Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 49.08733°N / 22.56051°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Skiing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 4416 ft / 1346 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Sunrise over Mount Carynska

Bieszczady Zachodnie (PL)

Bukovské vrchy (SK)

Zakhidni Beschady (UA)

Besszádok (H)


The Bieszczady Mountains belong to the Northeastern Carpathians and are made of flysch, their highest summits of hard sandstone. They are usually divided into the Western and the Eastern Bieszczady. The Western Bieszczady extends between Łupków Pass (Przełęcz Łupkowska) in the west and Uzhok Pass (Użocka Przełęcz/Uzhotskyi pereval) in the east. Most of the main ridge of the Western Bieszczady constitutes the border between Slovakia and Poland. Its easternmost bit forms the Poland-Ukraine border, then ends just beyond it at the pass of Uzhok in the territory of Ukraine, where - according to most Polish geographers - the Eastern Bieszczady begins, whose highpoint is nearby Pikui at 1408 m. The highest summit of the Western Bieszczady, Tarnica, stands inside the southeast tip of Poland, topping out at 1346 m. To the northeast of the Western Bieszczady strech their foothills named Góry Sanocko-Turczańskie, meaning the Sanok-Turka Mountains, in Ukraine known as Verkhnodnistrovs'ki Beskydy, reaching 1022 m. People on the ground as well as some geographers tend to think these mountains are part of the Bieszczady - they are often called the Low Bieszczady. West of the Western Bieszczady, beyond the Osława River, Łupków Pass and the sources of the Laborec River extends the Low Beskid (1002 m). To the southwest sits Vihorlat at 1076 m, belonging in the Carpathian volcanic belt. A bit further to the southeast rise the massifs of Ostra Hora and Polonyna Rivna/Runa (1480 m), which were once regarded as part of the Bieszczady, but are now usually considered a distinct range. 

Tarnica from West
The highest
Three polonynas
Towards Ostra hora & Rivna
Bukowe Berdo & Krzemien
The 2nd highest


The Bieszczady mountains differ from the other mountain ranges in Poland rising over 1200 m in that they lack the upper montane forest level, normally formed of spruce in this part of Europe. Above the beech woodland stretches a distinctive grassland zone known as połonina/polonina/polonyna. This is believed to be a natural phenomenon, although some scientists disagree. The treeline in the Bieszczady often runs strikingly low, a couple of hundred meters below the expected 1250 m, which is due to a few centuries of grazing. Until the 15th century few people had lived in the Bieszczady, but the second half of the second millennium A.D. saw extensive colonization, exploitation of woodland in the valleys and its destruction on mountain tops and the upper slopes so that it made way for pastures, on which enormous herds of livestock were grazed. As a result, the połoninas have been greatly extended and the treeline lowered. 

View from Pass ( 1238 m)
The połonina - by Henryk
The rocky ridge of Mount Wetlinska Meadow (1253 m)
The sandstone - by Henryk
Typical landscape in Bieszczady
The treeline - by Konrad Sus
Extensive grazing in the Western Bieszczady as well as overpopulation in the area ended in the middle of the 20th century, when after World War II the local Rusyn/Ukrainian population was deported and dispersed in the north and west of Poland in retaliation for genocide against Poles committed by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Since then the Western Bieszczady has undergone rewilding - nature has replaced human management. Now these mountains rank among the wildest corners of Europe and can be considered a true 'wildlife hotspot'. There is hardly any other place in Europe where you can encounter such a wide range of ungulates (European bison aka wisent, red deer, wild boar, elk, roe deer) and predators (brown bear, wolf, lynx, wild cat, fox). Please see chapter 8 for more information.
European bison
Treasure of the world
Spotty salamander  (Salamandra salamandra)
Beech colonnade
Nature's temple
Misty beech woodland
Wolf in the Bieszczady's wilderness
A deer family


