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» Carpathians » Climbing Hoverla, Ukraine's Highest Mountain

Climbing Hoverla

This gentle hill is Ukraine's highest peak at 2061 m. Enjoy many more pictures like this at our Hoverla Photo Gallery.
Hoverla (sometimes written "Goverla") is not a difficult mountain to climb. The most popular route is from the east — a mere 6 km climb from the trailhead at 1100 m above sea level (Zaroslyak mountain cottage) to the summit at 2061 m.
Getting to Hoverla
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.
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). There are pictures of this route as well in the Hoverla photo album.
Ascending Hoverla (most popular route)
It costs a few hryvnias to enter the nature reserve at the end of the very bad gravel road from Vorokhta. The trail 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.
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.