How to Hike to the Slap Boka Waterfall [Guide]

The Slap Boka Waterfall is the most famous waterfall in one of our absolute favorite areas in Slovenia: the Soča River Valley.

Slap Boka is tall, powerful, and majestic as it thunders out of the mountains to join that absolutely stunning turquoise-green river of the Soča right as it makes its turn to the south, twisting between the mountains as it carves out its path to the Adriatic.

Hiking the Boka Waterfall is a big accomplishment – the hike isn’t all that long, but it is strenuous. But of course, the views from the top make it all worth it (and white-water rafting down the Soča later in the afternoon helped our tired legs immensely!)

In this post, we’re sharing exactly what it’s like to hike the Slap Boka waterfall trail and observe one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Slovenia, and what to know before you go.

Tip: In Slovenian, “slap” means waterfall. In this post, I’ll use both “slap” and “waterfall” interchangeably.

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Where is Slap Boka?

The Boka Waterfall is situated just west of the town of Bovec, in northwest Slovenia.

The trailhead is located just to the west of a bridge that gives you your first view of the falls. While there are small parking lots on either side of the bridge, those are meant more for getting out for pictures. Instead, the main parking lot is here, just south of the Hotel Boka. Oh, and it’s free!

There is no public transportation that comes to this spot, so if you want to visit, you’ll need to drive yourself. Driving yourself around Slovenia is definitely one of the best ways to do a big tour of the country, because you can easily hit up all these small, hidden spots.

👉If you haven’t grabbed your rental car yet, do that ASAP! I recommend (and personally use) for the best prices and availability.

What’s Special about Boka

Slap Boka is the tallest and most powerful waterfall in Slovenia, with the main cascade plunging 106 meters (347 feet) down the middle of a mountainside. A secondary cascade adds another 33 meters (108 feet) to the falls, making it 139 meters (455 feet) high in total!

It is also one of the very few waterfalls in Slovenia that can actually be seen from the road – you can get a great view of the falls without doing any hiking at all.

Finally, the water for this waterfall comes from an underground cave (known as a karst spring) – which is actually fairly common in Slovenia. What makes Boka unique is that the waterfall is situated almost immediately after the water exits the cave!

Starting the Hike

The trail up to the Boka Waterfall starts through a meadow, but quickly enters into the hilly forest at the base of the mountain. Here, the trail turns very steep – you’ll sometimes be climbing up a steep incline on a gravel trail, sometimes up “steps” cut into the stones of the mountain, and sometimes just climbing over large rocks.

The vast majority of the time you’ll just be climbing at an incline on a gravel trail. We didn’t have walking poles, so we used the nearby big rocks and trees as handholds so we didn’t lose our footing.

While there is one official trail that goes up to the summit, there are also a lot of alternate paths crisscrossing the main path – and sometimes it’s difficult to tell which is the main path. All the paths eventually re-connect, but some of the alternate side trails are much steeper than others (ask us how we know that…)

Follow the orange circles painted on the rocks for the official trail – they are sometimes very faint and hard to see, so keep your eyes open!

After about 0.3 miles, you’ll come to the first official viewpoint of the falls. There’s a small platform and a few informational signs about the Boka Waterfall.

After another 0.4 miles, you’ll reach the second viewpoint. It’s impressive – in a relatively short amount of time, you’ve gained so much elevation!

The Summit

The summit is actually only about 1 mile from the trailhead, but you will definitely be feeling the burn in your legs by then, as you’ll have climbed about 1400 feet in elevation! Thankfully, you’re rewarded with great views of Slap Boka from above:

The view from the top is truly pretty surprising because, apart from the two lower viewpoints, you really don’t see the falls while you are hiking. So when you get to the top and see that you are in fact above the waterfall it’s really a delightful surprise.

You can see the water steam across the rocks toward the cliff edge, plummet down the main face, and then do the secondary cascades down the rocks below.

There is also a truly fantastic view out over the valley, where you can see the Soča River sneaking through the valley and the mountains surrounding you. The overlook is fairly small and narrow – the best views are along a skinny strip of land – so you have to be careful as you maneuver to different viewpoints and share the space with others.

Coming Down – 3 Options

Option 1

The first option is the most straightforward – simply retrace your steps back to the parking lot, doing an out-and-back hike. You’ll do about 2 miles total for this route.

Option 2

The second one is to do the Boka Trail Loop, which takes you in a wider loop across the mountain and then back to the parking lot, making about 3.5 miles total. For this route, you’ll actually be walking on the main road for the last 0.8 miles. This road has no sidewalk and a narrow shoulder, but there is a small footpath on the right side for part of the way.

The main advantage to doing this route is that the second half of the loop, after you leave the summit, is in many ways a much nicer trail. As we were hiking up on the main trail, I was rather worried about slipping on the loose gravel on the steep trail.

I was very happy when we chose instead to go with the loop route. I appreciated that the descent on the loop trail, though longer, had a more gradual incline, and the trail (in the pic above) had dirt and leaves instead of gravel – much easier to walk on.

Option 3

Your third and final option is to do the Boka Loop Trail (from Option 2), and then add on a little spur towards the end to go see Slap Globoski, a small, almost hidden waterfall on the far side of the mountain. This detour adds an extra 1.5 miles round trip, but it’s an easy, flat path and the waterfall is really pretty. The total distance for this route is 5 miles.

The turn off for Slap Globoski comes just before the Boka Loop meets back up with the main road, and is marked pretty clearly by yellow signs (take the Žaga-Učja path). But I do recommend that you download Alltrails or a similar hiking app. The trails are marked and GPS allows you to stay on track.

A Few General Tips:

✔️Make sure you have lots and lots of water for this hike – you’ll be working hard and will need hydration.

✔️Hiking poles would be extremely helpful on this trail

✔️Pay close attention to the trail markers – it’s easy to take the wrong path. I’d also highly recommend you have offline maps downloaded on Alltrails (or another good map app that will show a trail map).

Recommended Itinerary for the Hike

I’d recommend doing the Boka Waterfall hike first thing in the morning, while you’re fresh and before it gets too hot.

In the afternoon, as I mentioned above, I’d highly recommend doing a white water rafting excursion on the Soča River.

While there are quite a few white water rafting tour operators in the Bovec area, I truly think this one is the best of them all, and here’s why:

  1. The guides are super fun and playful while also being experienced professionals
  2. They offer free photos of you white water rafting included in the price
  3. Halfway through the course the guides pull the raft up on a big rock, flip it over, and use it as a massive slide to jump off of or slide down into the water. It is seriously fun!

👉Check prices and availability for white water rafting here

The Wrap Up

While the Boka Waterfall can be seen from the road, I think it is highly worth it to do the hike up, see the waterfall from above, and enjoy the sweeping views over the valley. While the elevation gain makes this trail more suitable for confident hikers, it’s a gorgeous hike for anyone who feels able to conquer the elevation gain!

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