North of Bohinj lake the mountain world of Julian Alps rises with steep, rocky faces of Prsivec. Below the summit of Prsivec, these walls are more than 1000 meters high, but they lower towards the east and below Vogar alpine meadow the altitude difference is only 500 meters. Then they lower down to the confluence of rivers Sava and Mostnica. Above these walls, a high plateau lies, mostly covered with dense woods, but also with many beautiful oases - the famous Bohinj alpine meadows.
The plateau stretches towards the north and north-west, rising slowly. It is of course not unique. Many forrest ridges are crossing it, they are continuations of the high mountain ridges, stretching north of the plateau. These are the high mountain chains: Jezerska veriga (mountains above the Valley of Triglav Lakes), Vogli, Debeli vrh - Ogradi and finally Stogi. Ultimately, all these chains join on the 2400 meters high Hribarice plateau. Among these mountain chains, on the upper part, there are no mountain pastures. But on lower parts it is different. On flat parts of these valleys people have been cutting woods for hundreds of years, thus forming nice alpine meadows. And some meadows, like Krstenica, are also natural, as they lie too high for woods to survive.
High Bohinj alpine meadows are so picturesque, that they can be a goal of a hike, even if you don't summit any surrounding peak. One can not decide which of them to pick as the most beautiful one. Perhaps most would decide for the panoramic Krstenica. But the big, wide Laz is also something special and Visevnik on a nice saddle too. They can be visited any time of the year. Of course, they are most beautiful in early summer, when everything is blossoming. Nice is also autumn, with golden larches and clear views. In hard winter, you will find them sleeping, sunken in a deep snow. And in spring they will offer you a welcomed pause on a tour ski. Yes, even if covered with forrests, this is also a beautiful world for skiing.
For the broader orientation (highways, railways, airports, ...) see the Eastern Alps GROUP page, and the Julian Alps page.
By train you can arrive into Bohinj valley using the connection Jesenice - Most na Soci.
By car you can arrive into Bohinj valley only from the east, from Bled, where you leave the highway. Once reaching Bohinj, you have only two options to reach the plateau of High Bohinj Meadows: From Stara Fuzina into Voje valley and perhaps further up through Suha valley on Blato pasture, or from Savica hut over the steep wall of Komarca.
A Short Glimpse In The History
Bohinj alpine meadows have seen better times as they see them today. In the past, many Bohinj people lived of sheeps and cattle. But it is also true, that nowadays this world is better explored than it was merely 100 years ago. Even Julius Kugy, who used to come here in times, when pastures were flourishing, raised his finger warning hikers, saying, they should take a lot of care, walking through the woods around Prsivec: "There is still 'blodika' growing (a word game, where a 'get lost' name for an unexisting plant was coined). If your leg touches that plant, you will never get out of those forrests."
People were inhabiting these high plateaus even in the iron age and perhaps before. For centuries these were shepherds and hunters only. Shepherds still nowadays have the same rythm of moving up on the high pastures early in summer and descending in Bohinj valley in autumn. On a return day, each year a feast is held in Bohinj, nowadays being an ethnographic ceremony. But you don't need to wait on the delicious bohinj cheese till then, you can get it also above, if you come around.
When in Bohinj valley iron was melted in bigger quantities, woods from these forrests were exploited. Today, in Bohinj tourism is the main preocupation, with which people make living. It's more down in the main valley, which still remains quite unspoiled. Higher, on trailheads, you will feel the desire to earn money only when you will have to pay toll for parking and for a mountain road on Blato. This desire of Bohinj people hit us, the rest of Slovenians a bit, because we all were building our country, then, when the independence of Slovenia came, only in Bohinj they started to charge for visiting it. On high alpine meadows you will meet a lot of hikers during summer and autumn. Also tour skiing is getting very popular. Only in winter you will be here on your own.
Protecting The NatureFrom the shore of Bohinj lake towards the north the oldest and biggest natural parc in Slovenia is stretching - The Triglav National Parc. The whole region of high Bohinj alpine meadows lies within the parc. Which means not much, unfortunately. Well, the area is certainly protected from a bigger exploatation. But minor violations are happening all the time. These are mainly mountain roads, which should not be built any more. But owners of huts on meadows (most of them are weekend huts, of course) don't care for that. And also natives, who still exploit forrests, don't care for any law. I don't know how is that in other countries in Alps region, but in Slovenia institutions seem to be powerless. Be it governmental, be it civil society institutions, like Mountain Wilderness and others. They deal with themselves, with conferences and self promotion, while I can't remember one single successful case in which the offender woul be taken to the court.
