Europe has some spectacular opportunities for walkers.Read more...
Soča River Valley and Gorge
River Soča near the Soča gorge in Triglav National Park © Rudolf Abraham
Stage 24 is one of the most beautiful on the entire route, following the emerald green River Soča from Trenta to Bovec.
The River Soča (Italian Isonzo) runs for around 138km from its source in the upper Trenta valley, before flowing into the Adriatic near Monfalcone in Italy. Around two-thirds of its course lies in Slovenia (the rest is in Italy), and it will be your companion for several of the stages of the AAT. Stage 24 is one of the most beautiful on the entire route, following the emerald green River Soča from Trenta to Bovec. Sharing the route (and trail markings) with the Soča trail, the route passes through the unforgettable Soča Gorge, pretty little mountain towns and stunning waterfalls.
In Stage 23 of the AAT you will have the opportunity to find the source of the River Soča. The path up the mountainside is clearly marked, but fairly exposed towards the end, with steel cables and pegs to hold on to for the final section. Climbing down into a narrow gully (the water from the spring flows under the rocks beneath your feet at this point) you'll find the source in a steep-sided cave (do not attempt to climb down into this!). If you arrive in the middle of the day when the sun is directly overhead, it turns the water in the cave the most intense emerald green imaginable, the light being refracted off the algae on the cave walls beneath the water. The Soča source has been partially explored – there is a subterranean lake below the cave opening. You should allow approximately 30 minutes to complete this detour.
However, the river's most spectacular feature is the Soča gorge – 750m long and 15m deep, its rock walls polished smooth and overhanging at the top, just 2m apart in places. Along the route you should pass a wooden swing bridge and it is well worth going out onto this for a view of the gorge below. The path will then take you directly above the deepest and narrowest part of the gorge, the river twisting far below like an emerald snake, the overhanging rocks on either side of the gorge almost close enough to jump across (but don’t try this, obviously!).