Vintgar Gorge – Treasures of Triglav National Park
Impressive rock formations and breathtaking emerald water carved by the Radovna River is a 2 hour hike. The gorge of the Radovna river between the hills Hom and Boršt is called Vintgar. The gorge was discovered in 1891 by photographer Benedikt Lergetporer and mayor of Gorje and cartographer Jakob Žumer. As the gorge was inaccessible in its natural form, a study trail and series of wooden bridges and galleries were built in 1893. These galleries (wooden walkways) are called Žumer Galleries (named after Jakob Žumer).
The drive to the gorge from Ljubljana was interesting as you pass through the three mountain ranges (Julian, Kamnik and Karwanke Alps) intertwining with each other. Kamnik-Savinja Alps is the lowest of the three mountain ranges in Slovenia when it comes to average altitude (1500 -1800 m above sea level). But they are the most densely populated amongst the other mountain ranges. There are many old village areas high up in the mountain. Of late, many people have begun to purchase properties or flock to this area to escape the hustle bustle life of Ljubljana. Further to the north, one could notice Karwanke mountain range which borders between Slovenia and Austria. To cross the border, one can drive through the Karwanke road tunnel which stretches 8 km long (longest tunnel in Slovenia). The mountain range that surrounds Vintgar gorge and Lake Bled are Julian Alps that mostly extends into Slovenia from Italy. Most of the ski resorts are located in this area. The highest mountain peak of Julian Alps is called Triglav rising to 2864 m high. The peak of the mountain is in the shape of the three smaller peaks resembling three heads and therefore the name: Triglav
Slovenians have a special tradition that once in a lifetime, they should climb the highest mountain. The Alps in Slovenia are under the protection of Triglav National park due to the endangered flower species and animals.
As my trail began at Vintgar Gorge, I could breathe the fresh air and the sound of the cascading water passing through the gorges filled the air. As you walk through the wooden trails, the fine spray of water permeates through your skin. This was the first time I was transfixed with the colour green surrounding me. The lush green vegetation around me and startling emerald green water that was shone brightly. There are many local theories on how the name Vintgar originated. Some say that name is derived from Weingarten (the Vineyards in Podhom), while the others say that the gorge section reminds one of a wine glass.
I noticed so many Zen Stones along the trail.
Along the route, you pass the arched Bohinj Railway bridge.
The trail ends at the 13 m high Šum waterfall. The entire trail of 1.6 km length takes around 2 hours to finish and return back. I was particularly slow as I stopped at each point admiring the beauty of the formations and capturing the vivid colors. Its an easy walk for all age groups. To avoid the tourist crowd, it is advised to hike the gorge early in the morning en-route to Lake Bled.
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