IN Alps , Hiking , Triglav National Park , Winter

At first glance, Mojstrana seems like a classic small town of a little over a thousand people. Yet this little town is anything but ordinary. Apart from hosting the Slovenian Alpine Museum, namely the only mountaineering museum in Slovenia, Mojstrana is also closely connected to the Julian Alps, the Triglav National Park and the Karawanks. That’s why I’m always beyond psyched when visiting that part of Slovenia and exploring the beautiful mountains and waterfalls surrounding it. This time I headed towards a most scenic 1,900-meter high mountain called Vrtaški Vrh with not only astonishing views of the tall and grand, but also green valleys and countless spring flowers blooming along the trail.

Hiking in the Julian Alps, Vrtaški vrh, Slovenia, Triglav National Park

If you’ve been following my Instagram and Facebook accounts, you probably know that the weather hasn’t been exactly merciful to me lately. First, I tried to climb Mt. Črna Prst, a 1,844-meter high mountain with stunning views of Lake Bohinj, but had to turn back 15 minutes from the top (after 1,000 m of ascent!) due to extreme winds. A couple of days ago I attempted to hike up Slemenova Špica, an otherwise picturesque and easily accessible mountain above the Vršič Pass, but also quit because of outrageously strong winds and ice. Bummer.

All that boiled down to this: my desire to climb something wonderful and possibly new grew considerably! After some research I finally found a mountain that captured my full attention: Vrtaški Vrh. Located in the Julian Alps right above Mojstrana, the trail is marked for 3.40 h and 1,255 m of ascent {quite a lot?!}, but promises startlingly beautiful views from the top. Just the thing I needed!

A beautiful forest trail in the Julian Alps, Triglav National Park, Slovenia
Alone with my fluffy hiking buddies, Lisa and Hari, I parked a little further down the road from Mojstrana in the direction of the Peričnik Waterfalls, and immediately started panting uphill on an unusually steep trail. After an hour the slope finally eased off a bit, and the forest thinned out, making the hike far more pleasurable and occasionally open to breathtaking views. The forest, however, was speckled with beautiful spring flowers.

Hellebores blooming in late winter and early spring, Julian Alps, Slovenia
Steep slopes above Mojstrana were covered in hellebores

Blooming heath in the Julian Alps, Slovenia
Heather started at a higher elevation and decorated a good part of the trail

Vast view from the trail to Vrtaški vrh, Julian Alps, above Mojstrana
The first window in the otherwise thick forest revealed vast views of the Upper Carniola region, the villages of Mojstrana and Dovje, Mt. Dovška Baba and Mt. Stol in the background

Vrtaška Planina, 1,462 m
Half way up I rested in a sunlit meadow called Vrtaška Planina, 1,462 m

About two thirds of the total ascent up or half way timewise I was greeted by the last signs of civilization before heading towards complete isolation awash with expansive panoramas. I followed the footsteps in the snow that supposedly marked the trail, since most of painted blazes were hidden underneath the white blanket. The sun had softened the snow on the south-facing slopes of Vrtaški Vrh, so each step had to be carefully maneuvered on the already trodden and firmer surfaces. Seriously, I didn’t want to get stuck in a meter of wet snow with practically no one on the mountain but me!

I have no idea whether it was due to a serotonin rush or because my body was transported to a state of atavistic bliss, but the final part of the hike, the part above tree line, simply left me speechless. I was soaking up cinematic views of high snow-capped peaks of the Julian Alps – Mt. Kukova Špica, Stenar, Triglav, its North Face, and Rjavina; while also striking long ridges of the Karawanks.

Soaking up cinematic views of the tallest peaks of the Julian Alps, Slovenia
2,427 m high, Mt. Kukova Špica stands tall between Vrata Valley on the left and Gozd Martuljek on the right

Hiking dogs, Slovenia
I don’t know about your dogs but these two little gangsters always give me this look as soon as I start unwrapping a sandwich ???

Hiking in Julian Alps, Slovenia, Triglav National Park
Arriving at the top with Triglav in the background

Cheers from the top of Vrtaški Vrh, Julian Alps, Slovenia
Mt. Dovška Baba behind

Cinematic views from the top of Vrtaški Vrh, Julian Alps, Slovenia
If it hadn’t been a bit windy at the top, I would’ve been lying forever on my backpack soaking up amazing views of the Julian Alps

Relaxing in an Alpine meadow in Julian Alps
Like here… on the way back down to the valley I stopped in this beautiful meadow

Extend your hike
To tell you the truth, my original plan was to hike up Vrtaški Vrh first and from there to Vrtaško Sleme, the 2,077-meter high neighboring peak. However, conditions weren’t too favorable due to the considerably softened snow, and there were also no footprints in the direction of Sleme. Next time I’m in those mountains, though, I’m definitely visiting Sleme too as the views from the front row to Mt. Kukova Špica must be just incredible!

Spice up your trip
Once back down in Mojstrana, I suggest you stop at the Slovenian Alpine Museum, and learn about countless stories important to the Slovenian mountaineering history, experience a rough thunderstorm in a tiny bivouac, take a virtual tour of the Triglav summit, see how the Alpine gear has evolved throughout history, and more and more. I loved it!
Another thing. Since you’re in the neighborhood, go and visit the Peričnik Waterfalls! They are probably the best-known falls in Slovenia, and, luckily, located just a few kilometers further along the road to the Vrata Valley! While you can see them nicely from the road, the hike to the falls itself is short and can be easily combined with other hikes on the same day. Enjoy!
Until next time, y’all, and stay tuned for more outdoor adventures! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and subscribe to the feed.

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2 thoughts on “Beautiful mountain above Mojstrana: Vrtaški Vrh

  1. Hi. Quite jealous of your walks but looking forward to doing some of them, or similar, later this year. I remember seeing the Adriatic from somewhere between Vogel’s peak and Crni Prst. Have done Vrata and Pericnik on the day I visited the Koca na Gozdu hut. Regards.

    1. Sounds like you love to explore our little country the same as me! 🙂 You’re always welcome to join us on our tours in the mountains and explore them together. Cheers!

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