What better way to take advantage of the highest mountain pass in Slovenia than to take part of a Vršič Pass hike. From the top of the pass, there are various hiking trails, with the Slemenova Špica hike being one of the best out there.
During this 5.4 km / 3.4 mile hike you will get to experience the beautiful landscape of the Julian Alps and enjoy some great views throughout.
This guide will go into detail about the Vršič Pass hike to Slemenova Špica and how to experience it for yourself during your trip to Slovenia.
1) Slemenova Špica Hiking Details
Below are some important things to know regarding the Slemenova Špica hike from the Vrsic Pass.
Starting & Ending Point: Vrsic Pass
Mid-Point: Slemenova Špica
Trailhead Coordinates: 46.435166,13.744029
Trail Length: 5.4 KM / 3.4 Miles
Elevation Gain: +500 meters / +1,645 feet
Duration: 2-3 Hours
Trail Type: Circular (or out and back option)
I found this hike to be the perfect addition to my day as I traveled from Bled to Bovec, and drove over the Vrsic Pass. It comes in at just 5.4 km / 3.4 miles and all along the way you really can get some of the best views in the Julian Alps.
2) Getting to the Vrsic Pass
In order to take part of the Slemenova Špica hike, you first must get yourself to the top of the Vrsic Pass at 1,611 meters / 5,285 feet in elevation. Now, the Vrsic Pass is no ordinary mountain pass. As you travel up and down the pass, you will need to make your way through 50 hairpin turns.
It is quite the experience to enjoy in its own right as you gain elevation along the way and get to enjoy some beautiful views all the way through. But on top of the pass, you will reach an area where the road flattens out. Here you will find plenty of roadside parking, and the starting point for the Slemenova Špica hike.
Getting up to the pass can be done in two main ways. Either you have your own rental car or you take the public bus between Bovec and Kranjska Gora.
In general, I found that having a rental car in Slovenia was the easiest way to get around the country. I was able to travel at my own pace, go to places that didn’t have public transport access, and didn’t need to worry about bus schedules.
On the other hand, there is a bus that makes its way between Bovec and Kranjska Gora. The schedules change based on time of year but you can definitely get up to the pass for just a few dollars if you don’t have a car. If you are taking the bus, just be sure to understand the return schedule so you can time your hike correctly. Here is a photo of the schedule when I was in the area.
Below is the route between Bovec and Kranjska Gora with the top of the Vrsic Pass starred down.
3) Vrsci Pass Parking
If you are taking your own car, you will need to park it at one of the parking lots just off of the road. As you are approaching the trailhead, you will begin to see small parking lots on the side of the Vrsic Pass. In addition, you will also find parking spots lining the side of the road.
Below are a few photos I took of the parking situation to give you a better idea. I would recommend getting there earlier in the day as parking can certainly be an issue as the day goes on (especially in high season). I got there at 10AM and spots were already filling up quite fast.
4) Slemenova Špica Hike Map
Below you can find the map of the Slemenova Špica hike from the starting point on top of the Vrsic Pass. On top of the pass, you will see some hiking signs with some of them pointing towards Slemenova Špica. The GPS coordinates of the trailhead are 46.435166,13.744029.
There are two ways to go about the hike. Either go back and forth from the trailhead straight to Slemenova Špica along the right hand route, or make the route circular. The circular route will be counter clockwise, first heading to Slemenova Špica and then returning via the Mala Mojstrovka traverse.
5) Elevation Gain Profile
You can also see the elevation gain profile of what the route looks like. This is not your ordinary mountain hike (straight up and down). Instead, you will find some ups and downs throughout the hike.
The profile below is of the circular counter clockwise route option that you can take part of.
6) Slemenova Špica Hike
Once you have made it up the harrowing turns of the Vrsic Pass and park your car, it is time to begin the hike up to Slemenova Špica.
The trail begins on an incline as you slowly make your way along the first portion of the hike. Be sure to just follow the red markings and the Slemenova Špica trail signs as they pop up from time to time.
While the first portion of trail isn’t too exciting, there are some great views out behind you of the surrounding Julian Alps mountains.
After around 30 minutes of hiking you will reach an intersection with some of my favorite views of the hike at the Vratca Saddle. To your right will be the path to Slemenova Špica and to your left will be the route to Mala Mojstrovka.
The views towards the left are just beautiful to take in as you have the path etched into the mountainside of Mala Mojstrovka. This is the path you will be coming back in from if you decide to do the loop trail.
After enjoying the view though, continue to the right as you soon will reach a couple different viewpoint areas. The never-ending greenery filled mountains of the Julian Alps will be in view as you take in the landscape.
Once you are past the viewpoint areas, the trail continues through the forest and you will soon reach a grassy area just below Slemenova Špica. You may find people relaxing and sitting down here in this open field.
But if you continue following the pathway upwards, you will soon reach the Slemenova Špica viewpoint, a true highlight of the hike. In every direction you will get various views and different types of landscape. Feel free to just hang out here and spend some time taking it all in.
It is then time to begin the hike back to the starting point. As mentioned earlier, you have two options here. You can either head back the same exact way you came or you can make it a circular route.
By making it a circular hike, you will be able to take in different landscapes and terrain as you make your way back down. You first will retrace your steps from Slemenova Špica and back through the grassy area. As you are making your way down you will actually see the trail etched into the mountainside that you will be heading on.
Once past the grassy area, you will see the trail split into two – to your left is the route that you took up, and to your right is the secondary route. Follow the route to the base of Mala Mojstrovka, and towards the pathway along the mountain face.
There will be a zig zagging route on a very sandy loose terrain that will eventually flatten out once you have gained some elevation. Along this portion of trail, there will be markers to actually head up to the summit of Mala Mojstrovka. However, to reach the summit you must have the appropriate equipment (harness and helmet).
The trail back to the Vrsic Pass though continues along the mountainside until you will reach the intersection from the beginning of the hike at the Vratca Saddle. From here you will just follow the trail that you came in on and back down to the roadside.
After getting back to your car, it is time to begin the drive back down the other side of the Vrsic Pass. For me that meant heading down to the town of Bovec as I slowly made those hairpin turns.
Bovec is a great place to stay for a few days as you explore a bit more of the area. I would recommend checking out the Soca Trail and some nearby waterfalls like the Virje Waterfall. If you are looking for hotel options check out the below:
That about does it for a guide to the Slemenova Špica hike above the Vrsic Pass of Slovenia. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to add them in below.
Have fun out there and safe travels!