• Smolikas
  • 2637 m
  • Primary factor 1736 m
  • Greece
  • Location: North 40:05.339, East 020:55.508 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1.
  • Climbed July 14. 2010


How to get there: This mountain in northern Greece, can be hiked from several starting points. This description will cover what is most likely the shortest and easiest approach.
A good point of reference is the small village of Palioseli. One may rent a room for overnight stay here. This is on the second floor of the building next to the big tree right in the center of the village. Ask in the taverna and somebody will help you.
Palioseli is located along a facinating east-west mountain road connecting Grevena (east) with Konitsa (west). This road passes through Smixi, Dhistrato, Armata, Padhes, Palioseli and Elefthero before arriving in Konitsa. The drive is highly recommended.
Measure from the big tree in the village of Palioseli. Drive 1 kilometer west along the main road, locate a dirt road that turns sharply right. After the first big (left) curve on this road, you pass through an open gate. At kilometer 5.7, make a sharp right (there should also be a sign here). In the next road fork, keep left (go uphill). Follow the main road to kilometer 6.8. At this point, a steep (and rougher) road forks right and leads up to the mountain refuge. Take the left fork and drive straight ahead about 50 meter where you can park. This location is N40:04.247, E020:53.355, with elevation about 1660 meter.

Route description: The route from this trailhead to the summit is a marked trail, partly with paint, partly with trail markers on trees, however, one can still loose it if not paying attention.
Start out by going back to the fork where the steep hill went right, serving the mountain refuge. Hike up this rough road, but then leave it and follow what is initially a big trail that goes left, just as the road makes a right curve. This is about half way up to the refuge. Just a little ways up this big trail, you will pass a very nice source of drinking water. The water comes directly from underground, it is cold and has a very good taste. Somebody really did an extra effort to make this a very elegant place for drinking/collecting water.
Your trail forks right (more uphill) from the initial, wide trail. This is well marked, but pay attention. All this is within the very first few minutes of the hike.
The trail now climbs rather steeply among the trees in order to gain the outer part of a long ridge/hill that extends from south-west from Smolikas. Crossing over this ridge, the route runs a traverse below the top on the south side. There are some open fields with only grass where the trail is difficult to see, pay attention when you exit from the trees onto such an open area and make sure to find the trail at the opposite side. From now on, you will see Smolikas more or less ahead.
The trail climbs a little as it curves left (north-west) and gains a shallow saddle (col) in the ridge. At this point there is also a trail fork and there are some signs. Your location is N40:04.846, E020:54.279, elevation about 2050 meter. The route now turns right (north) and gains some more elevation before a final, horizontal traverse brings you to the small Drakolimni lake, location N40:05.382, E020:54.561, at elevation 2160 meter, it is supposed to be the second highest lake in Greece.
From here, the trail climbs the west face of Smolikas, first in zig-zags up the initial slope, then onto somewhat more grass where the route curves left to reach a small shoulder on a (broad) north-west ridge. The final leg to the top follows below on the west side of this ridge.
Comments: We stayed on the second floor in the building next to the big tree in the center of Palioseli. Getting up at 0500, we drove to the trailhead and parked there at 0530. We had a very nice morning hike and to our surprise, we actually met two Greek backpackers that had spent the night by the small lake at the base of the mountain. As we started on the final slopes, the sun was causing the Tymfi range to glow. We walked directly to the summit arriving at 0730, just in time for breakfast. Very nice scenery all around, the Tymfi range attracting most attention. We left around 0800, a truly enjoyable walk in nice weather and good scenery. Crossing the open field before the final descent, we lost the trail and wasted a bit of time traversing around to regain the trail (that ran higher up). We were back at the car by 0930 and in Palioseli by 1000.
Our Greek summertrip continued towards Psili Korifi on the west coast.