Slovenia Day Trips: Triglav Lakes Valley Hike

Mountain hut by the Triglav Lakes Valley

This is the Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih, a mountain lodge nestled quietly in the Triglav Lakes Valley in Slovenia’s Julian Alps. Even framed by the gray skies and daunting clouds –elements I generally find inviting– this was one of the most beautiful mountain scenes I’ve ever witnessed. And it took less than four hours to reach on foot – by any measure, a just reward for breaking a sweat.

Most who visit Slovenia and are eager for a taste of its mountain scenery set aside a day to visit the well-known alpine lake at Bled or its slightly more remote cousin Lake Bohinj, just another 25km up the road in Triglav National Park. When the weather allows, both offer up some very memorable vistas of this eastern Alpine range.

But if you really want a feel for the rugged mountains the country has on offer you need to head for and into the hills. Hiking is the national pastime in Slovenia for good reason. And while its peaks don’t quite reach as high as those of the ranges in neighboring Italy and Austria and nearby Switzerland and Germany, experienced and well-traveled alpinists will tell you that Slovenia is anything but Alps-lite.

The hike to the Triglav Lakes Valley, named for the country’s highest peak (2,864m/ 9,396ft) and the national park in which it sits, is among the most popular. The valley is named for a system of (at least) seven lakes that sit in this high mountain valley. The lodge (1,685m /5,528ft) that serves as the destination for this hike rests at the valley’s southern edge at the Dvojno Jezero, or Double Lake in the heart of the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park.

There are several trails to the hut; to kick off this occasional Slovenia Day Trips series I picked the one which begins in the Blato Valley near Bohinj; it’s considered the easiest — and my knees have reached a point where they cry out, sometimes loudly, for easy. It’s also extremely picturesque, and a well-rounded representation of the geography and geology of the area, passing through high alpine meadows, valleys and pastures and lush deciduous and evergreen forests.

The hike is about seven hours round trip, making it an easy and fairly relaxed day trip if you’re spending the night in Bohinj or Bled. It’s possible from the capital Ljubljana (1hr 15min drive one way) in a day, too, if you’re an early riser, have your own transportation and set out when the days are still somewhat long. (Pulling it off in a day from Ljubljana using only public transport is probably next to impossible.)

A breakdown of the trail, along with a few dozen images, is below. As with any mountain area, weather can change quickly. As you’ll see in the photos, we began under nearly clear blue skies which later changed to shades of gray. Fortunately, that didn’t equate to rain.

Slovenia Day Trips - Hiking the Triglav Lakes Valley
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The nitty and the gritty:

Trailhead: Forest service road near Blato Valley (Planina blato), 1147m (3,763 ft)
Destination: Triglav Lakes Mountain Hut 1685m (5,528 ft)
Duration: Approximately three-and-a-half hours; distance about 6.5km (4mi), one way
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate with no technical climbing involved but it does include several steep inclines, particularly in the initial portions
Elevation Gain: 535m (1,755 ft); along the trail, 700m (2,296 ft)
Weather forecast (Slovene): [Stara Fužina][Ribčev Laz][Bohinjska Bistrica]

Getting there (arriving by car or bus from Bled): When you arrive in the village of Ribčev Laz at the eastern edge of Lake Bohinj, turn right towards the village of Stara Fužina. Follow the signs for Planina Blato (Blato Plateau) and the Voja Valley (Dolina Voje). Soon after leaving Stara Fužina you’ll reach a toll stop where you’ll pay a 10 euro parking fee (cash only). From there, follow the narrow and windy forest service road for another 15 minutes to the trailhead near Planina Blato. If the lot is full, parking along the road is allowed.

Planina pri Jezeru

The first hour is mainly an ascent through forest until you reach Planina pri Jezeru –in Slovene, planina is mountain and jezero is lake– a large clearing with several shepherds’ huts and a larger mountain lodge, the Koča na Planini pri Jezeru (1,453m/ 4,767ft). The lodge only operates during the summer months when food and drink is also available.

Shephards' huts at the Planina pri Jezeru valley
Shepherds’ huts at Planina pri Jezeru

Shephards' huts at the Planina pri Jezeru valley

Lake at Planina pri Jezeru valley
Lake at Planina pri Jezeru
Daily menu at the Planina pri Jezeru mountain hut
Daily menu at the Planina pri Jezeru mountain hut

Dedno Polje

About 30-40 minutes later you’ll come upon Dedno Polje (1,560m/ 5,118ft), a high altitude pasture area where you almost expect gnomes to emerge from the tiny doorways of the shepherds’ huts.

Though most of the huts have been converted to weekend vacation dwellings, locals still produce cheese and other dairy products here which are available for sale during the summer months. One of the huts also has refreshments available in-season (June-September).

