Ever since we did our first multi-day family hiking tour in Colombia, we’ve been seeking another kid-friendly hiking tour. We had a guide in Colombia, so this time we were especially interested in a self-guided hiking tour where we could venture out and enjoy our hiking at our own pace. As we were planning our summer family holiday to Europe, we became determined to try hut to hut hiking in Slovenia.
Everyone knows about Lake Bled, Slovenia, but not as many people know about the Julian Alps. A stunning region of rugged mountain peaks including Triglav National Park, the Julian Alps has been named one of the top destinations in the world for hut to hut hiking. But could we find any family-friendly hut to hut hiking in the Julian Alps?
As we researched our family vacation to Slovenia with kids, we focused on Lake Bled and the Julian Alps region. We were very excited to discover a family-friendly hut to hut hiking tour in the Julian Alps by Life Adventures. This amazing Slovenia family hiking tour begins in Lake Bled and before transitioning to Triglav National Park for four days of self-guided kid-friendly hut to hut hiking. Yes!! This was exactly what we hoped for on our family holiday to Slovenia.
Family-Friendly Slovenia Hiking Tour
- Benefits of a Self-Guided Hiking Tour with Kids
- Our Family-Friendly Hut to Hut Hiking Tour in Slovenia
- Food on the Self-Guided Hiking Tour
- What We Packed on our Julian Alps Family Hiking Tour
- Tips for a Family Hiking Tour in the Julian Alps
- Final Thoughts on our Hut to Hut Hiking Tour in Slovenia with Kids
- More Family Friendly Hiking
This post contains compensated links.
We love to work with companies who encourage traveling families to be active with their kids, so we quickly teamed up with Life Adventures, allowing us to share our experiences with you.
The following is an honest account of our experiences on this self guided hut to hut hiking in Slovenia with kids tour:
Benefits of a Self-Guided Hiking Tour with Kids
The concept of a self-guided hiking in Slovenia is perfect for families like us, who don’t usually like the typical guided tour experience. We love how self-guided hiking tours allow us to follow our own schedule every day, going at our own pace and stopping where we want to stop. There is no compromise, having to follow along with a big tour group’s schedule. The hiking tour company provides all the information and logistical support we need to make hut hiking in Slovenia super-easy and enjoyable.
The benefits you can expect on a Life Adventures family-friendly hiking tour in Slovenia:
Detailed Route Notes and Maps
Prior to departing Lake Bled, Life Adventures provided us with a detailed booklet about our upcoming family hiking adventure. The booklet included lots of fun and interesting information about the Julian Alps, Triglav National Park and the locations we’d be hiking to each day.
In addition, the information package from Life Adventures included a large trail map, along with a summarized description of each days hike to the next mountain hut. Supplementing the topographical paper map, Life Adventures provides an app with a detailed GPS based hiking map. We took advantage of this opportunity to teach our kids to navigate with the paper map, but it was comforting to discreetly open the app every now and then to ensure we were on the right hiking trail.
On a traditional self-guided walking or cycling tour, the tour company arranges for your luggage to be transported from place-to-place. But, given this family hiking tour takes us deep into Triglav National Park, we only hiked with day bags. Life Adventures safely stored all of our excess luggage we didn’t bring into Triglav National Park.
Chances are you will not need it, but Life Adventures has a 24/7 emergency number just in case. (Although recognise the risk that you won’t always have cell reception while hiking in the Julian Alps).
Our Family-Friendly Hut to Hut Hiking Tour in Slovenia
Day 1 – Bled to Blato Pasture to Triglav Lakes Mountain Hut
Transfer from Bled to Blato Pasture
Our hut to hut hiking tour began when our Life Adventures driver picked us up at our family-friendly Bled hotel and drove us to Srednja Vas. Our driver shared lots of interesting local knowledge with us along the way. We were especially interesting in the hay drying racks, which are unique to this region of Slovenia.
Slovenia is trying to offer an environmentally friendly way to visit their Triglav National Park. Rather than have individual groups drive up the mountainside, they now offer a free shuttle bus. Our Life Adventures driver dropped us off at the Srednja Vas bus stop to board the bus which took us up the steep, winding road up to Triglav National Park. I was very grateful that I didn’t have to drive that white-knuckle road up the mountain!
