Five family and dog-friendly hikes

Having two kids and a puppy is super cute…for someone other than the parents. I’m one of those suckers who recently adopted a puppy. If my husband bought a house with a garden a week later, I’m dealing with it my way. I go to the mountains. Or to put it better, we go to the mountains. So, here are five hikes, friendly to kids and dogs, we’ve recently done and have kept my sanity plus entertained my whole family. I’m sure they’ll fit your family as well!

Five family and dog-friendly hikes in Slovenia

Kofce, 1,488 m (Gorenjska Region)
Our first trip to the mountains with Lisa, the puppy, finished at the mountain hut Kofce underneath the highest peak of the longest massif in Slovenia. Why Kofce? It’s not only family friendly with its own private little playground, but the hike is short and sweet (573 m ascent, 1.5 hours one way), the food excellent, plus, nested among high peaks, the place is simply spectacular. While you can easily hike further on to the Šija Plateau, Mt. Kofce, Mt. Veliki Vrh, or another peak along the Košuta massif, we were pretty satisfied at Kofce, eating excellent chocolate štruklji, local pastry usually filled with cottage cheese, but in our case, yummy chocolate. If you’re a chocoholic, then the chocolate version at Kofce is a must!

A puppy in the mountains, Kofce, the Karawanks, Slovenia
Our new family member, Lisa, tired from the hike. Guess who will be sleeping like a baby? 😉
A puppy and a woman hiker in the mountains, Slovenia
Apart from regularly cleaning the carpet after her toilet trips, I must admit she’s really adorable. 😊
A little boy hiking in the mountains, Slovenia, sunny day
My kids love Kofce almost as much as I do. Almost.
Chocolate štruklji on Kofce, in the mountains, Slovenia
Overloaded with sugar, but sooooo good!

Velika Planina, 1,560 m (Central Slovenia)
A unique Alpine pasture near Ljubljana is one of Europe’s last remaining high mountain shepherds’ villages still producing milk products by following traditional Alpine ways. This idyllic fairytale place is perfect for young families and adventurers alike in any season and practically any weather. What I love about Velika Planina is its incredible panorama available with minimum effort.

Velika Planina for sunset, Central Slovenia

To arrive there comfortably, you can either take a lift up by cable car (see timetable) from Kamniška Bistrica, or drive to a parking lot Za Ušivcem or Dol Plateau, both accessible from the Volovjek Pass. For the latter, you’ll need to do a bit more hiking compared to the cable car lift, but that’s why we love mountains so much, right?

Kids with Lisa the puppy on Mala Planina, Slovenia, Central Slovenia
Lisa knows only two gears: five and zero. It turned out that the first one up had to be carried back down in a backpack.
A puppy watching kids skate on a frozen pond, Mala Planina, Central Slovenia
All little ponds froze making it extra fun for the kids.

I opted for the Volovjek Pass. You see, I hadn’t been to Mala Planina, another pasture about 30 minutes from Velika Planina, for ten years, and I really wanted to see it with the kids. The thing is that if you start the hike in Volovjek, Mala Planina would be on your way to Velika Planina, which I knew would be perfect for my little naggers, but if we arrived there by cable car, those extra 30 minutes (or 60 for the return) would be a deal breaker. To cut a long story short, both Mala and Velika Planina from Volovjek turned out manageable by a single parent, yet once back home I really felt somewhat like a ninja mom for taking two kids and a puppy to the mountains completely alone. A proud ninja mom that is.

Velika Planina, Slovenia, Ljubljana
Velika Planina

Jezerca Plateau – Kriška Plateau (Central Slovenia)
The day after Slovenia got its first proper snow, which actually settled, I was repeating the whole hiking ninja mom thing and decided to take my bunch a bit higher to test our sled for the first time this year. Since I had a premonition that unleashing a lively pup on a crowded slope full of running kids would be a terrible idea, I steered away from the popular sledding places like Krvavec, Kranjska Gora and Pokljuka, and rather opted for the much quieter Kriška Planina.

The road to Kriška Planina, Krvavec
About 45 minutes from Ljubljana, Kriška Planina is actually the quiet side of the favored Krvavec Ski Resort with a road leading directly to it.
Kids and a dog having fun on Kriška Planina, Krvavec
Everyone’s happy. So, I’m happy too. Simple as that.
Why I love Krvavec, Slovenia
On Kriška Planina a few weeks later, still a winter fairytale.
On the road from the Krvavec Ski Resort to Kriška Planina, Slovenia
On the road from the Krvavec Ski Resort to Kriška Planina.

Hills above Škofja Loka (Gorenjska Region)
Taking care of a puppy is super hard {Did I get a warning? No!!?}. Not only does the leash become your best friend (or an enemy?), but you have to feed her, take her out for a toilet, train her and get her socialized. Several times a day that is. Crazy! One day, when I got sick and tired of repeating the same old boring walks around our neighborhood, I packed her into the car and took her somewhere she could be free. Where I could be free! I kept driving until we reached the point of solitude I knew she would be fine off the leash.

Where? We walked along a forgotten forest road from Rovte in Selška Dolina to Stari Vrh Ski Resort above the enchanting little town of Škofja Loka. It seemed like we entered a winter wonderland. A carefree winter wonderland! Lisa was off the leash, freely sniffing at everything interesting without getting constant annoying pulls at her neck, and I finally got to follow my own pace and enjoy a long walk in beautiful mountains {without regular stops}. Invigorating!

A puppy having fun in the mountains, Slovenia, Škofja Loka
She is one crazy pup!
Walking the dog on the most beautiful road
In just a few months she’ll be my regular companion in the mountains, yaaay!
A cute puppy and her owner in the mountains
She’s getting big by the way! That photo was shot when she weighed 10 kg, and she was said to grow as much as 25 kg! I need to enroll in a fitness program, otherwise no doggy lifting in a year or so.

Ulovka and Planina above Vrhnika (Central Slovenia)
If you want something quick and totally family oriented close to Ljubljana, Ulovka and Planina nad Vrhniko (Eng. Planina above Vrhnika) are your top choice. Ulovka is actually a former ski center, so all the slopes are already there, you just need to bring your skis, sleds and go for it! What my family and friends did the other weekend was a nice three-hour round walk {please notice that time is measured in different units when hiking with kids 😉}.

On the observation tower at the top of Planina nad Vrhniko
The view from the observation tower is incredible! Can you spot Triglav?

We first walked up the white slopes of Ulovka, which turned out surprisingly panoramic, offering incredible views of the Alps, then followed a forest path to Planina above Vrhnika to catch even more spectacular views from the observation tower at its top. We returned back down onto a forest road, which soon turned into a comedy on two skis as my husband skied down with screaming kids loaded on his skis and excited Lisa barking by their side.

Family ski touring, Vrhnika
Family ski touring. 😊
The white fairytale above Vrhnika, Slovenia
The white fairytale.
Winter hiking above Vrhnika.
Going up the ex ski slopes of Ulovka.
Sunset above Vrhnika, Slovenia
Those early winter sunsets. I love them!

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For rooms, apartments and holiday houses in Slovenia, you might want to check ViaSlovenia and Apartmaji brez posrednika as they are both super competitive!

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