On your weekend, instead of staying in a sultry homeroom and watching TV or playing popular computer game, pick an exciting and interesting mountain trip! We offer an enthralling guided tour to the old forgotten observatory “White Elephant”, that is situated on the very top of Pip-Ivan Mount (another name Chorna Hora, which in English means Black Mount). You’ll have a chance to touch the magnificent stony walls of the highest situated building in Ukraine, to hear the incredible facts from the history of its constructing and functioning, to observe the breathtaking views from the very top of rotunda. On the way we’ll see a beautiful alpine meadow in the foot of Smotrych Mount, enjoy walking across the interesting mountain range, called Big-Ear Rock, as it’s covered with huge rocks, reminding big ears, and will come up to a small cascade of lovely waterfalls.
In the morning you will meet your guides and the rest of the group at the railway station (main entrance) in Ivano-Frankivsk. There we will get a shuttle bus to the starting point of our hike – lovely little village Dzembronia. The trail leads across the alpine meadow Smotrych, where the group stops for the first camp.
Walking time – 3 hrs.
We’ll start our day with radial hike to the summit of Pip-Ivan (2022 m). First we’re following the path, that leads to the headwaters of rapid mountain river Munchel. Here it creates a beautiful cascade of waterfalls. Next, the path goes up to a very picturesque place – Big-Ear Rock. From here we head on directly to the summit of Pip-Ivan (2022 m). This mount is considered to be a second the most popular in Ukrainian Carpathians, after Hoverla of course. Tourists from all over are coming here to see the main attraction of Chornohora an old building of meteorological observatory “White Elephant”, which is the highest situated building in Ukraine. The construction of the observatory was finished in 1938. But unfortunately it valuably functioned only one year. You will find out some very interesting facts from the history of its building and functioning. After all the group is descending back to Smotrych meadow.
Walking time – 7 hrs.
After the breakfast our group is getting back to the village. On the way our guests can buy some natural products from locals: different kinds of cheese, sour cream, mushrooms and berries. In the village we’re taking shuttle bus to Ivano-Frankivsk.
Walking time – 2 hrs.
Arriving time to Ivano-Frankivsk – 6 pm.
* If you like this itinerary, but can’t find it in the tour schedule or you would like to join this trip on another date, please contact us and we will be more than happy to arrange this tour at your most convenient time.
The tour price includes:
The tour price does not include:
Please, make your reservation not later, than 3 days before the trip starts.
For individual reservations you do not need to make prepayment to confirm your place for trip. But when you book a group or private tour it’s required to leave a deposit (30% from the total price). For tour you pay in cash at the meeting point (Ivano-Frankivsk railway station) before we start our trip. We accept Ukrainian currency (hryvnia). There are also banking establishments on the railway station, which provide currency exchange services. If you choose to pay by Credit Card, just contact us before our trip starts and we will send you all payment details.
* Only one discount can be used per booking. Discount does not apply to equipment rental. Please, make sure to have your ID (passport), student card, or any other document, that can confirm your age or status.
In case of any kind of emergency (bad weather, serious health problems etc.) for group safety our guide has a right to slightly change the itinerary or decide to stay in a campsite for the day.
Minimum age for tourist is 18 years. People under 18 can also go hiking but they must be accompanied and supervised by a legal guardian.
Minimum number of tourists in a group should be 3 (10 - for one day hike). The trip can be arranged for a smaller group as well. In this case the group will pay total price like for 3 people (10 - for one day hike).
If for any reason you’ll have to get off the trail before the trip finishes, you will be charged for the days you were travelling with the group, plus 1 day to compensate all the expanses for organization, food, transportation etc. We count each new day in the morning when the group gets on the trail.
The backpack is the most important item of equipment. For long hiking trips there are two main designs: internal frame backpack, which depends on support from metal or plastic stays incorporated into the pack and the external frame backpack, which consists of metal bars to which the bag attaches. The recommended size of your backpack for 3-7 days hiking trip is: for men – min. 75 liters (4600 cubic inches); for women – min. 50 liters (3100 cubic inches).
