July and August, there are sometimes a lot of tourists on the highest peak of the region – so we recommend going on this route in spring, autumn or during the week!
Tarnica (1364 meters above sea level) is the highest peak in the Polish part of the Bieszczady Mountains. It is surpassed by 44 meters by Pikuj, which already lies in Ukraine. At the top of the mountain is an 8-meter-tall cross. The name comes from the Romanian language (the indigenous people of the Carpathian Mountains are primarily from present-day Romania) and means “saddle.” The intuition of the locals was quite accurate – the mountain with its characteristic pass under the peak seen from below does indeed resemble a horse saddle.
This is probably the most beautiful trail in the Polish part of the Bieszczady Mountains and an all-day hike with almost 21 km to cover. In addition to Tarnica itself, during the tour you will see a breeding farm of Hucul horses, unique to the region, and pass the second highest peak in the Bieszczady, Halicz.
Route length: 21 km / 7 hrs.
Elevation gain: 900 m
Start – Wołosate village
The trip to Tarnica begins in Wołosate. This is the southernmost inhabited village in Poland. Today, there are only a few residential houses here, as well as an enclosure for the Hucul horse – a unique, frost-resistant and inconvenient breed of horse native to the Carpathian Mountains.
We park at the large parking lot of the Bieszczady National Park. From the parking lot in Wołosate we take the asphalt road among the village buildings in the southern direction. Here we pay for the entrance to the park (about 7 PLN).
We enter the blue-colored trail, which will accompany us at the beginning. We walk through vast meadows. After about 30 minutes of hiking, we reach a place where we have a series of wooden stairs to climb, crossing the beech forest. After a break spent in the shelter, we continue our way towards the top of Tarnica.
In the mountain pastures
After about an hour of walking we come out to the edge of the mountain pastures – huge meadows formerly used for grazing sheep. From there it’s only half an hour to the top of Tarnica.
First, we get to the Pass under Tarnica, where we change the color of the trail to yellow and after 15 minutes we stand on the highest peak of the Bieszczady Mountains on the Polish side. It offers one of the most beautiful Bieszczady Mountains panoramas.
After returning to the pass, we follow the red trail further towards Mount Halicz (1333 m). We traverse vast meadows, waving with blades of tall grasses in summer. The views bring to mind associations with Game of Thrones and scenery straight out of fantasy books!
On the slopes of Kopa Bukowska we pass rocky outcrops, which are the perfect place to rest for a while and feast your eyes on the beautiful landscape. We reach the top of Halicz after about 1.5 hours of walking from Tarnica. There are several benches on the top.
We return to the parking lot by a long, gently descending, rocky road from Bukowska Pass. It takes us 1.5 hours to traverse this section, after which we come back to Wołosate.