To be quite honest, I had been eyeing this peak for years. A moderately demanding day hike in the Julian Alps, whose peak opens up to absolutely stunning views of a lake. Mt. Jerebica is a beautiful hike throughout, but its top will literally blow your mind away as it faces the 1,400-m long and 400-m wide glacial Rabeljsko Jezero (Eng. Lake of Predil) from a thousand meters above. Yet, as much as I devote my life to the mountains, Jerebica has always managed to slip by somehow. A couple of years ago I even attempted to hike it but failed badly due to the lack of preparation. Yes, one wrong turn right at the beginning of the trail can eventually lead you into a maze of wide and deep Karst holes and cracks instead of taking you to the comfortable grass-covered peak with a view of a turquoise lake. However, once I did manage to climb Jerebica – I was not disappointed!
Here’s what you need to know about the hike above a beautiful lake.
Driving through the seemingly deserted villages to the Lake of Predil through a forested and mountainous land I decided to do the faster route of two hiking routes to Jerebica. The 2,126-meter peak right on the border between Slovenia and Italy is actually accessible from both countries. Both routes are incredibly beautiful with jaw-dropping views but there is a considerable difference in the length of the tours starting either from Slovenia or Italy.
If you start your adventure from Ljubljana like me, the drive to the Italian start of the hiking route takes about an hour and a half (an hour from Bled). Instead, if you insist on hiking Jerebica from the Slovenian side of the mountain, that would add extra 40 minutes to the drive (20 minutes each way) and 3+ hours total to the hike. Altogether, the Slovenian route adds another 4 – 4.5 hours to the tour. Not something that I would consciously do. On the other hand, if you already are somewhere in the Soča Valley, do not miss the opportunity to hike Jerebica from the Slovenian side. It’s supposed to be gorgeous!
On top of that, the Italian trail was marked as easier compared to the more exposed Slovenian trail, which meant that I could also bring my dog along. Yay!
A quick stop at the Lake of Predil unveiled the formidable and precipitous north-eastern side of Mt. Jerebica dominating the horizon. It came as no surprise that only two routes have been carved into this wild-looking rock formation soaring one thousand meters above the valley. As I drove further along the lake towards the trailhead, eyeing the tall mountain on the left, it fortunately started to show a much more friendly and green face.
Hiking to Jerebica, the lake peak (Cima del Lago)
The trail, which started a couple of hundred meters after Lake of Predil, almost immediately began to climb at a relentless pace up a steep beech and fir forest, which was soon replaced by beautiful meadows accompanied by spectacular views of even higher mountains across the valley. A couple, who happened to be on the same trail as me and had been hurrying up just a couple of minutes behind, started to catch up with me. In another situation I would’ve been too competitive to let them pass but here it was different. The beauty overwhelmed me. The golden sun filtered through the tall trees glistening on the smooth long beech trunks, the two stunning mountain groups with the dominating 2,753-m Montaž and 2,666-m Viš right across the Jezerska Dolina (Ita. Val Rio del Lago), the colossal 2K wall with the 2,208-m Rombon on its left all rising above the Možnica Valley, and the wildflower-strewn meadows.
Join us on a Guided hike to Jerebica
I sat down among the flowers, sighing at the sight of the mountains, and let the couple pass. Reclined against the soft grass in the warm morning sun, the silence was hypnotic, and my mind seemed to be settled in perfect equilibrium. I sat quietly in the empty meadow for a long time. I thought of the couple that ran to the top of Jerebica without blinking an eye. It’s a good thing that they raced by fast.
On the way to the top I made a short detour to 2,008-m Gorenji Rob, yet another charming grassy peak with stupendous 360 views of the mountainous world of the Julian Alps. However, it didn’t offer a sneak preview of Lake Predil. That was reserved only for those who reached the top of Jerebica.
The trail to Jerebica wasn’t technical but there were a couple of spots where I had to use my hands to pass safely. My doggie, however, danced across all the difficult spots without a single complaint, and I swear I could even see a subtle smile on her satisfied face.
Once at the top, my jaw literally dropped at the sight. The glacial lake glittered a thousand meters below, looking much smaller from a distance, but no less spectacular. Idyllically surrounded by steep green mountains that stretched forever in every direction, both to Slovenia and Italy while also to Austria in the distance, the turquoise-colored Lake of Predil looked so surreal that it was hard to imagine it existed outside of a fairytale. Perfection in its broadest sense.
By the time I sat down at the top of Jerebica, everyone else had already disappeared back down an undulating trail across grass and rocks. The remote setting evoked a startling sense of isolation and awe, and I couldn’t help feeling I’d entered a back-of-the-wardrobe secret land that had somehow evaded the attention of the outside world. Sweet and empty. Just the way I like it.
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