Chornohora ridge

Duration 6 days
Date
Difficulty Normal
Distance 57 km
Main points vlg. Kvasy − Menchul − Shumnieska − m. Petros − Skopeska − m. Hoverla − m. Pozhyzhevska − lk. Nesamovyte − m. Shpytsi − m. Brebeneskul − m. Pip Ivan Chornohorski − m. Vukhatyi Kamin − Smotrych − vlg. Verkhnia Dzembronia
Price 2600 UAH







OVERVIEWITINERARYDETAILSMAP

Chornohora ridge is a classic of mountain tourism in Ukraine and an excellent place to start exploring the Carpathians. This area has everything: forests, mountain valleys, lakes, rocks, waterfall.

This trail is stretching along the highest and one of the most beautiful ridges of the Ukrainian Carpathians, which is divided between Zakarpattya (Transcarpathian) and Prykarpattya (Precarpathian) regions. You will reach the highest peak of Ukrainian Carpathians, the highest mountain lake, the highest cave in the Ukrainian Carpathians and the highest located building in Ukraine.

The Chornohora landscape consists of dense fir and beech forests, and wide flowered alpine and subalpine valleys above 1500. There are traces of glacial activity – sharp ledges and moraine, steep slopes, deep circuses and caries, in which the lakes are formed.

We will pass all six mountains which are higher 2000 m in the Ukrainian Carpathians: Petros (2020 m), Hoverla (2061 m), Rebra (2001 m), Gutin Tomnatyk (2016 m), Brebenskul (2035 m), Popivan (Pip Ivan) Chornohirsky (2022 m).  This high trail will definitely be accompanied by epic panoramic views. We will see the high Brebeneskul lake and spend the night near the  Nesamovyte lake, the very name of which is intriguing: its name literally means «mad».

Our nights:

Camping sights are planned on the high open fields and near the lake Nesamovyte. We can see the sunrise and try the freshest cheese made by local highlands shepherds.

For whom:

Generally, a hike in Ukrainian Carpathians doesn’t require special physical training. However, this hike is best suited for those who have experience of hiking or walking for a long distance and spending the night in a tent.

What we don’t like about this route:

This is the most popular route, so there will be other people on the path. Most certainly, we’ll share the camping site with some other hikers. On Hoverla peak there are especially lots of people.

At the top of Hoverla Mount

1 DAY

 7 km  + 690 m


 Meeting in Ivano-Frankivsk – 2,5 hours driving to Kvasy village –  7 km hiking – camping at the field Menchul, 1238 m.

From Ivano-Frankivsk, we go to the mountainous village of Kvasy on the banks of the Black Tisza river in Transcarpathian region. The village is known for springs of mineral water. The very name of the village comes from «kvass» (sour) water, which is the local dialectic word for mineral water. Before start, we’ll fill the bottles with a natural «soda».

On this day, we plan to hike 7 km and gain almost 700 m of height, which is not easy to do on the first day in the mountains. But after one hour the body becomes accustomed to the load and climbing will be easier. Usually, at 6 p.m. we already arrive at the place of the first camp.

We spend the first night on the Menchul valley at an altitude of 1,238 m. We chose this place because the shepherds’ farm is nearby, and we can buy fresh cheese and milk for the morning coffee.

Every evening, we firstly do a camp routine together (set up tents, gather firewood, cook dinner) and relax by the fire, just walk and enjoy nature. An evening in the mountains is a time for fun guitar singing and games or quiet conversations and meditation to the sounds of Hutsul drymba.

View from our first camping spot. These are shepards houses

2 DAY

 13 km  + 910 m


We start at 9 a.m. – 1,5 hours hiking on a relatively flat surface – climbing Petros, 2020 m – descending by the eastern slope – Golovcheska open field – relatively flat part – camping between Petros and Hoverla

Every morning starts at 7 o’clock. Two hours for physical exercises, breakfast, packing and cleaning up a camping spot.

At noon we reach the top of Petros Mount – 2,020 m. The landscape here consists of numerous details: kilometres of Chornohora ridge, the distant Svydovets ridge and even the Romanian territories in the south. We will try to have a lunch break at the altitude (if the weather allows).

Then we descend by the eastern slope of Petros, which is considered one of the most difficult in Ukraine (500 m down and 1200 m length). After such a descent knee of a normal person will remain «grateful» two more days.

On the way down we will have look at the highest cave of Ukraine Petros-1 (entrance at an altitude of 1,900 m). Of course, without special equipment, we can’t go far.

