Wild landscapes, great nature experiences and diverse sights await you on a trip to Slovenia. The country is especially popular with outdoor and hiking tourists. A trip to Slovenia promises adventures in countless protected nature parks, but especially in the Julian Alps, Karavanke and Kamnik-Savinja Alps in the north of the country. There are 61 peaks in the Julian Alps that are over 2000 meters high. The southernmost high peak of the mountains is that of Krn, located near Tolmin in the Soca Valley. Krn is a popular tourist destination as it allows incredible panoramas of the Julian Alps, the Carnic Alps, the Soča Valley and even the Upper Adriatic Sea.
To Mount Krn leads a great circular hike, which also passes the largest mountain lake in Slovenia and other natural highlights. I don’t want to deprive you of these attractions in the Slovenian Alps. Therefore, in this blog post I present you my hike to Krn and its sights. For me, the visit to Krn was an absolute highlight on my round trip through Slovenia. I hope you enjoy reading my travelogue and I am glad that you found my travel blog.
The circular hike to the Krn at a glance
If you click on a link below, you will go directly to the corresponding section of the route. It starts at a free parking lot in the picturesque Lepena Valley. The first section of the hike is promptly steep uphill over rocky switchbacks. After the ascent, you are rewarded with the two beautiful mountain lakes Dupeljsko Jezero and Krnsko Jezero. Across the Planina na Polju plateau, the trail again goes uphill towards the Krnska škrbina mountain pass. Shortly after, the peak of Krn is reached with a breathtaking panorama over the Slovenian Alps. The trail then continues along the Batognica ridge and the Vrh nad Peski ridge towards the Piramida na Peski monument. Through picturesque landscape the trail goes back to the plateau Planina Duplje and descends the same serpentines to the valley of Lepena.
The entire circular hike on the Krn is 24 kilometers long. We needed about 10 hours with breaks for the hike but were also forced to make a longer stop. In between, the route has a strong slope, for which a good basic condition is required. During the hike, almost 1900 meters of altitude have to be climbed and descended. The hiking trails lead over alpine terrain but are well developed and signposted. Hiking boots are nevertheless mandatory here. There are also several places to stop on the hike. I have marked the route and all important destinations on the map.
24 km (10 h)
↑↓ 1890 m
Dom Dr. Klementa Juga
Well developed nature trails, alpine terrain
Alternative hike on the KrnAn alternative hike to Krn starts near Kobarid and leads to the summit via the south side of Krn. This hike is shorter and not quite as demanding. You can find a detailed description of the circular hike in this hiking guide about the Julian Alps*, which is well worth reading.
If you’re looking for more information and tips on hiking in Slovenia, check out this blog article.
How to get to Krn in the Julian Alps
Travel by car
The beautiful hiking route to Krn starts at the mountain hut Dom Dr. Klementa Juga, where there is a free parking lot (see map). Between Bovec and the village of Soča, road no. 206 runs along the Soča. At the level of Podklanec, a bridge crosses the Soča. If you follow this road for 6 kilometers through the Lepena valley, you will reach Dom Dr. Klementa Juga at the end of the road. From Bovec the drive to the starting point of the hike takes about 25 minutes and from Kranjska Gora about an hour.
By bus to the Julian Alps
The nearest bus stop from the starting point of the hike is unfortunately 6 kilometers away at the bridge that crosses the Soča in Podklanec. This bus stop is called “Lepena K” (see map) and is served by buses that shuttle between Bovec and Kranjska Gora. The ride from Bovec takes 15 minutes and costs 1.80 euros. From Kranjska Gora the trip takes 1.5 hours and costs 5.80 euros. You can find more information on the bus company’s website.
If you want to learn more about traveling by car or public transportation in Slovenia, check out my travel blog about Slovenia.
My circular hike to Krn in Slovenia
We reach the free parking lot in the valley of Lepena, located at 700 meters above sea level, early in the morning. Behind the mountain hut Dom Dr. Klementa Juga, where you can spend the night, the asphalt road ends. From there, a hiking trail leads uphill over switchbacks for 3.5 kilometers and 700 meters in altitude. The stony path runs through a beautiful forest and demands enormous effort right at the beginning of the hike. It goes steeply uphill and the loose stones on the ground require full concentration. In between, we catch magnificent views of the Lepena Valley, over which there is still a morning mist. At 1400 meters above sea level, the trail then runs through the valley between the peaks of Debeljak and Vrh Duplja. The first stage towards Krn is done.
