Bjelasica: Two Peaks and Five Lakes Route

Total distance: 58.52 km
Max elevation: 2079 m
Min elevation: 668 m
Total climbing: 2702 m

GPS

Is it possible in one day to ride a bike around some of the most important and most beautiful locations on Bjelasica? Can we arrange a biking route that includes Pesica Lake, Zekova glava peak, Crna Glava, Ursulovacko Lake, Sevarinsko and Sisko lakes? Certainly, in case we combine biking and hiking, which is a fantastic mix.

Berane (0km, 670m)

This route we start in center of Berane (Cvjetni park), moving next to Lim river, up to the fish pond and Motel Buce, where we will connect to the road leading to Lubnice. Taking this reconstructed road we will start the climb 12km long, biking through beautiful mountain sites following the river Bistrica, upstream. The traffic here is of medium intensity, you will find also trucks and trailers, so do not get distracted by the beautiful surrounding, but be cautious. Average incline going to Lubnice is about 8%. From village Luzac to Lubnice you will be riding along TT3 biking trail.

Lubnice (14km, 990m)

On 14th kilometer you will find yourself in village Lubnice, one of the oldest settlements in this area, mentioned for the first time in written sources sometimes in 1485. It is located in a small valley surrounded by Lucila, Pojatista, Bratonjin peak, Palezi, Osojnik, Vukov mranor and Stubica.

In the center of the village, right on the road, there is Mirasev café, where you can have juice or coffee, and attached to café there is a small shop open throughout the day where you can buy snacks, fruit, juices and bottled water.

If you need accommodation, or good and tasty home-made meal, here are the links that you can use for online reservation at one of the two rural households that offer such services. If you are a tourist, this could be the best location to start your route, and some other biking opportunities from this place would be available to you, no less attractive than the one we are describing.

Rural Household – Kljajic House
Rural Household – Three Springs

Lubnice village is, for the time being, the last point on TT3 trail (for now), which here goes to Kurikuce, Suvodo, Sisko lake, and further on towards Mojkovac, where 305km long trail that goues through enchanting east ends.

Rudinska Rock (20km, 1280m)

We leave Lubnice behind and we continue further on, on good asphalt as evaluated by a biker, following now Jelovica river. This is actually the same river, because Jelovica becomes Bistrica once it connects with streams Suvodo, Gunjara and Merica vrela, just below Lubnice village.

The area we pass is real mountain area, and average incline is similar to the stretch of the road leading up to Lubnice (8%). 2.5km before Jelovica we come to the crossroad and sign that points to Pesica Lake. In case there is no sign (unfortunately things like that happen), you will recognize this place by impressive, huge rock, Rudinska rock, which rises steep from the very bank of Jelovica river, and ends with spacious meadow surrounded by pine trees (which you cannot see from this crossroad).

Since we are very close to Jelovica village, if you feel like it, and if you have time, you can stop by. There are couple of hotels in Jelovica, so if in some case you stayed here, you can start your rout here as well. [GPS]

Senića katun (24km, 1650m)

From Rudinska rock for the next couple of hours we leave the comfort of asphalt behind, and we start a new, significant incline (10%) on solid and wide paved road.

4.30km later we enter the katun (mountainous farmers settlement used in summer only). You will notice that katun is full of authentic mountain huts, constructed in specific style used on Bjelasica mountain, and there are still farmers who come every summer, though less and less each year. At the entrance into this settlement, left from the road, there is a spring, but you will find the drinking water in the katun as well.

Pešića rupa (25km, 1770m)

Further along this route the road gets worse and worse, but vistas more beautiful with each kilometer.

Pesica rupa is the name of another katun (Bastaski katun) which is located at beautiful place just under Pesica lake and Crna Glava peak. Nect to the road there is memorial water tap dedicated to Dusan Pesic, and water here is excellent.

This location is at the same time the end of the first part of biking route, and from here on you will have to hike, push or carry your bike first up to the lake, and then towards Zekova Glava peak.

In Pesica rupa you can have a short break, but do book time for a longer break on Pesica lake, where sitting on some rock next to the water you could eat the best snack in your life, thanks to the beautiful and peaceful site.

Not far from Pesica rupa there is a smaller katun called Lukoviste, that according to folklore was named after the slang word ‘lukoviti’ which means to hunt wild animals in huge numbers. At that time hunters have been merciless with dears and other wild animals that could be found here in large numbers.

Here we also enter the territory of NP Biogradska Gora, so please be sure to read the rules of conduct and of course respect them.

Pešića Lake (26km, 1844m)

We now start the hiking part of this adventure, towards west, along the narrow trail approximately 500m long, which is fully accessible and you can easily pass even if you push or carry your bike.

Finally, after those 500m, through a small pine forest we come up to the lake which is situated between the highest peaks of Bjelasica – Crna glava (2.137m), Zekova Glava (2.116m) and Belila (2.059m). The lake is 290m long and maximum width is 165m. Average depth of the lake is 3m, and maximum depth 8m. This is second largest lake in the area of NP Biogradska gora, and many consider it the most beautiful lake of Bjelasica. There is a legend of a white horse with wings that would come out of the lake at night, so beautiful that the mountain fairies secretely admired it.