The highest summits of the Western Bieszczady rise in the southeast corner of Poland. 
The Poloninas ridge
E reaches of Połoninas Ridge
There are several mountain ridges in the Polish part of the range:
  • The main ridge - both an international border and an important water divide trending WNW-ESE whose highest summit is Wielka Rawka (1304 m)
  • The Ridge of the Połoninas, which stretches to the north of the main ridge, parallel to it, and boasts the highest parts of the Western Bieszczady - from NW to SE: Połonina Wetlińska at 1255 m, Połonina Caryńska at 1297 m, Tarnica Group (Tarnica at 1346 m) and Połonina Bukowska (Halicz at 1333 m), which connects to the main ridge at Bukowska Saddle
  • Wysoki Dział in the west (Wołosań at 1071 m), east of the Osława River: few human visitors, vast forest, good chance of seeing the big Carpathian mammals, such as the bear and the wisent
  • Łopiennik Group (1069 m), east of the ridge of Wysoki Dział
  • Otryt (Trochaniec, 939 m), on the north side of the San River just above Solina Dam. The ridge of Otryt can be classified as part of the Sanok-Turka Mountains
Smoking Bieszczady
Wysoki Dział
Lopiennik from Falowa
From Mt.Korbania to the East
In Slovakia, the Western Bieszczady mountains are called Bukovské vrchy. In the west they are surrounded by Laborecká vrchovina (905 m) and in the south by Beskydské predhorie (661 m). They are covered by extensive woods which contain clusters of primeval beech forest inscribed on the World Heritage List as part of the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany. Nature is not the only thing that can be found there. In the villages of Ulicske Krive, Rusky Potok and Topola stand wooden churches with rare iconographic decorations of the interior. Bukovské vrchy can be divided into two subgroups: Bukovce in the north, whose highest summit is Veľký Bukovec at 1012 m, and Nastaz in the south (800 m). 
Poloniny National Park
Bukovské vrchy
Stynka massif (1019m)
San river in Dwernik
The San
The Ukrainian corner of the Western Bieszczady between the Slovak and Polish borders, south of the main ridge, is called Stuzhitski Beschady. Its southern boundary is formed of the uppermost course of the Uzh River. Wilderness lovers will head for Stuzhytsia primeval beech-fir forest – a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Those who are keen on cultural sites will be pleased to see the wooden church in Uzhok - part of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage named Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine. Besides, some may feel like visiting the frontier massif of Stynka/Stinka (1019 m), where the largest meteorite in Europe, Knyahynskyi fell in 1866.

Highest Summits


The table below lists the highest peaks in the Western Bieszczady. The names of the summits which are given in brackets were once used by some of the local villagers and were later collected by Wojciech Krukar. They (along with many more old local names) can be found on his excellent map Bieszczady Wysokie published by Ruthenus (Krosno 2020).
Elevation in meters
A few words about
Tarnica summit in spring
Western Bieszczady's highest peak whose name originally meant 'saddle'! See the mountain page for more information - please click 'Tarnica' to the left of the photo


(Kremiń or Hrebeń)

Mount Krzemien
2nd highest peak, the rockiest of all in the Western Bieszczady, 1 km long sandstone ridge which was originally called Hreben (Comb/Crest) by the locals. The waymarked trail used to climb the summit and run along the ridge, but now it (blue marks) runs away from them and climbing the summit is illegal


(Mytrowe Rohy or Patryja)

3rd highest summit as late as 1970s thought to be the highest - see the mountain page for more information

Kopa Bukowska


Mount Kopa Bukowska
The summit closed by the park authorities, the waymarked trail (red stripes) skirts the south side of the mountain at about 1240 m
Szeroki Wierch / Tarniczka
On Szeroki Wierch
Four-summit ridge whose name translates as Broad Peak (its highpoint is called Tarniczka), red stripes from Ustrzyki Górne

Bukowe Berdo

(Połonina Dźwiniacka or Szeroki Wierch)

Mount Bukowe Berdo (1312 m)
Photo by Henryk
Three-summit ridge with sandstone crags extending north of Krzemień. According to W. Krukar, until World War II the whole ridge was called Połonina Dźwiniacka by the local people, today its second highest summit at 1238 m bears that name. Blue stripes Otryt-Wołosate, yellow stripes from Muczne.
Wielka Rawka
Wielka Rawka at sunrise
The most prominent summit in the Western Bieszczady (523 m of prominence) and the highest summit on the main ridge, dome-shaped, with an avalanche-prone NE face, blue stripes from Ustrzyki Górne, green stripes from Przełęcz Wyżniańska/Wetlina, then yellow from Mała Rawka