A Flare Of Old Times
The architecture on Bohinj high alpine meadows is a special one. You will rarely see so much ingenuity in building so poor and small houses, as there is on these meadows. Shepherds huts are risen above the ground, so that below them, there is an opened place for sheep, while the upper part is for people. Usually only one hut on bigger pastures is built of stone - the one where cheese is/was being produced. Even if nowadays many of these huts are rebuilt in weekend huts, they still look quite fine, as people seem to keep the old style.
And, producing cheese had to be a true art once. I remember when with Jasmina we came over on Krstenica far back in 1972. Asking for some milk and cheese we got it, but as the guy there was obviously feeling lonely, he started to explain us the procedure of making a true Bohinj cheese. It lasted, I swear, almost an hour - only the procedure, step by step. We understood nothing, or, not more than 5% of the explanation. Partly because of his terrible dialect, partly because of the completely unknown terminology, partly because it looked so complicated that we lost interest in the middle of explanation. It's a pity. Having a voice recorder that time would make a complete ethnologic study.
Hiking From Meadow To Meadow
Voje, 680mVoje is the deep glacial valley, which lies on the eastern border of the region we describe. In its middle part it is also a pasture. It can be reached by car, a mountain road ends towards the upper part of the valley. Voje can be a nice goal of a short hike or a biking tour. Besides being itself very picturesque and so worth visiting, the valley also hides a few other items of interest: the gorge of Mostnica river (marked path along it, toll), the source of Kropa and the waterfall at the end of the valley.
Vogar, 1053mThis beautiful meadow lies on a terrace above Bohinj lake. It can be reached by a mountain road (toll), but it is more nice to walk up. If you reach it by the marked path from the east (from Voje), you will ascend through beech forrests until on the altitude of some 1000 meters the world clears. Then you walk over nice meadows till the mountain hut. A few minutes after the hut, there is a nice panoramic point on the edge, from which a big part of Bohinj lake can be seen. And the South Bohinj Range - the mountains on the other side of the valley, of course. In winter from Vogar a sledge piste is often arranged. This can be fun too: walking up for an hour, drinking in the hut a cup or two of cooked wine or at least a tea with rum, and then zooming down on the sledge!
Ascent times: Zero, if you drive up by the road, 1h 30 min if you walk from Voje valley (or the parking place in Stara Fuzina).
Hebed, 1193mThis pasture lies along the marked path, which goes from Vogar to Prsivec. There are a few huts, today in a better shape, as the forrest road reached them. Also from here, you can have a nice view over the cauldron of Bohinj lake.
Ascent times: 30 min from Vogar, 2 h from Voje valley (or the parking place in Stara Fuzina).
Vodicni vrh, 1500mRarely anybody comes there, at least it is true for non-native hikers. In the vicinity there are no worthwile mountaineering goals (the nearby summit is covered with woods), also the marked path, which passes by, is only a connection between Vogar and Planina pri Jezeru. Both these meadows can be reached faster by other routes, so the connection is more or less a remnant from the past, when shepherds used this path. But the meadow is beautiful indeed, and they say (I haven't tried to walk over the nearby edge) it also offers a nice panorama. From the meadow itself you can see only the summit of Prsivec.
Ascent times: 1h 30 min from Vogar, 3 h from Voje valley (or the parking place in Stara Fuzina).
Grintovica, Spodnja and Zgornja, 1165m, 1250mThese two pastures are probably out of operation today. Over the lower one still a path from Voje valley to Velo polje (Vodnikov dom) goes, but it is a long approach and only a few hikers do it. The upper meadow is on the path towards Krstenica. I went over there only once, many years ago, and couldn't even see any huts standing. Perhaps today it is different. Still, that approach on Krstenica is a nice one, but long. As these meadows are oriented towards the east, a morning ascent over them can be very rewarding.
Ascent times: 2 h from Voje valley.
Jurjevceva vrtaca, 1275mThis meadow lies in a basin, east of the ridge of Stogi. The already mentioned approach from Voje valley to Velo polje (Vodnikov dom) goes over this meadow, in every other aspect the meadow is less important. Many years ago huts were all demolished there.
Ascent times: 2 h 15 min from Voje valley.
Blato, 1147mThis is a nice and broad meadow and a very important trailhead for many tours on the summits above Bohinj high alpine meadows. As the mountain road through Suha valley reaches the meadow, it is often visited. The big parking place is just before the meadow. For the road you need to pay toll, except in late autumn, winter and spring. For tour skiing you might be lucky to find the road cleared, but usually it is in quite a bad condition. From Blato the shortest approaches to the three important nearby alpine meadows start: Planina Jezero, Laz and Krstenica. From those you continue further upwards.
The pasture lies on a broad, flat bottom of the valley, surrounded with deep forrests and on the northern and western side with steep walls, rising out of the woods. Many huts are placed just in the middle of the meadow, visitors usually don't go there as all the marked paths go by the edge of the basin.
