North of Lake Bohinj, amid the Julian Alps, lies a place so secluded that only the most devoted will get to witness it, yet so magical that those who do will long cherish the memories. The Seven Lakes Valley is a tough and challenging but immensely rewarding day hike in Slovenia. And in this article, I will tell you all about it.
- Seven Lakes Valley Hike at a Glance
- Who Is This Hike For
- Map of the Seven Lakes Valley Hike
- The Breakdown of the Hike
- Is There an Easier Option?
- Extending the Seven Lakes Valley Hike
- Seven Lakes Valley Packing List
- Photography Tips
- Are There Really Seven Lakes?
- Final Thoughts
Seven Lakes Valley Hike at a Glance
The Seven Lakes Valley hike certainly requires determination and physical fitness. To give you a general idea of what to expect, here are some quick facts:
- Trail type: a marked out-and-back trail (can be converted into a loop)
- Total length: 28 kilometers / 17.5 miles
- Elevation gain: 1350+ meters
- Trailhead: Planina Blato, Stara Fužina (46.310845, 13.849300)
- Difficulty: high – the trail is not technical, but long and demanding
- Time required: 8-12 hours total
- Accessibility: summer season
- Costs: €12 road fee + food or drinks in the huts along the way (optional)
- Highlights: mountains, azure lakes, alpine vistas
Who Is This Hike For
The Seven Lakes Valley (Dolina Sedmerih Jezer in Slovenian) is sometimes referred to as Triglav Lakes Valley (Dolina Triglavskih Jezer). But no matter what you call it, one thing is for certain: it is immensely beautiful.
The glacial valley is located in what many consider the most picturesque area of the Triglav National Park. The landscape here is a bedazzling mixture of striking peaks, bright azure lakes, lush meadows, and dreamy forestry hills that is guaranteed to take your breath away.
The splendor isn’t easily accessible, however, and to uncover it, you have to venture deep into the Triglav National Park. The path is not technical and does not require any special equipment, but is by no means a leisurely walk. You need to be in good physical shape and ready to cover vast distances over uneven rocky terrain.
That’s why many visitors prefer to stretch the journey over multiple days. This simplifies things a great deal and is a perfect choice for those who have the luxury of time.
I’ll talk about it in a separate section, but for now, let me stress that you can complete the Seven Lakes Valley hike in just a single day. It will be a long and tough one, full of hard work and exercise. But I promise you – the reward will be worth it all.
So, who is this hike for? For those who love and enjoy the great outdoors and are not afraid of the challenge. Those, who want to explore the best Julian Alps have to offer without engaging in technical climbing.
It is, ultimately, for those, who are ready and willing to spend the full day amidst the amazing alpine nature. And if that sounds like you, I’m certain that the Seven Lakes Valley Hike will not leave you disappointed.
Map of the Seven Lakes Valley Hike
The most common variation of the Seven Lakes Valley hike starts at Planina Blato, proceeds to Planina Pri Jezeru, Planina Ovčarija, and eventually the Double Lake. From there, you may continue further north to Jezero v Ledvicah and beyond.
That’s probably a mouthful of strange-sounding names, so to help you visualize the area I have created the map below. It displays our path through the Seven Lakes Valley (in blue color) together with the most prominent alternative routes (red) and points of interest (yellow).
The important thing to understand is that there is no single “official” Seven Lakes Valley hiking route. In fact, there are plenty of paths in the area, often leading to the same destination. You can choose whichever you prefer, shorten or extend the hike, or even convert it into a loop.
This is why for this particular endeavor it is a good idea to have a reliable navigator. I always recommend the Maps.me app because it features highly detailed maps that you can easily download and use offline.
For those interested in the nitty-gritty, here is also the record from my sports tracking app. It includes further stats such as elevation and speed, so you can dig deep into exactly what each section is like.
The Breakdown of the Hike
In the following sections, I break down the entire hike through the Seven Lakes Valley bit by bit. This should hopefully give you a clearer understanding of what to expect and help decide which route is best for you.
Getting to Planina Blato Trailhead
Savica Waterfall is a famous highlight of the region, so Ukanc might feel like a better deal. Take a peek at the waterfall, then proceed to the Seven Lakes Valley, right? Well, not exactly. The approach from Ukanc is steeper, more difficult, and can even be dangerous, especially after rain.
For the majority of first-time visitors, Planina Blato is a far superior choice. That’s the trailhead we took and the one this article focuses on. If, for some reason, you still prefer the Ukanc one, click on my map above and switch on a hidden layer that reveals that variation of the route.
Planina Blato is the easiest to access with a car. From the Stara Fužina village, follow the road north, and it will lead you straight to the parking lot near the trailhead. Note that you will have to pay a fee of €12 to drive that road. You do so on the way back, credit cards are accepted.
