OverviewTarnica, located in the south-east corner of Poland, is the highest peak in the Western Bieszczady. "Tarnica" as the name for a peak must seem to be funny provided that one realizes that this word - common in the Eastern Carpathians - actually means saddle. (It seems highly likely that this is one of the ancient Slavonic words, such as "planina", which became part of Moldavian and later Romanian vocabulary - now tarniţă can be found in a Romanian dictionary.) However, the views of Tarnica prove that the name fits the mountain very well.
Tarnica rises 500 meters above the valley of Wołosatka. It can be easily recognized by its characteristic nest-like shape. Tarnica has two separate summits at 1,346m and at 1,339m.
The south face is a steep rocky wall, while the north face is gentler. There is an iron cross on the top of Tarnica, built in 1987 to commemorate Karol Wojtyla's (future Pope John Paul II) visit in the early 1950's.
All the grassy mountain pastures (called połoniny) of the Polish Bieszczady can be viewed from the top of Tarnica (Wielka Rawka – to the west, Szeroki wierch, Połonina Wetlińska and Caryńska– to the northwest, Polonyna Dydiowska and Lokiecka with Bukowe Berdo to the north, Krzemien and Kamien (Hreben) to the northeast, Halicz and Rozsypaniec to the east, Polonyna Bukowska to the southeast). When weather conditions are extremely favourable it is possible to have spectacular views of the Slovakian Carpathians with the High Tatras on the horizon. On the other side, it is possible to enjoy the panoramas of the Ukrainian Carpathians with the Gorgany on the horizon as well as Pikuj, the highest summit of the Eastern Bieszczady.
A hike in the middle of the summer may not be a good idea as the trail often gets packed with tourists.
Getting There, RoutesThe Polish Bieszczady Mountains are accessible only via national road 896/897 from Ustrzyki Dolne or Cisna respectively. Tarnica is connected with the European walking route E8. Access points:
- Wolosate (from the south) – the best option of climbing Tarnica as quickly as possible. (blue stripe trail – 2 hours, elevation gain 600m)
- Wolosate (from the southeast) – another option of climbing Tarnica as slowly as possible is via Rozsypaniec (1280m) and Halicz (1333m) summits (red stripe trail – 5 hours, elevation gain 1 000m)
- Ustrzyki Gorne (from the west) – via Szeroki Wierch (1294m) (red stripe trail – 3 hours, elevation gain 700m)
- Muczne (from the north) – via Bukowe Berdo (1312m) and Krzemien (1335m) (yellow/blue stripe trail – 4 hours – elevation gain 900m)
Red Tape & Camping
As most of the Bieszczady National Park area (70%) has the status of a strictly protected zone, public access to the park requires a well prepared system of marked tourist trails. Standard National Park rules apply, such as: no camping, stick to the marked routes, do not disturb wildlife, etc. During the tourist season a small fee (about 1 euro) is charged for entry to Bieszczady National Park. The nearest campsite is at Wołosate.