Połonina Caryńska

(Połonina Berehowska)

Mount Carynska
Four-summit, 5 km long ridge - see the mountain page for more information
Mount Rozsypaniec (1280 m)
Photo by Henryk
At the southeast end of the Ridge of the Połoninas - see the mountain page for more information
Mała Rawka
Mt. Mala Rawka
'Mała' translates as 'little'. Just north of the summit of Wielka (Great) Rawka. There is a small clearing, i.e. a tiny 'połonina' on the top; green stripes from Przełęcz Wyżniańska/Wetlina
Połonina Wetlińska / Roh
Mt. Polonina Wetlinska at sunset
Highpoint of Połonina Wetlińska rises in the eastern part of the massif and is called Roh (literally 'horn' in Rusyn/Ukrainian); steep S face, Chatka Puchatka (former hut, today shelter/café in summer) situated at the easternmost summit, red stripes from Smerek/Berehy Górne, yellow stripes from Przełęcz Wyżna/Zatwarnica/Wetlina, interpretive trail

Kińczyk Bukowski

(Rozsypaniec Beniowski)

Kinczyk Bukowski
Highest summit of Uzhanskyi National Park, situated on the PL/UA border. The southernmost tip of Poland - Opołonek peak rises a few kilometers past Kińczyk Bukowski, access to the area is officially forbidden! A grey stripe interpretive trail from Verkhovyna Bystra/Uzhok Pass 



Smerek peak from Czerenina
At the northwest end of the massif of Połonina Wetlińska. Smerek is now named after a nearby village, but it was originally called Wysoka, i.e. the High One, by the locals. It is separated from the main part of the massif by a low (1075m) pass named after Mieczysław Orłowicz, renowned Polish hiker, author of about a hundred guidebooks - see the mountain page for more information
Kremenaros / Kremenec / Kremenets / Krzemieniec
View of Mount Krzemieniec (1221 m)
Photo by Henryk
T-junction of three international borders (Slovakia-Poland-Ukraine) - see the mountain page for more information
Video created by LukZem during his eight visits to the Western Bieszczady: part 1/2
Video created by LukZem during his eight visits to the Western Bieszczady: part 2/2

When To Go

The climate of the Western Bieszczady is continental with snow cover lasting from November till the beginning of May. The annual amount of precipitation exceeds 1100 mm and July is the rainiest month. If you are seeking solitude, a hike in the Bieszczadzki National Park in the middle of the summer season is definitely not a good idea. September is often said to be the best option - for two reasons: fewer people and leaves turning colors.
Spring panorama
Bukovec ridge
Bieszczady dawn
Polonina Carynska from east
Late summer and early autumn often offer favorable weather conditions, besides the gorgeous scenery of the colorful broadleaved woodland. Winter in the Bieszczady Mountains can be freezing cold, but is very romantic as there are hardly any visitors and you have unique panoramic views for yourself: From the High Tatras on the western horizon to the Gorgany Mountains far east inside Ukraine.
Tatra Mountains from Bieszczady
Paportna winter scenery
Carynska sunset

Red Tape, Camping & Bears

The Western Bieszczady range is one of the best protected areas in Europe. The bulk of the mountains is part of the East Carpathians Biosphere Reserve - the first trilateral UNESCO Man and Biosphere project in the world. It is the largest biosphere reserve in Europe with a total area of nearly 2,000 square kilometers. It contains six protected areas within the confines of three countries. Please see chapter 8 for more information.

Wild camping in the Polish and Slovakian territories is forbidden.
Protection status Campsites
Bieszczadzki National Park (PL) Brzegi GórneBereżkiGórna Wetlinka
Poloniny National Park (SK) Čierťaž passRuské pass, Nová Sedlica - Poľana
Uzhanskyi National Park (UA) Stuzhytsia, Kostrino, Stavne, Uzhotska Pass
Ciśniańsko-Wetliński Landscape Park (PL) Roztoki Górne, RabeDuszatyn, Buk k.Terki
San Valley Landscape Park (PL) Rajskie, Wańka Dział
Nadsanskyi Landscape Park (UA) Biniowa