Part of the tour package we received from Life Adventures was a large topographic hiking map of the Triglav National Park area. We are using this family-friendly hiking tour in Slovenia as an opportunity to teach our kids some map reading skills. So, the first thing we did when we got off the bus was to pull out the map and had the kids determine which way we should begin our day of hiking.
Hiking Blato Pasture to the Koca na Planini Pri Jezeru Mountain Hut
Our day of hiking in the Julian Alps began at the Blato Pasture (Planina Pasture) and we needed to walk a little further up the road to get to the trailhead. From this vantage point, we could see down the steep valley we had just driven up. We gained an incredible amount of elevation since we boarded the bus in the valley below.
Before long, we left the road and entered the forest. The forest is surprisingly lush, with a thick canopy of leaves and a vibrant carpet of moss. The sound of cheerful birdsong welcomed us to our official hut to hut hiking trail. The trail began uphill and stayed that way for around an hour, when it started to level out a bit.
After 90 minutes of mostly uphill hiking, our family reached our first alpine hut of the day, and what a beauty it was. The Koca na Planini pri jezeru mountain hut sits on a hill overlooking a small, but beautiful mountain lake.
Hiking from the Koca na Planini Pri Jezeru Mountain Hut to the Dedno Polje Pasture
The area around the Koca na Planini pri jezeru mountain hut is quite open, offering vistas of the well-treed hills of the area. As we hiked away from the mountain hut, we walked through a pasture of charming old cottages. We stopped to take a lot of pictures of this very picturesque area of the Julian Alps.
Beyond the Koca na Planini pri jezeru hut, the forest changes from a deciduous forest to a predominantly coniferous forest, with evergreen trees and larch trees. I always love walking on a hiking trail where Old Man Beard lichen is dangling from the evergreen branches. The forest is especially mossy at this stage and we even saw some really cool mushrooms growing off the tree trunks.
Around noon, we stopped for lunch at the Dedno Polje pasture, which was filled with more charming cottages and a bunch of cattle. It’s a scenic and fun place to stop for lunch and listen to the cow bells as the cows wander through the cottages below.
Hiking from the Dedno Polje Pasture to the Triglav Lakes Mountain Hut
Beyond the Dedno Polje pasture our family hiked through a large forest of larch trees, which must be stunning when the needles change color in fall. The forest was less dense here, allowing an amazing amount and variety of beautiful wildflowers to grow.
As we hiked through the larches we crested a hill and came to our first viewpoint of the Julian Alps, and what an amazing mountain vista it was. A line of magnificent rugged mountains crossed the horizon in the distance, with a large forest of larch trees in the foreground.
From here, the hiking trail transitioned from larch trees to a fun forest of dwarf pine trees. Again, the open space created by these small trees allowed the wildflowers to explode.
Around an hour later, we rounded a corner and were surprised with yet another incredible mountain vista from a point high above the valley floor below. We were able to enjoy the mountain views for quite a while as we hiked along the side slope of the mountain.
All too soon, we spotted the Triglav Lakes Hut in the distance, and our first day of hut to hut hiking with kids in the Julian Alps came to an end. The Triglav Lakes Hut sits in an amazing location in-between several mountain lakes, with towering rocky mountain peaks all around.
Julian Alps Mountain Hut #1: Triglav Lakes Hut
Our family had our own private room in the Triglav Lakes hut. It was a small room (as you’d expect in an alpine hut) with two beds – one on top of the other. The bed was similar to a bunk bed, but the beds stretch from wall-to-wall. The room appears to normally house 6 people. We were thrilled that our room had an electrical outlet, so we were able to easily charge all of our devices overnight.
For dinner, we had a choice of 5-6 menu items. Our son got an order of sausage, while our daughter got macaroni. (The adults ordered one of each of these as well). The food was hot, satisfying and delicious. We had yummy blueberry cobbler for dessert.
Breakfast at the Triglav Lakes mountain hut consisted of scrambled eggs, cheese, bologna, bread, butter and jam. A nice filling meal to get us on our way.