Krstenica, 1655mPerhaps this is the most beautiful alpine meadow in Julian Alps. Lying on a broad grassy shoulder of Stogi it has a magnificent view over the whole Bohinj world - towards the south on the whole South Bohinj Range till Krn Group, towards the north-east on Triglav group with the 'King' itself. The pasture is big and still alive, meaning that in summer you can get milk, cheese and other products there. Of corse, there are also many weekend huts.
From Krstenica approaches on all the eastern summits of Bohinj group start: Mali Stog, 1879m, Jezerski Stog, 2040m, Prevalski Stog, 2075m, Skednjovec, 2309m, Vrh Hribaric, 2388m, Ogradi, 2087m, Debeli vrh, 2390m and via Laz meadow also others. So, it is a good idea also to sleep there. You can also in summer go on the upper edge of the meadow and spend a night in a sleeping bag there. When we did so a few years ago, in the middle of the night a huge bull came around, grazing the grass, so we didn't sleep much that night.
Ascent times: 1 h 30 min from Blato parking place, 3h from Voje valley (directly or over the two Grintovica meadows).
Jezerce, 1730mThis ex pasture is abandoned today. Lying in the Dolina za Debelim vrhom (Valley behind Debeli vrh), between Ogradi and Stogi, its huts are no standing more today. There is a good water source and a nice landscape, which you will enjoy when on the route to the high summits above the meadow. From the meadow three marked paths go on the nearby higher mountain passes: On Lazovski preval, Jezerski preval and Miseljski preval.
Ascent times: 30 min from Krstenica, 2 h from Blato parking place, 3h 30 min from Voje valley (directly or over the two Grintovica meadows).
Planina Jezero, 1450mThis nice alpine meadow lies by a small lake, embedded into deep forrests of Bohinj high plateau. So, its waters are not emerald green or blue, like the ones of Triglav lakes, but deep green. The meadow is big enough, and as it is easilly reached, also very often visited. Here many routes go towards the higher pastures or summits. On the meadow there is a mountain hut. Perhaps you can even get a small boat to stretch hands, rowing across the lake. If you want to see some panorama, you must step a little higher, on the slopes south of the meadow. The scenery with the lake and the mighty Debeli vrh, rising high from the woods behind the lake is very often on Bohinj post cards.
Ascent times: 1 h from Blato parking place, 2h from Vogar meadow.
Visevnik, 1615mThis nice meadow is lying on a saddle between Prsivec on the SE and Griva on the NW. It is first of all important as a trailhead for the 150 meters higher summit of Prsivec, but the passage from Crno jezero (lake) over the meadow to Planina Jezero is also important, as it is the easiest one. In summer it is more often visited, in spring and winter popular ski tours don't touch it. The meadow is very picturesque too, one of its most beautiful views is on the approach from Crno jezero, when the summit of Triglav shows up for the first time.
Ascent times: 30 min from planina Jezero, 2h from Vogar, 3h 30 min from Voje valley, 1 h from Crno jezero, 2h 30 min from Savica parking place.
Laz, 1560 mThis is one of the biggest Bohinj alpine meadows. In a valley between Ogradi, Debeli vrh and Kreda is a good water source and a big pasture. Above this place the slopes are getting rocky and rugged and can not be used as pastures any more. Many paths are coming from lower areas in Laz, some are crossing to the neighbouring meadows, one is going over Lazovski preval to Velo polje in the Triglav group. The scenery is really nice here, as this is the only bigger meadow above which a high mountain is domineering. It is Debeli vrh, of course.
Laz is the starting point of many ascents on the neighbouring mountains, Debeli vrh and Ogradi in the first place. Also in spring great ski tours, all coming down from Kanjavec, the highest ski summit in Julian Alps, are all joining in Laz. They mean in optimal conditions more than 2200 meters of height difference for skiing.
Ascent times: 1h 15 min from the parking place on Blato meadow, 1h from Planina Jezero, 45 min down from Krstenica, 1h from Dedno polje. Crossing over to Vodnikov dom will take you also good 2h 30 min.
Dedno polje, 1560mThis high meadow is similar to Laz, but no high mountain is domineering above it. From here the valley between Ticarica range and Vogli is rising in a few steps, so the high summits are standing a bit behind. The meadow means an important crossroads. First it lies on the connection between Planina Jezero and Dolina Triglavskih jezer. The other direction is up the valley and the third one is crossing towards Laz. Almost a dozen of summits are rising above Dedno polje, the most beautiful is the round tour by the two crests. Also in winter ski tours from many of these summits are excellent, then you continue from Dedno polje down in Voje.
Ascent times: 30 min from Planina Jezero, 1h 30 min from the parking place on Blato meadow, 45 min from Visevnik, 1h from Laz. Crossing over to the hut in Dolina Triglavskih jezer will take you some 2h.