Hoverla (2061 m)
This gentle hill is Ukraine’s
highest peak at 2061 m.
(sometimes referred to as “Goverla”) is not a difficult mountain to
climb. By far the most popular route is from the east a 6 km. climb one way from a
trailhead at 1100 m
above sea level (Zaroslyak mountain cottage). It costs three hryvnias
to enter the nature reserve at the end of the very bad gravel road from
It takes two or three
stages to get to Hoverla. You can take the overnight train from Kyiv to
Ivano-Frankivsk (or from Kharkiv to Ivano-Frankivsk), then a minibus from the Ivano-Frankivsk
train station to Vorokhta, then hitch a taxi ride from Vorokhta to the Hoverla
trailhead. This all takes about 20 hours. Or you could take the Kyiv-Yaremcha
bus and get a taxi from Yaremcha to the trailhead.
Ascending Hoverla (most popular route)
starts at Zaroslyak cottage and rises through spruce forests that open up at 1400 m to reveal beautiful
meadows. Grazing here is forbidden, so the grasses and wildflowers grow tall.
There is a small spring at the beginning of the meadows where you can fill up
your water bottle. The treeline is around 1600 m, but dwarf junipers
grow as high as 1800 m.
The vegetatation on the the west side of the mountain is noticeably different,
with more exposure to warmer air masses from the southwest.
Another less popular but nice route
up Hoverla is from the north about 12 km. starting at the extreme south end of
Lazeschyna village, which connects to Ivano-Frankivsk by minibus and by narrow-gauge
train (twice as slow as the minibuses). (Picture to the left)
The summit of Hoverla offers
excellent views in all directions on rare sunny days. It is surrounded by other
mountains above 1800 m.
Patches of snow often remain through August. The top of Hoverla is the place
with the worst weather in all of Ukraine. Here is the least amount of sun, the
most thunderstorms, lightning, snow… Nonetheless, every August 24 thousand of
Ukrainians climb the mountain to celebrate Ukraine’s independence day. There
are a number of monuments on the summit.
While camping is not
allowed on the east side of Hoverla, it is not forbidden on the west side,
where horses and cattle also roam. There are a couple of possible routes to and
from the summit besides the eastern trailhead, so longer hikes through the
Chornohora region can also be easily organized.