The road is narrow and twisty, so drive carefully. I also recommend arriving early as the parking lot fills up quickly. We got there at 8.30 AM in September, and finding the place was a bit tricky. There is always room on the wayside, but you’ll have to walk further.
From June to September, there is also a free shuttle bus to Planina Blato. The stop you need is called “Križišče / crossroad Vogar-Blato” and is situated 10 minutes walk away from the trailhead. Timetables and other information are available on the Bohinj website.
Planina pri Jezeru (1 hour)
Our first goal is getting to Planina pri Jezeru. In Slovenian, this means “mountain by the lake” and is indeed the location of the first lake of the hike. There is also a hut nearby that you can stop by.
The trail starts off pretty steep. This initial stretch is only 2.2 kilometers, but you gain some 325 vertical meters. The Seven Lakes Valley hike sure loses no time serving you the initial taste of what to expect!
This stint goes mostly through the woods, so there isn’t much in the views department yet. Still, I quite enjoyed it. The morning air is still and quiet, and you quickly begin to relax and disconnect from the everyday troubles of life.
Note that there are a couple of different paths that you can take. The northern one winds through the forest and is more of a real hiking trail. The southern is less authentic (it’s a wide gravel road, probably used to transfer supplies) but easier, especially when descending.
The lake itself isn’t particularly impressive but warrants a quick stop to catch your breath and snap a few photos.
Planina Ovčarija (1 hour 40 minutes)
From Planina pri Jezeru, there are two possible paths to follow. One takes you through Dedno Polje, the other detours via Viševnik. Both are similar in distance and elevation, so pick whichever you feel like. Just make sure to follow the signs to Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih.
We chose Dedno Polje, and the path continues mostly as before, climbing steadily up. Initially, you follow a wide gravel road, but as you reach Dedno Polje it vanishes, leaving a thin mountain trail. Dedno Polje is a charming little settlement that I thought was pretty cool.
Meanwhile, the views open up, and soon you find yourself hiking through a combination of forest and mountain pastures. It’s a lovely landscape with lots of tiny beautiful scenes scattered all through it.
Continue straight to Planina Ovčarija. You will know you’re there when the path starts winding down towards an intersection in the middle of a large opening.
The Double Lake (1-1.5 hours)
Planina Ovčarija is where you need to make a decision. The sign at the intersection points at two possible routes: through Štapc (preko Štapc) and through Prodov (preko Prodov). Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer much else in terms of advice.
The thing is, your next target – the Double Lake – is directly behind the mountain ridge in front of you. Your options are basically either to climb this ridge (Štapc) head-on or to walk around it (Prodov).
The hike across the ridge is shorter, more direct but also more difficult. As you reach the top, the descent on the other side is very steep. For a while, the route effectively becomes via Ferrata, as you hold on to the steel cables climbing down.
This section can be quite intimidating, especially if you are afraid of heights. Luckily, it is quite short, and you will soon reach a steep but manageable gravel slope. The rocks are treacherous and slippery, so pay attention to where you step.
The reward for the effort, however, is a fabulous aerial view of the Double Lake below. It is one of the most breathtaking vistas during the whole hike and well-worth the extra exercise. So unless you are extremely prone to vertigo, this is the option I recommend.
The alternative is a little longer, much easier, and, dare I say, somewhat boring. We chose it on our way back and actually found it preferable in terms of speed. Unfortunately, you also give up the fabulous panoramas you have at the top.
Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih (10 min)
The Double Lake (Dvojno jezero in Slovenian) is called so because when the water level is low, a stretch of dry land is revealed, splitting it into two separate basins. It is one of the largest and more famous lakes of the valley, and a good spot for a break.
Its northern shore is also home to the Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih mountain hut. There is a small restaurant where you can buy drinks and food, as well as accommodation if you want to stay the night.
Outside the hut, next to the winter cabin, there is also a small water crane where you can refill your bottles. It’s easy to miss, so keep an eye out. The water is fresh, tasty, and totally safe to drink (tried and tested!).
All in all, the Double Lake is a gorgeous place to stop for lunch, hang around, take pictures and just chill in nature. Many even call it a day right here and turn around, and I can’t blame them. It’s peaceful, it’s charming, and If you made it this far, you are definitely having a great time already.
Regardless of what you decide, be sure to check out a smaller lake called Močivec directly behind the lodge. It’s not particularly astounding, but since we’re hiking the Seven Lakes Valley, I figured it counts.
Lake Jezero v Ledvicah (1 hour)
If you still have energy left, the next lake – Jezero v Ledvicah – is the largest of them all. It’s also quite impressive and many consider it a must-visit. The bad news is it’s another hour away. What’s worse, this next bit was the least fun part of the hike for me.
