Kremenec (SK) Krzemieniec (PL) Кременець (UA) Kremenáros (H)
Until 1920 known as Kremenáros (this name is still in use as an alternative to the Slavic name), this humble summit was the highpoint of Zemplén county within the Kingdom of Hungary. But the borders and the neighboring countries have changed. After World War II, during the communist era, this summit was a "meeting point" for the following states: Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Soviet Union. Since the disassembly of the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia in the early 1990s, Kremenets/Kremenáros marks the T-junction where the borders of Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine converge. Kremenets is the highest summit in Slovakia's part of the Bieszczady Mountains, called Bukovské Vrchy by the Slovaks, as well as the easternmost point of the Slovak Republic. Kremenets is also the junction of the three parts of a trilateral protected area: Poland's Bieszczady National Park, Slovakia's Poloniny National Park and Ukraine's Uzhanskyi National Nature Park. In the actual fact, this point is located on a lower summit of Kremenets at 1208 m, while the main summit at 1221m rises about 250 meters eastwards, traditionally providing a meeting place for ecologists.
|Krzemieniec shoud not be mistaken for the second highest peak in the Western Bieszczady, Krzemień, rising farther east, between Tarnica and Halicz. Unlike Krzemień, Kremenaros is completely covered with forest - no great views from the summit then. Its south face forms perhaps the most beautiful primeval beech-fir forest in the Carpathians called "Stuzhytsia". Extending from the Eastern Slovakia to Western Ukraine, this very old forest reserve (established in 1908) is now registered as part of UNESCO's World Natural Heritage. Being one of the most valuable pieces of the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians, to the nature lover Stuzhytsia offers an exclusive insight into the wilderness - under the canopy of gigantic firs over 400 years old, which reach 1.5 meters in diameter and nearly 50 meters in height! No wonder, that these wild slopes of Kremenets summit are the best habitat for large carnivores. A well-known fact, that brown bear's den is localized here, is the best example of area's remoteness. The primeval beech-and-fir forest of Stuzhytsia is accessible via the red stripe trail running from Nová Sedlica in Slovakia, or a newly established red-striped interpretative trail from the Stuzhytsa village in Ukraine. (Please see the table below.)|
The peak can be reached in less than an hour from Wielka Rawka, following the blue trail. This path first descends into the saddle between Wielka Rawka and Krzemieniec, then runs uphill along the Poland-Ukraine border. After Kremenaros, the blue trail follows the Poland-Slovakia border towards the summit of Rabia Skala (4-5 hours), from where the yellow trail branches off to the village of Wetlina (another 2 hours).
From the Slovak side, the peak can be reached by the red trail from Nová Sedlica.
|Trailhead At||Marks||Length (hours)||Elevation Gain (meters)||Remarks|
Because of Kremenaros mountain is part of the Trilateral East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve and three National Parks meet on its top, there are some restrictions for the visitors.
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 Ustrzyki Górne.
Almost the same goes for Slovakia's Poloniny National Park, except for a small refuge/shelter. It is situated at Sedlo pod Čertažou/Przełęcz pod Czerteżem, right on the PL/SK border. The hikers are allowed to stay overnight. Its capacity is 5 persons and it is localized 2 hours west of the top of Kremenets. The nearest campsite is at Nová Sedlica.
The situation in Ukraine's Uzhanskyi National Nature Park is now getting better and some campsites, marked routes and rest places have been set up. The nearest campsite is located about 1 km past the uppermost cottages of Stuzhytsa village.
NB: Ukraine is not part of the European Union, so the regulations are much stricter, and border-crossing is out of question. According to my experience, it is good to ask the border police if you are allowed to climb Kremenets. It is also advisable to report your plans at the headquarters of Uzhansky NNP at the town of Velikiy Berezniy.