The Julian Alps region in northern Slovenia is famous for its incredible hikes and astonishing vistas. There is something here for just about any taste and skill level. And if you are looking for an outing that isn’t overly demanding yet offers some amazing views, the day hike to Mount Vogel might just be a perfect choice.
- Vogel Hike at a Glance
- Map of the Hike
- Getting to Vogel Ski Center
- The Breakdown of Mount Vogel Hike
- What to Bring To Vogel Hike
- Landscape Photography Tips for Mount Vogel
- What Else is Around
Vogel Hike at a Glance
The hike to Mount Vogel isn’t particularly difficult but does require some basic planning. Below, I cover everything there is to know about it, but for now, here are some quick facts:
- Trail type: a marked loop trail
- Total length: 10 kilometers (11.5 if you skip the lift)
- Elevation gain: 691 meters
- Descent: 837 meters
- Difficulty: moderate – packs an exercise, but not super challenging or technical
- Time required: 4-6 hours
- Accessibility: summer season, between 8 AM and 6 PM (due to the cable car schedule)
- Costs: €24 for the cable car + food or drinks in the restaurant (optional)
- Highlights: Vogel Ski Center, Šija summit, Vratca Saddle, Vogel summit
Map of the Hike
The hike to Mount Vogel starts at the Vogel Ski Center which is accessible via a cable car ride from lake Bohinj. In winter, this is a popular skiing destination. During summer, it serves as one of the gateways to the fabulous Julian Alps.
From the Center, there are two routes to the top. A longer and more difficult, but also more picturesque one traverses Orlove Glave station and Mount Šija first. It then descends into the Vratca Saddle before going up again towards the end goal.
The other one is more direct and thus shorter, but arguably also less breathtaking. My suggestion, therefore, is to go through Šija on the way there, saving the quicker path for the return hike. That’s how I did it myself, and I think it makes the most sense.
The entire route is displayed on the map above. You can also check it out directly on Google Maps if you wish. Additionally, this interactive record from my sports tracking app includes further details on time, elevation, and other key stats.
Getting to Vogel Ski Center
By far the easiest way to reach the Vogel Ski Center is via a cable car ride from Lake Bohinj. You can technically choose to walk to it as well, but there is just no good reason to. It will add almost 1000 meters of brutal ascent and make the trip significantly more challenging.
The gondola runs daily every half hour from 8 AM to 6 PM. The roundtrip ticket costs €24 and includes a free passage on the Orlove Glave ski lift (more on that below). You can check the latest prices and schedules as well as various packages on the official website.
The cable car station is located in the south-eastern part of lake Bohinj directly across from the Camp Bohinj camping ground. The is a large parking lot right next to it. When it fills up, there are more places just down the road in the forest, so finding a spot shouldn’t be an issue. Parking is free for those who buy the tickets to Vogel.
Also, if you are driving, be mindful of the speed limits. The roads around Lake Bohinj are full of speed cameras. So be sure to follow the signs or you might receive a happiness letter sometime after your vacation. I did, and it’s not fun!
The ride up lasts mere five minutes but is quite an experience in its own right. As the cabin lashes into the air, you are treated to spectacular vistas of Lake Bohinj framed by the majestic outline of the Julian Alps in the background.
The Breakdown of Mount Vogel Hike
In the following chapters, I break down the entire Mount Vogel hike into individual sections. This will hopefully make it easier for you to follow along and to know exactly what to expect from each one.
Orlove Glave (15 min)
The cable car brings you right to the Vogel Ski Station. Very important – after your disembark, do not hurry through the exit gate right away. The platform where the gondola drops you off has some killer views of Bohinj Lake.
From here, you can see Bohinj in its entirety, west to east, shining and shimmering far below. So stick around and take full advantage of that. Because once you pass through the door, you won’t be able to access this platform again until your return journey.
The station itself has a few souvenir shops, a restroom, and a restaurant with a beer garden. Feel free to have a quick lunch or grab a drink, and once done, head outside.
You will immediately find yourself amidst the beautiful Alpine landscapes. The air is fresh and cool, and there are fabulous mountain panoramas in every direction. It’s gorgeous.
