When the “Father of National Parks” John Muir said “the mountains are calling and I must go”, he couldn’t imagine that this will become a motto of many passionate climbers in the following centuries. Being the loudest advocate of wilderness preservation and Yosemite National Park establishing, he would unarguably support the same cause for Sutjeska National Park, also called European Yosemite, if he had a chance to see it. Since then, many things have changed, and floods of tourists have been occupying Yosemite, while European Yosemite remained pretty calm and hidden in its wildness. Amongst its many rarities such as European last jungle called Perućica, an awe-inspiring Mt. Zelengora and its eight glacial lakes, National Park Sutjeska also hides the highest summit of Bosnia & Herzegovina. If the idea of conquering Bosnia’s highest peak on Mt. Maglić, while barely seeing other climbers on the horizon, appeals to you, then keep reading.
Located on the border with Montenegro, Mt. Maglić is situated some 20 km from the town of Foča, and it lies within National Park Sutjeska. It is surrounded by Sutjeska River on the north and west, Mt. Volujak on the southwest, Mt. Bioč on the south and Drina and Piva Rivers on the east. Together with Mt. Zelengora and Mt. Volujak, Mt. Maglić creates a challenging triangle, a sort of a hideaway for experienced climbers. While climbing the steep slopes of this beauty, in the lower parts you will see beech forest, while as from 1600 m above the sea level start the plateaus with meadows, followed by rocky peaks and some icebergs. Perhaps not for altitude junkies, yet conquering Veliki Maglić (2386 m), the highest peak of Bosnia & Herzegovina, is extremely demanding for all mountaineers. But it is worth the view, once you are on the top.
When you are at Sutjeska National Park, after a one-hour long ride from Tjentište, you will arrive at the plateau called Prijevor, one of the two possible starting points for climbing towards the highest peak. Already at Prijevor (1668 m), while enjoying the view on the mountains Trnovački Durmitor, Studenac, Badnja, Volujak and Zelengora you will get the flavor of what expects you on the top. As its name suggests it, Mt. Maglić (Misty Mountain) is most of the year covered with fog, but it can change pretty fast at any point of the day.
Just keep in mind that this is going to be a challenging semi-alpine trail even for the experienced ones, so some Alpine mountaineering experience is required, as well as mountaineering boots, gloves and hard hats. In summer, you will see the meadows full of flowers at Prijevor, but as soon as you start the ascent, they will be replaced by scree and rocky terrain, that is very difficult to walk on. Soon, you will reach the rocks with via ferrata installations from where the cables will help to climb easier, but also for the safety reasons. After 2,5 hours of demanding climb, you will reach Bosnia’s highest peak - Veliki Maglić (2386). From there, you will enjoy the stupendous panoramas. Mt. Volujak, Mt. Zelengora, Mt. Bioč, and Trnovački Durmitor– they will all open in front of your eyes. However, one irresistible beauty will steal your heart – the heart-shaped Trnovačko Lake.
Since you will be in awe of this beauty, your expedition can continue towards that point, passing by the other peak of Mt. Maglić (2388), situated in Montenegro. After a pleasant walk across the flowery meadows you will reach the peak, but then another very demanding task awaits you – a steep and rocky descent of 600 m towards the heart-shaped emerald - Trnovačko lake. It will take you another two hours to descend. Not only this trail is challenging, but the mesmerizing emerald lake also is distracting. It will be difficult not to look at it and to focus on your trail. Trnovačko Lake is situated at an altitude of 1517 m, in the northwest of Montenegro and very close to the border with Bosnia & Herzegovina. With its 2800 m of coastline and having the depth of 9 m, this glacial lake is hugged by many rocky peaks, that reflect in a blue-green colour of the water. If the weather permits, you might enjoy a refreshing swim here. By the way, this location is ideal for camping, if you are into that.
At the end of this glorious journey, you will be contemplating about all the wonders you saw in on the trail. Being still undiscovered by masses, Mt. Maglić is a perfect hideaway for passionate hikers and mountaineers. Conquering Bosnia’s highest peak is challenging but enchanting. Before leaving, an additional insider’s tip would be to explore Perućica, Europe’s last jungle to understand why this is probably the best-kept touristic secret on the Old Continent.
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