Dedno Polje mountain pasture
Dedno Polje mountain pasture
Shephards' huts at the Dedno Polje mountain pasture
Shepherds’ huts at the Dedno Polje mountain pasture

Čez Prode Trail

From Dedno Polje, it’s about another hour and 45 minutes to the Triglav Lakes Valley lodge.

When you reach the Planina Ovčarija (fifth image below), you’ll have a choice between two trails: ‘čez Štapce’ to the right or ‘čez Prode’ to the left. From this direction, I recommend sticking to the left and taking the Prode route where the ascents are more moderate and the views exhilarating, and then later returning via the Štapce pass, as illustrated further below.

Along the hiking trail to the Triglav Lakes valley
Along the hiking trail to the Triglav Lakes valley

Along the hiking trail to the Triglav Lakes valley

Hiking trail to Triglav Lakes valley

View east from the Prodov trail to the Triglav Lakes Valley
View east from the Prode trail to the Triglav Lakes Valley

Along the Prodov trail to the Triglav Lakes Valley

Along the trail to the Triglav Lakes valley

Mountain view from the Prodov trail to the Triglav Lakes Mountain hut
Mountain view from the Prode trail
Along the Prodov trail to the Triglav Lakes Mountain hut, Julian Alps, Slovenia.
Along the Prode trail
Along the Prodov trail to the Triglav Lakes Mountain hut, Julian Alps, Slovenia.
The Prode trail

Triglav Lakes Valley

And finally, arrival.

A hut was was first built here in 1880 by an Austrian hiking club, rebuilt in 1955 and expanded in 1988. It currently has four dining rooms with a capacity of 150, 13 rooms with 30 beds and another 13 rooms with 170 bunks in all. Additional info and a price list is here.

Hiker arriving at the mountain hut by the Triglav Lakes Valley
Hiker arriving at the southern end of the Triglav Lakes Valley
Twin Lake by the mountain hut at the Triglav Lakes Valley
Twin Lakes in the Triglav Lakes Valley
Mountain hut by the Triglav Lakes Valley
The Triglav Lakes Valley Mountain Lodge
One of the twin lakes by the Triglav Lakes mountain hut
One of the twin lakes by the Triglav Lakes Valley lodge

Štapce pass trail

As mentioned above, I suggest returning via the ‘čez Štapce’ pass over Tičarica (below) that looms over the valley. The initial ascent is very steep –one portion has cables for support– but it only takes about 15-20 minutes to reach the crest where you’ll be afforded your final views of the valley.

View of Tičarica from Triglav Lakes mountain hut
View of Tičarica from the Triglav Lakes Lodge
Danijela on the Štapce pass trail above the Triglav Lakes valley
Danijela on the Štapce pass trail above the Triglav Lakes valley
climbing the Štapce pass trail above the Triglav Lakes Valley
Climbing the Štapce pass trail
On the Štapce pass trail above the Triglav Lakes Valley
On the Štapce pass trail
Climbing the Štapce pass trail above the Triglav Lakes valley
Support cables along the the Štapce pass trail
View of the Triglav Lakes valley's Twin Lakes from the the Štapce pass trail
View of the Triglav Lakes valley’s Twin Lakes from the Štapce pass trail

View from the Štapce pass trail

Start and Finish

And finally, a couple snaps near the start. This is parking at about 10am on a late September Sunday morning. Fortunately, the trail didn’t feel crowded at all. And below, the trailhead.

Parking area along forest road near Blato valley

Trailhead

A couple more useful links:

  • The Alpine Association of Slovenia (Planinska Zveza Slovenije)
  • hribi.net – detailed mountaineering and hiking info for most Slovenian mountains and ranges, and also includes info on mountains in neighboring countries
An illustrated day trip guide to one of Slovenia's most beautiful mountain hikes.
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And finally a few closing thoughts about this new occasional Slovenia Day Trips series: As I alluded to above, my knees are on a serious decline. I was reminded of just how serious when we made our way back down from this walk. And again the following day. And the day after that.

I only mention this because as much as I would like to plan otherwise, I know that this series can’t and won’t focus on hikes in the mountains. It’s unfortunate because there are so many beautiful areas in this tiny country covered by hills and mountains, most of which I’ll never get to see. That said, bike riding and hiking that doesn’t involve steep descents is still very much in the cards. Hopefully for a very long time. So, if there is anything or any place you’d like me to focus on in the future, get in touch and let me know. I’m always happy to oblige.

All images © Bob Ramsak 2015. All rights reserved. High resolution images available.
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30 Comments

  1. C. J. Hartwell says

    Breathtakingly beautiful! That must be what paradise looks like!

    1. Bob R says

      It is a beautiful area. You should come visit sometime.

  2. ladieswholunchreviews says

    I’ve been to Austria and Switzerland and Italy and France and Germany as a teen back when there were youth fares. Just tell me the history, don’t make me look it all up, why didn’t I go to Slovenia? Was it not a country then? My sis and BIL were stationed in Italy around Naples and we drove up to Amsterdam I think. Beautiful scenery BTW in your country!

