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The Dinaric Alps – Magic of summer and winter seasons at Treskavica Mountain

Treskavica Mountain is part of Dinaric Alps mountain range and placed south of the capital Sarajevo.

There are those places that leave you speechless. You only feel positive energy flowing through your entire body. You can’t hide a smile from your face. You’re in love. Happy. Feelings wake up and you don’t know what to say.

This is how I feel every time I go to Treskavica. When I walk through the dense forests and vast meadows. Meadows rich with berries and decorated with colorful wildflowers or glistening under the snow. Every season is different and has its own charm, but for me especially wonderful and can’t be missed are summer and winter.

The Summer Escape – Wild Berries and Lakes

Translated into English Treskavica means ‘Shaky Mountain’ because in the past there were frequent small earthquakes on this mountain. Today, even though there are no earthquakes all your senses will be ‘shaken’ in a most wonderful way. Sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. All senses are in play.

Don’t bother to bring fruit on your hike, because here you can just pick it for yourself. During summer months picking wild berries such as raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries is one of the most interesting and delicious things to do on Treskavica. Yummy!

Hear the relaxing sound of a light breeze while walking through the narrow forest path. See high cliffs with thick coniferous forest on the top and stunning waterfall tumbling down. Then, babbling creek how it finds its way to the foothills of the mountain, where it joins together with the second creek into Željeznica river.

Glacial Lakes: Big and Black Lake

Continue uphill through the forest and then reach another world. Colorful meadows covered with beautiful wildflowers and berries. Two glacial lakes, just like mountain eyes situated in the middle of what appears to look like a huge natural amphitheater.

After picking wild berries comes a pleasant swim in the Black Lake. This glacial lake is situated at an altitude of 1.675 m, which is approximately just 100 m higher than Big Lake. It got its name after a moss at the bottom, which gives that dark, black appearance. During hot summer days temperature of the lake is refreshing, but comfortable.

When tourists come to the Black Lake they are speechless because of landscape and they are surprised there are no people. It’s like you have your own lake. Last summer, one family from Israel told me if this was anywhere else in Europe it would be busy. Although I wish more people could see the beauties of Treskavica, I’m glad it’s not crowded because all hikers who visit this mountain can truly enjoy in the wilderness. See it and feel it in peace and tranquility.

From Black Lake you can see one part of Great Lake. While descending towards it you will have a wider perspective, and in on point see it completely in its size and beauty. The Great Lake is twice the length of the first lake. Years ago a trout was successfully inserted in it, so today it’s a popular place for local fishermen. Beside the lake is a mountain refuge built by Ecological Mountaineering Club “Treskavička jezera”. Perfect spot for stargazing and to enjoy in sunset and sunrise.

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Hike to Veliko (Big) Lake on Treskavica Mountain with American friends
Mountain Hut on Treskavica

Winter Wonderland on Treskavica Mountain

Treskavica is the richest Bosnian mountain when it comes to water. It is said it has 365 springs, one for every day in a year. Some of them are forming rivers: Rakitnica, Željeznica, Bistrica and Ljuta river, and others are forming lakes. Totally 10 and the most popular are glacial: Black Lake, Great lake, Platno, White Lake and Zmijsko (Snake) lake.

While walking in the winter you will enjoy in the calming melody of many babbling creeks on your way to the lakes. The path is stunning for those who like winter in the forest and panoramic views of frozen lakes and surrounding peaks. The snow is glistening around you and crunching under your feet. Just like a fairytale!

The best way to enjoy in the beauty of the winter season in the mountains is with snowshoes. It will speed up your hike, help you to move easier through the snow and enable you to enjoy more in the mountains during short days. I fell in love with snowshoeing from the first attempt.

On a half way from Turovi settlement, your starting point, towards the lakes, a beautiful wooden mountain hut “Radovan Bjelica” is situated in the coniferous forest. It has an amazing view of the Siljevice cliffs. The hut is comfy, newly built and you will be welcomed by a very friendly host Milovan and his furry friend Cui.

For a great and fulfilling weekend getaway on Treskavica, I would recommend to hike to the hut, stay overnight and enjoy in the homemade cuisine and stunning view. In the morning after the breakfast go for a hike to the lakes and get your batteries charged up by the sun and scenic landscape.

Beautiful & Dangerous

As all mountaineers know each mountain has its peculiar character and you need to understand it and respect it. But, Treskavica has something else that makes her more unpredictable and dangerous and because of what you need to be extra careful – landmines!

Unfortunately, during the last war in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-95 landmines were placed all over Treskavica. Today, older and well-experienced mountaineers and foresters, who know this area very good and which parts of Treskavica are risky of landmines, managed to build and mark safe paths for hikers.

One of those trails is the trail that goes from Turovi settlement in the foothills of the mountain, beside two mountain huts to the Great Lake and Black Lake. This is a very good marked path, but for the first time is best to go with someone who has been here before.

Some of my friends say this is one of the most beautiful mountains in Bosnia and for others, this was their favorite escape in nature almost every weekend before the war. I often remember my grandad’s stories about his hikes on Treskavica and “Josip Sigmund” mountain hut at Kozja Luka. It was among the most beautiful and biggest huts in Bosnia, from the 60s till 90s when was on the beginning of the war burned and totally destroyed.

Logging on Treskavica

It’s paradox that mines didn’t stop illegal cutting of trees, or better say whole forests to be almost completely destroyed. Three years ago, numerous trees were cut down, machines stood beside the road and sections that are passing beside the gravel road were awfully muddy.

Those who hike this trail today can’t even imagine how thick the forest was before the illegal cutting. But, Treskavica is holding bravely and these areas are recovering quickly. Still very beautiful and wild!

It’s sad Treskavica and some other mountains in Bosnia are contaminated with mines, but I hope in the future whole country will be cleared and more national parks will be formed to preserve our natural recourses. The establishment of a national park is the only way to stop the illegal cutting of trees or even worse deforestation of the Bosnian mountains.

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Snowshoeing on Treskavica
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On our way to the Big Lake

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