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Hiking trail recommended route Stage 16

High Scardus Trail Etappe 16 Modrič - Jablanica

· 1 review · Hiking trail · North Macedonia
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High Scardus Trail Organization
  • Are we in Middle Earth or in the Jablanica Mountains? This "hobbit building", a shepherd's shelter, is encountered on the way to Modric up to Strmnica peak.
    Are we in Middle Earth or in the Jablanica Mountains? This "hobbit building", a shepherd's shelter, is encountered on the way to Modric up to Strmnica peak.
    Photo: Trail Angels/ G.Mussnig, CC BY-ND, High Scardus Trail Organization
Stage 16 on the High Scardus Trail marks the entrance to the mystical Jablanica Mountains: on an ancient pilgrimage trail across the scenic Strmnica Massif to the village of Jablanica.


>>>> ATTENTION: Detailled informations on how to plan your trip, safety instructions, regulations for border crossing etc. are provided by the official website <<<<


Distance 11.1 km
5:30 h
952 m
766 m
1,883 m
924 m
As already mentioned, there is currently a gap on the High Scardus Trail between the Deshat and Jablanica mountains, which is well worth closing in the future. For the time being, this gap is bridged by a shuttle service from Bitushe to the almost completely abandoned mountain village of Modrič. In contrast to the "lost place" Modric, the only accommodation, a cottage in a lovingly restored farmstead, presents itself as a quite comfortable base camp for the hike through the lonely Jablanica mountains. The stage essentially follows an old pilgrimage route, first through dark forests and later over rocky ridges up to the panoramic peak Strmnica (1,904m). Here a breathtaking panorama opens up, which already includes Lake Ohrid to the south. The descent to the day's destination Jablanica is quite steep, although it should be noted that there is currently no official accommodation in this mountain village.


Author’s recommendation

Between the end of the last stage (High Scardus Trail stage 14 Stanet e Hinoskes - Bitushe) and the start of this stage in Modrič there is a gap. This must be overcome by a shuttle (about an hour's ride).
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High Scardus Trail 
Update: June 13, 2022
Highest point
1,883 m
Lowest point
924 m
Best time of year

Track types

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Safety information

Attention: The stage is currently not well marked in some places, which in combination with difficult to see sections of the trail and little detailed maps can lead to serious orientation problems in some places. Currently we strongly recommend to hike the trail only with a local guide. If you still want to hike on your own, great experience with GPS devices or the use of map apps (incl. the possibility of offline storage of maps; Outdooractive app recommended) is necessary!


Modrič at the Cottage Keljekeske (931 m)
41.363983, 20.568906
41°21'50.3"N 20°34'08.1"E
34T 463944 4579253
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Turn-by-turn directions

Between Bitushe and Jablanica there is still a break in the High Scardus Trail, so a shuttle service is required here, which takes about an hour's drive. The overnight stop and start of this stage is the North Macedonian mountain village of Modrič at about 1000m above sea level. Modrič is a mountain village which is almost completely deserted. Only the cottage, where there is a beautiful place to spend the night, is lovingly managed. The start of this stage is directly at the cottage and leads first uphill along the village road until it ends at abandoned houses. The further path then goes downhill for a short while and leads into a small mountain valley. Here the path leads along a beautiful stream and then immediately branches off to the left uphill. Now the path goes steeply uphill for quite a long time through the beautiful virgin mountain forests of the Marovo National Park. After about an hour and a half you will come to a forest road. Follow this road until you reach a marked spring (1520m) in a mountain meadow near a large tree. At this spring you should fill up your drinking water supply. Shortly after the spring, the High Scardus Trail turns left again (marked) and continues into a small valley. Always following the creek bed (partly without water flow), it goes steeply uphill at the end. Right at the forest border there is a rustic shepherd's shelter with small huts and tents (beware of the shepherd's dogs). The further path follows the forest border to the left and then leads up over it until you reach a beautiful plateau with open alpine pastures. Now you climb the nearby mountain ridge, cross it and come to an ancient pilgrim's path, the traces of which are still clearly visible. Following the markings, you go uphill along this pilgrimage path to the clearly visible summit (trigonometer on the summit is clearly visible from a distance). Now crossing a wide plateau you follow the pilgrimage path up to the prominent peak (4h from Modrič, peak Strmnica). The view from the top is breathtaking, opening a panorama from the Korab massif over the Jablanica mountains to the Galiciza mountains and the magnificent Ohrid lake. The descent is steep and follows first directly over the rocky southern ridge. The old pilgrimage path is sometimes very difficult to find and also covered by the season depending on the vegetation. If in doubt, always keep to the ridge and descend further south. Finally, the path enters the Jablanica woods and, alternating between woods and small meadows, leads steeply down into the valley. Here you reach a soccer field where a small road leads to the nearby mountain village of Jablanica. Here is your today's stage destination.

