Sutjeska as one, of just two National Parks in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is very precious area from many reasons for this country. I will try to turn around on those aspects which are most interesting for us as nature lovers, that is nature, of course, and beautiful summits which are surrounding the valley of Sutjeska river.
It is located in south-eastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The park itself is founded in 1962, in a first place because of historical fact, that this area was huge battleground in II World War. The battle happened between Germans and Tito's partisans in 1943.
Tjentiste area (the name of one of local villages) is place where is placed main monument in commemoration of all those partisans who get killed in this battle. This place is not so much visited as it was in Yugoslavia time (yearly between 300.000-500.000 people). Since last war in Bosnia ('92-'95), people are here celebrating some other heroes.
Good for us, hikers and mountaineers, natural triangle of mountains Zelengora, Volujak and Maglic still looks very captivating and attractive.
But let's start from the beggining...
Last summer I spent quite a lot of time in Sutjeska National Park, so I'll try to introduce you this beutiful corner of Bosnia and Herezegovina...
Zelengora, with configuration of terrain, maybe most gentle mountain of these three, is hiding many secrets. It is most known for many glacial lakes.
Many local people will say that most beutiful one is Orlovacko lake, but the fact that there is a dirt road all the way to the lake, ruined it natural look. Big majority of Bosnian people don't have habbit to hike, so maybe that is also one of the reasons why they prefer this lake among many others.
Kotlanicko, same as Stirinsko lake are lying in totally untouched nature and you need about 2-3 hours of walk to reach them. And it is worth of walking!!
Next day I went to highest peak of Zelengora. Good start point is Orlovacko lake, as I said you can reach it with car, and from that point you need about 3 hours to reach Bregoc (2.014m), highest Zelengora peak. This not too often climbed peak, gives you opportunity to see big part of this beautiful mountain and while I'm sitting on the top, eating, I realise why this mountain is called Zelengora (in English it would be Green Mountain).
It really suits her!!
About an hour and 15 minutes driving from Tjentiste you can reach the point to search another two glacial lakes on Zelengora, Donje and Gornje Bare. On Donje Bare there is even small hut which you can use (check with management of Park) to stay overnight
From Donje Bare lake you can hike to Planinica (1.794m) peak, from where we had great view on Volujak ridge and Sutjeska river valley. Planinica is also known as a place where very often you can see chamoas (wild goats). From Planinica the trail goes first downhill and then easily uphill toward ridge of Tovarnica to Ugljesin peak (1.852m), which is highest peak in this part of Zelengora.
This trip and area you can pass in one day, and camping on any of lakes is allowed so if you have more days, even better.
Volujak is second highest mountain in Bosnia with peak of 2.336m. It is really challenging mountain to climb.
Deep in the mountain there is still numerous number of old houses (called katuni), where people still live old style of life during summer. That means that they produce milk and milk products from their sheep and cows and later in winter they are coming down from mountain to villages on lower heights.
Volujak is actually quite long ridge, most of time higher than 2.000m, which is stretching opposite from Maglic (highest Bosnian peak). When the people makes borders, that usually doesn't make to much sense, so while you walking on ridge of Volujak you are crossing from Bosnia to Montenegro, from time to time, without knowing that. From Bosnian side of Volujak you have few peaks higher than 2.000m, which you can climb in one day.
We started from Prijevor pass (1.668m), toward Trnovacko lake, about hour and a half of walk. From lake the real ascent starts by ridge of Ostrikovac, there are two peaks on a way to Volujak ridge, Mali (2.034m) and Veliki (2.296m) Ostrikovac which you can climb, if you want, just for warming up. Once when you do the ridge and reach zone of 2.000m, everything becomes easier.
From this point I have feeling that surrounding peaks are not so scary anymore. Badanj (2.241m) and Previja (2.271m) peaks are standing from right side and Studenac (2.283m), Volujak (2.336m) from left side. For a long summer days you can climb all these peaks in one day. Demanding but possible.
Trnovacko lake, as you go from below it, stays behind and view is more and more impressive.
Check the lower panoramic photo...
Whichever peak or side of Volujak choose, you have guaranteed couple of hours sweating and hiking, so you're welcome!
Perucica Primeval Forest
After few days hiking on surrounding peaks, it is good to walk through forest or even better Primeval forest, for a change. Perucica (Peruchica) is one of two remaining primeval forests in Europe and it is hiding amazing things. Jumping over streams and admiring to huge, but really huge trees (some of them are older than 400 years) we simply stay speachless. Perucica is one of rare places in Bosnia with such a huge protection, so any kind of man influence is strictly forbiden. Even trees which fall on a path are not removed, so you have to jump over them.
Perucica is also hiding very rich flora and fauna. A lot of colourfull flowers is growing near path and many different animal footprints in the mud near streams.
Walking through Perucica is not physically demanding, but is very, very interesting.
We started our trip from Dragos Sedlo (just below the road) - near the monument to Nurija Pozderac (war hero from World War II). From here you need about 4-5 hours to come out on the opposite side of Perucica at Suha valley.
Maglic Mountain, highest Bosnian peak
The best thing comes at the end. Maglic! Highest Bosnian peak that really is. It is high 2.386m and is real challenge in any way. From three approaches to this peak, I choosed this time the one from Lokva Derneciste direction, generaly most frequent one.
From Tjentiste village, the dirt road goes across Dragos sedlo and after hour and 15 minutes you come to last stop. First part of ascent we go through pine forest and after an hour of walking the main part starts.
After rock face of Maglic has shown in all his beauty, as you get closer, it is more and more impressive. When you get underneath it, ascent goes by rocky part and Via Ferrata, which can be quite unpleseant for those who have height fear.
After 2-3 hours of scrambling we came out on a ridge and peak is now just 20 minutes away and finally we can see our goal.
The view from the top is worth of trying. Volujak, Zelengora, Cvrsnica, Bjelasnica on Bosnian side, Durmitor, Bioc on Montenegrian side are visible during a nice clear day.
From the top it is possible to go down, same way or by ridge of Maglic and then toward Trnovacko lake.
From the lake we needed another hour and a half to get back to our car on Prijevor.
Good thing would be camping on a lake and from there you could climb some other peak.
For this area is quite hard to find any maps and biggest number of trails are not marked or they are but very badly. Only exception is Maglic route as most frequent trail from all three sides.
My opinion is that actually gives that note of adventure and you can explore how much you want.
Bosnia from the war in '90-es has a lot minefields but area of Sutjeska National Park was far away from all ex-frontlines, so it is totaly safe to walk in these mountain areas.
So if anyone visit this beutiful area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, you will not be sorry.
I enjoyed, hope you will too.
Note: If you check any mistake you mind, gramar or any other, please contact me. Thanks!