Hiking in Carpathians, the best option will be three-season tent. What to look for in a tent: quality: good waterproof flysheet coverage and tent floor, two or more poles for stability in wind; size and weight: look for the lightest tent available, that meets your size requirements such as number of people and equipment. It’s a plus, when the tent has vestibule areas for gear storage. Winter camping tents have thicker walls, they are more durable and designed to shed snow and to protect hikers from the strong wind.
Sleeping bag essential
The proper sleeping bag can help you to sleep comfortable. The best option for Carpathians region is three-season sleeping bag with the temperature of comfort +5 – -5°C (45 – 22°F). It will keep you warm in different weather conditions. For winter hiking you will need warmer sleeping bag with down or feather filling. Temperature rating must be -10 to -20*C.
Sleeping mat essential
An air or foam mat will not only help you to sleep more comfortable on hard or uneven ground, but will also provide insulation, preventing body heat from being lost through contact with the ground. It also acts as a barrier between your body and moisture that may have seeped inside your tent.
Will help to keep you warm, dry and comfortable when sitting out during your hiking trip. You can use either air or foam sitting mat.
Kitchen set essential
Your kitchen set should contain: a spoon, a bowl and a cup, preferably heatproof, lightweight and robust. Choose heatproof plastic or metal. More expensive, but extremely durable and light is titanium material. Insulated cup will keep your drink hot in cold weather.
Water bottle essential
Carrying water during hiking trip is usually not a problem – you need only a lightweight water bottle (1L or 30oz will be enough). You can use plastic or aluminum bottles. More expensive but comfortable is hydration pack, that has a tube, which allows you to take a sip of water while the move. For cold weather travelling, it’s good to take thermos.
A good knife is only useful if it is sharp. Which one is better, normal (hunting or army) knife or multifunction tool? Many hikers prefer the second one. Usually, multipurpose pocket knife includes: blade, can opener, corkscrew, scissors etc. Around camp your knife handles many chores, from slicing cheese to cutting small pieces of wood for fire.
Flashlight is helpful on a hike and at a campsite when it’s dark. The best design for hiker is a headlamp that frees up your hands and allows you to direct your light where you need it. Always remember to take spare batteries for your flashlight.
Personal gear essential
Personal kit contents will vary and depend on your personal needs, the basic are: toothpaste and toothbrush, toilet paper, soap, small comb, face/hand cream, hygienic wipes, sunscreen, lip balm, insect repellent, contacts/glasses, women: feminine hygienic products.
First aid kit essential
During hiking trip your safety is number one, that’s why proper completed First aid kit is essential to have with. Kit contents:
Matches or lighter essential
Spending time outdoor you will need a fire to cook, to warm up in cold weather or just to sit around, relaxing and talking with your friends. Take with you small pack of matches or lighter. Do not forget to put them in a waterproof bag (ziplock). More expensive, but very helpful is special fire starter that can help you to make fire without any problems.
Dry sacks essential
To keep your extra clothes dry or to protect your electronic equipment, money, documents and food from moisture, you will need a waterproof sack. The best option – nylon dry sack with buckle. If you do not have one, you can use ziplock bags or just ordinary trash bags.
Being out of home it is very important to keep in touch with your family and friends. So take your mobile phone with you. As addition you will get clock, alarm clock, music, camera, some phones have GPS. Before you leave home, make sure your phone battery is full charged, always keep your mobile phone in dry place. And do not forget Powerbank charger.
Always be in time! A watch will help you to organize your time during travelling. Better if it is waterproof. Some watches have timer, alarm clock, compass, time zones, which is very useful when you are travelling.
Taking photos is an excellent way to record the places you have visited during your hiking trip. To protect your camera you should carry it in a waterproof and durable camera bag. Always have spare batteries for your camera and extra film (for film cameras).