Day 2- Triglav Lakes Hut to Bogatin Mountain Hut
After a warm and hearty breakfast at the Triglav Lakes Hut, we checked out and were on the hiking trail by 7:50 AM. I love the sound of birds singing in the fresh mountain air early in the morning; it’s such a nice way to start the day.
The trail immediately started to climb a hill, affording a nice view of Double Lake down below. Roughly 10 minutes into our family hut hike, we got our first nice vista of the Julian Alps of the day. We followed the top of a ridge for a while, allowing the mountain vista to linger a while longer. Following the ridge, we began our long descent to the valley floor below.
By 8:30, it had warmed up sufficiently for us to take our fleece jackets off. The hiking trail took us through a beautiful forest of larch and spruce trees, with large white rocks scattered everywhere on the forest floor. As we hiked, tall rock cliffs loomed ahead above us, a geographic feature which seemed constant throughout our family hike today.
An hour into our family hike, the forest opened up to reveal a beautiful valley view ahead. In the open meadow, the explosion of wildflowers continued and we started to see the first of many dwarf pine trees of the day.
Once we reached the valley floor, we began to ascend the hill on the other side. From this vantage point we could see a long way up into the heart of the valley. A very scenic vista of the Julian Alps indeed.
For the next hour, our family hike was through some seriously beautiful landscapes. As we hiked through some very lush meadows, just bursting with shrubs and wildflowers, it seemed like there was almost always a towering rock cliff above us. Looking back, we even got some nice views of the mountains around the Triglav Lakes Hut in the distance.
Hut to Hut Hiking in the Rain
With about an hour left in our second day of our Julian Alps family hiking tour it started to rain; gently at first, but then it started to pour. Thankfully we all had rain jackets handy and rain covers for our main bags containing our clothes and electronics.
Although no one ever wants rain on their family hut hiking trip, we remind ourselves of the upside. Our family travel history has shown that it’s these moments of shared struggle, that we remember most. “Remember when we hiked in the pouring rain in the Julian Alps?”. We believe that it’s a great learning experience for our kids, to learn how to persevere and make it to our goal, even when it’s not ideal conditions.
Thankfully, the rain let up about 20 minutes outside of the Bogatin Mountain Hut. We could see our new alpine hut from the top of a ridge, and we were very excited to hike down and begin the process of drying off. The Bogatin Mountain Hut sits at the bottom of a valley, with some incredible mountain views all around.
Some fun discoveries our kids made today included some wild strawberries and some incredibly interesting iridescent green beetles. We also believe we found wild blueberries, but due to the large number of blue colored berries in the wild (not all are safe to eat), we chose not to take the risk.
Julian Alps Mountain Hut #2: Bogatin Mountain Hut
Our family had our own private room in the Bogatin Mountain hut. This time our room had four separate single beds, none of which were bunk beds. As with the alpine hut on the first night, our room had an electrical outlet, so we were able to charge all of our devices overnight. Having an outlet in our room was such a nice treat as we were worried our phones would die in the middle of the self-guided hiking tour.
For dinner, we had a choice of four menu items. Our kids each ordered sausage, while Celine got a bowl of the Bogatin Pot Dish – a local soup made primarily with lentils. For my alpine hut dinner, I ordered Pasulj Beans – a Serbian soup with beans and bacon. We got apple cobbler for dessert, but unlike the first night where the cobbler was included, we had to pay extra for our dessert.
The helpful operators of the hut were kind enough to let us bring our wet hiking shoes into the main dining room to dry overnight. The dining room was the warmest room in the hut, so we really appreciated the gesture.
Breakfast at the Bogatin Mountain Hut was a simple buffet of cheese, bologna, bread, butter and jam. In addition to the buffet items, we were each served two fried eggs, served steaming hot on a cast iron skillet.
Day 3 – Bogatin Mountain Hut to Krn Lakes Hut
Hiking from Bogatin Mountain Hut to Bogatin Pass
After such a wet day on the hiking trails yesterday, it was such a good feeling to hit the hiking trails at 8:30 AM with the sun shining. A group of playful swallows were darting around in the sky above the Bogatin Mountain Hut – it felt like a good omen for our third day of our family hut to hut hiking tour in the Julian Alps.
