Have you ever wanted to reach the great heights of Slovenia? If you’re an experienced and fit hiker, you can reach Slovenia’s highest mountain on foot and solo.
Tackling 2,864m Triglav without a guide will save you a whopping €150 – you can treat yourself to a whole lot of Bled Cream Cake after the hike with the money you save.
But before you eagerly pull on your hiking boots, have a read about my experience summitting this amazing mountain, and find out what you need to know before you go.
Hiking up to the summit of Triglav independently should only be attempted by fit, experienced hikers with a head for heights and the ability to follow trail signage and rough rock scrambling routes. The hike includes steep, slippery slopes, a via ferrata and hiking for at least 8-10 hours per day over 2-3 days. Some sections of the hike are dangerous, and slips or falls could result in injury or death.
When to go
It’s only possible to hike Triglav solo during the mid to late summer months and early autumn. Even in early summer (June), the summit can be buried under several metres of snow, so plan your visit to Slovenia accordingly. I hiked Triglav in late August. I mostly had good weather, with only a brief, albeit sudden, thunderstorm during the ascent – but that’s the mountains for you and you have to prepared for all conditions.
Blankets and a pillow are provided in the mountain huts so you don’t need to worry about bringing any bedding. In fact, sleeping bags are not allowed.
Your equipment list should include:
- Via ferrata set and helmet for the summit (these can be rented in Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj).
- At least 3L of water (there’s no water at the mountain huts near the summit but you can fill up your water bottles at Vodnikov Dom – there’s a tap outside).
- Warm clothing for when it gets cold at night, as well as a rainjacket.
- Toilet paper & wet wipes (the huts near the summit only have squat toilets and no running water, toilet paper is not supplied.
- Snacks. You can get main meals at the mountain huts near the summit and along the way but bringing along some museli bars, lollies and fruit is a good idea
- Sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen.
- Battery pack and USB cable to charge your phone.
- A Triglav National Park map and the Maps.me app on your phone.
- Dry bags and/or a backpack cover to protect any valuables as the weather can change quickly in the mountains.
- Cash for meals and accommodation at the huts.
Before you go
It’s best to hike up and down Triglav over 2-3 days – so you can enjoy the awesome scenery along the way as well as an incredible sunset and sunrise from one of the mountain huts near the summit.
Before you head out, you’ll need to book a bed at one of the mountain huts.
There’s two mountain huts near the summit, and more scattered on routes leading up to the mountain. Dom Planika (2,401m) and Triglavski dom (2,515m) are the two mountain huts located on routes up to the summit.
You need to phone the mountain huts direct to book your bed – they don’t have an email address. Pick up a map of Triglav National Park at a tourist information office or in an Intersport store, and the location and contact details of the huts are listed. The huts near the summit are €27 per night for a dorm bed, including bedding. You can add breakfast and dinner on for a total of €40.
You’ll also need to hire a via ferrata set and helmet. You can hire these at the climbing store at Lake Bohinj (near the climbing wall) or several tour operators in Bled also hire out the gear. Expect to pay between €25-30 for two days.
Where to start the hike?
There’s multiple routes up to the summit of Triglav and your starting point depends on how long you want to hike; your capabilities as some routes are highly technical; and where you want to stay along the route.
Rudno Polje (Pokljuka)
I opted to start at Rudno Polje, also referred to as Pokljuka, which is the name of the ski resort here. During the summer months (June 22 to early September) a free shuttle bus runs from the Lake Bohinj area to Rudno Polje three times a day.
You start at 1,340 metres elevation here, heading out on a wooded trail. You hike through the forest for about an hour before the valley opens up and you have a handful of stunning mountains looming above you. After another hour or so, you’re heading up through a valley bounded by jagged peaks, including Visevnek. It’s a steep uphill climb until you reach the top of a pass under the summit of the Ablanca peak.
From the pass, you start skirting around Tosc peak, largely staying at the same elevation as you make your way to Vodnikov dom, a mountain hut located at 1,817 metres. I found this section fairly easy as there’s only a couple of steep sections, and they are short.
You can get drinking water at Vodnikov dom – and it’s the last place to fill up on your route. You can also fill up with a hot meal here before making your way towards the summit.
From Vodnikov dom, it’s mostly uphill from here with some scrambly rock sections. You’ll reach a signposted junction, then follow the signs to whichever hut you’re staying the night.