Next, look for the signs to the chair lift. You will notice it just a few hundred meters south of the complex. The lift is already included in your ticket price and will bring you to Orlove Glave station. This reduces the hike by half an hour and almost 1.5 kilometers, so take it.
Besides, it is a perfect opportunity to leisurely cruise through the lovely scenery for almost 15 minutes straight. You still have plenty of hiking ahead of you, so use this chance to simply enjoy the surroundings for a bit.
Note that the Orlove Glave lift only operates until 4 PM. So if you want to catch it on the way back as well, make sure to be there before then.
Mount Šija (45 min)
Our first objective is the Šija peak. It is an optional stop, but not a huge detour. And so why not turn a one-summit hike into a two-summits-in-one-go adventure? Besides, Šija is only slightly lower than Vogel (1880 m against 1922 m) and features some stunning views.
The route to Šija is well-marked, and all you have to do is to follow the signs. Initially, the path leads mostly through the slopes of the skiing pistes, which do become quite steep occasionally. So take breaks when you are out of breath and relish the splendor of the Julian Alps around.
After you pass the last ski station, the main ascent begins. The gravel surface gives way to a steep rocky incline that is somewhat harder to negotiate. Luckily, it isn’t overly long and soon enough you will emerge on the top.
Take a second to catch your breath, snap some photos, rehydrate, and enjoy the unobstructed 360° alpine panorama. Rest if you need to, then continue west towards Vogel.
Vratca Saddle (30 min)
For the next half an hour or so, the hike winds slowly downhill towards the Vratca Saddle. Going down is always easier than climbing up, so this section isn’t overly complex.
Vratca saddle is an intersection of multiple hiking routes and a beginning of the final ascent towards Vogel. It is here that we will take a different turn going back, which will send us the shorter way home.
But for now, keep walking straight. The path is marked and easy to follow. If you ever get lost, just look for a red and white circle that denotes the Slovenia mountain trail, a section of which you are currently hiking.
Vogel Summit (45 min)
The ascent towards the Vogel Summit is the most arduous part of the climb. The fatigue starts to build up while the path becomes increasingly steep with some rather intense sections ahead.
Shortly after the Vratca Saddle, you’ll encounter a rough patch with metal pegs and cables put in place for assistance. It may seem pretty intimidating, but just proceed slowly, and you should be fine. This segment is relatively short and evens out after just a few minutes.
At some point, you will need to turn left (follow the signs) and then left again to enter the Vogel ridge. From there, it is only ten minutes to the summit. Just one final stretch – and you emerge on the top.
Now is the time to put down the backpack, grab whatever snacks or drinks you have, and relax. It is so immensely beautiful and peaceful up there on Vogel that a more pleasant reward is hard to imagine. Trust me, it is worth all the sweat and hard work.
To me, the minutes spent on the top enjoying the views and sipping the beer that I brought with me, were the true highlight of the day. There are no thoughts, no worries, and no desires up there. You are simply there and then, alone with the wind, the sky, and the serene mountains for as long as the eye can see.
The Return Hike (1.5 hours)
To return, simply retrace your steps back to the Vratca Saddle and take a left turn there. That will start a long and rather steep descent down into the valley. After a while, the path evens out and is relatively flat for the next couple of kilometers before heading up again at the very end.
This section of the hike was definitely less impressive than anything I’ve seen so far. Because you are walking through the valley and the road cuts through the woods a lot, you lose sight of much of the alpine splendor around.
That’s why I recommend a detour via the Šija peak on the way to Vogel. You just get to see a lot more of what Triglav National Park has to offer that way.
What to Bring To Vogel Hike
The hike to Mount Vogel is similar to any other Alpine outing, so all the usual packing advice applies. In particular, here is what you might need:
- Hiking boots – you can probably complete the trail in your normal sports shoes, but that sure isn’t the brightest idea. Proper shoes will make the process that much smoother and more enjoyable.
- Appropriate hiking attire – no cotton or jeans! And remember, it gets quite chilly in the mountains even in the heat of the summer, so make sure to have a light jacket to protect you from the wind.
- A hat. I always prefer multifunctional face wears, such as BUFF or similar*. These are lightweight and great for both absorbing sweat and shielding your head from direct sunlight, among other uses.