Bear s haven Bear refuge - no entry
Ruske Sedlo pass Cabin 240 m

The Ciśniańsko-Wetliński and San Valley landscape parks form the buffer zone of the Bieszczadzki National Park. Most of the area of the latter (70%) has the status of a strictly protected zone where hiking is only allowed along the waymarked trails. Camping, bivouacking and entering areas where there are known bear dens are prohibited. (There have been several bear attacks on people in recent years, nearly all of them on forest workers or the locals picking mushrooms or red deer antlers.) Biking is only allowed along public roads. Horseback riding in the BNP and its buffer zone is only allowed along marked trails and only on the Park's horses (Hutsul horses). A small fee (an equivalent of about €2) is charged for entry. 

Almost the same goes for Slovakia's Poloniny National Park except that there is no entry fee and you are allowed to stay overnight in a couple of cabins, such as those at Ruské sedlo/Przełęcz nad Roztokami Górnymi or sedlo pod Čierťažou, both on the main (border) ridge. Hikers are allowed to cross the Slovak-Polish border at the two following crossing points:
Border-crossing point Season Open daily Hiking trail Located at
Balnica (PL) - Osadné(SK) 1 June - 30 September 9:00 - 18:00 yellow stripes westernmost part
Roztoki Górne (PL) - Ruské sedlo (SK) 1 April - 30 September 9:00 - 18:00 yellow/blue stripes west-central part

wilderness camping Bivouacking in Slovakia
S face of Kremenets as seen from Ukraine s Stuzhytsia campsite Stuzhytsia campsite
The situation in Ukraine's Uzhanskyi National Nature Park is now getting better and some campsites, hiking trails and rest places have been set up. You can follow the newly marked red stripe trail Velikiy Bereznyi - Yavirnyk - Dubovy Haj - Stynka - Stuzhytsia - Ceremcha - Lubnya - Verkhovyna Bystra - Scherbyn - Uzh Pass.
  NB: Ukraine is not part of the European Union, so the regulations are much stricter, and border-crossing is out of question. From experience, it is a good idea to ask the border police if you can visit the Ukrainian piece. It is also advisable to report your plans at the headquarters of the Uzhansky NNP at the town of Velikiy Berezniy. The Nadsanskyi Regional Landscape Park is accessible only with a permit from Mostyska border office!

Getting There

Heading to Bieszczady Coming from W
Bieszczady forest railway Bieszczady railway
Uzhok viaductUzhok viaduct
Polonina Carynska in MayInto highest chunk


Flights from Arrive in From airport by road From airport by train To
England, Ireland, Germany Rzeszów (PL) Rzeszów -E371- Domaradz -DW886- Sanok -DK84- Ustrzyki Dolne -DK896- Ustrzyki Górne Rzeszów - Zagórz Bieszczadzki NP
Austria, Czechia Košice (SK) Košice -E50- Michalovce -18- Humenné -74- Stakčín -558- Nová Sedlica  Košice - Humenné, Humenné - Stakčín Poloniny NP
Ukraine Uzhorod (UA) Uzhorod -H13- Uzhok Uzhorod - Syanky Uzhanskyi NP


The highest part of the Western Bieszczady is readily accessible from the north (Poland). The driving distance from the city of Rzeszów to the village of Ustrzyki Górne in the middle of the Bieszczady National Park is less than 170 km (a car journey takes over 3 hrs, bus 4 hrs with a likely change at the town of Sanok). From Košice, the largest city in the east of Slovakia, it takes up to 2.5 hrs to drive to the village of Uličské Krivé that sits in the heart of the Bukovské vrchy.
Uzhorod 10:35 p.m.
Syanky 02:02 a.m.
Sokolyky 02:35 a.m.