Passport (personal documents) essential
Travelling outside your country, you must have an ID (passport). You will need to present your photo ID at the airport, railway/bus stations, crossing national parks etc. Check with your embassy if you need a visa or special permission to visit Ukraine.
You should have enough money for your travelling needs. Calculate all expenses that you might have during your trip: transportation, extra food, hiking tour, souvenirs etc.
Notepad and pen
Very useful to have a small notepad in your trip just in case you’ll have to note some information or even to write down phone numbers and addresses of your new friends.
Hiking poles reduce the pressure on the back, legs and especially knees by transferring weight onto the arms, help to keep a balance when crossing the river or descending steep slopes. For winter hiking this is essential item.
Sunglasses will protect your eyes from the bright sun. Make sure to have your glasses with you not only in summer, but in winter as well.
A baseball hat is great for keeping the sun off. Better if it’s synthetic than cotton. Get with you wool or fleece hat also to wear at cold night by the campsite. For winter hiking you’ll need warmer hats or balaclava, which protect your head and face from cold weather.
More hikers prefer lightweight waterproof and wind resistance jacket. Very good if it has adjustable hood. Breathable fabric like Gore-Tex will be the best choice for hiker. This fabric keeps rain out and allows water to vapor from sweat to escape. For winter travelling take with you additional warm jacket that will keep you warm during the cold evening.
Rain cover (poncho) essential
For extremely wet weather you’ll need a rain cover with a hood. The best option is poncho that covers both hiker and his backpack.
You will need pullover for cold weather or when resting in a camp. Choose insulating fabrics such as fleece or wool. Always make sure to have one, as even in summer it might be chilly at night. It’s a plus to have spare light pullover too to hike in during cold weather. For winter hiking you must have couple of pullovers.
For your hiking trip you’ll need at least 2 T-shirts. Better synthetic, that wick away moisture and dry more quickly than cotton.
The best for hiking are lightweight nylon or polypropylene pants. They are comfortable and dry faster. Very useful are convertible pants with legs that zip off and convert into shorts, saves you from carrying a pair of both. Avoid jeans or any cotton pants – they dry longer and are very heavy and uncomfortable when get wet. You can take also an additional pair of fleece pants for camp site or to sleep in. In winter you’ll need warmer pants (something like pants for snowboarding) or just use two layers: polypropylene long underwear and nylon hiking pants on top.
For extra protection gaiters cover your boots and keep moisture and snow away from your feet. Better when they are made of waterproof and breathable material. A bag zip makes gaiters easy to get on and off. In winter this is essential item.
When travelling in summer season make sure to have your shorts with you.
If you have an option between synthetic and cotton fabric of your underwear, chose first one – it dries faster and keeps you warmer.
Hiking footwear ranges from lightweight trekking sandals to fully fledged mountaineering boots. The best option for Carpathians are lightweight or middleweight boots. Choose waterproof leather or Gore-Tex. Hiking boots will support your ankles; they are very flexible and comfortable. Some people prefer to hike light, choosing lightweight trekking shoes or sneakers. It always good to take with you additional pair of sandals or sneakers for use on the camp site. Be sure that your boots are well broken in before your hiking trip will start.
Socks are an important part of your footwear system. Socks made from wool and polypropylene are smooth against the skin and are comfortable to wear if you have blisters. Thick wool socks will keep you warm in cold weather. Take with you at least 2 pairs of lightweight synthetic socks and 2 pairs of wool socks.
For hiking you usually don’t need gloves but in a camp during cold and windy weather it’s good to have a pair of fleece or wool gloves. In winter it’s good to use two layers: fleece gloves and waterproof gloves on the top. And do not forget extra pair for camping.
The group equipment below is provided:
If you do not have some of those items, there is no reason to cancel your trip! Please contact us if you have any questions about items on this list or you need to rent some equipment. We are always ready to help you with that and make your trip comfortable and safe!
Hiking on uneven ground or climbing and descending long inclines is more physically demanding, than walking on pavement, especially while wearing hiking clothing and boots, and carrying a backpack. To prepare adequately, you need to try out your gear and get your body in shape.