- Water. There are no streams to replenish water supplies anywhere on Vogel, so carry as much as you would normally need. I suggest a minimum of one liter.
- Snacks – this is super important! The hike to Vogel seems easy, so you might be tempted to save weight by going light on food. Don’t! Your body will need energy, and I’m speaking from experience here. I only stashed a couple of protein bars and by the end of the hike was feeling utterly exhausted and depleted. So pack a proper calory boost – you will thank yourself later.
- A camera to capture these incredible moments on Vogel summit.
- Sunglasses and sunscreen. The sun can be very harsh in the mountains in summer, so have something to mitigate it.
- (Optional) Hiking poles – to shove a bit of extra strain from your back and knees.
Landscape Photography Tips for Mount Vogel
For my fellow photographers, here are a few additional tips to consider:
- Pack light. The less gear you bring, the more grateful your back is going to be. I recommend a very basic setup of a camera plus one versatile travel zoom such as 24-105 mm.
- Leave the tripod at home, you won’t need it. There is no flowing water anywhere on Vogel. And due to the gondola schedule, you will probably not be around during sunrise or sunset.
- A polarizing filter can be very handy on a sunny afternoon to get more saturation in the images.
- Always think of the composition. The scenery at Vogel is so magical, that you will be tempted to just point your camera and shoot away. I know I was! Problem is, the photos cannot truly convey the scale and grandeur of the landscape. So without a strong subject, the images will come out far less impressive than you hoped.
- If you are a drone owner – the entire Lake Bohinj and Vogel area is a part of Triglav National Park. This means, that drones are sadly not allowed around here.
All in all, I wouldn’t approach Mount Vogel as a typical landscape photography location, where you meticulously plan a particular shot. For me, it just isn’t that kind of place.
Instead, focus on having a fun time in nature and keep your eyes open for unusual light or interesting compositions. Who knows, you might just stumble upon something very unique and refreshing.
What Else is Around
Slovenia is a charming little country and Triglav National Park is undoubtedly one of its gems. In other words, there is a ton of destinations to explore nearby. Whether you are a photographer, a seasoned explorer, or a casual traveler, Slovenia has something for you.
For those into hiking, there are numerous further trails to be discovered. My personal favorites include the Seven Lakes Valley and the Vintgar Gorge, but feel free to poke around here for more recommendations. And of course, climbing Triglav itself is not at all out of the question!
For a more relaxed adventure, lakes Bohinj and Bled offer a ton of activities to engage in. Both rank as some of the most picturesque lakes in Europe and are well worth a visit.
Finally, the astonishing Skocjan and Postojna caves are a mere hour’s drive away. And if you haven’t ever visited either, you absolutely need to. For a lot of people, caves just don’t sound that exciting. But believe me, these are just mind-blowing on a whole new level.
The hike to Mount Vogel was undeniably one of my favorites in Slovenia and for good reason. It is just the right amount challenging, just the right amount entertaining, and has everything you might want from the summer trail in the Julian Alps.
And because it doesn’t take too long to complete, you can easily combine it with other activities. Start early enough and you can stand on top of Vogel by noon, with plenty of time remaining to chill by the lake in the evening!
All of this makes Mount Vogel pretty much a perfect day hike and I wholeheartedly recommend it if you ever find yourself in the Bohinj area.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. As always, if there are any questions or comments, drop them below, and I will do my best to answer. Also, feel free to share this post on social media or with anybody who might benefit from it – I would appreciate that a lot.
I do have a vast selection of articles both on Slovenia and other countries that I think you would enjoy as well. Here are just a few of my own recommendations to check out:
- A Land of Wonders: 10 Great Reasons to Travel to Slovenia
- Hiking the Julian Alps: 7 Best Trails Near Lake Bled and Bohinj
- Seven Lakes Valley: a Gorgeous Full Day Hike in the Julian Alps
- Sunrise on Top of the World: Photography Guide to Mt. Pilatus
- Landscapes of Normandy – Easy Photography Guide to Étretat
- Best of Torres del Paine – The Amazing French Valley Hike
With that, happy travels and let’s meet again soon!
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