Via Dinarica Visocica Mountain

The Via Dinarica section across Visocica Mountain takes you from the Herzegovina region towards central Bosnia and the hearth of the country. Vast pastures, walk along the ridgeline, and stunning 360-degree panorama view of surrounding mountains is something that will blow the mind of any hiker. Placing one foot in front of the other, you embark on the journey of discovery of the wild places, mountains, and meeting highlanders of the Dinaric Alps in Bosnia.

While walking the ridge, the view reaches Rakitnica Canyon and Bjelasnica Mountain. A previous section of the White Trail of the Via Dinarica long-distance hiking trail in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After crossing Visocica, the trail further goes towards the oldest and biggest national park in the country – Sutjeska National Park.

But, there is something new and very close to this long-distance trail – a brand new bivouac. The newly built bivouac Zoran Simic on Visocica Mountain offers the possibility to explore Visocica more and enjoy the stunning landscape, sunsets, sunrises, and peacefulness of the mountain.

Visocica Mountain: Panorama views and vast pastures

Free-flowing mountain rivers and its canyons are separating Visocica from surrounding mountains. On the east, the Ljuta River is a natural border between Visocica and Treskavica. The wild and hardly passable canyon of Rakitnica River divides Visocica from Bjelasnica. On the south and south-west, emerald green Neretva flows between Visocica and Prenj. Sadly, only Neretva is not a free-flowing river. Huge hydropower dams tame Neretva’s wild soul on her journey, more than 200 km long, from the borders of Sutjeska National Park to the Adriatic Sea.

Apart, having rivers as natural borders, Visocica is surprisingly rich with water on the whole mountain. Even though the terrain looks dry and rocky, this mountain has many underground springs. Karst terrain with limestone rocks and underground springs are the main feature of the Dinaric Alps.

In Spring, when snow is melting and in early Summer, waterfalls are tumbling down the slopes facing Bjelasnica into Rakitnica Canyon. When walking pervious Via Dinarica section on Bjelasnica, from Lukomir Village via the canyon to Umoljani, it’s possible to enjoy this view. And what a glorious view is to see streams, first flowing through the thick mostly beech wood, and then dropping down the towering rock slopes of Visocica Mountain.

Visocica is like other mountains of the Dinaric Alps very diverse. Besides streams and underground springs, Visocica is on its slopes covered with mostly beech wood, and in its heartland with vast pastures. High karstic mountain plateaus abound in a variety of karst formations, like sinkholes and karren.

In the past, like on many other mountains in Bosnia, Visocica’s high pastures were also home of a temporary, seasonal shepherds’ settlements (katuni). Every summer, shepherds would come from south Herzegovina with their herds in search of fresh grass. Old cemeteries scattered across the mountain, drywalls and remains of exterior walls of shepherd houses are keeping the stories about highlanders who used to live a few centuries ago on Visocica.

Via Dinarica White Trail section across Visocica

This section of the Via Dinarica White Trail follows the ridge overlooking Medjedja Canyon covered in forest, Rakitnica canyon, and Bjelasnica Mountain rising as a right shore of Rakitnica River. The view is magical, especially in October, when fall colors decorate Medjedja Canyon and slopes and woods around villages of Visocica. A kaleidoscope of leaf colors that stays in the mountain for many weeks.

Via Dinarica on Visocica starts in Bobovica Village (1251 m), one of few mountain villages situated on the slopes of this mountain. From Bobovica Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia is only a 45-minute drive via an asphalt road. Therefore, this could be the best time to visit Sarajevo during your Via Dinarica adventure in Bosnia. Get the local bus or hitchhike from Visocica to the center of Sarajevo. It should be easy to find some local hikers to ask them for a drive, as this mountain is very popular for walking among hikers from Sarajevo.

From Bobovica, the trail is ascending through thick beech forest to the summit of Drstva. Further, it follows a ridgeline via Veliko Brdo Peak (1884 m) to Vito Peak (1960 m). The ridgeline walk offers a stunning 360-degree panorama view. It’s hard not to stop every few seconds to enjoy the view!

Frankly, I couldn’t resist to stop every few seconds and just smile and stare. I peered to all mountains in the vicinity and tried to distinguish what peaks I could see. It is like a puzzle I need to solve. With every new path I walk, I’m building and shaping the map of the mountains in my head. The joy of exploration runs through my entire body with every new step I make and every new view I see. From the Visocica’s pastures, and peaks, to Bjelasnica, Treskavica, Romanija, Jahorina, and Trebevic, all these mountains are possible to see on the walk across the high ridgeline.

After reaching Vito Peak, very popular among local hikers, the trails descend a little bit and then turn toward the natural amphitheater made by Visocica’s few peaks, including Vito. Further, it continues through the beech forest and descends to Vrelo Mountain Hut and Visocica Restaurant, run by a local family. My favorite spinach pie I have ever tried is in this small restaurant. I don’t know why. Does it have to do with the way of preparing the dough, spinach cultivation, or wood-burning stove? Or is it just some secret ingredient of the chef? But, after trying so many spinach pies in the mountain villages, cities, or homes of my friends and family, this is still my favorite one.

Posing for the camera with Bjelasnica in the background. Image courtesy of Thierry Joubert.
3 2 1 and I'm on the summit of Drstva. Image courtesy of Thierry Joubert.

A brand new bivouac with a great view!

While hiking the Via Dinarica section on Visocica, you will probably get a desire to explore more of this serene and beckoning mountain. Brand new bivouac, built and officially open mid-October 2019, gives a possibility for detours and a longer staying on Visocica.

Located on the edge of a vast pasture, overlooking Medjedja Canyon and Bjelasnica, below the Paric Peak, the bivouac is isolated and offers peacefulness and stunning view. The city lights are remote, so observing the stars on a clear night is so fulfilling. I have set my sleeping bag next to the window and eventually fall asleep while stargazing. The silence was absolute. I felt so connected with nature. As Erling Kagge in his book ‘Silence: In the age of noise‘ wrote “I began a conversation with nature. My thoughts were broadcast out over the plains towards the mountains, and other ideas were sent back.”

I woke up with the sunrise and watched Dzamija (1967 m), the highest peak of Visocica, bathed in the first sunlight. I felt so refreshed and recharged.

The bivouac sits on the crossroad of few paths – trail to Dzamija Peak, Medjedja Canyon, Paric – Djetelas – Vito, and trail that takes you to an asphalt road that passes beside Puzimsko cemetery, and further to Ljuta, next section of Via Dinarica. That said, the bivouac Zoran Simic offers a quite range of possibilities for all hikers, especially as it is the only bivouac on Visocica Mountain.

Information about the hike

  • Get GPS tracks on Outdooractive

Via Dinarica: Lukomir via Visocica Mountain to Ljuta 

The trail from asphalt road close to Puzim Cemetery (junction toward Ljuta) to Zoran Simic bivouac

Self-guided tour with logistic support available on demand.

  • Two water sources close to the bivouac. One is close to the four gravestones, or as some call it the ridge Hrljeve bare, you can see from the bivouac. The second source is on the trail toward the asphalt road.
  • If you need more information about the hike feel free to contact me.
Ridgeline walk with Bjelasnica and Rakitnica Canyon in the background
Bobovica Village
Autumn in the mountains. View of Medjedja Canyon and Bjelasnica Mountain.
Zoran Simic Bivouac
Absolute silence and peacefulness. Being present in the moment.
Our dinner mmm
Zoran Simic Bivouac and Green Visions crew. Image courtesy of Thierry Joubert
Little joys of hiking in the Dinaric Alps
Rakitnica Canyon winding between Visocica and Bjelasnica
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