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Hiking trail recommended route Stage 18

High Scardus Trail Stage 18 Stebleve - Qafa e Kryqit

· 2 reviews · Hiking trail · Albania
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High Scardus Trail Organization
  • Mystic atmospheres on the way from Stebleve to Qafa e Kryqit
    Mystic atmospheres on the way from Stebleve to Qafa e Kryqit
    Photo: Matthew Nelson, CC BY-ND, High Scardus Trail Organization
Enjoy the dense forest of Shebenik-Jablanica National Park (partly a UNESCO World Heritage) and the small glacial lakes seen from both sides of the border.


This stage is currently not passable due to snow conditions!

Distance 17.3 km
6:00 h
1,141 m
506 m
2,119 m
1,168 m
Profile picture of High Scardus Trail
High Scardus Trail 
Update: March 17, 2023
Highest point
2,119 m
Lowest point
1,168 m
Best time of year

Track types

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41.338435, 20.470397
41°20'18.4"N 20°28'13.4"E
34T 455688 4576463
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Turn-by-turn directions

From the starting point of the village of Steblevë, this hike initially backtracks towards the border. When reaching the junction before the border (approx. 1.5 km), the trail turns right following the forest road that gently climbs through the woods for about 7.5 km, until it reaches a deserted military station.

From the ruined building, the trail leads uphill on a meadowy trail that travels southeast towards the border ridge before continuing along the ridge for about 2 km and then descending southwest. Before leaving the ridge, there is a view of Podgorechko and Labunisko glacial lakes on the Macedonian side of the border.

The descent leads to another ruined military post after roughly 1.5 km, followed by a short climb of 150 m towards the southeast. When it reaches the highest point, there is a junction where the trail on the left goes to the border with Macedonia, while the one on the right (southwest, following the trail between two big rocks), goes to the shepherds’ hut of Bilbil Biçaku. If this hut is not available for the night, there is the possibility to check the other huts in the area by crossing the field to take the dirt road and then follow it southwards. The first shepherds’ hut can be reached after about 1.5 km and the next group of huts after 3 km.

By road

From Peshkopi follow the road SH6 (and for a short time SH44) south towards Debar, but just before the border turn right towards Gjorica e Sipërme. Now follow the small road along the North Macedonian-Albanian border south to the village of Ostren e Vogël. Continue to follow the road south until Stebleve. The start of the stage is located close to Villa Mersin on the northern outskirts of the village.


At a suitable place in the village.


41.338435, 20.470397
41°20'18.4"N 20°28'13.4"E
34T 455688 4576463
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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Sophie Grandclaude
September 14, 2022 · Community
Très beau chemin pour démarrer jusqu'à l'ancienne base militaire, où vous trouverez de l'eau dans le ruisseau puis ensuite chemin sur les crêtes! Nous nous sommes arrêtés un peu avant Qafa e Kryqit le long du ruisseau en contrebas.
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When did you do this route? August 30, 2022
Rüdiger Mertz 
August 23, 2022 · Community
Völlig untypisch geht es erst einmal ca. 6 Kilometer (ab dem Punkt, wo sich der heutige Tag vom Vortag trennt und wo wir gezeltet haben) auf einer alten Militärstraße sehr angenehm bergauf bis zu verlassenen Militärgebäuden. Super angenehm zu gehen. Dann muss man ein bisschen aufpassen, dass einen der weitere Verlauf dieser Straße nicht zu weit nach rechts leitet. Ihr verlasst die Straße bei den Militärgebäuden, steigt entlang eines Baches auf und haltet Euch tendenziell immer etwas links bis in einen Sattel. Dort trefft ihr wieder auf einen weiteren guten Weg. Wir haben nicht die totale Kammroute des gpx-Trails genommen (einsetzendes Gewitter), sondern sind dem gut erkennbaren alten Militärweg gefolgt, der etwas unterhalb traversiert. Der ist zwar zwischendurch in einer Passage komplett abgerutscht, war aber über weite Strecken sehr gut zu gehen und trifft dann auch wieder auf die Route des Files. Oben wunderbare Ausblicke und eine herrliche Weite. Wir haben auf der großen ebenen Fläche ca. einen Kilometer vor Qafa e Kryqit gezeltet (ein ausgetrockneter Seegrund), da gab es auch Wasser. Sehr schöner Platz. Insgesamt ist die Etappe vergleichsweise gut und schnell zu gehen und bietet wunderbare Blicke!
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Photos from others

17.3 km
6:00 h
1,141 m
506 m
Highest point
2,119 m
Lowest point
1,168 m
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