Conditioning your body for hiking. Your pre-hike training should include both aerobic exercise and weight training (look for exercises, that work the quads, thighs and hamstrings), as well as stretches for your leg, arm and back muscles.
Test your gear and clothing. Prevent equipment problems by ensuring that it is in good condition. Check your equipment before you go and be sure, that old gear is still functional and new gear, especially boots, fits properly and is broken in.
Try your clothing on. Note the weather expected on your hike, whether the clothes, you are wearing, will be comfortable at specific temperatures and conditions.
Break in your hiking boots. Wear your boots around the house to double check they fit before breaking them in. Go on short hikes to soften your boots and toughen your feet. Walk on uneven ground, that forces your feet to bend in different directions. But be sure to take blister treatment along just in case your boots still rub. To prevent blisters you can also apply a tape on commonly potential blister spots (the back of the heel, side of foot, toes) before you start your hike.
Pack your backpack. There are few important principles you should keep in mind when packing your backpack. It should be well organized, comfortable, and water protected. Here are some recommendations about how to pack your backpack:
Keep items you might need during the day handy. Water, lunch food, raingear, maps, flashlight, pocketknife, first-aid kit, extra shoes, pack cover, and other emergency supplies all go in external pockets or try to put them on upper side of your backpack. Clothes go deep inside. Sleeping bag inside lowest compartment. Depending on the configuration of your pack and the weather, the tent can go inside or outside. Same with sleeping pad, you can strapp it on outside or just roll it and stuff into the pack body.
Heavier supplies as food and cooking gear try to keep as close to your back as possible. It’s more comfortable to carry a backpack when the weight is in line with your body. Remember! The heavier your backpack is – more difficult to hike with it. Your pack weight basically shouldn’t be heavier than 1/4 of your body weight.
Try to keep all gear well protected from water and moisture. In addition to pack cover use waterproof stuff sacks or just trash bags especially for your clothes, sleeping bag and food.
If hikers have anything in common, it is the appreciation of a good meal. Right selection of food, taken in a journey, is very important in preparing for a few-days hike. And it’s no wonder, as regular and healthy food here is a good source of energy, needed on the trail, positive spirit and, the most important – guaranty of a great time, spent outdoor. Our menu can range depending on how long is the hike. On day hikes we offer lunch and snacks. Examples of good foods on short trips include sandwiches, cheese, meat, dried fruits, nuts, chocolate and energy bars. For overnight hikes in addition to the lunch and snacks we provide breakfast and dinner. During the trip we cook our food on the fire or using the tourist stove.
Breakfast (at 8:00). Our breakfast must provide a good source of energy. We eat cereals, oatmeal, wheat porridge or rice with dried milk, sugar and dried fruits. After the main course we have also tea and crackers.
Lunch (at 1 pm). Our midday meal should require no preparation or cooking. Usually we have tasty sandwiches with salami, cheese, eggs, canned fish, beans and meat, paste and different sauses.
Dinner (at 7 pm). Dinner is the biggest meal, the most filling, and usually the tastiest. There are few main choices of food for an evening meal: meat and vegetable soups, pasta with canned fish or meat, buckwheat porridge or rice with meat. If you like, you can also add some other products to your dinner menu: bread, ketchup, garlic, onion and others. After dinner we usually enjoy a cup of hot tea and crackers.
Snacks. We need to eat also small amounts of food throughout the day to keep our energy and blood sugar up. Chocolate, dried fruits, nuts and different energy bars are the most delicious treats for hikers.
Local food. During our hike you can enjoy local products such as berries and mushrooms. Also it might be interesting for you to buy milk and traditional cheeses from locals.
Alcohol. It’s not allowed to drink alcohol on the trail! However it is not strictly prohibited, in the evening. After long day hiking you can relax and enjoy our dinner with a glass of wine or any other drink you’ll get with you on your trip.