat); the paths take you right from Lipica and practically as far as the caves Škocjanske jame.
Kokoš and the nearby Vroče spring are obviously a popular destination with local mountaineers if I judge by the excellently arranged paths, and benches and tables placed beside them. There are two routes leading to Kokoš from Lokev, which enables you to make a fine round trip.
At a glance
- An economically waymarked path, steep at moments. The lack of way-marks is more than compensated for by the excellent signposts.
- Kokoš is reached from Lokev, a karst village only about 10 minutes' drive from Divača.
- Lokev – Kokoš (via Prelože): 1 hour, 30 minutes
Return towards Lokev: 1 hour
Total: 2.5 – 3 hours
- 670 m
- Height difference
- 210 m
- The route partly runs over karst meadows, so I wouldn't go there in the summer heat. In spring you'll enjoy the meadow flowers, and in autumn the seasonal colours of the Karst.
- Recommended equipment
- The path is occasionally steep and slippery – so good footwear and trekking poles are appropriate.
- Primorje in Kras, izletniška karta, 1 : 50 000
From Lokev to Prelože
The surroundings of Lokev are full of cultural and natural points of interest – from the War Museum to the Vilenica and the Divača caves, which are also worth visiting. Thanks to the nearness of Italy and the casino in Lipica there are some excellent inns in the village.
Lokev is a friendly and interesting karst village, a few kilometres from Divača along the road from Divača towards Lipica and Sežana. You reach it most easily by taking the Divača exit from the Ljubljana – Koper motorway, and turning towards Divača but then before entering it turning towards Lipica.
The route to Kokoš via Prelože begins in the middle of the village, where a signpost also draws your attention to it. Leave your car in the carpark in front of the War Museum (located in a defence tower in the centre of Lokev), cross the main road and begin to ascend along a macadam road over karst meadows towards Prelože.
You can take advantage of the road between the meadows to look at flowers – in the autumn mullein and toadflax are most noticeable, but you'll also find some campanula and knapweed. Midway towards Prelože (which you see all the time in front of you) you can take a look at an interesting shrine, while behind you stands Nanos.
The macadam road over the meadows brings you into Prelože – a small compact karst village, where you can also see another shrine and the village well, and then turn right by the well to the hill in the direction of the Vroče spring.
The ascent via Obrovnik
The route towards the Vroče spring (which lies under the summit of Obrovnik) first ascends through Prelože (beside the road on your way take a look at an orpine habitat), and then through ever denser forest. You will soon catch sight of a pool beside the path, which is probably quite enticing in the summer heat. The occasionally steeper path continues through mixed forest and brings you in a good 30 minutes to the Vroče spring, situated roughly on the saddle between Obrovnik and Gradišče.
This spring is clearly a popular summer destination, as evidenced by the tables and benches around it and the little cottage where you can probably get refreshments in the summer months.
After a short rest, as you continue your way towards Kokoš, you'll be a bit surprised because the path begins to drop down – but not to worry, it leads you to the saddle between Obrovnik and Kokoš. For some time you'll still walk through forest, but then this begins to thin out and the path takes you into the first karst meadows, which in autumn will delight you with their wealth of seasonal colours – from yellow through orange to dark red. You'll also observe the last flowers here – rock knapweed, spurge in its autumnal colours and the last examples of blue eryngium.
From here the view opens up towards the sea and the Gulf of Trieste – take a good look, since you won't see the Adriatic any more from the mountain hut on Kokoš, and then continue your way down towards the junction with the cycling track which leads from Kokoš towards Gradišče.
The summit of Kokoš
After joining the cycling track, you start slowly to climb again towards Kokoš, which is reached in about thirty minutes. Before having a rest at the mountain hut (usually open on Saturdays and Sundays), walk around the meadow on top of Kokoš and view Slavnik (to the southeast) and Nanos (to the north).
You can return the same way to Lokev or a little after the beginning of the path turn left onto the mountain path that takes you straight to Lokev. For a time this route runs through sparse forest (like the path from Prelože towards the Vroče spring), but you soon reach Lokavsko polje, across which the macadam road leads you towards Lokev.
On this stage as well you can observe the wealth of wild flowers in the neighbouring meadows (they'll be finest in spring, when the pasque flowers/spring anemones are blooming and in early summer before the first haymaking), but it's also pleasant in autumn to sit on a bench beside the road and enjoy looking at the karst countryside.
The macadam road ends on the outskirts of Lokev, by the cemetery, from where it's only a good five minutes' walk to the carpark and your car. The hunger which has developed during the walk can be successfully appeased in the Ražem restaurant (tried out, they have excellent fish dishes), if you have more time, you can visit the War Museum, while on a Sunday you can also go to the Divača cave or Vilenica. Those who have gathered wild flowers on the way should simply hurry home - you can make marvellous ikebana arrangements with the autumnal riches of the Karst.