Dupeljsko Jezero – insider tip in the Julian Alps
We keep to the left at the next junction and follow the signs towards the mountain lake Dupeljsko Jezero. The detour to the picturesque lake is worthwhile, because a grandiose landscape scene full of peace and serenity awaits us here in the middle of the Julian Alps of Slovenia. Those planning to climb Krn should not miss this attraction.
Krnsko Jezero – The largest mountain lake in Slovenia
The trail leads us to the mountain hut Planinski dom pri Krnskih jezerih, where you can eat and spend the night, and then runs across the plateau Planina Duplje. After passing a mountain pasture and grazing cows on the alpine meadows, we finally reach the mountain lake Krnsko Jezero. Lake Krn is the largest high mountain lake in Slovenia and a popular sight in the Julian Alps. A beautiful ecosystem with colorful plants and distinct biodiversity awaits you at this mountain lake. Lake Krn is rightly a popular destination in the Julian Alps.
Short Facts for your Trip
The main season in Slovenia lasts from June to September. A hike to the 2200-meter high Krn is recommended only in the summer months. Between November and April, snow is to be expected. Even in August we had to hike over snow fields. In general, precipitation on the Krn is high all year round. On the following page you can find a climate table.
Across the Planina na Polju plateau towards Krn
From the southern shore of Krnsko Jezero, a steep passage leads 120 meters in altitude up to the Planina na Polju plateau. The last stretch leads over a huge ice field. We walk through alpine meadows with colorful alpine flowers and enjoy the karst formations of the Julian Alps that surround the green valley. A steep stage follows with stony switchbacks that lead us briskly uphill towards Krn.
Ascent to the mountain pass Krnska škrbina between Krn and Batognica
The following ascent is very strenuous because the stony trail runs steeply uphill. In addition, we have to pass again a huge passage of ice. But the magnificent views of the Slovenian Alps compensate. In front of us, the rugged northern flank of the Batognica rock rises into the air and makes us aware of the superiority of nature. After 500 meters of ascent, we reach the Krnska škrbina saddle, located between the peaks of Krn and Batognica. From here we can see for the first time the southern foothills of the Julian Alps and even recognize the Soča between Tolmin and Kobarid.
Panorama of Slovenia on the top of Mount Krn
Across green meadows where sheep graze, we follow the trail on the south side of Krn towards Gomiščkovo zavetišče na Krnu. At the old mountain hut, we have lunch and take a rest. We have met few people on our hike so far. But at the mountain hut we have to notice that many people hike the easier way over the southern slopes of Krn to the top. The Krn seems to be a popular tourist destination in Slovenia.
After refreshment at the mountain hut, we hike the last 60 meters in altitude to the top of Krn (2244 m). From up here we have a fantastic panorama of the surrounding mountains of Slovenia. We can look far over the Julian Alps, see the Upper Adriatic Sea, and the beautiful valley of the Soča River. We also see Lake Krn, Planina na Polju and our already mastered way up here. The arduous climb up Krn was worth it.
If you are looking for more hikes in Slovenia, check out these books. The books are small and handy, offer useful information about hiking and detailed descriptions of the hikes. I am sure that you will discover hiking routes that you would not find without these book.
Hiking trail over the top of Batognica
We descend from the peak and again reach the mountain pass Krnska škrbina. From there we take the trail no. 1, which leads over the top of Batognica (2164 m) and ends at the mountain saddle Prag. The narrow path runs along ruined posts, bunkers and trenches built during the First World War. In fact, the top of Krn was even destroyed by artillery fire at that time and has been somewhat lower since then. Caution. This trail runs partly directly on the precipice over narrow paths and the ridge of Batognica. You should have a head for heights and be sure-footed. On the north side of Batognica there is an easier hiking trail that also leads to the mountain pass Prag.