The first 90 minutes of our family hike was uphill, but it was so scenic we barely noticed the effort. As we gained altitude, we got a glimpse of the stunning setting for the Bogatin Mountain Hut; a view we didn’t appreciate the day prior as we hurried into our hut to dry off. With hardly any clouds in the sky, we also got to see the stunning peaks of the Slovenian Alps all around us – again, a nice treat after a cloudy day.
The hiking trail towards the Krn Lakes Hut led us along a side slope of a steep mountainside. We love hiking on side slopes, as you can enjoy a vista on one side, and a close-up of the mountain flora on the other side. We can see the valley getting increasingly narrow as we proceed up the mountain, with both sides of the beautiful valley meeting up ahead at the Bogatin Pass.
Nearing the top of the Bogatin Pass, we could see the foundations of buildings long since gone. This area was once the front line of a World War I battle, so we wondered if they were old WWI buildings.
Hiking from Bogatin Pass to World War 1 Barracks
It’s always a special moment when you reach the top of a mountain pass. Upon reaching the top of the Bogatin mountain pass, we could enjoy outstanding views of the valley we had just hiked up, but in addition, the equally amazing mountain and valley views of the hut to hut hiking trail still to come.
Our daughter was excited to discover a few small patches of the edelweiss flower, gently growing in the harsh environment atop the pass. I had no idea why she was so excited, but she explained that she had noticed it displayed in our first two Slovenian mountain huts. It turns out she was quite right, the edelweiss flower is a rare, short-lived flower known for its rugged beauty and purity and is strongly associated with alpinism in the Alps.
The landscape completely changed as we started trekking down the far side of the Bogatin Pass. The forest was completely gone, with just a few patches of dwarf pine trees clinging to the hillside. The landscape was now predominantly grasslands where, as you’d expect, hundreds of thousands of flowers are blooming. Along the way, we could see bunkers carved into the rocky hillside – again, we suspected these to be more relics from WWI.
45 minutes after leaving the Bogatin Pass, we arrived at the World War I army barracks. We knew this building was going to be there, but we were all surprised at the sheer size of it, and of the multitude of supporting buildings. We took a break from following our Julian Alps hiking tour trail to explore the WWI barracks. It was a good opportunity to talk to our kids about the harsh realities of war.
Hiking from the WWI Barracks to the Krn Lakes Hut
After leaving the WWI barracks, our family started hiking through a gully of dwarf pines. With the weather remaining nice, we could see the peaks of the majestic mountains ahead in the distance. As we continued down this side slope trail, the dwarf pines were gradually joined by fluffy larch trees.
As we neared the final trail junction for our day of hut hiking, we saw two playful roe deer prancing in a meadow down below. This was our first mammal sighting in Slovenia so far, so it was an exciting moment.
We arrived at the popular Krn Lakes Hut after 4 hours of family hiking. We plopped down on one of the numerous picnic tables to eat the lunch packed for us by the Bogatin Mountain Hut. After a nice meal and a good rest, we dropped off our bags and ventured out to see Krn Lake, which was only 20 minutes away.
A Walk to Krn Lake
Krn Lake is the largest lake in Triglav National Park. The deep green water color looks so beautiful against the backdrop of towering mountains on the far side of the lake. We enjoyed a walk up and down the shoreline of Krn Lake, and our kids were excited to spot all the baby frogs hopping across the trail.
Mountain Hut #3: Krn Lakes Hut
For our third and final night in a mountain hut during our family-friendly hiking tour through Triglav National Park, we got a private room, this time with two bunk beds. The hut gave us complimentary disposable bed sheets, which was very much appreciated.
We had a choice of 5-6 menu items for dinner. For the third consecutive night, our son (the notoriously picky eater) ordered sausage. This time the hut was kind enough to give him bread on the side, instead of sauerkraut (which had gone completely untouched the previous two nights). The rest of us ordered gnocci, with a delicious goulash on top. For dessert, we were given crepes, with an apricot jam inside.
