Romantic hike in the heart of Triglav National Park: Vodnik Hut

With the first snowfall this season as early as 13th September I found myself stranded between excitement and annoyance. Not that I don’t like snow, but technically speaking, it was still summer, and that’s when my winter gear is pretty satisfied buried somewhere in the basement. Yet, mountains were calling {like super loud} and I decided to go regardless, only not as high as originally planned. I chose a mountain hut in the midst of Triglav National Park that packs everything. The Vodnik Hut is as romantic as it gets, with a sunny trail curving slowly towards a mountain wonderland, plus with its position at 1,817 m, I knew getting there wouldn’t be a problem even without crampons.

Vodnik Hut in Triglav National Park, Slovenia
Located in the very heart of the Triglav National Park, Vodnik Hut is one of the favorite mountain huts for those trekking further on to Triglav or just exploring long paths and curvy meadows of Slovenia’s most beautiful national park.

My plan for the first sunny day after a long series of rainy ones? Wake up at 5, drive to Bled first for a quick hike to Ojstrica for my very first sunrise adventure in Bled, then drive further on to Pokljuka, enjoy a hike to Vodnik Hut, and return back to Ljubljana to pick up kids from school by 3.30 pm.

First up: sunrise in Bled from Ojstrica
I always pictured sunrise in Bled would be spectacular, and, ideally (quite silly actually), there would be just me, the lake and Slovenia’s only little island underneath a playground of snow-capped peaks bathing in those soft morning colors. As it turned out, many of us thought the same as that little perch above Bled turned out pretty crowded with professional and amateur photographers. Once I reserved a spot in the front row, the show was beyond stunning. In fact, I was enchanted to the point my bucket list grew by one more wish: to experience sunset in Bled as well!

Bled for sunrise from Ojstrica
Sunrise over Bled from Ojstrica. See detailed instructions on how to hike to Ojstrica above Bled.

Vodnik Hut from Pokljuka
From Rudno Polje, where I finally parked my car at 8 am, the trail was marked 3.5 hours. Vodnik Hut is one of those long scenic hikes, summing to some 16 kilometers and an ascent of about 800-900 meters (a return trip). Not a staggering ascent, but a nice moderate one with exactly one steeper part ascending 350 m up to a mountain pass Studorski Preval. Once past that point, you’re looking at as easy walk across steep slopes of Tosc with amazing views. The further you go, the more spectacular the views; from green peaks above lake Bohinj and Komna, to beautiful peaks of Julian Alps and finally the hut lying underneath Triglav.

Konjščica Plateau, Pokljuka
If you’re into organic dairy products, then make sure you stop by Konjščica Plateau.
Mali Draški Vrh, 2,132 m
Mali Draški Vrh, 2,132 m, and its reflection from the Jezero Plateau.
Julian Alps, trail to Vodnik Hut
The trail to Vodnik Hut winds across steep slopes of Mt. Tosc.
On the trail to Vodnik hut, Triglav National Park
While the trail is easy, it’s quite exposed. Is it ok for kids? If you trust them not to fool around on the trail, then yes, otherwise rather not. Is it ok in snow? I haven’t tried it yet, but I imagine it’s rather exposed to avalanches since it crosses terrain as steep as that.
Vodnik Hut beneath Triglav
Vodnik hut beneath Mt. Vernar with Triglav in the back. Did you know it’s only about three more hours to the very top of Mt. Triglav from Vodnik Hut? Tempting, right? 😀
Vodnik Hut in Triglav National Park; Slovenia, Vodnikov dom
Open from June to September, Vodnik hut (Vodnikov dom), 1,817 m, sleeps 60 people easily, stretched out between 8 private bedrooms with 22 beds and a communal room with another 38 beds.
Vodnik Hut in Triglav National Park; Slovenia, Vodnikov dom
In 2017, the hut was nominated one of 10 candidates in the best Slovenian mountain hut selection. While it unfortunately wasn’t crowned the winner, it’s definitely my personal favorite.

Here is a short time-lapse video of Vodnik Hut:

Tips for hiking Vodnik Hut
If you’re thinking about repeating the hike yourself, here are a few tips you should read before heading out. Quick stats for a return trip: 6 hours, 16 km, 800-900 m ascent and descent. Perfect for trail running, landscape photography, and great as an easy few-hour hike or combined with an additional trek in Triglav National Park or Triglav itself. Hike it with kids if you trust them enough not to fool around on the trail (I’d easily take my 8-year-old daughter but probably not my 5-year-old son). Winter conditions might complicate things up as the extremely steep slopes the trail crosses are prone to avalanches. Contacts and detailed description of the hut.

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