Across the south side of Vrh nad Peski to the monument Piramida na Peski
At the mountain saddle Prag we keep to the left and hike across the southern side of Mount Vrh nad Peski and Mount Piramida. Here we have to be careful, because the trail consists only of scree and gravel. At one point the path is even exposed and we have to cross the cutting over loose stones. However, the views on this stage are magnificent. After 1.3 kilometers we reach the monument Piramida na Peski.
The ibexes in the Julian Alps
From the monument Piramida na Peski we go steeply downhill on stony trails for about 200 meters in altitude. Out of nowhere we discover a large herd of ibex directly above us on the mountain slopes. The herd is just starting to move and after only a few seconds we hear a loud noise above us. We jump to the side and already loose stones rush from the mountain slopes above us to the ground. That was close. Since the herd runs parallel to the hiking trail on the mountain slopes, we have to wait for what feels like an eternity until the ibexes have moved away.
The untouched nature of Slovenia
After the small shock, we hike for 2 kilometers at a constant altitude on an idyllic hiking trail. This runs along green meadows, colorful flowers, and rock faces. In the distance, the peaks of the Slovenian Alps rise into the air. We reach a junction from which we hike back to the Planina Duplje plateau via serpentines. Some of the rocks are marked “Kr. Jezero”. Once again, we pass the alpine pasture and its meadows.
The last stage of the hike on Krn
We leave the Planinski dom pri Krnskih jezerih and the Dupeljsko Jezero on the left on the way back and hike on a stony road back to the cable car. There an agonizing descent over serpentines awaits us. The loose stones on the trail demand full concentration one last time, but this is gone after more than 20 kilometers in alpine terrain. After 10 hours in the Julian Alps, we reach the parking lot. Exhausted, but happy that we have taken on this wonderful hike to the Krn.
If you are looking for a travel guide to Slovenia, check out this book. I personally like this travel guide series very much. The authors give travel tips especially for individual and low budget travelers. Moreover, not only the well-known sights are described, but also more unknown places are mentioned.
Conclusion about the circular hike to Krn in Slovenia
The presented route to the Krn is beautiful and I liked it very much. Those who appreciate the mountains and nature will love this circular hike. The alternation between colorful meadows, idyllic lakes, and views of the magnificent mountains of Slovenia makes the hike something special. In fact, the entire hike is a highlight in itself.
To master the route, some experience in alpine terrain is certainly advisable. The trail leads over loose stones, runs partly along the precipice, and has steep passages. Respect for height, freedom from vertigo and surefootedness should be present.
The circular hike on the Krn is 24 kilometers long and takes about 9-10 hours. I was in August, in the high season, in the Julian Alps. The weather was excellent, but still quite fresh, especially at the summit. We met other tourists almost only at the top of Krn. During the winter months and into May, snow is to be expected in the Alps. I can highly recommend this attraction, which can be perfectly combined with a visit to the Soca Valley, and would come back anytime.
Hotels and accommodation in the Julian Alps
The best starting point for the hike to Krn is the valley of Lepena. In the valley there are even some accommodations and campsites* An alternative is the town of Bovec, where many accommodations are available* In the town there are sights, bus connections, supermarkets and restaurants. I myself stayed in the town of Soča*, which is about 15 minutes from the starting point, and was very satisfied.
It is also possible to spend the night in one of the mountain huts located along the trail. Under the following links you can find the website of Dom Dr. Klementa Juga and Planinski dom pri Krnskih jezerih. Both huts are marked on the map.
Of course, in the Julian Alps and in the Soča Valley there are countless other places that offer accommodation. Below you will find a selection for the entire region around the Krn.
I hope you enjoyed my travelogue about Mount Krn. On my Slovenia Blog I show you other beautiful travel destinations in Slovenia and share valuable tips and experiences for your trip to Slovenia. Did you like my blog post? Was I able to help you? Then I would be happy if you recommend my travel blog, leave a comment, or follow me on Instagram. Thanks for reading and have fun on your vacation in Slovenia.
The references marked with an asterisk (*) are so-called commission links. If you click on such a referral link and buy something, I get a small commission from the provider. For you, the price does not change! I see it as a small thank you for my work and look forward to any support.