Descent from Petros ends in the Golovcheska open field, after which we hike until the end of the day without significant ups and downs.

Our camp is between Petros and Hoverla, near the house of National Park workers. In case of bad weather, you can spend the night in a tourist shelter (price per night – 30 UAH). 

3 DAY

 8 km  + 670 m


Climbing Hoverla – hiking along the Chornohora ridge with the epic views – passing mounts of Breskul, 1911, Danzizh, 1850 m, Pozhyzhevska, 1822 m – camping at Nesamovyte Lake, 1750 m.

It’s 2 km of slow elevation gain to the foot of Hoverla. Another 30 minutes of climbing – and we are at the highest point in Ukraine! From Hoverla you can see far and wide: all Chornohirsky ridge is in front of us; in the north – Ivano-Frankivsk, in the south – the Romanian territories.

After Hoverla we hike along the Chornohora ridge, where in 1919-1939 there was the border between Poland and Czechoslovakia, and now it is the border between Ivano-Frankivsk and Transcarpathian regions.

On this day, we pass the peaks of Breskul (1,911 m), Dancizh (1,850 m) and Pozhyzhevska (1,822 m). Between them, we’ll see paddles and lakes, if the summer is wet.

We’ll camp near Nesamovyte Lake (1,750 m), which deserves more than a few minutes stop. This is one of the highest mountain lakes of glacial origin in the Ukrainian Carpathians. They say that it is here that the weather on the Chornohora is formed.

However, we are only guests here so we will behave accordingly: do not leave any garbage (including wet napkins or paper); do not swim in the lake; not to destroy vegetation and not to interfere with local inhabitants such as the Tritons and the Red Book Frog Spit.

This evening there will be some changes in the usual evening schedule: we will cook dinner on gas burners. There are no trees at such altitude, and the alpine pine is an important component of the lake ecosystem and is under protection.

From the campsite of this day, you can climb to the top of Turkul Mount and see the sunrise or sunset. But this is not easy: you should do the climb itself and wake up early in the morning.

4 DAY

 12 km  + 440 m


Brebeneskul Lake, 1801 m – climbing on the rocks of Shpytsi mount, 1863 m – hiking at the ridge – climbing Pip Ivan, 2028 m – camp at an altitude of 1600 m

In the morning, we will see another lake, but not so close – from the height of the ridge. Under the Brebenskul Mount (2,035 m) at the bottom of the glacial valley there is the most high-mountain lake of the Ukrainian Carpathians – Brebenskul Lake (1,801 m).

Then we go to one of the most interesting and recognizable places of Chornohora – Shpytsi Mount (1,863 m) (literally means «knitting needles»). The name corresponds to the form: on its slopes, there are rocks up to 50 m high which resemble needles. 

Further, the path along the ridge runs through the peaks of Rebra (2001 m), Gutin Tomnatyk (2016 m), Menchul (1998 m), Dzembronia (1877 m). All this time we will be accompanied by panoramic views around.

In the second half of the day, we climb the famous Popivan Mount (Pip Ivan) (2022 m). Until 1939, the astronomical and meteorological observatory worked here, which is the highest located building in Ukraine. Today, it does not perform its primary functions, although the restoration of the construction is ongoing. Now a rescue group is based here, but we can rest in the room and hide from the weather or wind. The Observatory is also called the «White Elephant» – presumably because of its similarity under a layer of snow to this animal.

At the top we spend an hour: listening about the observatory, the surrounding mountains and enjoying the views with a cup of hot tea.

Then we go down for 400 meters and stay for a night in a picturesque place. We also cook dinner on a gas burner.

5 DAY

 13 km  + 300 m


Vuhaty Kamin Mount, 1864 m – Dzembronsky waterfalls – camp at the Smotrych open field

In the first half of the day, we reach Mount Vuhaty Kamin (1,864 m) (the name literally means «Ears Stone»). On its top, there are rocks of a specific shape and the pedestal for the coolest photos.

In the second half of the day, we continue to lose height, going down to one of the Dzembronsky waterfalls, with a general altitude of about 100 m, which is the highest in Ukraine. In warm weather, we can freshen up in the streams of water flow.

After the waterfall, it’s an hour to the last camping site – a lawn near the Smotrych open field. From here you can see the sunrise in the morning, and at a good location – not even leaving the tent.

In a few minutes from our camp spot, there are shepherds. This location is a great opportunity to cook something special for dinner – traditional dish Carpathian Banosh with brynza and bacon.