Polish railways 

Polish buses

Slovak buses/trains 

Ukrainian search  

Transcarpathian suburban trains

Ulic Krive - Church of St Michael the ArchangelChurch in Uličské Krivé
Carynska above UstrzykiAbove Ustrzyki Górne


More maps online
Trail signpost at Przyslup Carynski
Upper San river valley - Map
Paper Maps
Map title Scale Latest edition Publisher Area covered
Bieszczady Wysokie (by Wojciech Krukar)
Ruthenus (PL)
Bieszczadzki NP and Otryt ridge (PL)
Ruthenus (PL)
Polish Bieszczady (PL)
Compass (PL)
Polish Bieszczady, N part of Bukovské vrchy (PL)
Sygnatura (PL)
Polish Bieszczady (PL)
Bieszczadzkie Pogranicze
1:70 000
Compass (PL)
Nearly all of the Western Bieszczady (PL) (SK) (UA)
Bieszczady i Bukovske vrchy
1:70 000
Daunpol (PL)
Nearly all of the Western Bieszczady (PL) (SK) (UA)
Bieszczady/Bukovské vrchy
VKÚ Harmanec(SK)
Polish Bieszczady except E part, Bukovské vrchy, Stuzhytsia (PL) (SK) (UA)
Bukovské vrchy
VKÚ Harmanec(SK)
Poloniny NP (SK)
Bieszczady Wschodnie
1:100 000
Uzhanskyi and Nadsianskyi NP, all of the Eastern Bieszczady (UA)
Użański Park Narodowy
1:50 000
Uzhanskyi NP (UA)

Mountain Conditions & Rescue

Morning mist on POL/UKR border
  • Weather forecast for Ustrzyki Górne at approx. 650m on AccuWeather
  • webcam
  • avalanches - in the Western Bieszczady there are about a dozen places that experience avalanches almost every year, the sides of Wielka Rawka and Szeroki Wierch being most at risk. Avalanches can occur on any steep slope, not necessarily above the treeline.
  • Poland (GOPR) emergency number in the mountains: (+48) 601 100 300 or 985
  • Slovakia (HZS) (+421) 18 300
  • Warning In Slovakia - unlike in Poland - those who do not carry commercial insurance have to pay for any rescue services rendered by Mountain Rescue Service (HZS).
  • GOPR Head office Sanok, 49 Mickiewicza Street: tel. 13 4632204
  • Aviation emergency – Sanok: 13 4630477
Emergency station Phone
Ustrzyki Górne
13 4610606
13 4684734
Przysłup Caryński
13 4611848
Połonina Wetlińska
Reach out for the sunrise!
Mountain rescue service in Ukraine
Name of MRS Address Telephone/e-mail Mobile phone
Uzhorod, Vereshcahina 18, 88006
+38 0312 671 413
+38 097 585 6685
Zaliznichna 16, 79905
+38 0342 222 165
+38 0322 395 070
Krasiya summit, 89023
+38 0312 671 413
+38 050 527 1705
Karpatska 100, 89100
+38 0313 622 290
+38 068 502 8551
Duty officer of Ministry of Emergency  (+38 0321) 660 701, 660 114 or (+38 0442) 473 103 Emergency number of rescue service: 101 (only from UA operators)


Rabe forest hut Rabe
Balnica in winter Balnica
Bacowka pod Mala Rawka refuge Pod Małą Rawką
Wetlinska summit refuge at sunrise Chatka Puchatka
There is a wide range of accommodation options in the Polish Bieszczady: Take a look here or here 
Area Mountain Huts Guesthouses, Hostels
Bieszczadzki National Park
Puchatka*, Pod Małą RawkąKremenaros
WetlinaUstrzyki GórneWołosate
Ciśniańsko-Wetliński Landscape Park
Pod HonemJaworzec
Baligród, CisnaBalnicaOkrąglik
San Valley Landscape Park
Chata Socjologa
* The famed Chatka Puchatka (Winnie the Pooh's Hut) has been recently turned into a café and does not offer accommodation any longer.
Accommodation in the Bukovské Vrchy 
Spring ritualThe best accommodation
Runina Runina village, Slovakia
Guesthouses in Ukraine  Overnight accommodation in Nadsianskyi RLP is available here:
Village Cottages owned by
Boberka Mykola Butriy Galyna Pron'o Anatoliy Bizhyk Ivan Fedash
Shandrovets Hanna Zgoba Mykola Saray Anna Pyptyk Ivan Startsun
Verkhnya Yablunka Paraskoviya Semkiv Bogdan Shyika --- ---
The former Czechoslovak Javorník Hut (red stripes from Velikyi Bereznyi) built in 1936 is operational.
Recommended accommodation Address e-mail Phone
Stavnoe pension
Stavne 158
+38 0997 340 177
Club Slidopyt
Rusky Mochar
+38 0992 010 415
Club "Visson"
Kostryna 1
+38 0312 444 107
Sherbin pension
Sherbin (150m from train station)
+38 0965 205 266
Hotel Uzhok
Volosyanka 440a
+38 0963 301 606
Verkhovynsky Dvor
Kostryna 187
+38 0313 537 225
Jaworzec refuge Jaworzec
Przyslup Carynski refuge Przysłup Caryński
Ruske sedlo refuge A shelter (see chapter 3!)
 Chata Socjologa  Shelter Chata Socjologa

