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Karnare village - Troyan town (Troyan Pass, Beklemeto) - second-class republican road

 

The Troyan Pass (Beklemeto) is one of the main roads, connecting Northern and Southern Bulgaria.

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Kalofer town – Paradjika – the peak of Botev

From Kalofer town the trail heads to the resort site of Panitsite. After the store there the river is crossed on a bridge and the dust road is taken.

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Karlovo town - Ravnets hut - the peak of Botev

The trail heads from the site of Beshbunar through a broad-leaf forest of oak and hornbeam. It is stony and is of a mild inclination. After some 150 meters it branches off – along a bridge over Karamandra River the right branch leads to the hut along the ridge Srednata Ployana (middle meadow).


 

 

 

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The site of Lagat - the site of Chervena Lokva (road) - Mazalat hut - Sokolna hut - Gabarevo village (10 hours)

The site of Lagat is located at the influx of the rivers of Rositsa, Bagarestitsa and Zelenikovska. From here a dust road is taken southwards along the valley of Rositsa River, after some 15 minutes the influx rivers of Rositsa and Bagarestitsa is reached.

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Pleven hut – the peak of Kostenurkata

From Pleven hut the trail heads to the South along Bazov Dyal ridge. After crossing the sparse beech forest it reaches the site of Murgata – a flatter place from which the climbing South continues through inclined pastures.

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Levski hut – Mlechniya Chal - the peak of Botev

The trail to the peak of Botev begins behind the hut and is rather steep initially. It winds in short curves through a mixed beech-fir-tree forests and then with a wide curve to the right and eastwards the trail gets steeply above the forest and climbs the stony hill – Govedarnika, by the ruins of an old pen.

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Apriltsi town (Ostrets neighborhood) - Dalgata polyana - Tazha hut (3 hours)

The Ostrets neighborhood of Apriltsi town is the most convenient access point to visit Tazha hut. From the centrum of this neighborhood the trail follows the valley of Ostershka River along a dust road and it reaches the influx with a small creek – Atanasova Strujna.

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Haidushka Pesen hut - the peak of Ushite - Eho hut (4 hours)

From Haidushka Pesen hut the trail heads to the West and through the bed of Rogatcheva River it goes on the water divide between Araganov Dol and Kamacharskoto Dere. Along this valley crossing timbering plots and raspberry patches it reaches the crest in the foot of the peak of Kashka.

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Haidushka Pesen hut - the peak of Kucheto - Kozya Stena hut (2,5 hours)

From Haidushka Pesen hut the marked trail winds in a number of serpents along the right slope of Rogatcheva River, climbing up the Tumin Dyal – the water divide ridge to Kozestitsa River.

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Cherni Osam village – the site of Smesite - Zoranov rat - Ambaritsa hut - Dobrila hut

The trail takes the asphalt road from Cherni Osam village along the valley of Cherni Osam River and after some 5 km it reaches the site of Smesite (influx with Krayovitsa River).

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Hristo Danovo village - the site of Damladere - the site of Uzunborun - Kozya Stena hut

From Hristo Danovo village the trail heads by the school in the northwestern direction, it crosses the river and continues along the motor-way crossing rose gardens and orchards, crosscutting the mild forested ridge and Chamdja reserve.

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Paskal hut - Momina Polyana hut (3,30 hours)

From Paskal hut the Chernivit trail is followed to the Northwest to the site of Tabiite (Kosishki Pass). Almost in the beginning in the northeastern direction a trail with pillar marking branches off, it leads to the main crest at some 300 meters west of the peak of Kositsa, from which one could continue towards Benkovski hut and Planinski Izvori.

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Klisura town - the site of Ravna River - the site of Vetroviti Preslap - Eho hut

From the northwestern section of the town the marked trail leads by orchards and rose gardens, crosses the rail-road and the motor-way and climbs on the sharp forested small peak of Ostritsa.

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Yavorova Laka hut - Pleven hut (7 hours)

The hike is rather long – some 7 hour but is well marked. From Yavorova laka hut it heads along a dust road and after some 350 m a branching is reached from which the left road is taken. After around 1,5 hours abandoned cabins in the site of Bryaza are reached.

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Apriltsi town (Vidima) - the site of Mazaneto - Pleven hut - the peak of Botev - Rai hut

From the neighborhood of Vidima of Apriltsi town the trail follows the road to Vidima water power station to the South. The road follows Starna River – initial tributary of Vidima, and crosses it after 1,5 km on a bridge and forks, the trail follows the left branch.

