Location Church Mountain
We finally made it along a 7km winding forest track with sheer drops from the tree lined edge on one side down to a thundering river way below, follwed by a 20 minute hike up a sweltering forest road past cows grazing to reach a stunning church, perched on the side of a mountain. The church was built by Austrian soldiers to remember those lost in WW1. It's a fitting memorial in an unbelievably stunning location.
We've been wanting to get to here to see it for ourselves for a while as soon as we heard about it. There is so little info in Slovenia about these secret places that when we tried last year to get here we were stopped in our tracks by not knowing the road was being repaired!
But this time we made it and wow, photos cannot do the location justice, you just have to sweat up to the top and see it for yourself.
The church is incredibly close to another stunning secret place, Tolmin Gorge, in fact it towers above it in the mountains and you can hear the water raging towards the gorge steep down below.
This is a Slovenian adventure. To get to Maple Tree Hill Church, you drive along a quite scary, very high forest road to arrive after 7km of nail biting and not looking over the edge to the two grass covered car parks, but if we went again.. and we will.. a bike ride or hike along this mainly stone road would be so much more fun and rewarding. The road is well maintained and perfectly safe, but there are several places where you really don't want to meet another car, despite the regular passing spots.
The chances are of course, you will not meet another car as this place is so unknown. Once parked we hiked up the steep tarmac path hearing only cowbells and the river in the valley below. The first view of the church is literally breath taking and once you have struggled up the last few hundred metres you also have to climb some steep stone steps, but all this is worth it.
Not many people go here, so don't forget to get the key either from the Tolmin gorge ticket desk or the TIC, (Tourist info) in Tolmin if you want to see inside.. you should, it's very pretty and solemn with the names of the fallen carved into the wood. Outside the colourful shields of the old Austro Hungarian empire are painted on the side of the church, but you just have to sit here and marvel at the views, the solitude, the serenity and then wonder to yourself.. just where exactly does that grass path at the side of the church actually go to?!
Back down at the second car park , (don't expect a huge car park, its just a pretty green place to leave your car) you can see mouth watering signs for further mountain hikes, for example the hour long walk to the source of the Tolmin river, (Izvir). This is a loop walk high up on our wish list to do and we will tell you all about it when we have done it!
And if you haven't already visited Tolmin Gorge, then what better way to refresh yourselves than by taking another walk this time at river side to see how the refreshing crystal clear water has cut it's way between the rocks over millions of years.