East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve

Video created by LukZem during his eight visits to the East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve
The East Carpathians Biosphere Reserve in the Western Bieszczady Mountains is the largest biosphere reserve in Europe. In 1992, under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program, a bilateral, Polish-Slovak Biosphere Reserve was designated. In 1998 Ukraine joined and the first trilateral biosphere reserve came into being - a treasure of global importance combining immense wildlife value with rich cultural heritage. The reserve contains some of the least disturbed ecosystems in Europe, such as the largest on the continent, well-preserved beech forest complex and East Carpathian mountain meadows ("poloniny"). It is home to several endemic and threatened plant species and communities as well as a number of animal species, including large predators such as the brown bear, wolf, lynx and golden eagle. Along with the carnivores, big herbivorous mammals live here: Carpathian red deer, European bison (also known as wisent) and Hutsul horse. The East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve covers 200,000 hectares (of which 53% is in Poland, 19% in Slovakia and 27% in Ukraine) and encompasses the following six protected areas:
Protection status Established in Total area (ha) Photo Features
Bieszczadzki National Park (PL) 1973 27,064
From Carynska to the South-West
Poloninas - the highest parts of the Bieszczady Mountains, endemic flora
Poloniny National Park (SK) 1997 29,805
Temple of nature
The least visited NP: the highest concentration of primeval beech forests in Slovakia, wooden churches
Uzhanskyi National Park (UA) 1998 39,159
Beech-fir woodland
Stuzhytsia primeval beech-fir forest, Chorna mlaka crater
Ciśniańsko-Wetliński Landscape Park (PL) 1992 51,014
Sine Wiry canyon
Duszatyńskie Lakes, canyon called Sine Wiry, narrow-gauge railroad
San Valley Landscape Park (PL) 1992 36,600
Grazing wisent
Free-ranging herd of wisent
Nadsanskyi Landscape Park (UA) 1997 19,428
Historical buildings
Video created by LukZem during his visits to the Bieszczady, Poloniny and Uzhanskyi National Parks
Video created by LukZem during his visits to the Cisniansko-Wetlinski, San Valley and Nadsanskyi Landscape Parks
Europe's largest area of montane beech forest can be found in the Western Bieszczady. The dominance of beech is reflected by the Slovak name of the mountains, Bukovské vrchy (Beech Hills). Special circumstances made it possible for extensive remnants of virgin forests to persist in this transboundary area until today. The first forest reserve called Stuzhytsia was established in 1908. In 2007 this primeval forest with other well-preserved forest reserves such as Udava, Havešová and Rožok were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians. In 2021 component cluster in the Bieszczady NP including the best-preserved areas of beech forests of primeval character with four component parts named: Polonyna Wetlinska and Smerek (the Tworylczyk and Hylaty stream valleys) in the nortwest, the Border Ridge and the Upper Solinka Valley in the southwest, the Wolosatka Stream Valley and the Terebowiec Stream Valley in the southeast were additionally inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe.
Primeval Forest Core Zone (ha) Access From
Stuzhytsia - Bukovské Vrchy (SK)
2 950
red stripes from Nová Sedlica
Stuzhytsia - Uzhok (UA)
2 532
red stripes from Stuzhytsia village
Udava (SK)
yellow stripes from Osadné
Rožok (SK)
unmarked forest road from Uličské Krivé
Havešová (SK)
unmarked forest road from Kalná Raztoka
A gap in the canopy of beech trees Havešová
Udava primeval forest Udava
Rainbow over the canopy of world s treasure Stuzhytsia
sunset in Bukovské Vrchy (Slovakia)