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Sopot town - Nezabravka hut - Dobrila hut – the site of Topalitsa - Vasil Levski hut

The climbing from Sopot is made easier by the chair lift. The old trail passing by the St. Spas monastery, Manastirska Reka River, Kostin Dol, the site of Groba, Krivya Pat Road and Pochivaloto to Nezabravka hut and Dobrila hut is not used anymore.

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Ambaritsa hut - Hubavets hut (via Kyumurdzieva Polyana)

To the South of Ambaritsa hut, towards the crest, leads a well marked trail climbing along the highest parts of the grass covered Dalgi Dyal ridge. From the branching off to Dobrila hut the trail leads only southwards and shortcuts the steep northeastern slopes of the peak of Ambaritsa and climbing to the key crest saddle Platneshki Yarove – between the peaks of Malak Kupen to the East and Ambaritsa to the West. From here crossing the main crest to the Southeast and shorcutting the slopes of Malak Kupen, the trail for some 20 minutes crosses the trail between Dobrila hut and Vasil Levski hut and descends to the South down steep pastures. The trail is marked West off the ridge of Hubavets – the water divide of Malkata and Golyamata River. The point for orienting in the descending is the small pen located far below. Still below its for some one hour the trail enters the forest where with a milder inclination it follows the right bank of Malkata River. After another hour the Hubavets hut is reached, located at the influx of Malkata and Golyamata Rivers.
Section of the trail passes through Stara Reka Reserve!Stara Reka preserves the natural environment of one of the most beautiful mountain rivers in Bulgaria. The reserve is amongst the first by the number of the rare plants – more than 45 are listed into the national Red Data Book, 20 can only be seen in Bulgaria. The animal kingdom is as rich. You will be closely watched by the diurnal birds of prey, the wet soil is decorated with the footprints of the bear and the wolf. The forest here is incredibly diverse – the oaks and durmast meet the beech, the silver fir and Norway spruce. The autumn here is like a happy ending tale – the lush dance of the nuances of yellow, red and green, that charms you forever… Above this beauty raises Kupenut – its eternal warden.

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Karlovo town - Hubavets hut - Balkanski Rozi hut - Vasil Levski hut - the site of Bash mandra - Rai hut - the site of Paradjika - Kalofer town (12 hours)

From Karlovo town the trail follows a wide street along the hospital and leads at the end of the town. Through vineyards and orchards the wide marked trail climbs eroded slopes.

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Balkan Roses hut – the Aged fir-tree

The trail heads southeastwards from Balkanski Rozi (Balkan Roses) hut. The aged tree is located around 10 minutes off the hut, on the slopes of the peak of Golemya Bashit on the territory of Stara Reka Reserve. The age of this tree is unknown but for sure it knows other times and other people …

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Chiflik village - the site of Tumin Dyal - the peak of Kucheto - Kozya Stena hut (winter trail)

From Chiflik village the trail follows the asphalt road and after the basin, where the influx of Rogacheva River and Kozeshtitsa River is located the trail branches off and climbs the comparatively high Tumin Dyal ridge. For some 2 hours the border of Kozya Stena Reserve, east of Rogachevite Kamani site is reached. Here the trail joins the trail from Haidushka Pesen hut and continues towards the needles of the peak of Kucheto and the saddle Vetroviti Preslap at the monument of the perished hut keeper Petko Datchev. From the monument the trail goes westwards and slightly southwestwards, shortcutting from the South the eroded main crest and descends to the Kozya Stena hut.
Section of the trail crosses Kozya Stena Reserve (Tumin Dyal – Vetroviti Preslap)!
Hiking this trail you can enjoy Kozya Stena Reserve. It is located in a very steep section of the mountain. The rocks rise up vertically from the aged beech and silver fir-tree forests. In its inaccessible thicket the Kozya stena shelters the habitats of a number of extremely rare plants and can be considered a “botanical” reserve. You will stop by of the tender flowers of the Dryas occipitalis, or by the blossoming flowers of the Daphne blagayana – it can be observed just here. The wild beauty of the graceful edelweiss lonely blossoming in the rocks is invaluable. On a sunny day or in a moonlit night the rocks of the reserve are unforgettable. Their rigid unscalable faces inspire a sincere respect for the incredible imagination of Nature.

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Karnare village - Dermenkaya hut

From the northern section of the village the trail heads to the mountain on a dust road, crossing orchards chestnut forest.