By road

See transfer stage 15 Bitushe - Modrič.


In a suitable place in the village.


41.363983, 20.568906
41°21'50.3"N 20°34'08.1"E
34T 463944 4579253
Show on Map
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendations for this region:

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  • Backpack approx. 30-40 liters with hip belt
  • Rain cover for the backpack
  • Telescopic poles


  • Trekking shoes at least category B (preferably ankle-high for the pathless passages)
  • Flipflops or similar for the accommodations
  • 2 pairs of hiking socks
  • underwear
  • hiking pants softshell or similar (wind- and water-repellent - the High Scardus Trail runs through alpine regions)
  • Hiking pants spare (also for accommodation)
  • Shorts
  • T-shirt quick drying
  • T-shirt fast drying spare (quantity depending on the length of the tour)
  • Top long first layer (e.g. Transtex-Sleeve) + replacement
  • Top long second layer (e.g. sleeve made of fleece or merino wool) + replacement
  • Softshell jacket or similar
  • Clothing for accommodation
  • rain jacket (hardshell jacket waterproof and breathable)
  • umbrella if necessary
  • Rain pants (hardshell pants waterproof and breathable)
  • Sun protection for the head (sun hat or cap)
  • Hat (can get cold even in summer!)

Hygiene/medication/personal items

  • small travel towel
  • personal hygiene items personal medicines (important medicines in addition to personal medicines are e.g. Imodium, charcoal tablets, Bepanthen and a painkiller like Ibuprofen or Parkemed)
  • Blister plaster
  • Pocket knife, small scissors
  • Sunglasses (tight-fitting with 100% UV protection and tint category 3)
  • Sunscreen (SPF at least 30, water/sweat resistant, broad spectrum protection, not older than 1 year)
  • Lip protection (SPF at least 20)
  • Outdoor first aid kitpossibly spare glasses
  • small LED headlamp
  • bivy sack (at least a very light one)
  • Handkerchiefspassport + copycredit card/cash (at many accommodations you can only pay with cash)
  • Border Crossing Permit
  • Small dictionaries


  • Travel documents printout
  • Orientation App (e.g. Outdooractive with Pro-Account, so you can save the map sections offline)
  • if necessary additional GPS-device
  • Cell phone (smartphone for orientation app) + charger
  • Powerbank for cell phone (not all accommodations have sockets)
  • if necessary power socket adapter

Food and drinks

  • Drinking bottles (depending on temperature and personal drinking needs 1,5-3 liters; the sources are shown in the map)
  • Food for the day (the respective shopping possibilities can be seen in the map)

Questions and answers

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Rüdiger Mertz 
August 23, 2022 · Community
Der übliche steile Aufstieg, dann oben sehr schöne weite Blicke. Allerdings ist der Abstieg nach Jablanica bisschen crazy. Dass man guten Orientierungssinn braucht, ist eine sehr freundliche Beschreibung. Der Weg ist über weite Teile schlicht nicht vorhanden, es geht auch immer wieder extrem steil durchs Gebüsch. Im Regen haben wir es als reichlich nervig empfunden und uns gefragt, ob ne andere Wegführung denkbar wäre. Man muss sehr engmaschig kontrollieren, ob man noch richtig ist. In Jablanica gibt es nichts, wir haben erst bei der Kapelle (s. nächste Etappe) nen Zeltplatz mit Wasser gefunden.
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11.1 km
5:30 h
952 m
766 m
Highest point
1,883 m
Lowest point
924 m
Linear route Multi-stage route Scenic Insider tip Summit route


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