The Sokolia dolina inspires great respect, because thanks to its massive rock formations with characteristic waterfalls it is one of the most exposed gorges in the Slovak Paradise. It is also one of the less visited and more time-consuming gorges, as it is located almost in the centre of the Slovak Paradise.
The highest waterfall of the Slovak Paradise and the second highest waterfall in Slovakia - Závojový waterfall (78 m) is located here. In addition to this dominant feature of the Sokolia dolina, there are also two other beautiful waterfalls, the Skalný and Vyšný waterfalls.
The Sokolia dolina is accessible all year round. Conditions in the gorge can change depending on the season or the weather. We therefore recommend a suitable selection of hiking clothing and equipment (sturdy shoes, spare socks, etc.). In the winter months, the ladders can be covered with ice, so we recommend bringing crampons.
For parking you can use the paid parking lots in Podlesok or Čingov. For more detailed information, see parking lots and parking fees.
How to get to the start of the gorge
There are several ways to get to the mouth of the Sokolia dolina. You can get here from Podlesok, Letanovce via Kláštorisko or from Čingov, which is the least difficult alternative. Each of these starting points has its own parking lots where you can park your vehicle.
The first option is the route from Podlesok in the direction Podlesok > Nad Podleskom > Pod Kláštoriskom > Kláštorisko > Kláštorisko, lúka > Kyseľ, ústie > Sokolia dolina, ústie. This route takes approximately 2 hours 20 minutes.
The second option is the route from Letanovice from the crossroads Pri Starej Horárni in the direction Trstený potok > Letanovský mlyn - smerovník > Kláštorisko > Kláštorisko, lúka > Kyseľ, ústie > Sokolia dolina, ústie. This route takes approximately 2 hours.
The last and the easiest alternative is the route from Čingov in the direction Čingov, cetrum > Lesnica, ústie > Biely potok, ústie > Kysel, ústie > Sokolia dolina, ústie. This route takes approximately 1 hour 45 minutes.
Crossing the gorge
A yellow tourist trail leads through the valley and is passable only in one direction - upstream of the stream. It is 2.5 km long with a 437 m ascent and a crossing time of about 2 hours.
At the beginning it is a pleasant walk through beautiful untouched nature, where you can hear only the breeze in the treetops and the sound of the stream flowing from the top of the valley.
After about 45 minutes you will reach the Skalný waterfall, which is immediately followed by the second highest waterfall in Slovakia - the Závojový waterfall. Around this waterfall there is an approximately 80 m long system of ladders, bridges and climbs, which make this crossing one of the most exciting experiences of the national park ever. The last waterfall is the Vyšný waterfall.
At the end of the valley there is a wooden gazebo where you can rest and recharge for the journey home.
The shortest way is the road to Podlesok in the direction of Sokolia dolina, záver > Pod Biskupskými Chyžkami > Glac, Malá poľana > Suchá Belá, záver > Pod Vtáčim hrbom > Nad Podleskom > Podlesok. This route takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.
You can also go in the direction of Píla - Piecky in the direction of Sokolia dolina, záver > Pod Biskupskými chyžkami > Glac, Malá poľana > Malá poľana, rázcestie > Palc, rázcestie > Píla - Piecky. This journey takes approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.
The last alternative is to go to Čingov via Klauzy in the direction of Sokolia dolina, záver > Pod Biskupskými chyžkami > Glac, Malá poľana > Suchá Bela, záver > Pod Vtáčim hrbom > Kláštorisko > Kláštorisko, lúka > Čertova sihoť > Biely potok, rázcestie > Biely potok, ústie > Lesnica, ústie > Čingov, centre. This journey takes approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes.
If you want to make your journey back to Podlesok more pleasant, you can rent a bike from Cyklo Tour Spiš. You can rent a bike at the end of Sucha Bela or also at Kláštorisko. The price for the descent to Podlesok is 7,50 €.
The Sokolia dolina was first explored in April 1910 by two groups of Alexander Mervay. The first group proceeded from the direction of Glac to the gorge and the second group proceeded from the valley of the Prielom Hornádu. The first winter crossing of the gorge was made in January 1912.
In 1913, the Sokolia dolina was marked with tourist signs, while full access to this gorge was not made until 1979. This was mainly due to the initiative of the Mountain Service and its staff, who reconstructed the passage through the section of the Závojový waterfall.
The entire waterfall was thus no longer bypassed and was made accessible by metal ladders and bridges. This act was a very significant contribution to visitor safety and from a conservation point of view.