The last 45 minutes to Dom Planika or Triglavski Dom is a steep, loose gravel trail. Don’t be surprised if thunderstorms start to form by the time you get here. We got caught in a thunderstorm – with a sudden, very cold heavy downpour of rain, but we continued on having nowhere to shelter and we weren’t that far from the hut. Luckily we reached the hut by the time another storm front started rolling through filled with lightning.
Take a rest and have some food at whichever hut you chose to sleep at for the night. Then offload some gear before making the final push to the summit if conditions allow. Make sure you have enough time to make the ascent – and the weather is good as the route is exposed. Plan for at least three hours return for the summit ascent from Dom Planika or Triglavski Dom.
From here the hike is predominantly a via ferrata and you’ll need your harness, via ferrata set and helmet here. Also bring some water, snacks and warm clothing. Remember the weather can change quickly in the mountains. As we arrived at Dom Planika in the middle of a thunderstorm and had to wait for it to pass before we could make the final ascent. Luckily the clouds cleared by about 4pm and we had enough time to get up and back, although the final walk back once we were off the via ferrata was done in the dark by the light of a headlamp.
Going up the via ferrata to Triglav’s summit.
You must be confident with heights to do the via ferrata, fit and experienced with rock scrambling. The summit ascent is very strenuous and technical. Some people I met in the hut opted not to go all the way to the summit as they were not experienced enough for such a climb. The via ferrata takes about 90 minutes one way to reach the summit. It’s a strenuous, challenging climb rock scrambling or negotiating up slippery scree slopes the whole way.
But when you reach the summit you will be amazed. From the top, you get a mind blowing 360 degree view of Triglav National Park. Worth every step!
The view from the summit of Triglav.
After staying the night at the base of the Triglav summit, you’ll hopefully wake up to a stunning sunrise. Make sure you wake up in time to check out the sunrise as it rises above the clouds and lights up the peaks surrounding your mountain hut.
Seven Lakes Valley
As the name suggests, the route up the Seven Lakes Valley passes by a whole series of lakes, offering a very picturesque route and even a few swimming spots if the day is warm.
This is an alternative route up to the summit of Triglav, or can be your return route. From Dom Planika to the Savica waterfall hut, this track takes at least 12 hours for fit, fast walkers with minimal short breaks – and that was downhill! My group did this stretch in one very long day on our return to Lake Bohinj, but in hindsight it would have been better to break this stretch into two days so we weren’t so rushed and could enjoy the scenery along the way more.
There’s a few alternative routes within the Seven Lakes Valley. My group opted to take the route which skirts near Zadnjiski Vrsac but this is only recommended for very experienced hikers with a head for heights. Some of the trail is barely two feet wide and runs along the edge of the cliff. One wrong move or slip and you’re dead. But if you’re ok with the risk and the technical nature of this section (there’s lots of rock scrambling), you will be greeted with fantastic views of Triglav National Park.
Alternatively, you can take the route via Kanjavec towards Triglav. It’s a shorter, less technical route.
If heading down the first route, once off the sketchy cliff face, you will look down onto Jezero pod Vrsacem (jezero means lake in the local language), a beautiful azure lake next to Zasavska Koca mountain hut. Heading further down into the valley, you pass lake after lake on your way down to Koca pri Triglavskih Jezerin mountain hut.
From here, you’ll skirt around Dvojno Jezero. At the time of writing, the trail down to Savica waterfall past Crno Jezero was closed and you had to skirt a very long way around to get to Savica waterfall carpark. Ask at the tourist office or your hostel for local conditions at the time of your visit.
Views through the Seven Lakes Valley.
From Koca pri Triglavski Jezerin hut it took my group four hours down to the Savica waterfall carpark with very few stops and walking at a very fast pace.
Mountain hut facilities
There’s many mountain huts spread across Triglav National Park and you could spend weeks hiking hut to hut.
Facilities vary at each hut. The huts near the summit of Triglav are very basic. Cramped dorm rooms are available (although beds are comfortable) and you will be supplied with a blanket and a pillow on a bunk bed. You can get lunch, dinner and breakfast at the mountain huts.
Bathroom facilities are located outside and are squat toilets. There’s no running water. Don’t forget to bring your own toilet paper!
Lower down, the mountain huts offer a little more luxury with indoor flush toilets and running water.