Here is how to hike to the summit of Mount Triglav, Triglavski National Park, the highest peak in Slovenia. After a week in beautiful Croatia, visiting the waterfalls at Plitvice and Krka National Parks, Split, and the island of Hvar, hop on a bus to your last stop in Croatia, Zagreb. Follow two backpackers from the bus to a hostel and by chance meet another hostel goer who happens to also be heading to Slovenia. Ask them, "Are you going to Slovenia to hike Mt. Triglav, the highest peak in Slovenia?" They will reply, "no, are you? and then invite them along on your journey. Before my trip I read, and was so inspired, by this post, I felt confident enough to hike in the Slovenian alps, to an alpine hut. Check the weather before you hike, if it is forecasted to rain you may want to push your hike back a few days.
When you get to Lake Bled, go straight to Altitude Activities and rent a harness and helmet for the Via Ferrata route, as well as trekking poles, and if your new friend didn't bring hiking boots, they should rent those too, and of course a map. Schedule to have Altitude Activities take you at 6am, from their office, where you can leave your bags, to the trailhead. That night, check into any hostel nearby, shop for your hiking breakfast, lunch and snacks for the following days, buy at least 4L of water, pack up your hiking layers and get ready for an amazing adventure.
Altitude Activities will take you about and hour drive and drop you at the Krma trailhead. From here you will hike on a trail in a beautiful forest and high along the mountain ridges to the Triglavski dom na Kredarci Hut. This is the largest hut, it sleeps over 300 people, and is closest to the summit. We didn't make reservations ahead of time and paid $23 for a bed about half the size of a single bed and sheets that resembled a big disposable napkin, some people bring sleeping bags. Here you can buy lunch, dinner, beer, and water. There is no potable water here. There is however a huge communal sink in the one bathroom where many Europeans wash their feet, armpits, and underwear, as you try to brush you teeth...
From the trailhead to the hut you will hike about 4000' and 7 miles, from about 7am-2pm. The only time we questioned which way to go was when we came to the first hut, which was abandoned, and had trails going to each side of it, go right, up the mountain. You will eventually see signs, always go towards Triglavski dom na Kredarci hut. These signs, measure distance in time, and you may soon realize, your hiking speed probably takes almost twice as long as the sign indicates. Scramble up steep mountain sides, across small snow banks, and sweat on the switchback in direct sun, and as always, momentarily questioning why you are a hiker. Stop many times and turn around to admire the view, wow the view is amazing.
When you reach the hut, drop your pack, enjoy a second lunch of hearty Slovenian food, put on your harness and helmet, agree which one person will wear a small pack with water, and hike onward about 1000' more, and another mile to the summit. From here, you will be climbing Via Ferrata, basically mountain climbing a trail that is both really easy, and terrifying, as you clip your carabiners to the cables. Admire plaques for people who have died on this trail, and just as you are thinking how fun this is, a gust of wind will make your heart sink to your toes. You will look down the mountain, a straight drop, several thousand feet, and realize clipping in is a great idea. At the top enjoy the view! The gorgeous Slovenian Alps in every direction remind you of the Sierra, why did I come so far for the same view we have at home in California? Carefully climb back down, eat more Slovenian food, and curl up in your tiny bed.
In the morning you will probably be woken up by the loud roar of helicopters, which is how all of the staff and supplies get to the hut. Watch dozens and dozens of hikers crowd onto the cables and realize how glad you are that you climbed yesterday afternoon with no one else in the way, rather than with the crowds of early morning climbers.
Option: From here, I wish we had spent another couple days hiking to the Seven Lakes Valley, then to Bohinj.
Instead what we did was hike from the hut, 9 miles and 6000' down toward lake Bohinj. You will pass Vodnikov dom na Polju hut with delicious spring water, this hut is much nice than we one we stayed at. The hike down was amazingly beautiful, gorgeous valleys and forests, it is also scorching hot the steep decline may pain your knees as it did mine, remember trekking poles are so helpful here. It is okay to stop 2 or 3 miles before the lake, at a hut, and take a taxi the rest of the way.
When you get to the beautiful lake Bohinj, admire the sunset, the thousands of happy fish in the lake, the adorable Slovenian families, and old couples swimming in the lake. Swim in the perfect temperature lake. Eat a whole fish. Eat ice cream, and go to sleep in a small airbnb, which, as most of Europe, does not have AC. The next day rent a bike to ride to the other end of the lake, gorgeous. Stay longer if you can, then take the bus back to Lake Bled. Stay as long as you can. Enjoy beers with other travelers at Bled Hostel, swim in the lake with new friends, rent a paddle board, hike only a couple miles to the lake lookout point. Take a tour with Altitude Activities, I went river rafting but they also have zip lining, hot air ballooning, and more. Fall in love with Slovenia, promise to return, and be thankful for the underrated, not overcrowded small Eastern European country.
Here is my Strava of the ascent.
Here is my Strava of the descent.