The road follows the bottom of the valley climbing a series of unremarkable hills, each similar to the one before. The ascent is not very steep but relentless and never-ending. Perhaps I was simply getting tired at this point, but I felt rather uninspired by the scenery around.
Still, driven by the desire to reach the next lake, we persevered, and I’m glad that we did. Jezero v Ledvicah is outstanding and easily my second favorite after the Double Lake. Tucked away between the rocky hills, it has a remarkable turquoise color that is a pure pleasure to peer into.
Oh, and don’t miss the viewpoint on the northern shore. To reach it, follow the trail for another ten minutes, then look behind. The view of the lake framed by the distant mountains is nothing shy of spectacular.
Zeleno Jezero (40 min)
Just as the last section was my least favorite, the next segment turned out to be immensely enjoyable. By now you have climbed high enough out of the valley to be able to see in every direction. And boy, are those views marvelous!
Every turn now reveals a new fabulous scene. Be that a sunlit peak or the outline of the path in between the green hills, the landscapes are amazing. This makes a world of difference and despite the fatigue, I found myself literally flying through this bit.
The Green Lake (Zeleno Jezero) was certainly not in its prime condition in September, water barely covering the sandy surface below. Yet it kept its charm, and I was glad to spend a few relaxing moments on its peaceful shores.
At this stage, it was getting quite late in the day. As we didn’t fancy hiking in the darkness, sadly it was time for us to head back. But if you can hold on for just a little longer, the next hut – Zasavska koča na Prehodavcih – is just another kilometer uphill.
There you can buy some refreshments and relish the unobstructed views of the Julian Alps in every direction. Triglav National Park lies in front of you, its peaks covering the horizon. And as a figurative cherry on the cake, another lake – Jezero v Lastah – is right nearby.
The Long Way Back (4 hours)
We chose the same route back retracing our steps to the parking lot. Not that exciting perhaps, but time-wise quite efficient. You know the terrain already as well as what to expect, so moving is swift. Obviously, the fact that you are now walking downhill helps a ton.
We made it to our car in just under 4 hours. At some point, we ran out of daylight and had to cover the last 40 minutes in darkness. So definitely pack a headlamp for this hike. If you decide to push it, it might come in very handy later on.
There is also an alternative road that I marked in red. It is shorter overall but you need to conquer one last steep uphill from Zeleno Jezero before it evens out. Personally, I was done with uphills by that stage, which was another reason we didn’t take it.
But if you have enough stamina and sunlight left, go for it. It’s a great chance to experience even more of Triglav National Park, so why not? The path takes you to the opposite side of the ridge along which you previously hiked, treating you to some lovely alpine scenery in the process.
Is There an Easier Option?
Naturally, a 10-hour hike isn’t for everyone. If you are new to hiking or only attempted minor outings before, you might overexert or even injure yourself. So I wouldn’t advise the Seven Lakes Valley to anyone who has no prior experience or isn’t fully confident in their abilities.
Luckily, there are simpler, friendlier options. The trouble with the Seven Lakes Valley is not that it’s intrinsically difficult. Rather, it’s just too long. Negotiating next to 30 kilometers of rocky terrain in one go is not an endeavor everybody feels comfortable with.
Therefore, the obvious step is to split it into two parts and stay overnight in the park. Koča pri Triglavskih jezerih and Zasavska koča na Prehodavcih are the perfect huts to do just that. You lessen the load and extend your alpine vacation. I don’t think it’s a bad deal at all.
Alternatively, if you insist on being all done and dusted in just a single day, you can always just shorten the hike. A popular variation that I already mentioned is to the Double Lake and back. It is far less strenuous, and you don’t give up much in terms of vistas.
And of course, there are endless other hikes in Triglav National Park to select from. Some are equally stunning yet far less challenging. One, in particular, to check out is a hike to the top of Mount Vogel. I did it myself and absolutely loved it.
Extending the Seven Lakes Valley Hike
As splendid as the Seven Lakes Valley is, it’s but a tiny part of what Triglav National Park has in store. And if you are a seasoned mountain veteran, there are plenty of means to make your adventure even more unforgettable.
Naturally, doing so requires you to spend a night in one of the huts. But once you commit to that, a whole world of possibilities emerges.
Probably the most popular extension is climbing Triglav itself. It’s not that far after all. If you pick Koča na Doliču pod Triglavom as your accommodation, you will be in great shape to attempt Triglav the following morning. This great article outlines all the details.
Triglav may be the undisputable highlight, but it’s not the only peak in the region. For something less touristy, consider going up Veliko Špičje. It’s a difficult trail, but the views you catch from the top are second to none.
