The Carpathian National Natural Park
Price: 15 UAH
This is the first and the largest national park in Ukraine, created in 1980 to protect the unique natural riches of the Carpathian Mountains. Majestic mountains, picturesque valleys, mountain pastures, crystal lakes, pure rivers, healing springs, valuable monuments of archeology, history and architecture - all of them make the Carpathian Natural Park desirable to many travelers from all over the world.
Located in the mountains of the Prut River basin, the park occupies a territory of over 50 thousand hectares. It amazes not only with its fantastic landscapes and unforgettable scenery, but also with the variety of its flora and fauna. A large number of various plants grow in the part, many of which are on the endangered species list, and almost 200 species of animals and birds live here.
Nine hundred meters (2950 feet) above sea level, the Guk waterfall is considered to be the park’s gem, as are the glacial lakes Maricheika (on the mountain Shurin-Gropa) and Nesamovyte (on the mountain Turkul). It is said that sinners’ souls live in the Nesamovyte lake, so one should not swim and throw stones into it. If its waters are disturbed, the sky will fall down in a hailstorm. To judge from the frequency of storms in the region, the park’s guests frequently break this taboo.
The Carpathian Park’s uniqueness lies in the fact that it is rich not only in natural wonders, but also in its archaeological and ethnographic monuments. This is because the reserve is located on what used to be Guzul territory, famous for its rich cultural and historical heritage. Walking through the park, one may see fifteen thousand year old landmarks, and wooden folk architecture from the 16th and 19th centuries.
Fabulous views of the park open up from the top of the famous mountain Goverla - the highest point in Ukraine (over 2061 meters or 6760 feet high). For many travelers, the conquering this popular mountain reason for their visit to the Carpathian Park. It is located on the massif Chernogora, at the border of the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast and Zakarpattia Oblast. It is possible to ascend Goverla in several ways. But the easiest one is to travel from the settlement Vorokhta. You must drive in the direction of Verkhovyna until you reach a checkpoint, then keep driving to the camping grounds ‘Zaroslyak,’ and finally take a path to the top of the mountain.
You may also enjoy wonderful views of the Carpathians from the top of the Pope Ivan Mountain (2028 meters, or 6650 feet). From there, you can see ruins of the Polish observatory ‘White Elephant,’ built just before World War II. The observatory owes its peculiar name to winter – when it is covered in snow, it looks like a big white animal from afar. You may get to the top of the Pope Ivan from Goverla – past the lake Nesamovyte. But it is better to take a bus (or taxi) from the settlement Verkhovyna and to go to the village Shibene, from which a tourist path goes uphill.
In the winter, the Carpathian Park attracts lovers of extreme winter sports with its numerous ski resorts.
Important The park has are several dozen trails; however, not all of them are adequately marked, and, therefore, it is best to tour or hike the mountains with a local resident or with a guide from a special excursion, which you can book in advance at a tourism agency.
Getting here. Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. You can get to the park through special checkpoints, located in the surrounding towns and villages. People frequently come to the reserve from Yaremche, Vorokhta, Bukovel, and Verkhovyna. The office of the Carpathian National Park is located in the town Yaremche, at ul. Stusa, 6. There is also an eco-tour center in the same building, where you can find out information about the reserve. You must pay the price of admission at the park entrance checkpoints.