Exploring Slovenia: Hiking a Gorgeous Ridge above Pokljuka

By Neja Fidler Pompe 21 Sep 2020, 20:26 PM Travel
Exploring Slovenia: Hiking a Gorgeous Ridge above Pokljuka All photos from Neja Fidler Pompe

Today I’m going to take you to a place very special to me. So special that I keep returning there more often that I probably should considering I’ve got a hiking agency (Exploring Slovenia) that requires work on many tours around the Alps. This hike is simple, not too easy but also not too hard, and at 2,000 meters the top is still cozily covered with soft grass. There you can lay down and enjoy spectacular views of Triglav and other peaks of the Julian Alps to the west, the Karavanke Alps to the north stretching towards the northeast, and the Krma valley nestled between us and Triglav.

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I’m actually not talking about just one peak, but a few peaks dotted along a beautiful ridge. You can start with Debela Peč, a broad 2,014-m peak on the far right once you reach the Blejska koča Hut, and then slowly make your way to the left following the ridge over to Brda, 2,008 m, Lipanski Vrh, 1,974 m, and finally Mrežce, 1,965 m. You can continue further on to Debeli Vrh, 1,962 m, and then return back down through a beautiful larch forest, which is actually what we offer in one of our tours above Pokljuka. Or you could even hike all the way to Viševnik and Mali Draški Vrh, but let’s leave that to the most avid of hikers.

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The ridge from Viševnik continues further on towards Mali Draški Vrh

While a few of the peaks might be fairly popular with the locals, and you can expect quite a few visitors on a sunny weekend, on weekdays the trails empty and the air instead gets filled with the whistling sounds of sturdy chamois.

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Soak in cinematic views of the soaring mountains across the plummeting 1000-meter deep glacial valley Krma

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Lush larch forests along the trail sparkles golden in the sun

With many hiking options in those parts of the Julian Alps, one can walk the whole day or just a couple of hours, and that’s the true beauty of it. It makes the most sense to start the hike from Planina Zajavornik, a gorgeous meadow with old wooden houses in the middle of Pokljuka’s tall fir forest, or further up in Medvedova Konta, from where the first peak - Debela Peč is merely two hours away.

The trail is technically speaking easy, it also ascends gradually, partly in the forest and partly in the sun. As such it’s appropriate for beginners, kids, elderly hikers, and those who have problems with exposure. At Exploring Slovenia we also offer it as one of the most basic hikes in the Alps above Bled to visitors who want to get a feel for the mountains but have no real experience yet. Extending the tour along the ridge doesn’t only mean prolonging it time-wise, but also spicing it up with more exposure and a few short parts with wires (via ferrata). Hiking the whole ridge - from Debela Peč to Mrežce, adds at least another two hours, and the whole descent down from Mrežce takes another two.

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A must stop on the way? Regardless of whether going up to Debela Peč or coming down from Mrežce, you should make a stop in the Blejska koča Hut and grab a plate of barley soup ričet, goulash, beef broth with pasta, or sour cabbage soup jota, and obviously potica, that traditional pastry with ground walnuts. Delicious, and you’ll burn the calories walking!

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A little extra to see in Pokljuka? If you still have the energy and time to make a few stops on the way back to the valley, I would suggest not missing the beautiful little Alpine village of Zajamniki (an easy hour hike from Rudno Polje) and the Pokljuka Gorge, through which actually used to go the shortest natural passage to the Pokljuka plateau, back in the olden days.

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Zajamniki with flowering crocuses

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The well-hidden Pokljuka Gorge

Interested in hiking in Slovenia? Check out the range of tours on offer at Exploring Slovenia - including to the top of Triglav - as well as our interview with the author.

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