Day 4 – Krn Lakes Hut to Bovec
The Descent from Krn Lakes Hut to dr. Klementa Juga Hut
After an amazing day weather-wise the previous day, we awoke to more rain on the final day of our Julian Alps family hiking tour. Not a big deal, this time we were prepared to handle it.
We started our final day of family hiking in the Julian Alps at 8:00 AM. The trail started uphill for a bit, but it didn’t last very long.
Before long, we reached the mountain pass and began our long descent down a beautiful valley. For much of the day, the hiking trail was nice and wide, allowing at least 2 people to hike side-by-side. I love hiking trails like this for family hikes as it allows for easier conversation.
The forest for much of the descent was amazing. The leafy trees created a thick canopy overhead, and with the grey skies, it seemed kinda spooky. I love a fun walk through a spooky forest, and so do our kids. And, as it turns out, there were so many trees along the hiking trail today, that there weren’t many mountain views, so we didn’t miss much due to the low cloud cover.
After almost 2.5 hours of fun, downhill family hiking, we emerged from the forest at the Hut dr. Klementa Juga. By this time the rain had mostly stopped, so we took a few moments to rearrange our gear and jackets.
Hiking from Hut dr. Klementa Juga to Sunik Water Grove Trail
To get to the next section of our family hike, we walked down a paved road, enjoying the magnificent mountain views down the valley ahead. After about 20 minutes, we turned off onto the Sunik Water Grove trail.
At first the Sunik Water Grove Trail was just a logging road, but soon enough we merged onto a real hiking trail. The forest here was one of the most beautiful forests I’ve seen in a long time – no exaggeration! There were many medium sized boulders scattered all over the forest floor – each covered with a brilliant layer of moss. Our kids thought it looked like where the trolls live in the Frozen movie.
Sunik Water Grove
We reached the Sunik Water Grove waterfalls shortly thereafter, and they did not disappoint either! A small river rushing through a narrow gorge, the resulting waterfalls were breathtaking. The trail follows the series of waterfalls and rapids downstream, with several rickety bridges to stand on and enjoy the beauty of nature.
When we finished the Sunik Water Grove trail, we stopped by the river to eat the lunch our final mountain hut packed for us. The water color of the river is such a unique, beautiful clear green – I’m not sure I’ve seen anything quite like it.
Hike from the Sunik Water Grove to Bovec
Our original plan was to hike to Soca and take the regional bus to our hotel in Bovec, but it was only 12:30, so we decided to extend our family hike to Bovec.
Much of the hike to Bovec was along the shores of the incredibly beautiful Soca River, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We were glad to arrive in Bovec 90 minutes ahead of the bus, but the three hour hike won’t be for everyone.
Food on the Self-Guided Hiking Tour
Having access to healthy food is imperative on active family holidays. As such, we were a little worried about going on a hut to hut hiking tour in Slovenia with an 8-year old picky eater. As all of our food would be provided by the mountain huts, we were concerned that our son would not have enough food he likes to eat.
We’re happy to report that our fears were unfounded and he had plenty of food while hiking in Slovenia. As you can see from our description of our hut to hut hike above, each hut offered a selection of meals for dinner, ensuring our picky eater would find something suitable to fill his tummy.
We had brought along a handful of Zbars (Cliff bars for kids) and other snacks, just in case we had a meal or two where he wouldn’t eat anything, but they were unnecessary. We still ate the Zbars, but only because we like them, not because we needed to.
What We Packed on our Julian Alps Family Hiking Tour
- Portable power bank: We used our mobile phones a lot while hut to hut hiking in Slovenia with kids. Not only were we using our phones for the many pictures and videos of the outstanding Triglav National Park scenery, but we also used them for occasional GPS navigation. We were very concerned that our phones would run out of power over a 4 day hut to hut hike, so we brought a portable power bank as a backup.
Although each of our huts ended up having power to charge our phones, it seemed like their power was all solar generated. Having a power bank will give you peace of mind in case the huts don’t provide power to charge your mobile phone.
