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.
There are 5 important summits in the Krasna Massif:
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).
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".
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Polonyna Krasna is not included in the Carpathian Biosphere Reserve so it means, there are no limits dealing with camping, fireplace etc...
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 email@example.com http://cbr.nature.org.ua
Mountain rescue service
|Name of MRS
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)