People prepare differently for their next trip. For some, this decision is made in a moment, for others, the final decision requires gathering more information and choosing the right form of comfortable travel. One of those is Alpine hut-to-hut hiking, which we will write about below. We will highlight some important things it’s good to know before deciding on this type of travel. You can spot it already from the name that hut-to-hut trekking differs in that we stay in huts, compared to our other treks where we choose boutique hotels for accommodation. More about the hotels we choose for your next comfortable adventure, you can read in our previous blog post.
So, what is a hut-to-hut trip, how does it look like, what is the best time to choose such a way of spending your free time, what is the must-have equipment for every hiker, how demanding is such a way of traveling, can a hut-to-hut trip also be a comfortable adventure and how is such a way of traveling sustainably. All mentioned, will be presented in the following text.
So, buckle up and get ready that after reading this, your next thing will be clearing your schedule to make sure you will experience our Alpine hut-to-hut hiking on your own.
How hut-to-hut trekking looks like?
Hut-to-hut hiking is a traveling style on foot where each day you discover a new location and spend a night in a different mountain lodge, or as we prefer to call it – in a hut. It depends on the country, for instance, mountain huts are referred as rifugios in Italy, as koča in Slovenia, and as hutte in Austria. But Alpine hut-to-hut hiking is not just a hike from one hut to another. It’s way more than that! Our Hut-to-hut is trekking through the majestic heart of Julian alps which is known as Slovenian prime outdoor territory specially known for hiking, trekking, mountain biking, and alpine climbing in summer and as the best outdoor playground in winter for all sorts of alpine sports, from skiing to ice climbing.
As mentioned before, Alpine hut-to-hut hiking is travelling on foot through the majestic heart of Julian Alps, where each night you spend in a different charming mountain hut. Lodging in those rustic huts with access to a hot shower and comfortable nights in its double or triple room (depending on the availability) is part of the comfortness you deserve after a daily hike. But that doesn’t mean that all the time of your trekking you will spend in the mountains. On some occasions, you will also come to the valley and discover hidden gems of Slovenia, like the emerald green Soča river which with its beautiful surroundings make’s it one of Slovenia’s greatest natural treasures.
What’s the best time for hut-to-hut hiking in Slovenia?
The best time for hiking hut-to-hut in the Slovenian mountains is from the end of June until the end of September. The most important factors here are the weather and when mountain huts are operating. Before that period it can happen that huts, especially the high altitude ones, won’t be open due to snow on the trails or a higher chance of rain on the trails, in higher Alps, at the end of the summer season. Furthermore, a lot of mountain huts in the Slovenian Alps are operating only in the hiking season that lasts from June until end of the September. During that time the hut keepers will welcome you with open hands and be happy to host all the mountaineers. After huts close, you can still sleep there since normally there is a winter room / bivauck near huts. Those are specially designed for people who enjoy the mountains after the main hiking season. If you are one of those, have in mind that other than a place to sleep and few blankets there will be no one to host you in the winter room, so you have to bring all the supplies on your own.
Essentials to have in your backpack
It doesn’t matter if it’s a day hike in the mountains or a few day long hiking trip, there’s a list of the essential items you have to have in your backpack all the time. Injuries don’t happen often and we are always doing our best to prevent them. But in case something goes wrong, the first aid kit is one of the most essential things on all of the hikes. While packing your backpack and preparing your first aid kit for Alpine hut-to-hut hiking don’t forget to pack a bit more patches in case you get a blister. A quality patch can be a game changer when you are in the middle of the iconic hike in the Julian Alps, but instead of enjoying nature, you are focusing on pain caused by blister. To prevent blisters to happen we advise having good hiking boots. Preferably high cut ones that you have already worn on some other hikes and you are already feeling comfortable in. Starting your hut-to-hut hike in brand new hiking boots may result in increased patch consumption.
Regarding food and drinks, your backpack should always contain a bottle with at least 2 liters of water. During the hike, you will be able to stop at huts to get a meal but your backpack should always consist of some food or trail snacks. Personally, we like that our trail snack consists of cashew nuts, roasted almonds and for sweetness and a healthy amount of sugar, cranberries are used. Despite trail snacks, it’s advisable to also have a sandwich or two in your backpack as well. Or if you prefer to be more romantic than all the ingredients for a picnic launch. Additional to mentioned you should always have an ˝iron reserve˝ in your backpack pocket. For that, we like to advise protein power bars. Additional to the first aid kit, food and water, you shouldn’t forget proper clothing and sunscreen. As we mentioned above, the best time to go on a trail is during summer months when sun is high on the horizon. Due to that sunscreen is definitely a must in your backpack. The same goes for sunglasses and hat to protect you from the sun.
It doesn’t matter that you will do an Alpine hut-to-hut hike in summer when temperatures can be really high during the day. Evenings and mornings can be really chilly, that’s why a cap and gloves are essential to have in your backpack. Same goes for jacket, where we always advise a good Gore-Tex jacket and pants for hut-to-hut hiking in Slovenian Alps. Weather in the alps can change quickly and for that, it’s better to be prepared. For other, we advise using clothing that gives you options for dressing in layers. Don’t forget to pack long hiking pants (preferably fast dry fabric), long sleeve layer, a warm jacket or fleece and additional thin long sleeves for sun protection during the hike.
