Hiking in Montenegro: Canyons, Lakes and National Parks
From the highlands, to the deep canyons and the many mountain lakes, Montenegro has blown us away! Our crossing of the country took us to three of its six national parks and on 220 miles of trails. Without a doubt, Montenegro has been the country of canyons. In no other country we have seen so many gorgeous canyon features.
Canyons and Mountains Lakes of the Durmitor
For our last days in Bosnia, the weather was so bad that we decided to change our route and not to climb the Maglic, the highest point in Bosnia. It is almost a coincidence that we entered Montenegro along the Tara Canyon, the largest in Europe and the second largest in the world behind the Grand Canyon.
It sums up quite well our overall impression of Montenegro: how many wonders gathered in such a small territory can still go unnoticed?
It was difficult to find information about this trail at the bottom of the canyon that we could see on the map. Neither the internet nor local guides had any information for us. A beautiful surprise this canyon, a desert and sublime trail, old rusty bridges and sumptuous waterfalls. The hitch: the trail stopped at the waterfalls, forced us to turn back for a whole day to access the plateau.
Two days later, we went down to Susica Canyon. If the precedent marks the border between Bosnia and Montenegro, this one is the gateway to the Durmitor National Park. At the bottom of the canyon, there was still a little snow, but as soon as we went back to the other side, it was still totally winter.
A lot of snow, a big tiredness and a light hangover decided us not to climb on the high peaks of the Durmitor. The rest of the park was beautiful anyway!
The day before at the end of the day, we had arrived in the village of Mala Crna Gora, the highest village in the Balkans. The only road being covered with snow, we expected to find the village deserted and not having too much trouble finding a barn full of hay to spend the night. It was without counting on Milan, who stays in his village all year long and who served us our first demonstration of the Montenegrin welcome (and not the last one). Hence the hangover the next day…
We had seen a white lake from afar, frozen and covered with snow. It was still early and we went to see it more closely. This white lake is called Crno Jezero, the black lake in Serbo-Croat.
More Canyons and Final Night in the Snow? (Let’s Hope So)
After a few days of rest and video editing in Zabljak, we headed South to Nevidio Canyon. Following the canyon would have deviated too much from our route. We explored the mouth during the afternoon and the drone has allowed us to see a little more.
We did not want to get too far from our next goal: Moraca Mountain. Up there we set what will probably be our last camp in the snow of the whole trip… hopefully. On a pass, overlooking Kapetanovo Lake we fell asleep without knowing that one of the most beautiful days of the trip was waiting for us the next day.
From the shores of this frozen lake, lined with shepherds’ huts still uninhabited at the end of the winter season, we descended and descended again. As the altitude changed, the seasons did the same. Soon enough snow became scarce, discovering pastures and rivers full of meltwater. Further down, we arrived at the entrance to Mrtvica Canyon. The turquoise blue water, the trail dug into the cliff, and the wildlife delighted us.
The Biogradska Gora National Park is the smallest in the country. We mainly remember the lake, which is beautiful, we have to say. The rest of the park was rather uninteresting. It may be different in summer…
Sharing This Adventure
We were joined by Morgane who spent a week with us. She accompanied us to cross the border into Albania. Together we crossed a last national park, the newest in the country, Prokletije. A last Montenegrin night in an abandoned sheep barn a bit seedy and direction Albania. We had two choices to cross this new frontier, the easy way to Theth and a tougher climb to Valbonë.
Here again, we made the sad report of catastrophic waste management, both by the state and by the inhabitants. But how can we blame people for not taking care of their garbage when they know that they will be buried or incinerated somewhere… However, we imagine that things will move in the years to come. Indeed the environment is the main point of blockage in the procedure of entry into the EU of Montenegro. We feel that the subject is becoming topical and we have also been invited to talk about 1KG FOR THE PLANET by the national TV in Podgorica.
Follow our adventures on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and our website and read our article about crossing Bosnia’s heights in winter.
Marie and Nil
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