The hill raising on the southeast side of the lake is called Pine Peak, and the name comes from the pine forest that covers it.

Southeast of the lake, 200m towards Zekova glava, at its very foot, you will find mountain springs of water, and it would be good that you take your stocks of water here, as the next spring you will come across is far away, on the trail leading from Crna Glava to Ursulovacko lake.

Zekova glava (28km, 2116m)

After the break and enjoyment in beauties of Pesica lake, it is time to move on. We start from the lake, towards northwest, through a narrow hiking trail, and mountaineer markings will tell you that you are on the right path. The goal is to climb on the Olomerska hill, a complex of fields and meadows just between the two highest peaks of Bjelasica, Zekova glava and Crna glava.

If this trail was better arranged and just widened enough so you are able to turn the pedals, bikers who are in better shape could easily ride up this incline. Generally speaking, this whole hiking part of the route could, with little effort, become a great single track trail.

There is another, shorter trail leading to Zekova glava, through Kofilj, where there is a cold water spring also called Kofilj, but that trail is much steeper and not good enough for carrying the bike on your back.

When we finally get to the top, on the other side of the slope we will see an unpaved road, and for your information it is good to know that this is TT3, trail that started in Mojkovac, through Biogradsko lake area, and goes further through Bjelasica to Tresnjevik pass, Kuti village and Lipovica mountain to Grncar, to continue for couple of more tens of kilometers though this beautiful region. This is also where TT2 trail passes, coming from Bijelo Polje (Ravna Rijeka), further through Siska, reljina, Jagancarske rupe, coming up to Vranjak, and through Jezerine going to Kolasin.

Who wants to take a walk to Zekova glava broadcasting tower, the orientation is quite obvious. The view from here is wonderful, so if you are here for the first time, do not miss the opportunity to engrave into your memory the fantastic vistas – as on palm of your hand you will see the katuns you passed by, unpaved road navigating through forests and meadows, Pesica lake in all its glory, and many more. If you decide to go towards the broadcasting tower, you will spend two more kilometers, counting the way back as well.

Even during the warmest summer time it can be cold at this place, with chilly wind, so we recommend that you take with you some long sleeve clothes or wind breaker.

Crna glava (31km, 2137m)

Opposite from the trail leading to Zekova glava, on a steep field we start the incline towards north – northeast. 400m later, the incline becomes easier, and those who are experienced in riding on terrains like this one can try and ride a good section of this trail leading to Crna Glava through a location called Galica, which is interesting also for the fact that here you will find pine trees called Krivulj.

You will be amazed by the view of cliffs falling sharply all the way to the fields known as Vrtace, towards Pesica Rupe, and this part of the trail is very attractive. It is not difficult to get to the cliffs, you would move though green fields and grass, but if you decide to explore, pay attention where you step, and keep away from the edges of the cliffs.

As we go, Crna glava gets closer and closer, and soon we arrive to the point where we need to turn to a new trail that leads to Ursulovacko lake. If you want, you can climb to the top which is only 150m far from here, but be very careful as you climb, because the final part of the climb (where the stamp is) goes through a rocky area, and falling from here could be deadly. This location you will recognize by a wooden, yellow signpost that says Izvor-spring, and the spring it points to is at the final part of decline to the lake.

We don’t know if it needs to be said that the view from the highest peak of Bjelasica is spectacular, it would be a great waste to miss it, so if you haven’t been here, you should see it.

This is also a moment we have been waiting for. We are at the highest altitude on this route, and from this point on, all the way towards Berane, you will be going downhill. But, it is not as easy as it might seem, because you need to take the mountaineers trails until you reach unpaved road on 1580m. And this means a lot of carrying of your bike on your back, overcoming of obstacles, move and stop biking. But keep calm, this is all part of this adventure.

Big Ursulovačko Lake (32km, 1904m)

Until we reach the lake, we have 800m of downhill ride, on mountaineer trek, and mainly you can ride without many problems, though there are some obstacles on the way.

Big Ursulovacko lake is the lake on highest altitude on Bjelasica (Ursus means bear in Latin). It is also called Kurikucko lake. Between big and small Ursulovacko lakes there is a location where you can find a rare five-needles pine tree called molika. This is the last point where you can find this rare tree. Big Ursulovacko lake was formed by accumulation of water in the area between Crna glava, velika Ostrovica and Desina Gora. It is on 1904m altitude, maximum depth is 8 meters. The shape of the lake is oval, it is 210m long and 120m wide.

Ursulovacko lake is another good opportunity for a long break, for a meal, refreshment and even a bath. Enjoy it.

Small Ursulovačko Lake (33km, 1775m)

From southeast bank of the lake we move towards northwest, where we will find steep rocky trail that will take us down to a grassy plateau, and very soon we will be able to see the lake at distance, so there will be no dilemma if we are on the right trail. Here we have to carry the bikes on our back, but when we get down on the pasture, even though the trail is not made for biking, we will be able to ride for the most part.