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Vasil Levski hut – Praskaloto

The trail starts from Vasil Levski hut and leads southwards, it crosses Golyamata River along a small wooden bridge and follows the eastern banks upstream. At some spots the trail leads on inclined and slippery stones. For some 15 minutes the 26 meters high Praskalo is reached. This small waterfall is beautiful all-year-round as it falls down a rock wall overgrown by moss and even in law-water periods its charm is undoubted.
Hiking this trail you can enjoy Stara Reka Reserve. Stara Reka preserves the natural environment of one of the most beautiful mountain rivers in Bulgaria. The reserve is amongst the first by the number of the rare plants – more than 45 are listed into the national Red Data Book, 20 can only be seen in Bulgaria. The animal kingdom is as rich. You will be closely watched by the diurnal birds of prey, the wet soil is decorated with the footprints of the bear and the wolf. The forest here is incredibly diverse – the oaks and durmast meet the beech, the silver fir and Norway spruce. The autumn here is like a happy ending tale – the lush dance of the nuances of yellow, red and green, that charms you forever… Above this beauty raises Kupenut – its eternal warden.

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Sokolna hut - the peak of Triglav - Tazha hut

The trail is one of a numerous ascending and descending sections.

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Tazha village - Rusalka hut - Tazha hut (along the road - 6 hours)


From Tazha village the trail heads to the North along a mountain road. It crosses pastures, small orchards and vineyards. In the foot of the mountain it turns to the West. It passes by a pine forest and at a second pie forest it turns to the right and to the Northwest. Clearly outlined and well marked trail could also be used which directly climbs the steep southern slopes of the mountain. Along this trail an eroded slope is climbed and a curve of the road is passed, than it continues through a low oak and hornbeam forest. The road is crossed for a second time. Caution is needed here in order not to miss the trail in the low, thick forest. Further to the North the trail enters the shadows of an old oak forest and crosses the road for a third time. Ravnetska Vada River is crossed and the trail leads to an inclined pasture. It continues diagonally upwards with a mild inclination through single trees and bushes, the trail joins the road by a forestry building in the site of Golyama Papratliva (large fern one). It turns to the North, and crosses Enkina Vada gully, then it turns to the West and again to the North. From here to Rusalka hut a narrow road follows. After reaching Rusalka hut the road crosses a bridge over Svetishka Vada River and with a curve to the West climbs the long pasture Svetitcata (the Saint). West of it, the trail turns to the North following horizontally. The Sladkata Voda fountain is passed by and the rocky valley of Babskata River is accessed. Far away the white strip of the 54-meters Babsko Praskalo waterfall could be seen. A slight climbing to the West follows and a sharp curve to the North. In the site of Lukat the road branches off – the left branch leads to the rock phenomenon of Pyrostyata, and to the right – the recreation facilities in the site of Golyama Ravna. The trail follows the widest middle road. It makes several curves low below the site of Golyama Ravna, crosses stony hills and winds along the gully of the Kalnya Potok creek and makes a sharp turn to the right through a forest opening в the rocks. After some 300 m an old forest station is reached. The road crosses a beech forest and leads to a gully with a cold spring. To the right white limestone layers appear. A sharp curve to the Northeast follows and an impressive panorama towards the Kademlyisko Prskalo waterfall (72 m high) opens. Still to the North and almost horizontally the road climbs the eastern slope of the valley of Tazha River. At the vertical rocks at the site of Ganyav Kamak, through the burned remains of Kaloferskite Strujni (buildings) the trail reaches the spacious site of Smesite. To the East the trail along the crest to Mazalat hut branches off, to the Northeast is the Kravenishkoto Dere Creek, and to the North is Pozhardere. The marking to the West should be followed. The wide trail traverses the northern bank of Tazha River, crosses the site of Varnitsata and Tatarskoto Dere Gully and leads to Tazha hut.