    1. Bob R says

      Slovenia’s the northernmost part of the former Yugoslavia, independent since 1991. The area in these photos is near the corner where Slovenia, Italy and Austria meet. The Alps stretch into Slovenia here and along much of the northern border with Austria. For such a compact country, it packs a whallop in the beautiful scenery department. 🙂

      1. ladieswholunchreviews says

        Thanks for the info, it’s lovely country! I’ll probably have to look it up anyway now 🙂 I’m Czech and Polish and we were not able to visit there I know. Do you know Donald Trump’ s wife or is Slovenia not that small??

        1. Bob R says

          No, I don’t know her. 🙂 It’s a small country, but not that small.

  3. Paula says

    I think I’m falling in love with Slovenia. It started with your announcement that you’d returned to Ljubljiana, and I have to confess I was unaware of that city. I was immediately intrigued by its name – how in the world to pronounce it? So I looked it up. And I looked for photos of the city. It looks fantastic – big enough to be full of great architecture, art, culture, but small enough to enjoy. And now this!?! What a beautiful place you live in. Definitely on my short list now.

    1. Bob R says

      Very nice to hear. Most people who visit leave with very positive impressions. As for pronouncing Ljubljana, it’s easiest to just pretend the j’s aren’t there: Loo Blee yahn a. Or something like that. 🙂

  4. capejohn says

    I enjoy your photography and have to say you outdid yourself with this post. Spectacular photo. I have a friend living in Belgium that often praises Slovenia and these photos gives justice to his bragging.

    1. Bob R says

      Thanks, John. It really is a nice spot, very much worth the effort to get there.

    1. Bob R says

      Thanks and glad you enjoy!

  5. niasunset says

    So beautiful, you almost took me there through these amazing photographs. Thank you, have a nice day and weekend, love, nia

    1. Bob R says

      Thanks and a great weekend to you, too.

  6. Manja Mexi Movie says

    This sounds like an excellent series, looking forward to it. I’m happy for you to go up there and return, even though your knees suffered. I remember sweating over the Komarča climb from Lake Bohinj a few times via the 7 lakes all the way up the Prehodavce pass. And how the descent from Komna to Lake Bohinj took forever even though we were running down those bends. The views are worth it all. And 10 eur for parking?? I’ll stop complaining over Italians now.

    1. Bob R says

      We decided to pass on the Komarča approach this time. And I’m Glad we did. 🙂 I’m not too bothered by the 10eur parking fee — many national parks in other countries charge much more. I only hope that the money does go towards maintaining the road.

  7. @CrisTiaNLab says

    The Triglav NP is one of my favourites around the Giulian Alps…so wild and wonderful!!

    1. Bob R says

      It is wonderful. Have you visited many parts of the park?

      1. @CrisTiaNLab says

        Not so many!!….last time I’ve spent three days across the lakes valley and the Triglav summit… looking for the zlatrog!!;)…Slovenia is really nice and wild …like most parts of the Giulian alps in Friuli!!

  8. iFyst says

    Look forward to this series; next best thing to being there!

  9. ersatzexpat says

    Thanks for posting this on#TravelAtHome – the alps round lake Bohinj is one of my favorite places in the world. We have been there a few times and hope to go back again. Every time we have been the children have been too young to do a hike like this (our poor 31/2 year old (at the time) son was not amused when we made him walk half way round Lake Bohinj. He is 9 now so could probably manage it if we stayed overnight on the mountain – the girls are still a little too young though.

    1. Bob R says

      Great to hear that you’re familiar with the area. Most visitors to this part of Slovenia don’t venture beyond Bled. There is a fairly extensive mountain hut system so lots of overnight options do exist.

  10. Jessica says

    I love mountains. I suppose I have a soft-spot for them since I grew up on them–just along the Skyline Drive in the United States. This area looks beautiful! I haven’t been on a hike that long, but I think it would be amazing to just “be” with nature for so long.

    1. Bob R says

      I’m very familiar with the Skyline Drive, I have some great memories from that beautiful area. As for being with nature, it’s simple: make the time. 🙂 (Sometimes easier said than done, I know.) Thanks for visiting, welcome anytime.

  11. seychellesmama says

    Wow this all looks so beautiful! Definitely a far cry from where we are living now! If we moved from the Seychelles we would definitely loved to be somewhere where we could access amazing scenery like this!
    Visiting via #travelathome linky

  12. Cathy S says

    Hi Bob. I am planning to hike to Triglav Lakes Valley in September and I’m glad I found this information. Is there a possible route to start at Balto and go to hut Zasavska koča na Prehodavcih for the first night? I would like to stay at Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih, the second night and hike out at Savica Falls on the third day. Any suggestions you have would be greatly apprciated.

  13. Anonymous says

    Oh boy, these hiking pics are really sealing the deal on Slovenia in 2017!

Thoughts?

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