Kroatië: Dinara

 (1830 m)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinara (1830m) is highest Croatian mountain and summit. Its
name is related to Dinara mountain (massif), Dinara group and Dinara summit.
Dinara became the symbol for the longest mountain chain on Balkans and gave it
its name, The Dinaric Alps, that is stretching from Slovenia, over
Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Monte Negro and ends in Albania.

Dinara mountain is huge massif on the border between Croatia (Dalmatia)
and Bosnia Herzegovina, around 100km long, stretching from NW towards
SE. Mountain is divided into 4 groups: Ilica (1654m), Dinara (1830m),
Troglav (1913m) and Kamesnica (1855m). Last two groups are higher than Dinara
but their peaks belong to Bosnia Herzegovina as the border was not drawn on the
ridge but some kilometer lower along the slope! Except for the Dinara group
rest of the mountain is mostly mix of rock and grass, containing enormous
pasture areas, which were extensively used till some 20-30 years ago by
thousands of cattle. Some cliffs can be found on the northern sides of Troglav
and Konj peaks (highest peak of Kamesnica). Dinara mountain (massif) is also
divide between Mediterranean and Continental climate. In the antic times the
name for Dinara was Adrion Oros.

 

 

 

 

Dinara or Sinjal (1830m) is highest peak of
the group and Croatia. Its volume is amazing, a mountain within
mountain. Although absolute height is not very impressive SW face surely
is. From its foothills it rises 1400m ending with 700m high cliffs and
is some 6km wide. It begins at highest peak and stretches towards SE.
Below Osljak (1706m) peak cliffs are highest and then edge of face
gradually descents till it melts into the plateau at the foot of the mountain
near Glavas village. This is most powerful expression on the whole
mountain (massif), which acts like a magnet on sight for anyone who travels by
car between Knin and Vrlika. In the face there are few mighty couloirs and the
face itself is like enormous staircase. Behind the edge of the face is huge
undulating pasture that gradually descends towards NE and amphitheater above Unista
village. Despite its beauty and height the face does not attract many climbers,
probably because of not so easy access.

 

 

 

 

Dinara and its 1400m high SW
Face
from the Civljane -> Cetina river source road.

 

 

 

 

Sunset glow on SW face of Dinara

 

 

 

 

On the edge of
Dinara’s SW face.

 

 

 

 

Dinara is formed of limestone and is
really the kingdom of karst, below and above the surface. There is not a single
water flow on the mountain as thirsty karst terrain swallows it all. Inside the
mountain are huge water reservoirs. This water emerges on the surface at the
foothills of the mountain in form of strong sources which eject whole rivers at
once. There are 3 such sources and 2 of them are of 2 major Dalmatian
rivers; Krka and Cetina.

 

 

Source of Cetina river is perhaps
most amazing of numerous Croatian karst river sources. Cetina comes out of 100m
deep and perpendicular hole, at the foot of Dinara (1830m), highest
Croatian mountain. When visiting Dinara mountain don’t miss this amazing spot,
especially if climbing via Glavas route, which is nearby.

 

 

 

 

Above the source is small Orthodox
Christian church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cetina river emerges on the surface at the
SE foot of Dinara group near Cetina village at the altitude of 395m and
is 105km long. Cetina is one of 4 most beautiful Croatian rivers (other
three are also karst beauties Krka, Zrmanja & Krupa). Its source is really
amazing. It’s easily described as huge 100m deep, perpendicular chasm
filled with crystal clear water. Full strength of river is coming out of it.
Walking around the source is somewhat scary as you look down into blue abyss!
Little bit further up from the source is entrance into huge Gospodska Pecina
cave which contains massive water channels, therefore visit is not possible. To
visit source of Cetina turn from main Knin-Split road at Civljane village,
signs point ‘Cetina’.

Cetina is also very popular rafting or canoeing river. Lot of agencies organize
rafting, here are few links where you can find info and more pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Krcic
emerges on the surface at the foothills of SW face of Dinara (1830m). It flows
through 10km long valley, sometimes canyon, which is cut in the
foothills of Dinara. Krcic is suitable for kayak, it has quick enough pace and
few waterfalls. In summer Krcic can dry out. Pictoresque macadam road follows
the river from the very beginning to its very end. Krcic river end
spectacularly as it crashes with a thunder that is beautiful 40m high
waterfall Topoljski Buk, which falls directly into the source of river Krka
at the edge of Knin town!

