Route PL04: Plav – Lake Hrid – Plav
total ascent: 1,630m
surface: macadam (25km), asphalt (23km) and stone trail (2km)
biking conditions: from spring to autumn. The ride is generally possible after rain as well, but one should expect some sections with more mud.
a section of the route leads through an uninhabited mountainous area and forest so one should always bring along a basic bike toolkit, a spare tyre, a torch, a map and a navigation device (a GPS device or at least a compass) – so that a minor defect on the bike or unnecessary wandering around will not spoil our day. Riding in a group is also recommended.
the route along a 14km-long section (from 24.8km to 38.8km) goes through the territory of the Prokletije National Park, so before departure one should check in at the office of the national park which is located in the centre of Plav. Anyway, we can always obtain useful information there on the condition of the route as well as other details which may be relevant.
Probably the most attractive tour in the region of Plav. A rich programme for a full day’s excursion, many different landscapes and magical areas, but it also requires a good fitness level. For those who do not possess it, in this case as well our recommendation is to start it and go as far as you think that it suits you: beauty awaits you at every kilometre. The real exotica, however, starts beyond Babino Polje: the wild lines of ridges and the peaks of Mt. Bogićevica are an ornament and crown on every view.
2.7km from the start we pass a spring. Beyond the village of Komarača (at 4.1km) the ascent becomes more serious – around 7km long, with an elevation gain of about 500m. Near Babino Polje there is still an opportunity to replenish our supplies of water: 6.7km from the start there is a memorial drinking fountain, at 7.9km there is a spring on the right, at 9.1km Bećova česma (Bećo’ s drinking fountain), and then at 9.3km another spring on the right.
The asphalt ends immediately before an important junction (11.6 km from the start) at which we will later close the circuit around Lake Hrid. Now we will proceed straight on from here. At the beginning the road surface is some sort of rough cobblestone in poor condition. After slightly more than one kilometre it will become somewhat better, and there we come across another spring – the Seljimina memorial drinking fountain (on the left side).
Just before it, also on the left side and near the road, in a place called Maslo (where there are several weekend houses and shepherd’s huts or katuns) a mountain hut run by the Hrid Mountaineering Club is situated as well. It is worth staying overnight at this hut – it is open if necessary (one’s arrival should be previously announced to the Hrid MC), and it also offers a charming interplay of wood and stone, a drinking fountain, a convenient campsite…
At 14.3km we pass the smiling and friendly katun of Bajramdurovi pjeskovi, set back about 100m from the road, on the left side.
The end of the 15th kilometre brings us to a large junction at which one should turn left, cross over the nearby little bridge, and after it, continue straight on at another junction which is located there. From there a new intense climb starts which lasts about 9km, with an elevation gain of around 530m.
At the initial, hardest section of the ascent, we reach a junction (at 19.4km) at which our road continues along a short flat section, and the road to Dečani (in Kosovo) forks left and uphill. From here the ascent is somewhat easier and the macadam on the road is also better. We are standing in the centre of a harsh but impressive amphitheatre made up of the steep slopes of Mt. Bogićevica and other high peaks and cliffs. When we start the ascent again after this short downhill section, it will be in a wide arc on the slope of that amphitheatre.
After 24.8km we reach the highest point of the tour – a 2,165m-high mountain pass below the enormous, stone crown of Krš Bogićevice peak. In this place we also enter the territory of the Prokletije National Park. A short and steep descent will take us past a former army watchtower (and a future mountain hut). After the place from which we see the blue water of Lake Hrid for the first time we come across a spot (at 28.2km) at which we turn right, onto the trail which descends to the lake. The trail is very steep and narrow, so we can leave our bikes in the vegetation beside it, just below the road. A walk around the lake (along a narrow route which in certain places is lost in greenery and rocks, but it can always be found again) along with the return to the road is about 1.7km long (this distance has been calculated into the total length of the tour). If we have enough time, we should also follow a path which goes from the eastern side of the lake to the nearby spacious meadow called Tepsijica – a soft quilt of luxurious grass spread below the mighty verticals of Hridski krš (Hrid Rock) peak.
35.2km from the start there is a rather inconstant spring, on the right side of the road. Soon after this spot the road becomes poorer and again turns into a rough cobblestone surface. We go past Lijepa luka (a nice rest spot), and then through Bajrović katun (at 35.7km) and Kolašinski katun (36.7km, a lovely view). At all these locations there are springs with drinking fountains.
38.8km from the start, we will finally descend to the junction which we passed earlier on the ascent from Plav, and that marks the end of the territory of the national park. Now we turn left there (the asphalt starts soon after that) and then return to Plav with a wonderful descent down the road along which we came here.