Postcards from Slovenia #35 The Vrata Valley

The Vrata Valley is one of the most spectacular glacial valleys in the Julian Alps. This valley begins in the town of Mojstrana close to Kranjska Gora, and ends abruptly in the north wall of Slovenia’s highest mountain, Triglav. Although it provides a door (literally vrata) to the highest of the Julian Alps, the valley itself makes a perfect place for a family walk, avalanches notwithstanding!

Walks in the Vrata Valley

peričnik waterfall
Slap Peričnik

If you are looking for a longer-distance family walk, the Triglavska Bistrica trail from Mojstrana to the head of the valley takes around 3 hours and passes under ‘galleries’ carved out by the stream in its course along the valley into the Sava river. If you don’t want to double the walking time, arrange transport back from the Aljažev dom mountain hut at the head of the valley.

If you (or the children!) prefer a shorter walk, you can drive to the Aljažev dom and simply walk the 20 minutes or so through the woodland trail to the Triglav north wall. Be sure to stop at Slap Peričnik on the way: this dramatic waterfall is formed of an upper and lower fall, the latter of which plunges 52m down to the valley. In winter, it becomes even more spectacular as it freezes.

Aljažev dom

The Aljažev dom (Aljaž’s lodge) was originally built at the behest of composer and priest Jakob Aljaž in 1904 (he was also responsible for the construction of Aljažev stolp at Triglav summit 2863m above sea level). The hut had to be rebuilt in 1910 as the original was destroyed by avalanche.

The lodge is the starting point for north-facing ascents of Triglav. It also gives access to the other alpine hiking routes in the area, including ascent of the dramatic Škrlatica (2740m), Slovenia’s second-highest mountain. You can find out more about Jakob Aljaž and the history of Slovene Mountaineering at the Mountain Museum in Mojstrana.

A walk to the North Wall of Triglav

I visited the North Wall of Triglav (see Featured Image) for the first time this Halloween with my family. We parked at Aljažev dom as my youngest son doesn’t like to walk too far. The sides of the valley are so steep that the entire area was still in shade at 10:30 am when we set off.

The valley is a peaceful, serene place dominated by the looming presence of the Julian Alps high above. The view of the Triglav North Wall where the trail emerges is breathtaking. It’s a place to be silent a few moments and appreciate the true majesty of nature. The rock wall is 3km across and up to 1km high. The route ahead is only open to mountaineers. I hope to return and climb Triglav one day (but I’ll be taking the walking route rather than climbing the wall!) It’s around 6 hours’ walk (one way) from this point.

On this particular morning, we were treated to a natural spectacle, sunrise over the valley at 11:15 am:

Mountains, sunrise
Sunrise over the valley

I hope you enjoyed this post. Visit my Instagram account for more images from the Vrata Valley. And stay tuned for more Postcards from Slovenia!
Srecno Pot,
Ingrid

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