This gorge is considered to be the most exposed and one of the wildest gorges in the Slovak Paradise. Veľký Sokol is also the longest gorge in this national park. It stretches from northwest to southeast in the western part of the Glacká plateau. It is located away from the main tourist centres and is therefore one of the less visited gorges in the Slovak Paradise.
The best and closest starting point for this gorge is Píla - Piecky, where you can use the paid parking. The journey from the car park at Píla - Piecky to the start of Veľký Sokol takes approximately 25 minutes.
In this gorge you will encounter the Malé and Veľké kaskády, the Malý and Veľký waterfall. Like every gorge, the Veľký Sokol has its own charm and thus offers unforgettable experiences while crossing this gorge.
The Veľký Sokol 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.
You will also need to pay a visitor's fee when entering the gorge.
For parking you can use the paid parking lot in the locality Piecky - Píla, from where it is about 25 minutes walk along the green sign to the crossroads Sokol - horáreň, which is the starting point of the Veľký Sokol. For more detailed information see the parking lots and parking fees.
Crossing the gorge
The yellow hiking trail leads through the gorge of Veľký Sokol and is passable only in one direction - upstream of the stream. The length of this gorge is 5.5 km with a 305 m ascent and its crossing takes about 2.5 hours.
Crossing this gorge is a real hiking experience. You will be surrounded by massive limestone cliffs, in some places up to 300 metres high. The one-way crossing is secured by a set of wooden or metal ladders, bridges and risers.
After crossing the Veľký Sokol, the best way to return is in the direction Glacká cesta > Glac, bývalá horáreň > Malá poľana, rázcestie > Palc, rázcestie > Píla - Piecky. This route takes approximately 2.5 hours.
If you want to finish your hike in Podlesok, continue in the direction Glacká cesta > Glac, bývalá horáreň > Malá poľana, rázcestie > Glac, Malá poľana > Suchá Belá, záver > Pod Vtáčim hrbom > Nad Podleskom > Podlesok. This journey takes less than 3 hours.
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 gorge was discovered in August 1898 by Martin Roth's group, who first crossed it to search for moulds. The following day, this group agreed that the Veľký Sokol should be popularized and adapted for tourist purposes.
The second crossing of the gorge took place in September, a month later, when the participants also crossed the remaining, upper part of the Veľký Sokol. The final and most beautiful part of the gorge is Róth's Gorge, named after Martin Róth, who was the first to walk the entire Veľký Sokol with his group.
In 1899, a trail was built from the Glac mining plant to the Veľký Sokol with the help of the army.
The name of the Veľký Sokol has been preserved among the people since the time of the coal miners:
"The wife of a certain coal miner was carrying her husband's lunch, carrying her child in her arms. While serving lunch to her husband, she laid the child a little further away on a green armpit. Suddenly a large falcon came and took the child away. The story goes that the bones of this child are still found on the inaccessible cliffs of the Veľký Falcon."
Another version says that when viewed from the high bluffs on the limestone cliffs, the gorge takes the form of a flying falcon.