If you can muster the energy and brave the cold, watching the sunrise from Planika hut is a perfect way to start the day. The clouds turn pink and the mountains golden, a sea of sunken mist swirls through the valley, and the first rays of sunlight inject immediate warmth into your body.
After leaving Planika Hut the trail makes a bee-line towards a vertical and seemingly-impassable wall of rock. As you get nearer you will see a path zig-zagging up a narrow scree slope towards a mountain pass guarded on both sides by mighty monolithic towers of rock. Having reached Hribarice Pass, you are plunged into a new world, as you navigate a path across a limestone plateau riddled with cracks and deep holes.
The trail then descends into the Valley of the 7 Lakes, which has been recognised as ‘the epitome of a pristine and primeval environment’ since the 19th century. You will first pass the small, shallow mountain lakes of Rjavo jezero (Brown Lake) and Zeleno Jezero (Green Lake), both characterised and coloured by the algae present there. Jezero v Ledvicah (Kidney Lake) is larger, deeper and utterly hypnotising in the abnormal shade of its turquoise waters. Triglavskih Jezerih hut, where you will spend the night, sits on the shores of Double Lake; be sure to wander down to the lake in the still hours close to sunrise and sunset to enjoy the mirrored reflections of the surrounding mountains.
Some of the path is along rocky steps; be careful as these may be slippery, especially when wet.
There are some exposed edges; be sure to read instructions carefully, stick to the main path, and don’t wander close to the edge. Use handrails where provided.
In early spring/summer there may still be patches of snow. Walk around where it is possible, and otherwise place your feet carefully and use walking poles if you have them.
This route is above 2,400 metres so bear in mind you may feel a shortness of breath and additional muscle fatigue associated with the altitude.
This route involves sections with metal footplates and steep steps carved into the cliff-wall. Take extra care in these areas, hold the handrail provided, and bear in mind it may be slippery when wet.
Tips and hints
Points of Interest
The Valley of the 7 Lakes is something of a misnomer as there are 10 lakes (though 3 regularly dry up over summer). It is recognised as one of the most beautiful regions of the Julian Alps. All except the highest lake are hydrologically connected with each other, with their waters flowing to Lake Bohinj and eventually the Black Sea. A range of interesting flora and fauna lives in this valley, and there are even the fossils of 100-million year old ammonite shells.
Koča pri Triglavskih Jezerih Hut
Koča pri Triglavskih Jezerih (Triglav Lake Lodge) was originally built in 1880 by the Austrian Hiking Club. Extensions and renovations in 1955 and 1988 have increased its size to the current state. It is only open during the summer months but a small winter shelter can provide refuge for up to 18 winter adventurers.
Food and Drink
There are opportunities to make a short detour to the mountain huts of Doliču and Prehodavcih after 3.2 and 6.7 km, though there is nowhere directly on the trail. You can arrange a sandwich from Planika Hut, if you wish to bring your own provisions and enjoy a picnic by one of the lakes.
Book recommendations for this region:
Such is the way of hiking in the mountains that you need to be prepared for all seasons and weathers; sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required, as is plenty of sun-cream and a healthy respect for the sun.
Walking poles will be a big advantage on some of these ascents and descents.
Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
This walk is isolated with few opportunities to buy food or water so be sure to bring enough with you.