The stage of the Via Dinarica long-distance trail, which traverses across Zelengora Mountain, goes through the wildest and breathtaking parts of the Sutjeska National Park.
It takes you across beautiful alpine meadows, besides several glacial lakes, and through dense forests. Refresh yourself in one of the Zelengora’s ‘mountain eyes,’ walk the paths of Tito and Partisans, and enjoy delicious wild blueberries along the way.
Zelenogora has 8 ‘mountain eyes’ scattered across its lush-green-alpine meadows or hidden in thick forest and beneath rocky peaks.
Throughout Sutjeska National Park, the Via Dinarica White Trail passes beside 3-mountain lakes – Orlovacko, Gornje Bare, and Donje Bare. Except for these lakes that are part of the national park, the hike includes a possible stop at Jugovo Lake, the only artificial lake at Zelengora.
Orlovacko Lake is a glacial lake situated on the grassy plateau at the altitude of 1438 meters. Above the plateau rises a rocky ridge, a powerful contrast to lush green grass and treetops around the lake.
The lake is on the border of the Sutjeska National Park, the oldest and biggest national park in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The closest peaks you can climb are Ljeljen (1766 m), Kalelija (1977m), and Orlovac (1962 m) and Bregoc (2014 m), which are both located within the national park. Bregoc is the highest peak of Zelengora, and trail to this peak is following the Via Dinarica long-distance trail.
Given that this part of Zelengora is rich in lakes, we suggest to stay an extra day and walk a loop trail around 6-lakes (including Orlovacko).
A few hundred meters away from Orlovacko lake, beside the macadam road toward Jugovo Lake, there is a lovely wooden cottage you can rent. Perfect place for an overnighter! Or you can try some wild camping.
Jugovo Lake, also known as Borilovacko Lake, is situated in the foothills of Kalelija Peak, and very close to the Orlovacko Lake. Just 1.6 km away.
This stunning lake was created by blocking the mountain stream, and it gave visitors an excellent swimming spot with a perfect view of Zelenogora’s surrounding peaks.
Its depth is similar to the deepness of Orlovacko Lake, around 5 meters.
Two macadam roads will take you to the lakes of Jugovo and Orlovacko, but both are suitable only for off-road vehicles. One goes from the main road Foča-Gacko, across the saddle Cemerno, and another from the direction of Kalinovik. Both routes are approximately 25 km long. But the one across Cemerno is in better condition.
Gornje Bare Lake
Gornje Bare lake is surrounded by the Tovarnica ridge and Ugljesin Peak, which are joined together in an incredible amphitheater.
The ridge walk is breathtaking! This hike takes you across more than half of the amphitheater, giving you a bird’s eye view of the lake with the Tovarnica ridge in the background.
At the end of a vast lush green meadow, beneath the Ugljesin Peak, sparkles the surface of Gornje Bare Lake under the sun. Sometimes, when the water is calm, you can see the reflection of Tovarnica ridge.
The lake is suitable for swimming, just don’t be scared of the lake snakes. The depth is around 3.5 meters.
Donje Bare Lake
As hidden in the forest, it is impossible to see Donje Bare Lake from the macadam road. At the end of the road, stairs go through a lovely deciduous forest and take you to the lake.
In the time of Yugoslavia, President Josip Broz Tito had a hunting cottage beside the lake, and nowadays, you can see only foundations. But, just across it, there is a wooden cottage that you can rent and enjoy in silence and beautiful landscape.
This glacial lake is bigger than the Gornje Bare Lake, and its depth is 4 meters. On the trail around the lake, you will pass beside the source of drinkable water.
Donje Bare Lake is 3 km away from Gornje Bare Lake.
In its vicinity, there is a monument dedicated to the Dalmatian Brigade, which fought in the famous Battle of Sutjeska during World War II.
Across the vast meadow, the Via Dinarica trail continues further through the forest to Kovacev Panj, the end of the section across Zelengora Mountain.
Bregoc - Zelengora's highest peak
At 2,014 masl, Bregoc, located around 4 km away from Orlovacko Lake, is the highest peak of Zelengora.
The entire time from the Orlovacko Lake trail is traversing across alpine meadows. It’s a steady uphill walk with relatively flat sections. Once you make it to the top, you can enjoy incredible 360 views of Zelengora Mountain.
I love the view of high ridgelines, sheer rock precipices of Volujak and Maglic, the other two mountains of the Sutjeska National Park.
You can also see Ugljesin Peak, the next peak to climb on Zelengora. Via Dinarica trail continues across meadows and through the beech forest to Ugljesin Peak and Gornje Bare Lake (6.4 km). This section of the hike has steep ascents and descents across a grassy hillside.
Ugljesin Peak and stunning ridge walk
Once you arrive at Ugljesin Peak, you will be amazed by the panoramic view! From sheer rock cliffs of Maglic and Volujak divided from Zelengora with the canyon of Sutjeska river to Bregoc Peak and Zelengora’s numerous pastures and dense forest.
This peak is part of the incredible amphitheater it forms together with the Tovarnica ridge. The ridge walk is optional, and not recommended for those who are afraid of height.
You will walk 3 km, mostly on the macadam road, to Donje Bare Lake. Once you get to Donje Bare, the trail further goes across the meadow and descent through the forest to the Kovacev Panj and the main road (6.3 km).
If you have time, make a short detour (0.82 km) to the Boric Viewpoint. From here, you will see high Zelengora’s cliffs tumbling into river Sutjeska. And on the other side primeval forest Perucica in the foothills of Maglic, and next to it Volujak Mountain.
Starting point: Orlovacko Lake
Orlovacko Lake – Bregoc – Ugljesin Peak – Donje Bare Lake 12.96 km
Donje Bare – Kovacev Panj 6.34 km
Map: Sutjeska National Park (zoom in parts of the national park you want to see closer)
Approximate hiking time: 9 hours
Difficulty rating: demanding
Water sources: at the Orlovacko Lake Cottage, on the trail around the Donje Bare Lake below the cottage.
Entrance fee for the national park: 5 BAM