Small Ursulovacko lake, or Blatina as they call it, was formed through accumulation of water in a small valley on western side of Ostrovica, on an altitude of 1775m. It is 60m long and its maximum width is 39m.

Ševarine (36km, 1650m)

As you move from Blatine very soon you come across beech forest, and within it there is a wide trail good enough for biking, though there are many scattered rocks of different sizes all over it. Another kilometer of difficult decline and we finally reach location called Livadice, where next t the first mountain hut that we approach we need to find unpaved road that actually ends here. By taking this road we continue towards Reljina, moving southwest. Soon after the first curve, 300m later we approach the crossroad wher we should move uphill, on the left. We find ourselves again on TT2 and TT3 trail. On the next curve, very close to the mountain hut – and this is very important – we need to turn right where across one field we enter the old forest, and just behind the forest we reach Sevarine.

Sevarine is glacial lake which is in late stage of disappearance due to huge number of water plants. It is one of the most important wetlands on Bjelasica. It is 180m long and 120m wide.

Šiško Lake (37km, 1660m)

From Sevarine we are again on unpaved road, and further on there are no more hiking sections. Already very eager for a real ride we hurry through a big and alive katun Siska, towards the last lake on this trip, which is only 1.2km away from here. This is a very beautiful part of the trail, and after many hours of biking through wilderness, it feels good to pass through flocks of sheep, it feels good to say a good day to sheppards, and even angry dogs do not bother us too much as they chase us.

Though many people do not count Sisko lake among most attractive lakes in Montenegro, it certainly has its advantages. This area would not be the same if it wasn’t for this lake that silently sleeps under Zuber (1848m). And when you climb on the top of Zuber, or any other nearby peak, you will realize how this lake made the whole area more noble and pleasant. And it is to blame for why many people love Siska.

There is also a Small Sisko lake that is only 1km away from Sisko lake, towards southeast, on 1795m altitude, but unfortunately it was too difficult to package it into this route.

Sisko lake is 195m long, 130m wide, and its maximum depth is 3.5m. Small Sisko lake is 80m long, and 50m wide.

Katun Suvodo (40km, 1477m)

We say goodbye until next time to the beautiful mountain eyes of Bjelasica and we continue on unpaved road towards katun Suvodo. On the first crossroad TT2 trail leaves us and goes to Ravna Rijeka (Bijelo Polje), but we remain on TT3 all the way to the center of Berane, just going in opposite direction. A bit less than 3km of very bad road and we reach the katun. There is a water tap on the crossroad, and a nice shelter just next to it, with wooden benches and tables set up here by Forest Management. Who wants can take a break here, but we suggest you do that at mountaineers hut Suvodo.

Mountaineers Hut Suvodo (43km, 1300m)

Only 2.6km until you reach the hut. The road is much better and the area we pass is beautiful and tame, with many mountain huts. Somewhere here there is a signpost informing us that we are leaving the territory of national park Biogradska Gora.

You cannot miss the Mountaineers hut Suvodo as it is located just next to the road. You can have a nice rest here, with a cold drink, or if you are hungry you can have some traditional food. You can get decent accommodation here, and for lerger groups there is a special discount.

Kurikuće (45km, 1140m)

From the mountaineers hut we bike along Suvodo river, and soon we reach Kurikuce (1.5km until the first houses). Entrance into the village at the same time means the end of bumpy road, as we finally find ourselves on asphalt again. There are 3 more kilometers until Lubnice, and after the whole trip so far, this downhill ride is comfortable and quick as if we ride Ferrari.

Back to Berane (61km, 670m)

Reaching the café and shop in Lubnice, we close this spectacular biking circle. We are at the same spot where we have been just couple of hours earlier. For those who started the trip in Lubnice, this is the end of the route. For those who started in Jelovice, there are 7-8 quite difficult kilometers of uphill ride until you reach the hotels. For us who started in Berane it will not be as difficult… 12km long downhill ride and 1km more to the starting point.

What to say at the end?

No description can give you the full overview of beauty, excitement, adrenaline and all the other positive effects offered by this route. Definitely one of the most attractive and most difficult routes in whole of Montenegro.

Info:
Asphalt: 36km
Unpaved road: 15km
Mountaineering trails: 8km
Best season for this route:  Sumer months
Gear: GPS device or compass, basic toolkit, spare tire, lamp.

The danger from wild animals is really small, but it should be said that these forests are a big habitat of bears and wolves, and among lizards here you can find poisonous horned viper and adder.

Route taken by: Jovan Nikolić, Miki Nikolić

IPhone 4s

VIDEO RIDERS.ME

Similar route option that you can start in Kolasin. It includes Vranjak, Zekova Glava, Pesica Lake and at the end Biogradsko Lake. On this video you can see the locations that we describe in text, Zekova Glava and Pesica Lake.

One thought on “Bjelasica: Two Peaks and Five Lakes Route”

  1. Jovan – I just want to say publicly thank you for all you are doing to open up MTB options in Montenegro. We really look forward to seeing this advance for the good of Montenegro, MTB adventurers from all over, and the locals that are beginning to host guests. Srečan MTB put!

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