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Anton village - Momina Polyana hut (4,30 hours)


From the rail station of Anton village the trail heads to the North by the farm-yards in the end of the village and reaches the Sofia-Burgas motor-way. It is crossed and the trail continues along the left bank of the river. Constructions in the foot of the mountain are reached and the trail heads to the Northeast, it climbs steeply upwards in thick serpents, as after the last serpent it goes to the Northwest and reaches a flat plot. To the West gaps the precipice of the river valley, surrounded by high vertical rocks. The trail continues to the North and a new steep climbing follows, to the Northwest the site of Mandrely is crossed and when the terrain becomes flatter, the trail turns to the Northwest, in this direction the site of Gyolat is reached – a vast, slightly folded plateau with a number of springs, where the abandoned Planinski Izvori hut is located. This is the highest hut in Stara Planina. From this point there are two options for reaching Momina Polyana hut:
First option: The trail continues to the West along the main crest and after a slight climbing up the commemorative plaque southeast of the peak of Kartala is reached. This site is a slightly outlined saddle between three peaks – Kartala and two nameless small peaks to the South and to the East of it. This is an important cross roads – to the East the trail leads to the site of Gyola and Planinski Izvori hut, to the huts of Benkovski and Vezhen; to the North – to Momina Polyana hut and Divchovoto village (crossing the peak of Mominski Chikar); to the South is the direct trail towards Anton village. In case of unfavorable weather, in fog and in winter the hiking along the main crest and to the North of it in the direction of Kosishki Pass should be avoided as the region hides avalanche danger, the markers are a few and the crest plateau – vast. From the pillar with the commemorative plaque, almost directly northwards heads the trail to Momina Polyana hut, it is clearly marked with paint marks and pillars, it passes East of the peak of Kartala and descends amongst stones, juniper and bilberries to the saddle in the very southern foot of the peak of Mominski Chikar. It is also an important tourist crossroad - to the North crossing the peak, a trail goes down to Divchovoto village; to the East is the summer trail to the huts of Benkovski and Vezhen; to the West along a broad marked trail through a coniferous forest Momina Polyana hut is reached. Second option: Instead of continuing westwards along the main crest, the trail heads directly to the North, after some 10-15 minutes slight descending along a grass slope the marked trail towards Momina Polyana hut is reached, which passes above the springs of Cherni Vit River. Along it in the western direction, via the saddle in the southern foot of the peak of Mominski Chikar, Momina Polyana hut is reached. In winter this trail hides an avalanche danger!
Section of the trail crosses Boatin reserve in the region of the Mominski Chukar

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Koprivstitsa Train Station - the site of Vartopa - Vezhen hut (6,5 часа)

To the North of Koprivstitsa Train Station along the short gorge of Koznishka River the trail enters a small kettle, divided from the Zlatitsa-Pirdop kettle by a low, not well distinguished shoot, formed by the ridge of the peaks of Malko and Golyamo Glame. In the distance, directly to the North, the Sofia-Burgas motor-way is seen and above it – the respecting crevice of Vartopa.

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Anton village - the site of Zanogata - Benkovski hut (4,30 hours)

From the village the trail heads eastwards to the bridge over Margarta River at the Sofia-Burgas motor-way.

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Anton village - Planinski Izvori hut - Benkovski hut

From the rail station of Anton village the trail heads to the North by the farm-yards in the end of the village and reaches the Sofia-Burgas motor-way. It is crossed and the trail continues along the left bank of the river. Constructions in the foot of the mountain are reached and the trail heads to the Northeast, it climbs steeply upwards in thick serpents, as after the last serpent it goes to the Northwest and reaches a flat plot. To the West gaps the precipice of the river valley, surrounded by high vertical rocks. The trail continues to the North and a new steep climbing follows, to the Northwest the site of Mandrely is crossed and when the terrain becomes flatter, the trail turns to the Northwest, in this direction the site of Gyolat is reached – a vast, slightly folded plateau with a number of springs, where the abandoned Planinski Izvori hut is located. This is the highest hut in Stara Planina. The trail goes almost to the East following the crest pillar marking and reaches the western foot of the peak of Tetevenska baba, here the trail joins that one coming from Momina Polyana hut, shortcutting the northern slopes of the peak of Kartala, which represents avalanche hazard in winter and is dangerous in spring and the beginning of summer, because of the snow preserved in the furrows. The peak is climbed easily it is shortcut from the South, after which a steep climbing down begins along its eastern slope towards the saddle of Popovi Grobove (Anton Pass). It is an important crossroads – here reaches the trail from Anton village. To the East the trail continues on the crest marking towards the peak of Vezhen and Vezhen hut. There are two options to reach Benkovski hut from this saddle:
First option: The trail goes to the Northeast crosses and slantwise downwards a short ridge is crossed, the trail passes by the commemorative plaque of Ivan Kapetan, shortcuts the low northwestern and northern slopes of the peak of Boluvanya and descends to the site of Debely Dyal to several pans and fountains. Right to the North is the peak of Gugla, a dust road comes here, which had branched off the valley of Zavodna River at Suvatski Dol, the bed of Ravna River is crossed and to the North Benkovski hut is reached.
Second option: This option is longer. The trail continues eastwards along the crest, via the peak of Buluvanya and the saddle of Haydushkite Kamani to the peak of Bratanitsa. From this peak, almost to the North the trail climbs down to the water divide between the rivers of Ravna (to the West) and Zavodna (to the East), and to the Vetrovitya Pryaslop saddle– between the peaks of Bratanitsa and Bratanishki Ushi, along clearly outlined and marked trail heading to the North Benkovski hut is reached.