- Small day bags for the kids: We wanted our kids to carry some of their own stuff on the hut to hut hike, but not so much that they’d get tired too easily. Our kids had small day bags from MEC (the Canadian REI) which had enough space to carry a water bladder and some of their own gear (a fleece jacket, etc). This is a similar day bag bag which is a good size for kids while hut to hut hiking. A rain cover for each is a good idea as well.
- Large day bags with rain covers: Even packing as lightly as we could, doing this hut to hut hiking tour with two kids required us to carry a lot of stuff. We ended up using our 35L Cotopaxi carry-on bags. They were big enough to hold enough clothes and gear for two people, durable enough for the 4 day hike and came with a rain cover. We love our Cotapaxi carry-on bags, but you could also get by with a large day bag as well.
- Fleece jackets: Whenever we go hiking in the mountains (either at home in Banff National Park or in Slovenia in the Triglav National Park), we always dress in layers. The days always start out chilly in the mountains, and the weather can change at any time during the day without warning. A fleece jacket is a big part of our mountain hiking wardrobe, as it is versatile and warm.
- Rain jackets: Although a fleece jacket will meet your needs most of the time while hut hiking in Slovenia, if it starts raining, you’ll appreciate a rain jacket to keep your base and mid-layers warm. It poured on us one afternoon in the Julian Alps and we were glad to have our rain jackets to keep us dry and warm.
- Sunglasses: The sun is more powerful at higher elevations, so ensure everyone in the family has sunglasses with proper SPF protection.
- Snacks: As mentioned, we brought some snacks on our hut to hut hike, such as Z Bars, Cliff bars and trail mix. We brought the snack in case our kids didn’t like the hut food, but we didn’t need them for this purpose. Having healthy, high energy snacks is always a good idea whenever hiking in the mountains, especially with kids.
Tips for a Family Hiking Tour in the Julian Alps
- The hiking trails in the Julian Alps area do not have a natural surface. Instead, the hiking trail surface is almost always a pathway of small white rocks. We found this surface more challenging to hike on than a natural trail surface. Back home in Canada, we typically hike 3 km/h (1.9 mph) with our kids, but in the Julian Alps, this speed dropped to around 2 km/h (1.2 mph) due to the hiking surface.
- Ensure everyone’s day bags have a rain cover. We only had rain covers for the adult’s bags, and when it rained hard on our second day, the contents of our kids bags got really wet. This big inconvenience could have been avoided had we brought rain covers for everyone’s day bags.
- Speaking of rain, ensure you have a plan to protect all of your important documents and electronics. Our passports and laptops made it through the rain ok, but it’s a little nerve wracking trusting the rain covers. Next time I’d ensure my electronics and passports were inside plastic bags for extra protection.
- Bring along a card game to help pass the time in the alpine huts. We brought along Exploding Kittens, as it’s our family’s favorite card game. Another favorite family card game of ours is Taco vs Burrito.
- We didn’t pack any base layers, but in hindsight they would have been a good idea. They are so small to pack, but they are so useful. They help keep you warm in wet conditions, and they dry so quickly. We could have used a good base layer on our rainy second day of family hiking in the Julian Alps.
- We don’t usually play music on day hikes with our kids, but with four days of hiking, sometimes everyone needs an energy boost. We had downloaded the kids’ playlist from Spotify and played some of their favorite music when their feet started to drag. This made a big difference in their attitudes and energy levels.
Final Thoughts on our Hut to Hut Hiking Tour in Slovenia with Kids
We had such an incredible time hut-to-hut hiking with our kids in Slovenia. We are grateful to Life Adventures for their amazing Julian Alps Family Hiking Tour. This kid-friendly hiking tour ended up being one of the highlights of our entire summer trip to Austria and Slovenia. We loved it so much, we spent a good part of our final day talking about where we should go hut-to-hut hiking with our kids next.
Life Adventures made our family hiking tour through Slovenia so easy and enjoyable. We would highly recommend this kid-friendly hiking tour to all our readers. In addition, we encourage you to read about our Family-Friendly Slovenia Cycling Tour, another amazing self-guided family adventure by Life Bike (the same company as Life Adventures).