6 DAY

 4 km


4 km walking to the village of Dzembronya – driving back to Ivano-Frankivsk along the Black Cheremosh River.

On the last day, 4 km remains to the village. We walk slowly enjoying the fresh mountain air and Carpathian thick forest. We pass the house of the shepherds, where you can buy local cheese, mushrooms, tea. The finish point is the village of Upper Dzembronya.

START / FINISH

We meet at the railway station in Ivano-Frankivsk city in the morning. Then we go by bus to Kvasy village, which is the starting point of a hike. The distance between Ivano-Frankivsk and mountain village is 120 km and 2,3 – 3 hours of road.

Note: there is a railway connection between Kvasy and some of the big cities in Ukraine, so you can take a train to the starting point (train Kyiv-Rakhiv, Lviv-Rakhiv, Odesa-Rakhiv).

End of the trail is in the village of Dzembronya. We return to the railway station in Ivano-Frankivsk near 6 p.m.

WHAT TO EXPECT

About the difficulty. It is suitable for beginners and accessible to any physically healthy person.

If you join us, then you go on a multi-day trek in which:

  • Each person carries his own gear, clothes and a part of group products in his backpack.
  • We stay in tents.
  • We cook food on fire or using gas burners.

Note:

the guide can change the pre-agreed tour plan if the weather conditions become worse, someone feels bad or some other adventures happen. 

WHAT TO TAKE

You are packing for the hike by yourself, but with our advice. After booking a hike, we will send you a detailed list of recommended clothing and equipment. We will also tell you what is best to take (temperature of the sleeping bag, the comfort of the backpack, the endurance of the tent, etc.). 

The gear list is classical for a multi-day trek in the warm season. Read about it here.

WHAT DO YOU PAY FOR

You pay in cash when meeting with a guide in Ivano-Frankivsk; prepayment is not required. 

What’s included

  • meals from lunch on the first day till lunch on the last day;
  • transport (including a drive from Ivano-Frankivsk);
  • guide’s job;
  • national park fees;
  • use of gas and group equipment (cooking gear, first-aid kit, etc.).

What’s NOT included

  • personal equipment (tent, sleeping bag, backpack are yours, but you can rent).

RENTAL COST

  • place in a tent: 210 UAH / 6 days;
  • sleeping bag: 300 UAH /6 days;
  • backpack: 300 UAH / 6 days;
  • sleeping mat: 60 UAH / 6 days;
  • trekking poles: 180 UAH / 6 days.

WITH WHOM

The size of the group is from 4 to 10 participants. Usually, we hike with small teams (up to 6 people): it’s easier to find a common language, more comfortable to go at one pace. And also it is a requirement of the ecological principle leave no trace in the wild.

WHAT ABOUT WEATHER

The weather in the Carpathians is changeable, so any forecast is unreliable. Before the particular date of the tour, we’ll try to tell you what weather to expect as accurate as possible.

On average, in the Carpathian Mountains during the warm period of the year (May-September) the temperature is + 15 … + 20 degrees in the daytime and + 3 … + 7 in the night. If the day is cloudy and rainy, then the temperature in the afternoon and at night is approximately the same: + 5 … + 15. The general principle of weather formation in the mountains is as follows: with every hundred meters of the climb the temperature decreases, and the number of precipitation increases.

The rains here fall three times more often than in the other part of Ukraine; and in May and September, frost is possible at night. The wettest month in the year is June, the driest and warmest is August.

There are a lot of rains, so you should not save on waterproof clothes and gear. Also, it’s often windy: a good jacket and a sturdy tent are obligatory.

THE DETAILED ROUTE

Day 1: Ivano-Frankivsk – village Kvasy – valley Dzhordzheva preluka – valley Menchul, 1238 m;

Day 2: valley Sheshul – mountain Petros, 2020 m – valley Holovcheska, 1400 m;

Day 3: mountain Hoverla, 2061 m – mountain Breskul, 1911 m – mountain Danzizh, 1850 – lake Nesamovyte, 1750 m;

Day 4: mountain Shpytsi, 1863 – mountain Rebra, 2001 – mountain Hutyn-Tomnatyk, 2016 – lake Brebeneskul – mountain Menchul, 1998 m – mountain Popivan, 2022 m – Pohorilets

Day 5: mountain Vukhatyi kamin, 1864 m – Dzembronia waterfall – valley Smotrych;

Day 6: village Dzembronia – Ivano-Frankivsk.

If you have a group of 4 or more interested we can run a bespoke hike on any date.

Contact us if you have any questions.

You can take a look at the schedule of all our hikes here.