Protected Areas on the Nanos Plateau
The upper part of the Vipava Valley is closed off by the Nanos Plateau which is a high karst plateau with precipitous walls that shape the distinct valley rim. The area of the twelve-kilometre-long and up to six-kilometre-wide plateau is typically varied, dotted with vales, sinkholes and domed peaks. The 1313 metre high Suhi vrh is the highest peak on the plateau. The many well-groomed trails rank Nanos among the most popular hills in Slovenia. In recent years it has also become a destination for mountain bikers. The area of the south and west edge of the Nanos Plateau was declared a natural park on account of its many botanic peculiarities and high level of natural conservation.
It’s amazing that such a small area can boast illyrian, alpine and endemic plant life: the reason for this is the combination of the Dinaric and Mediterranean vegetation zone.
In the higher parts of the Nanos Plateau in particular, where due to an inversion of temperature snow is known to linger in frost hollows far into summer, you’ll also find glaciers and ice caves. The most famous ones are the Loški and Podraški Glacier, the Veliki Glacier and Mali Trški Glacier, and the 112 m tall Slapenski Glacier which is the steepest of bunch. In days of yore, ice was harvested in the ice caves of Nanos and Trnovo Forest, from where it was transported to Trieste, and even as far afield as Egypt.