Hiking up Dinara – Croatia

Dinara Peak from Knin

The Dinara peak (also localy known as Sinjal) is located near the city of Knin, in the upper south part of Croatia. With 1831m a.s.l it is the highest summit of Croatia. Dinara is in fact part of an entire mountain range also known as “Dinara” and whose highest peak is located in Bosnia-Hezergovina under the name Troglav. The “Dinara” range is in itself part of the Dinaric Alps, a mountain range that crosses most Balkan countries.

Full Disclaimer

Being a pretty advanced hiker, what you are about to read might not be applicable to you. 
Please get to know who I am before adventuring yourself in this article.
We do not all react the same way to the local environment and the weather could turn out to be very different.
Make sure you understand your body and mental fitness before engaging yourself in rough hikes. 

Quick Summary:
– Hike type: 1 out of 2 stars Out-and-back
– Packing: 1 out of 3 stars (1 / 3) Small day pack (~10L) with a water-filtering tool
– Hike length: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) – 15km / 9.3miles roundtrip. Doable in less than 6h
Hike elevation: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) 1255m / 4,150ft – 8.36% overall steepness
– Accessibility: 1.5 out of 5 stars (1.5 / 5) – The start is located on the outskirts of Glavaš (Glavach)
– Overall difficulty: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) – A lengthy yet enjoyable hike that can turn in hell if you do it in summer

This article gives information on the Glavaš-Dinara trail. Many other options exist such as a 2 day trek from Knin or a start from Mirkovići.

Preparation for the Dinara Hike – Croatia

Exposed Hike to Dinara

I highly recommend you do NOT go out on that trail during summer (July-August). Not only is this trail south-orientated, there is also NO shade whatsoever from bottom to top. “Yes so?” Well yes so it can reach a dry 40°C (115°F) during summer.
So when is the best time to do the Dinara hike ?
This hike is best done during April-June and September-October.

During summer your options are:
– Going for the 2 day hike starting from Knin.
– Leaving at 4am with 3L of water minimum per person.
There are 2 water sources on the hike, but they might not be running during summer.

Doubting about what you should wear? Read this article about Appropriate Hiking Gear.

Getting to the start of the Dinara Hike

GPS coordinates : 44.011249, 16.419438
To reach the summit of Dinara, you must first reach the city of Glavaš located 1/2h away by car from Knin.
You’ll need your own vehicle to get there as there are no public transportation to bring you to Glavaš.

Follow the road all the way up to the GPS point (no 4×4 required) and park next to an abandoned blue container.
Upon arrival, you’ll notice there’s a well. You can refill your bottles once you’ve filtered the water.

Hiking the Glavaš-Dinara trail

Well marked trail to Dinara summit
Well marked trail to Dinara summit

The trail is very well marked and it will be hard for you to get lost. Still, there are many options from there to reach the top of Dinara. If you take a wrong turn, remember: all roads lead up to Dinara one way or another. But if you want the shortest one, follow my directions:

Start by going through the very low trees (the only shade you’ll get for the next hours) towards the old ruined castle.
After a 20 to 30 minute walk you should reach some sort of a cave on your right. Inspect or keep going.
Roughly 1h after you started, you’ll reach a water source, indicating the altitude of 1000m a.s.l. Fill up (otherwise drink what you have, then fill up) but don’t forget to treat the water if you don’t feel confortable with it (I didn’t. And I’m still alive).

Less than 100m after that water source, you’ll get in front of a junction. Both trails go to the peak and both indicate a 3h hike, but my maps show the right track was faster and easier, so that’s the one I took. Thus, go right.

After 20-30 minutes, you’ll come across yet another junction. You’ll need to go left, but if you feel like it, walk 5 minutes to the cabin and fill your bottles with the well water. If not already empty, note that that’s the last water source of the hike.
If you walked to the cabin, walk back to the junction and as stated make a left when facing the signs. Don’t try to follow signs directly from the cabin as they are old and lead to a now unmarked trail to Dinara through Jančija peak.

After that, keep walking until you reach the top. You’ll walk through high-grass, followed by a wanna-be forest, some cliff edges, an uncommon low height forest/bush, and then finally the summit, which you can’t miss as it end with a clear sign and a cross some 50m after.

Once you’re done enjoying the view, just turn around and walk the trail in reverse in order to go back to Glavaš.

DInara Croatia Hike map
Dinara Croatia Hike map

4 comments on “Hiking up Dinara – Croatia

  1. Hi Ben
    I will be visiting the Dalmatian coast from 25 to 30 of July 2022
    I saw your comments about not hicking during July the Dinara summit but there is no other option for us
    2 persons late 30s from Greece and we wish to do the hike anyway
    Do you undertake this tour on top?
    Or could you recommend us a group to join during that period?

    1. Hi Lianna,
      It is a purely personal opinion. In my mind, it is just way too hot to do the Dinara hike in summer : there is no shade and there is no way to access water on the trail.
      If you still want to do it, I recommend starting very early in the day, wearing a hat (ideally a bucket hat) and to carry a LOT of water (play it safe : 4L per person).
      I don’t know of any group or company that offer tours, but there is a tourist center in Knin that might have more information.

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