If you’re going to enjoy your picnic lunch a bit longer or sleep longer in the morning and get caught by the dark before you get to the hut, don’t forget to pack a headlamp in your hut-to-hut backpack. Before starting the trekking don’t forget to check the batteries or pack an extra battery set. There’s nothing worse than having gear that’s not functional.
All mentioned should be packed in a backpack that feels comfortable wearing while hiking. The weight distribution of your gear should be properly arranged, only that way the weight of backpack will be on your waists and you won’t feel pain in your shoulders. It’s very convenient if the backpack has several storage compartments and quick access to them. Backpack size of 30 – 40 liters should be enough for all the gear you will need on your comfortable adventure in the Julian Alps.
Hiking pools can be great support on Alpine hut-to-hut hiking. We recommend packing those if you are also using them on other hikes. Don’t forget to pack your personal items such as personal hygiene, medicine, travel insurance, passport or ID card and cash. Majority of the huts except cash only.
Since nights will be spent in the mountain huts, we suggest packing a silk or cotton liner as well. That way you’ll avoid using the single-use bed sheets that are offered in the huts. With your own liner, it will feel cozier to fall asleep, at the same time not using single-use liner you help to more sustainable travel. If you are a light sleeper, we suggest you also to pack earplugs.
To finish with, you shouldn’t forget to take all the materials for your Alpine hut-to-hut comfortable adventure, that are provided by TrekTrek. Maps, GPX trails and other navigation essentials, together with 24/7 support by English speaking guide. Don’t hesitate and contact us.
If you would like to use the list of equipment mentioned in the text on your Alpine hut-to-hut hike, you can find it in bullet points at the bottom of the page.
Is hut-to-hut trekking difficult?
This question is a bit hard to answer since it really depends on each individual and their personal physical condition. Despite Alpine hut-to-hut is hiking in the Julian Alps, where you have to cope with mountain terrain, our trails will offer you a comfortable adventure. All the trails we choose are well maintained and not exposed. Even more, trails are easy to follow since all are well blazed. It depends on the sea elevation and location but on the trekking, the trails differ. In the lower altitude, as for instance hiking in Pokljuka plateau, you will be confronted with forest paths, which can occasionally also become muddy in some parts. More altitude you gain in the mountains, for example when you reach the summit of mount Tičarica, the closer you will get to trails with loosened rock and gravel. Those are largely made up of limestone, which, along with dolomite, is the main component of our Alps. The limestone is with us all the way on our Alpine hut-to-hut adventure, and we can admire the natural beauty of its transformation. As rainwater dissolves the limestone it starts forming karst phenomena such as grooves, troughs, karst potholes, caves etc. All those karst phenomena give us a great opportunity to take a break for some pictures and slowly continue the hike. The difficultness of alpine trekking varies day by day, same as the terrain. On average the huts on our Alpine hut-to-hut hiking are 4 – 5 hours of walking apart, some of them even 6 – 7 hours of walking apart from the other.
In case you would like to hike more, do extra mileage, don’t hesitate to contact us and we will prepare an additional hike off the beaten track.
Are you sure the hut-to-hut can be a comfortable adventure?
Yes, we are sure. As our slogan goes, all we do are comfortable adventures. While trekking we lodge in charmingly rustic mountain huts with hot showers and comfortable nights in double or triple rooms, depending on the availability.
Our huts are simple but clean. Some may be in very remote areas, accessible only by helicopter (for deliveries only), while some have better connections with valley. Some huts also have more staff than others but every hut keeper will do its best to welcome and host you in the best possible way. Fun fact, a lot of Slovenian mountain huts are youth-managed. So don’t be surprised to find out that the person who registers and welcomes you are a medical student, staff in the kitchen is doing masters in biology, architecture, law etc.
Sustainable way of travelling
Alpine hut-to-hut hiking is definitely one of those trips where in the end you collect memories and leave only footprints. Moreover, the whole trip is done very sustainably. During a hut-to-hut hike in Julian Alps, you always stay in mountain huts. Why, you ask? Sleeping outside mountain huts in the Slovenian Alps, inside Triglav National Park, is strictly forbidden. In addition, swimming inside an alpine lake is forbidden as well, despite those lakes . In case you would like to know more about behaving in Triglav National Park while your hut-to-hut trekking and all the regulations inside the park, we advise you to check their web page.
These are just some of the tips that we, as an experienced local tour operator, believe will take your trip to the Slovenian mountains more comfortable. Feel free to contact us for more information about Alpine hut-to-hut hiking.
Alpine hut-to-hut hiking equipment:
- Backpack (30 – 40l should fit all your gear)
- Water bottle
- Hiking boots (preferably high cut)
- Wind and rain protection (Gore-Tex jacket and pants)
- Long sleeve layer
- Warm jacket or fleece
- Gloves and cap
- Hiking pants
- Thin long sleeve for sun protection
- Sunscreen and sunglasses
- Hiking poles (if you use them)
- First aid kit
- Silk or cotton liner
- Personal items (personal hygiene, medications etc.)
- Passport and cash