Seven Lakes Valley Packing List
The Seven Lakes Valley hike may not be technical or dangerous, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Be sure to put some thought into packing. Ideally, you want to bring as little as possible without missing anything important. Here are some tips:
- Hiking boots – you will be on the move a lot, so comfortable and reliable mountain boots are a must. Don’t wear sports shoes or anything you just recently purchased. Go with a tried and trusted pair.
- Appropriate hiking attire – no cotton or jeans! Dress in layers and have a light jacket in case it gets cold.
- A hat to protect yourself from the sun and absorb sweat. I prefer BUFFs* or bandanas, but bring whatever makes you comfortable.
- Water. You will be in the mountains for hours, so have enough liquid to keep you hydrated. And don’t forget to refill in the mountain huts.
- Food is super important! Your body will need a ton of energy, so pack a decent calory boost. Don’t expect to last on just a banana and a couple of protein bars, have something proper to eat.
- Maps that are available offline, be that on your phone or in paper format.
- A power bank – so that your phone survives until the evening. Especially if you use it as a navigator because that tends to drain the battery.
- A headlamp in case you have to hike in the darkness
- A camera to capture the surrounding beauty.
- Sunglasses and sunscreen – the sun can be very harsh in the mountains in summer.
- Basic first aid kit. You are far away from civilization, so have the essentials – callus patches, antiseptic wipes, a bandage.
- (Optional) Hiking poles – to shove a bit of extra strain from your knees.
And remember – leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, keep nothing but memories. Please be respectful of the environment, stay on trails and carry your garbage. The Seven Lakes Valley is a marvelous place, let’s make sure it stays so.
If you are as passionate about landscape and travel photography as I am, here are a few additional tips.
In the gear department, all you really need is a camera. The lighter it is the better because you will be carrying it around for a while. In fact, most modern smartphones are capable of capturing fantastic images in the broad daylight, so you might even limit yourself to just that.
If you prefer a dedicated camera, I suggest packing only one lens. Something versatile such as 24-70 mm or 24-105 mm will do the job perfectly. Throw in an extra battery, a polarizer filter, an air blower, some lens cloth, and you’re golden.
Don’t bring extra lenses, a tripod, or any other equipment. The Seven Lakes Valley is hard enough as it is, no reason to lug around additional weight. Instead, focus on extracting the maximum from this minimum setup.
On a trip like this, your main weapon is not the gear, but rather your eye for a compelling composition. Concentrate on that, and your pictures will stand out regardless of what you shoot with.
Because the truth is, the Seven Lakes Valley is mostly about the experience and not photography. The images simply cannot convey its true grandeur. Plus, you probably won’t have time to explore and come up with a perfect shot anyway.
So, just have fun out there, experiment, and see what you end up with.
Are There Really Seven Lakes?
If you’re wondering what the seven lakes that gave the valley its name are, the answer might be a little disappointing. You see, there is no official list. In fact, there are more lakes than just seven. I mentioned many of them in this article, but that’s by no means an exhaustive list.
If you are curious, I marked all the lakes I’m aware of on my map. To check where each one resides, click to open it and flip on the corresponding layer in the left pane.
The takeaway here is this. If you decide to visit the valley, don’t make it a priority to find all of its seven lakes – that’s not the point! Instead, choose the distance that fits your abilities and fully embrace the experience. How many actual lakes you pass by is not that important.
If you love nature and outdoor exploration, Seven Lakes Valley is a hike well worth doing. It is long, strenuous, and not for everyone, but those who push through, won’t regret it. If you are fit and healthy, I wholeheartedly recommend it.
That said, I do wish it was a little shorter and more compact. To an extent, I felt that there is a bit too much walking in between the main highlights. Besides, for me, the most exciting things started revealing themselves at the very end when we had no time or energy left to continue.
In that regard, a two-day variation might actually be a better approach, so I urge you to consider it. I believe this will allow you to appreciate the area to its fullest.
Hopefully, you enjoyed this article and got something useful out of it. I also hope it has inspired you to visit Slovenia and Triglav National Park. It’s a remarkable travel destination that you will surely fall in love with.
If so, share this article with your friends and on social media and help spread the word. And if you have a minute, check out the rest of this blog. I have quite a few articles about Slovenia and other countries that I think you will like. Here are just some examples:
- A Land of Wonders: 10 Great Reasons to Travel to Slovenia
- Hiking the Julian Alps: 7 Best Trails Near Lake Bled and Bohinj
- Top Of Mount Vogel: A Perfect Day Hike in the Julian Alps
- Sunrise on Top of the World: Photography Guide to Mt. Pilatus
- Best of Torres del Paine – The Amazing French Valley Hike
- Faroe Islands – Hike to Trælanípa
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