Mountain: Grabovica/ sv. Ilija peak
Length: 36 km
Elevation gain: 1350 m
Maximum elevation: 773 m
Technical difficulty: 5/5
Download GPS Track: Gradac – sv. Ilija – Drvenik_Cyclotrail
Date of ride: 28.06.2018
Suitable for E-bike: No
Biokovo Nature Park is the most dominating presence on the southern Dalmatian coast and its whole massif stretches 36 km along the coast and is very popular hiking destination. When I was in Gradac, first thing that I saw was very very steep hill which rises up to 773 meters at a short distance. When I watched that beautiful creation from the sea, I imagined that climbing to its peak would be like walking on the edge. Later I found out that there is 4 km long trail from from the cemetery to the peak ( HPD Adrion maintains this trail) . At first I was suspicious that this trail could be ridden by bike, so my decision was to hike this ascent, and then decide if it could be “bike friendly”. I couldn’t ask local hikers for advice, because for them, most of the trails are not suitable for riding, our perception somehow differentiate. After hiking trip and refreshment in Adriatic sea I realized that this steep and at first sight unapproachable cliff could actually be visited by bike.
View from unpaved road. Pelješac behind in the picture
I parked between Gradac and Brist, and from there started the route, but after I rode the entire route I realized that it would be better if I parked near cemetery. Then you can follow my route, and finish it with bike&hike to peak sv. Ilija.
View on Grabovica.
Most of the route is on unpaved and paved road and leads through olive groves and old villages of Brist, Podaca, Zaostrog and Drvenik. Bike&hike starts 500 meters after the cemetery and goes 3,5 km to peak sv. Ilija. Path is dry and rocky, and considering that in this parts lives venomous snake lat. vipera ammodytes (we call it poskok) you should always look before you sit on the stones (but this fact shouldn’t discourage you to ride this trail).
Last few hundred meters before the peak I left my bike, and hiked to the top. That part is marked with red line in the map, and is not suitable for bike except if you are Danny MacAskill. Sv. Ilija is the last high peak in Biokovo massif on the south and offers spectacular view in all directions. You can see Baćina lakes, peninsula Pelješac, Mljet, Korčula, Hvar, Biokovo peaks, town Gradac and part of Makarska riviera.
I had a race with time because I started this route very late, couldn’t enjoy the view for a long time. At descent I’ve broken my dropout (luckily always carry spare) so I had to replace it on the go. Definitely would recommend this route, if you think that bike&hike section is too much for you, then you could ride circular section of the trail. You will go through old villages, see old stone houses and enjoy the view of Makarska riviera…
View on peninsula Pelješac, island Hvar and Biokovo massif from sv. Ilija peak.
Note: If you decide to ride this route without ascent to sv. Ilija, then the grade for tehnical difficulty would be 2/5.