The stunning area around Lake Skadar in Montenegro can keep lovers of the great outdoors occupied for days. The illusive Walnut Valley hike is one of its highlights.
The valley contains one of the most adventurous and unique hikes I’ve ever taken. Along the way you’ll see plenty of nature, and ancient abandoned buildings and bridges.
You’re also highly likely to go the whole hike without seeing another soul due to the fact a lot of locals don’t even know about it, let alone tourists.
The culmination of the hike takes you to a secluded pool at the top of a river that is full of the FRESHEST water I’ve ever swam in. This water is fed by two small waterfalls.
I started my hike from the local town of Virpazar and it took me around 7 hours. It took this long because I literally had no idea where I was going, you’ll find out why further on in the post.
You can probably do the round trip in 4-5 hours, especially with the map and directions included at the end of this post 😉
Looking for the unknown..
I had a whole day to kill at the end of my stay in Lake Skadar and I wanted to do something pretty epic.
I heard of a stunning hike that took you to waterfalls in the nearby Walnut Valley, and there was a guided tour! However, this tour only ran once a week on Saturdays, and today was a Sunday!
I tried to find directions on how to get there myself and I even asked some locals. However, they only had a vague idea of where it was and nothing concrete.
Google Maps shows you where the waterfalls are, but surrounding it there is absolutely nothing, no paths, no directions, no civilisation.
Undeterred, I knew there must be a path to the falls that the guided hike takes, and I figured I’d just keep walking until I found it.
It made sense in my head.
So, off I went from the local town of Virpazar with backpack and drone in hand, and enough water to sustain a small village for a month.
The Walnut Valley hike begins
The first part of the hike is pretty simple. Follow the road out of Virpazar cross the railway line and the main road. Then join the road on the other side where all the cars and coaches park.
Follow this straight road and you’ve started your adventure!
The road is easy to walk and there’s very few cars on it, after about 10 minutes you’ll follow the road around to the left and start to climb a bit.
About another 10-15 minutes in the road will fork, take the road on the left that leads down.
This is the road that will lead you to Walnut Valley. This road will twist and turn for around 30-40 minutes.
Around about half way along this road you’ll notice theres a river running along the left of the road. This is the river that comes from the waterfalls you’re hiking to!
Along this river you’ll find a cute river crossing where you can dip your feet in and some cows from the local field might even join you to cool off.
Carry on along the road and you will pass through a small village. Here the local kids will run out and offer you ‘Domestic Products’ from their stall which includes lots of liquor and honey!
Enjoy the human interaction while it lasts because these are probably the last people you’ll see for a good few hours!
Out of the village follow the road and it will eventually lead up the side of the valley slightly. Just before the road turns left further up the side of the Valley you’ll will see a clear track leading off down to your left.
Take this track and you’re on your way to the waterfalls!
Start walking along this track and you will find bee hives where the locals grow their honey. I also stumbled across quite a few turtles munching away on grass int the middle of this path.
After a short while there will be a clearing on your left. Thos will lead you to your first ancient bridge that crosses the river. Here you to take some pretty cool photos!
At the end of this bridge there is a small narrow path off to the right that will take you back to the main path.
Along the main path you will see plenty of paths that run off to the right.
If you want to explore down these then absolutely do, most of them take you to the river where you can cool off if you need to.
I took pretty much all of them because I didn’t know what turning to take. Some will scratch you up, some will have massive spiders, and others will have random abandoned buildings.
But all will take you to the river where you see the remains of the many bridges that used to run over the pristine waters.
As you walk further along the main path you will notice a pretty small quarry on your left. If the digger is there then you could sit in it and take a picture, just sayin 😉
The path you’ll want to take to the waterfalls is just a bit further on from the quarry. You’ll take a right at a pretty obvious junction.
The path will lead you past more beehives then to the river. At the end of the path on your right there is a big slab of concrete witch concrete benches around the far end.
It definitely looked like people had had a camp fire there recently.
In front of you there is a crumbled bridge that you can’t walk across. However, there is a path to the left of the big concrete slab that will lead you down to the river.
Wade across the river and on the other side there is a path that will lead you up the bank. Climb over the rocks and you’ll be on the other side of the crumbled bridge!
There’s now two paths in front of you, take the one that leads you along the river, not the one that goes up the hill. God only knows where that goes.
The abandoned building.
As you carry on you’ll eventually stumble across an abandoned building that definitely doesn’t look stable enough to go in. Its super old and loads of things have collapsed in it. But it’s still cool to see.
Again, you’ll find two paths. One that leads left down to the river where you can now hear the waterfalls (you’re getting close!) and another that leads to the right.
Take the one on the right! Don’t try to be cool like me and ‘take the road less travelled’ that just leads to a world of pure pain induced by lots of stinging nettles.
As you walk all the way around the building you’ll come to a drop. Look to your right and you’ll see a path up some rocks and a red marker on one of the rocks.
Once you’re over this little hill you’ve completed the Walnut Valley hike! Walk a few meters and the stunning pool and waterfalls will reveal themselves to you!
Take this path, don’t jump down the drop, even more pain lies that way.
You’ve made it!
The site that unfurls in front of you will make the hike you just completed so worth while. The pool looks so inviting, and the waterfalls are so beautiful.
While in this little snippet of Eden you have to take a dip in the water, it’s the freshest (by that I mean coldest) and clearest water I have ever swam in.
Explore the rocks around the pools too – there’s some pretty massive frogs hanging around and some great rocks to just chill out on.
In total I spent about an hour and a half at the pools as I wanted to get back before the light started to fade. However, if you get there early you could spend multiple hours chilling by the pools and swimming in them.
Walnut Valley hike directions
Here is a map and accompanying directions for the Walnut Valley hike.
- River crossing on left with cows in the picture( you don’t actually cross it)
- Homes selling domestic produce including honey and liquor
- Turn off the main road onto the track
- Cross the ancient bridge
- Walk past the random field on your right
- Walk past the random quarry on your left
- Take a right at a junction
- Crumbled bridge and big slab of concrete, path down to the river on the left of the concrete slab. Cross river and walk up on other side.
- Abandoned building, take the path on the right around the building then path up rocks on your right.