This itinerary involves a hike from Thethi (716 m) over the Valbona Pass (1 759 m) to Valbona (995 m). This hike follows the route of an ancient mule track linking the tribal regions of Shala and Nikaj.
The trail is marked with white/red/white lines.
The hike starts at Thethi center (WP 1) and follows NW along a gravel road with Thethi River in our left. As an orientation point could be taken the main bridge of Thethi and Prek Harusha guesthouse. After few hundred meters we cross a stream through a pedestrian bridge and immediately take the path on our right at the junction. The trail takes right at WP 2 and follows NE. Near of this point there are signs for Gusinje, Montenegro and Valbona, Albania. The hike follows gently up along the gravel road until we see the first house of Gjelaj village and the mule track in our left at WP 3. Now the ascending becomes steeper. After approx. 200 meters the mule track enters the forest and follows it for 1 Km until we reach a picturesque meadow (WP 4), which is an inviting place to rest awhile. Then our hike follows again steeply up hill NE, enters the forest after approx. 500 meters and after walking in the forest for about 1 km, we reach a water source at WP 5. Few meters after we saw a new wooden bar which was closed (in Nov 2011), but according to the locals, it will be open during the summer time for hikers. We follow the path SE (the only one in the area) in the forest for approx. 700 meters and then we exit the forest and follow E at Valbona pass (WP 6). This point offers a view onto two valleys (Valbona to the E, Thethi to the W).
The decent on the Valbona side begins NW, before taking the zigzag path (NE) at WP 7. In the end of the zigzags we cross a (dried-up) stream (WP 8). Then we take SW and the trail enters an open wooden land through clear trail. After approx. 600 meters we reach a stream with drinkable water (WP 9), which is a good place to rest for awhile, before taking the final decent to Rragam village (WP 10). At this point, we take the left path at the junction. In Rragam, our hike is line by fences and Valbona valley is easily recognizable below to our left. After few hundred meters walking in the village, we take right at the junction (WP 11) and this route leads us down at gravel road lined by pines. This is the main road which connects Valbona with Rragam. We take this route for about 3 Km and we finish our hike at Fusha e Gjes Hotel (WP 12). Valbona center is located 3.5 Km NE by taking the same route.
1. 34T399041 / UTM 4694459, 716 m, Thethi bridge
2. 34T398793 / UTM 4695067, 782 m
3. 34T399285 / UTM 4695200, 935 m
4. 34T400086 / UTM 4694929, 1 193 m, meadow
5. 34T401256 / UTM 4695832, 1 397 m, water source
6. 34T402500 / UTM 4695499, 1 759 m, Valbona Pass
7. 34T402192 / UTM 4695977, 1 696 m
8. 34T402569 / UTM 4696171, 1 528 m, stream crossing
9. 34T403108 / UTM 4696019, 1 436, water soruce
10. 34T404473 / UTM 4696149, 1 127, Rragam village
11. 34T404780 / UTM 4696239, 1 122 m
12. 34T407097 / UTM 4697679, 995 m, Fusha e Gjes Hotel