Polonyna Krasna

Polonyna Krasna

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 48.35659°N / 23.78933°E
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 5131 ft / 1564 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Polonyna Krasna
Полонина Красна (UA) 

Kraszna-havas (H)

Polonina Krásna (ČS)

Połonina Krasna (PL)

Polonyna Krasna, literally Beautiful, belongs to the Polonyna Ridge of the Northeastern Carpathians. The adjective 'krasna' is often mistakenly translated as 'red' but in the language of the native Rusyns it does mean 'beautiful'. The main ridge of Polonyna Krasna is about 35 km long. The western boundary of this complicated massif, separating it from Polonyna Borzhava, is believed to be either the Tereblya River or the Rika. The eastern border is the Teresva River, dividing the Krasna range from the Svydovets. On the north Polonyna Krasna is bounded by the Mokryanka River and its tributary Pryslop, separating the Krasna from the Gorgany. The southern limits are not clear-cut because of the relatively low mountain landscapes fragmented by many small rivers and streams, of which the Uholka and the Luzhanka are the largest.

Avalanche-prone slope Springtime


There are 5 important summits in the Krasna Massif:

Elevation (m)
1 564
Syhlianskyi (1564m)

The highest peak, situated in the central part.
1 548
Topas summit (1548m)

The second highest summit with a transmitter on its top, in the western part.
1 501
Polonyna Menchul (1501m)
Rising in the southern spur outside the main ridge, rarely visited.
1 495
Gropa summit (1495m)
Situated in the central part (3 km SE of Syhlianskyi)
1 492
Klimova summit (1492m)
Located in the eastern part.


The southern part of the massif is the only area within the Ukrainian Carpathians where significant limestone patches occur. So do interesting karst formations, such as the massive Karstovyi mist (Karst Bridge), Druzhba (Friendship) Cave or Molochnyi kamin (Milk Stone).

Karst arch
Karstovyi mist

Uholka-Shyrokyi Luh Virgin Beech Forest

The largest virgin beech forest in Europe with a total area of more than 10 000 ha grows on the slopes of the Krasna massif. This hidden treasure can be deservedly called a pearl of the Carpathians. Protected since 1920, this core of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve is the most valuable asset of Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians - an international UNESCO's World Natural Heritage site. While the virgin forest of Uholka covers the southern and eastern slopes of Menchul, the virgin forest of Shyrokyi Luh, adjacent to Uholka, stretches over the southern and western parts of Krasna. Purely beech woodland, growing in optimal conditions, prevails. It is no accident that the tallest beech specimens in the world, which reach an incredible height of 55 meters, can be found in Uholka. No noise, no pollution here - many tranquil spots instead, including plenty of "first-class wilderness".

Total wilderness
Fall in the largest virgin beech forest of Europe
Frozen primeval beech forest


A very special feature of Uholka is the presence of numerous limestone cliffs and karst caves. Apart from the magnificent Karst Bridge, the reserve boasts Druzhba (Friendship) Cave - the largest cave in the Ukrainian Carpathians. The milky coloring is what gave its name to Molochnyi kamin (Milk Rock) Cave. 

Icicles of the stone bridge Winter at the Bridge
Milk Stone cave Molochnyi kamin
Pohar massif
Pohar at about 950 m

Hiking Trails

The Mala Uholka hiking circular trail leads through primeval beech forests passing by Druzhba cave and rocky limestone belt called "Hrebin" with Chur lookout on the way up to the Karst Bridge. The trail is about 5 km long with 500 m elevation gain. The best time to visit is from April to October. The trail begins at the office of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve in Mala Uholka village (Kicherely by the locals).

Lilium martagon Martagon lily
Roe deer in the virgin beech forest Roe deer
Polonyna Manchul Beech wilderness

The Velyka Uholka hiking trail is about 4.5 km long with a 400 m elevation gain. The trail begins at the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve's checkpoint in Uholka, which is situated 5 km north of the Velyka Uholka village. On the highest point of this circular route there is the karst cave "Molochnyi Kamin" (literally Milk Stone). Several hundred meters downhill you will catch a first glimpse of a lonely rockface Velyka Kopytsya (literally Big Haystack) which is 70 m high. The only way to get to the summit is a narrow path on the western slope. It is worth to climb as there is a marvellous view over the whole area covered by the canopy of virgin beech forest.