Bieszczady National Park

Hills above Lutowiska View from N
Trail registration Check in
Bieszczady ski touring Backcountry skiing
On the trail to Mount Połonina Caryńska Controversial, right?
The park was first established in 1973, but later substantially enlarged in 1990s. Today (in 2022) it covers an area of 292 sq km encompassing the most valuable, highest, eastern part of the Western Bieszczady that lies in the southeastern tip of Poland fondly known as the 'Polish Wild East', including a narrow exclave stretching along the uppermost reaches of the San River, divided from the core area of the park by a swathe of its buffer zone designated as the San River Landscape Park. The Bieszczady National Park is the largest mountain national park in Poland. It protects montane forest ecosystems, the połoninas and the so-called 'land of valleys', i.e. the cultural landscape of what is left from the villages of the Ukrainian/Rusyn Boyko and Łemko ethnic groups. It may be worth mentioning here that since the end of the 1940s the flora and fauna of the area have been developing as a result of spontaneous, secondary, regenerative succession. 

The BNP has 140 km of waymarked hiking trails furnished with wooden signposts, rain shelters, benches, bridges over streams, duckboards, steps and railings to prevent erosion by walkers. Some stretches of the trails, furnished with information panels, marked with an image of a wild animal or plant and described in detail in a booklet that you can purchase at the entrance, function as interpretive paths. There are also some trails for horseback riding (around 65 km in total). 

The BNP is one of the few European mountainous areas with relatively well preserved native fauna and flora, although forest of primeval character, beech or beech-sycamore with an admixture of fir, covers only a few percent of it, growing in the wildest, hardly accessible nooks, such as the valley heads of Solinka, Wołosatka and Hylaty creeks. The woods of the Western Bieszczady had the hardest time from the 19th to mid-20th cent., when they were decimated to meet the needs of industry, but much of them had been altered or destroyed by humans since a few centuries earlier when a greater number of farmers became settling in the valleys and herders practicing transhumance arrived. The poloninas were extended but oxen and sheep were grazed in the woods as well. Also, livestock sought shelter from scorching summer heat there. A testimony to the pastoral economy of the past is bizarre 'pasture beeches', which used to be nibbled by livestock or pruned by sheperds. 
Rain shelter in Wołosatka Valley
Rain shelter
Wolosatka valley wildernessWołosatka wilderness
Niedzwiedzi Potok creekBear Creek
Old Beech Tree'Pasture beech'
Charcoal burning in BieszczadyOutside the Park
The timberline that is closest to what it must have been before the arrival of herds of cattle and flocks of sheep can be seen at about 1250 m on the sides of Wielka Rawka, where grazing ended over a century ago. The upper level of the beech wood shrinks to krummholz, then green alder appears, then grasses and subalpine or alpine flowers. Połoninas, i.e. the meadows above the treeline, are a species-rich formation characteristic of the Northeastern Carpathians. Most are secondary communities that arose owing to cattle grazing on mountain ridges. Some of the most beautiful flowers have been recognized as Dacian migroelements, namely the bellflower (Campanula abietina), Dacian violet (Viola dacica), monkshood (Aconitum lasiocarpum) and compact pink (Diantus compactus). In recent years the poloninas have undergone floristic and faunistic changes due to the fact that the grassland is not grazed by livestock or cut any longer. Generally, the grassland is slowly losing its human-induced biodiversity. Therefore the park authority is considering a resumption of grass-cutting on selected połoninas. 
Glaucopsyche aleksis on Ragged RobinGlaucopsyche aleksis
Siberian Iris<i>Iris sibirica</i>Siberian Iris
Viola dacicaDacian violet
Dianthus compactusCompact Pink
The term 'land of valleys' is used to refer to the romantic remnants of the Boyko villages, whose residents were deported from the part of the mountains that remained within the borders of Poland in 1947. (Please see this album.) These patches within the park, the largest of them being the exclave along the uppermost reaches of the San, are under partial protection, which means, for example, that its semi-natural meadows are cut and grazed by livestock. 
Upper San river valley Fog over 'land of valleys'
Jaworzec village Where Jaworzec village was
Boyko houses at Sianki, 1939 Sianki village in 1939
 Countess  Tomb  chapel at Sianki Tomb of Countess
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending who you ask) the number of tourists visiting the BNP (450,000 in 2017) keeps growing every year. This doesn't change the fact that it is a perfect place for day hikes, a cult location for everyone who admires wild nature, tranquility and sweeping mountain vistas. Especially, if you come in the off-season.
Kinczyk Bukowski (1250m)Bieszczady in April
LukZem video from his two visits to the Bieszczady NP


