Discovered in 1891 by Jakob Žumer and Benedikt Lergetporer, the gorge was soon after equipped with wooden observation walkways and bridges, and was opened to the public on August 26, 1893. The walkways have been renovated several times since; a hydroelectric dam has also been built below the gorge and a railway bridge for the Jesenice-Most na Soči line across it, but natural beauty of the Vintgar Gorge remains and continues to draw visitors.
As the first mountain gorge in the area to be made accessible to tourists, the word vintgar has been generalized in Slovene to refer to other scenic, protected gorges. Etymologically, the word is derived from German Windegg(er), referring to a place exposed to the wind.
Before the last ice age, the Radovna River flowed eastward. After being dammed by the ice and detritus of the Bohinj glacier, the resulting lake cut a new path northeast through a soft layer of triassic limestone between the peaks Poljana (884 m) and Hom (844 m), towards the Upper Sava Valley.
- Official Gazette of Upper Carniola, #6, 1989
- Official Gazette of The Socialist Republic of Slovenia, #17, 1981
- Inventory of Important Natural Heritage of Slovenia, 1991
- The Wild Romance of Vintgar Canyon, Marjan Zupan, Bled 2006
- Slovenski etimološki slovar, Marko Snoj, 2003