Paradise of wild nature Paradise of wild nature
Telekia speciosa Telekia speciosa
Fairy path Fairy path

Shyrokyi Luh virgin forest is accessible via unmarked path leading along the right bank of Luzhanka river. Polonyna Krasna is accessible via red striped hiking trail connecting Ust Chorna with Kolochava.

LukZem Videos

Videos created after my four visits to the Uholka virgin beech forest
My best shots of the Krasna massif

Getting There

Uholka virgin beech forest is accessible from Mala Uholka and Velyka Uholka villages respectivelly, which can be reached by bus from Tyachiv (approx.departures: 12:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. - only on workdays). Private buses and taxis depart from Koshuta Street 90, opposite the orthodox church. Tyachiv is accessible by train or by bus from Uzhorod. Shyrokyi Luh virgin forest is accessible from Shyrokyi Luh village by bus from Tyachiv. The table shows access to Polonyna Krasna.

Closest Airports Border-crossing point Roads Point of access
Vyšné Nemecké/Uzhorod
E58, H09, T0728
Ust Chorna
E471, H10, P21, T0720
E573, E58, H09, T0720
Sighetu Marmatiei/Solotvino
H09, T0728
Ust Chorna

Maps & Nature Guide

Online maps


Paper maps


Mighty beech trees Mighty beech trees
Massif of Krasna Krasna massif
Spring green canopy Spring green

Red Tape

Glory of autumn morningAutumn glory

Since Uholka-Shyrokyi Luh virgin forest forms the phytocoenotic core of the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, there are some restrictions. Below is the list of activities, which are forbidden.

  • leave hiking trails
  • make fire outside fireplace
  • damage trees and bushes
  • touch flowers
  • eat forest fruits
  • disturb wildlife
  • make noise
Carpathian fox Carpathian fox
Ural owl Ural owl
Carpathian blue slug
 <i>(Bielzia coerulans)<i> Carpathian blue slug

To visit Uholka's virgin forests you need a ticket (25 UAH), which can be bought at the local CBR office in Kitcherely (Mala Uholka) situated in the upper end of this village. Another option is via CBR office in Velyka Uholka situated in the upper end of this village about 5 km from the bus stop. To visit Shyrokyi Luh virgin forest you have to reach CBR office in Posych situated about 10 km north of Shyrokyi Luh village.

Spring snow Spring snow
...in the virgin beech forest ...in the virgin beech forest
Broken-off tree stem Broken-off tree stem

Polonyna Krasna is not included in the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve so it means, there are no limits dealing with camping, fireplace etc...


Romantic dream The best accommodation

It is possible to stay overnight at the local Carpathian Biosphere Reserve office in Kitcherely (Mala Uholka). Please contact the CBR headquarters in Rakhiv, before your arrival: Carpathian Biosphere Reserve Krasne Pleso Street 77, P.O.Box-8 UA-90600 Rakhiv, Ukraine Tel.:+38 0313 22 21 93 cbr@rakhiv.net.ua http://cbr.nature.org.ua

Weather & Rescue Service

Shyrokyi Luh weather forecast

Mountain rescue service

Name of MRS Address Telefon/e-mail Mobile phone
Uzhorod, Verescahina 18, 88006
(+38 0312) 671 413 zak.resque@tn.uz.ua
(+38 097) 585 6685
Ust Chorna
Podhorna 5, turbaza "Jalinka", 90520
(+38 03134) 361 83
(+38 097) 933 1976

Duty officer of Ministry of Emergency - (+38 0321) 660 701, 660 114 or (+38 0442) 473 103 Emergency numbers of rescue services - 101 (only from UA operators)

Spring crocusses <i>(Crocus heuffelianus)<i> Spring crocuses
Colours of autumn canopy Colours of autumn
Natural fractal Fern species

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