Video of a rare encounter with a wolf in the Western Bieszczady (by LukZem)
Out of the gloom
Black stork in the valley of the Upper San

The East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve is one of the wildlife 'hotspots' where big forest animals roam free and small animals are aplenty. The table below shows LukZem's recorded wildlife observations, which were taken during his several visits to the Western Bieszczady.

Observed at
A few words
San Valley Landscape Park (PL)
About 150 individuals, the highest density of wolf packs in Europe.
Poloniny National Park (SK)
About 200 animals roaming free especially in the Polish part.
Ural owl
Stuzhytsia primeval forest (SK)
Forest-dwelling species, its territorial call can carry up to two km
Poloniny National Park (SK)
Encountered on the trail without any signs of fear from my presence.
Black stork
Bieszczady National Park (PL)
Its favourite areas are the valleys of the San, Wetlinka, Prowcza and Osława.
Red deer
Poloniny National Park (SK)
Several hundred individuals preferring remote forest complexes; rich food resources result in healthy populations of mature animals that can weigh over 250 kg
Stuzhytsia primeval forest (UA)
This typical inhabitant of spruce woodland has also found refuge in Stuzhytsia's primeval beech forest.
Roe deer
Poloniny National Park (SK)
These game animals are common and serve as a nutritional base for large predators.
Silver-washed Fritillary
Uzhanskyi National Park (UA)
Its preferred habitat is thin, sunny, deciduous woodland.
Grey-headed Woodpecker
Poloniny National Park (SK)
This rare bird species was observed near Stuzhytsia's mixed woodland.
San Valley Landscape Park (PL)
I was lucky to observe six lone foxes in the meadows near Zatwarnica.
European Dipper
Poloniny National Park (SK)
This expert diver likes fast-flowing rivers and streams.
Grass snake
Poloniny National Park (SK)
It lives near water and reproduces in water-filled depressions.
Bieszczadski National Park (PL)
It breeds in the woodland, usually on its fringe, but favors hunting in an open land.
Poloniny National Park (SK)
Its diet consists primarily of a wide variety of plant food, including nuts, seeds, conifer cones, fruits and fungi.
Grey Wagtail
Poloniny National Park (SK)
Usually seen on open marshy ground or meadows, where they walk solitarily or in pairs.
Common frog
Bieszczadski National Park (PL)
It breeds in shallow, still, fresh water. The females, which are generally larger than the males, lay about 1,000 eggs, which float in large clusters.
Black woodpecker
Poloniny National Park (SK)
Typical inhabitant of Stuzhytsia and Havešová primeval forests.
Wasp spider
Uzhanskyi National Park (UA)
This spider weaves a spiral orb web in about an hour, at dawn or dusk, commonly in tall grass a little above the ground.
Carpathian blue slug
Poloniny National Park (SK)
This species is endemic to the Carpathian Mountains.
White stork
Poloniny National Park (SK)
A nesting pair in the center of Runina village.
Spotty salamander
Havešová primeval forest (SK)
I happened to observe more than 30 individuals in a single rainy day.
Meadow Brown
Uzhanskyi National Park (UA)
Its larvae feed on grasses, such as Sheep's Fescue.
White-backed Woodpecker
Rožok primeval forest (SK)
It is the largest of the spotted woodpeckers living in the boreal and temperate climates.
Blackspotted pliers support beetle
Poloniny National Park (SK)
Larvae develop in silver fir, hazel and European beech.
Video created by LukZem during his eight visits to this trilateral wilderness: part 1/2
Video created by LukZem during his eight visits to this trilateral wilderness: part 2/2

Select External Links

Bieszczady s westernmost ridge W Bieszczady at W end
Polonyna Bukowska (the Halicz range) W Bieszczady at E end - photo by agra
Campanula serrataCampanula serrata
Carynska in winter
All videos by LukZem




Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.