 

 

 

 

In summer Krka river springs under the dry walls of what is during rest of
the year 30m high Topoljski Buk waterfall and the end of Krcic
river.

 

 

 

 

Topoljski Buk, 40m high waterfall, as Krcic river ends with a thunder, falling straight into the source
of Krka river.
Topoljski Buk is at the edge of Knin town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer on
Dinara is hot. There is not much forest to shade you from the sun. Knin, town
at the foothills of Dinara is hottest in Croatia. Temperatures easily reach 40°C. But, while the
day is hot, even in summer temperatures can easily drop to freezing level
during the night. There is no water on the mountain so you have to carry a lot.

 

 

 

 

Starting point
to visit Dinara mountain is Knin
town at its foothills. Knin is important junction of rail and road traffic
therefore well connected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Route 1: Knin route

 

 

14km + 3h

From the center of Knin you follow the signs towards ‘Split’. In 4 kilometers you get
to the cross roads where to the right is towards Split. Straight forward is
towards Krcic river valley and Topoljski Buk waterfall (40m high), beautiful
ending of river Krcic, which drops straight into the source of Krka river.
Waterfall is only 500m away and well worth the visit.

You turn left following ‘Bosansko Grahovo’ direction. After a kilometer, in
Jelici hamlet, turn right from the main road towards Dinara. Mountain road
begins to ascent, first into Guge village, than over the bridge to the right
till it reaches large Suho Polje field. On the other side of the field, bellow
the Visibaba peak, road splits in to. You turn right towards Badanj peak. You
can leave the car here and continue on foot or by car, following the marks that
slowly descent into Brezovac valley. In some 30 minutes you reach the Brezovac
hut.
Behind the hut marks will lead you through the beech forest and in some 20 mins
of gradual ascent you’ll reach Duler field and former pasture. View opens on
Dinara peak in front, while on the left are beautiful rocky slopes with
horizontal layers. On the other side of Duler path or bad macadam road ascends
to the next field (it ends little bit bellow it), Samar, which you leave on the
left.

Path gradually ascends, slowly going to the right, around Bukvin Vrh (1530m),
as you approach main massif, which is in front. When you pass by huge rock you
are on Samar pass. Path turns left and climbs steeply towards two lonely beech
trees. Behind them wide view towards west and Knin opens up. Here we are joined
by Krcic route. Path ascends gradually all the time going forward. Views are
wide and beautiful. When it turns left, straight up, you are close. 20 more
minutes of rock climbing and you are on the summit of Dinara, enjoying wide
views on all sides. Last section was under dense colonies of dwarf pine, which
burned few summers ago after large forest fires swept Dinara mountain and
surroundings.

 

 

 

 

On the Knin route
to the summit of Dinara (1830m).
Behind is Duler field and NW parts of Dinara
mountain.

 

 

 

 

Route 2: Krcic or Suho Polje route

 

 

4-5h

This route was called Mirkovici route before, after a Mirkovici hamlet,
where it used to be starting point. Mirkovici are small hamlet on the rocky
plateau bellow Dinara’s SW side, just above the Krcic river.

Marked path was moved few kilometers to the east and is using macadam road now
to get you closer to the foothills of Dinara over a large rocky plateau that is
gradually ascending. How to reach starting point? There are two options.

