LIFE13 NAT/SI/000314

The Mestni Vrh forest reserve

Published on 13. 1. 2015 under Kočevska
The Mestni Vrh forest reserve

It is a fir-beech forest on the steep, rocky slope of the panoramic summit above the mountain cottage Koča pri Jelenovem Studencu in Stojna.
Mestni vrh (1034 m) is one of the peaks of Stojna measuring over 1000 m. Since it is located directly behind the city of Kočevje, it is together with Fridrihštajn and its mountain cottage one of the most popular recreational and tourist destinations in the Kočevska region.

Mestni Vrh is a forest with a special purpose: the forest clearing with its surrounding forest and the hiking trail have a very important recreational and tourist function, and with the Jelenov Studenec nature trail also an educational purpose. The forest above the mountain cottage is a forest reserve – a valuable natural heritage. It features fir and beech forest on the rocky and steep slope of the high Karst.

The cottage of the Kočevje Association is located in an idyllic valley below Mestni Vrh, not far away from Jelenov Studenec. The Kočevje Alpine Association was founded in 1951 and a great wish for the cottage of its own came true in 1953 when they opened the redecorated forest cottage. The cottage is constantly being redecorated and adjusted to the needs and demands of time.

The marked trails Kalanova pot and Grajska pot, and also the unnamed trail from Dolga Vas lead to the cottage. It can be also visited by car. The cottage is a starting point to visit Eleonorina jama cave and Ledena jama cave and the peaks nearby: Ledenik, Mestni Vrh, Fridrihštajn and Livoldski Vrh, the Jelenov studenec nature trail, the Kočevje mountain trail and other marked footpaths. The cottage is open every Saturday, Sunday and during national holidays throughout the whole year. The cottage serves food and drink, offers accommodations and plenty of useful information. There is a small children’s playground with recreational equipment and an open fire surrounded with benches. There is a box with a ‘peakcheck’ stamp and book for hikers at the peak of Mestni Vrh.

The Mestni Vrh forest reserve stands above the mountain cottage Koča pri Jelenovem studenecu covering 31,68 ha of high Karst forest. It is located in the central part of the Stojna mountain chain, at the ridge with the same name.

The reserve was excluded from management in 1995 with the purpose to conserve the mighty fir-beech forests on the very steep, rocky slope and to provide the visitors with the view of the virgin forest in the making. Fir-beech forests are the most characteristic natural forests of the Kočevska region.

In the last 30 years, there was no major felling in the area, so the virgin forest appearance is starting to show. Due to marvellous views from the Mestni Vrh ridge of Kočevsko polje and beyond, it is one of the most visited recreational destinations in the Kočevska region.

Different points of interest in the Mestni Vrh area can be seen by taking the Jelenov Studenec nature trail.