First one, through Krcic valley/canyon, is little bit slower but much more
beautiful. From the center of Knin town you follow the signs towards Split.
After some 4km there is a crossroad, right towards Split, left towards Bosansko
Grahovo and Bosnia Herzegovina. You go straight forward. After a short uphill,
road becomes macadam. Right away there is a junction. Our direction is to the
left but before that it is well worth to go right, which will take you under Topoljski
Buk
, 40 meters
high waterfall, where Krcic river falls into the source of Krka river (500m
away from junction). You go back and at junction turn right. Shortly you are
above the waterfall and it is well worth to stop here and enjoy the view. In
the distance, through the valley, you can see Dinara. In next 10km or so road
follows the river. The most beautiful section is when crosses the river over an
old bridge to the right bank. In next 1-2km Krcic is narrow and fast, you pass
by few old flour mills and road rises higher above the river. Left bellow you
can see the source of Krcic. In a short left and right turns road leaves the
valley and enters large Suho Polje field, slightly ascending, Dinara is
dominating above it. Some 500
meters after these turns is a junction where is starting
of our macadam road, sign on the rock says ‘Dinara’.
Second option is to turn towards the Split on a cross road, 4km outside of Knin
centre. After 12-13km, when Dinara’s SW face completely opens, road turns right
and begins to descent. Dinara is on the left. Near the bottom of descent, 14km
behind Knin, you will see a junction. Here you leave main road and turn left
towards Suho Polje field and Dinara. After some 2-2.5km you reach the starting
point of the route, where the macadam road we are looking for, turns right
towards Dinara. From here is exceptional view on Dinara’s SW face.
You can either leave the car here or continue as far as you will be able to go,
maybe even to the end of the road, some 4km uphill. It depends of the road
condition, car that you have and your will to drive on not so good road. You’ll
need some 45mins on foot.
From the parking at the end of the road path climbs steeper over rocky terrain,
going between hornbeam and black pine trees. Further up you reach burned pine
forest. Through it path continues to climb in sharp bends. As you reach first
beech tree’s you are soon out of the forest and onto grassy slopes, which are
under carpet of flowers in spring. Soon path turns right, going straight uphill
till it joins Knin route in some 30mins, but this turn is easily missed. If
that happens just continue straight towards the well visible pass in front of
you. Left of the pass is bare rocky peak, Andica Vrh, with some scattered pine
trees. Behind the pass view towards Duler meadows bellow opens up (2-2.30h from
the end of the road). Here you turn right and continue horizontally till you
get to the Knin route path, which ascends from Duler and is approaching from
the left. Path gradually ascends, slowly going to the right, around Bukvin Vrh
(1530m), as you approach Dinara peak, which is in front. When you pass by huge
rock you are on Samar pass. Path turns left and climbs steeply towards two
lonely beech trees. Behind them wide view towards west and Knin opens up. From
the right you are approached by the original route. This is little bit longer
but to me more beautiful variation of the route.
Path continues to ascends gradually, all the time going forward. Views are wide
and beautiful. When it turns left, straight up, you are close. 20 more minutes
of rock climbing till the summit of Dinara is reached, enjoying wide views on
all sides. Last section was under dense colonies of dwarf pine, which burned
few summers ago after large forest fires swept Dinara mountain and
surroundings.

 

 

 

 

Route 3: Glavas route

 

 

4.30h

In Kijevo village, on the main Knin-Split road, 19km from Knin, 73km from
Split, you turn towards the Dinara mountain where the sign says ‘Unista’.
Unista are small mountain village (700m) on the slopes bellow Bat peak (1851m).
Interesting thing about Unista is that village belongs to Bosnia Herzegovina
but can only be approached from Croatia as there is no road over Dinara
mountain from Bosnian side. But this time our goal or starting point is Glavas
village at the foothills of Dinara’s eastern slopes. After 7.5km from the main
road in Kijevo you reach the bus stop whose wall is painted with the scheme of
our route. Turn left here to reach the center of the village where you leave
car.

 

 

Orientation for the route is
unmistakable Glavas tower (671m). Path ascends just right of it, entering the
hornbeam forest. Behind the short forest you step into huge amphitheater of
Pekasova Draga valley. From here all the way to the summit terrain is grassy
combined with rock, no more shade. Ascent becomes steeper as path winds uphill,
passing by a source of drinkable water. After some 2.30h you leave the valley
and step onto Podcrkvica plateau.

From here it is 1 more hour to Levurdovac pasture. Path continues to ascent
over a grassy slopes and through the dwarf pine when you are already close to
the summit.
More interesting variation is unmarked ascent by the edge of SW face. From
Podcrkvica plateau just turn left towards the edge of the Face, which is clearly
visible. As you ascent by it view down becomes deeper and more exciting. After
passing few deep couloirs it is best to turn right and return to the marked
path because the edge of Face becomes torn and difficult to follow. You should
do this some 10-15 minutes after passing above Samograd, self standing cliff
deep bellow you. It is a short climb to the ridge behind the edge of the Face
and descent till you reach the marked route. Orientation is not too difficult
but this is only for mountaineers experienced in walking at the unknown
terrain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brezovac hut,
which has been destroyed in 90’s war, has been rebuilt and then reopened in
autumn of 2004.

 

 

Since there are no limitations on
Dinara and plenty of meadows and pastures you can place your tent anywhere. Especially convenient are pastures like
Brezovac and Duler which are between Brezovac hut and Dinara summit
(Knin/Brezovac route).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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