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Klisura town - Vezhen hut (along the Klisura trail and winter option via the peak of Vezhen)

From the northwestern section of the town the marked trail leads by orchards and rose gardens, crosses the rail-road and the motor-way and climbs on the sharp forested small peak of Ostritsa. The trail follows the northern direction along eroded terrain, the water divide between Haydushkya Dol and Kamentsa (the spring of Stryama river), east of the site of Lokvata and via the site of Velyovi Cherkvi and then reaches the site of Ravna – a wide water dividing ridge between Ravna River, Kamentsa and Haydushki Dol. From this site the trail continues on a well marked road to the northwest, and then to the northeast along the water divide between the spring tributaries of the Ravna River and Kamentsa. Vlashki kladenets (the spring of Kamenitsa River) is passed and the Portata saddle (Kamennata Porta) is reached, which is located between the peak of Kamentsa to the East and the peak of Vezhen to the West. From here two trails branch off.
The summer trail – climbs down the so-called Kamenen (stone) or Klisura road, which shortcuts almost horizontally in the southeast direction the steep northwestern slopes of the peak of Vezhen, below the spring tributaries of Bolovandjika. With serpents it enters a coniferous forest, and then crosses a steep forest opening, after which it enters again an old coniferous forest from which it leads to the meadow of Vezhen hut.
The winter Trail – follows the winter pillars along the crest to the peak of Vezhen, after this the vast peak flattening to the Northwest, from where to the North and downwards the winter road to Vezhen hut branches off, marked with iron pillars and thick paint marks. The trail is not clearly outlined and is often lost among grass passages, juniper and stones.
Section of the trail crosses Tsarichina reserve!

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Vezhen hut - the peak of Vezhen (along the winter trail and along the trail to Klisura town)

The displacement between the hut and the peak is around 600 m. The peak may be climbed via three trails, their forking is at around 1 km South off the hut, close to the upper forest line. From the hut the trail goes south-southeast. The wide well marked trail crosses an aged coniferous forest, then a steep forest opening, and then enters the forest again. Here the trail starts, which leads West towards Benkovski hut. The main trail climbs up south-southeast with several serpents and splits in two just before leaving the forest.

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Benkovski hut - Vezhen hut (2 hours)

 

From Benkovski hut the trail to the Vetrovitya Pryaslop saddle is taken, then a climb down follows to the site of Kolyov Kravarnik.

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Ribaritsa village - the site of Kostina - Benkovski hut (3,45 – 4 hours)

The trail head is in the Kostina neighborhood (in the Western section of Ribaritsa, at the influx of Kostina River and Beli Vit River). An asphalt road leads up the Kostina River flow, which after some 3 km reaches the site of Kostina, a oblong meadow to which the forested slopes of Gabrova Karash and Golyam Klimash descend. A stone bridge is seen in the lower part of the meadow, and opposite to it (on the right bank) is the monument of Benkovski. In the stone fundament of the bridge is the historical Karvavo kladentche (bloody spring). At this site on 25 May 1876 the leader of the April uprising – Georgi Benkovski, was killed and his partners were arrested and only Zahary Stoyanov escaped by miracle. The trail continues along the road to the south against the current of Kostina River. The influx with Svinska River, a small tree husbandry with forest cabins is passed and the influx between Ravna (Lyavata) River and Dalbokoto Dere River forming Kostina River is reached. After another ten minutes the road crosses Ravna River. Here the road is left and the hike continues along a marked trail traversing the right bank of Ravna River. There short gullies are crossed one after the other – all of them right tributaries of the river. After the third gully the trail leaves the river bed and in serpents climbs the steep slope, covered by old beech and spruce forest. After some 30-40 minutes the Tsarskata Pochivka site is reached – a rock vizor hanging above the valley. After the Tsarskata Pochivka site the slope is less steep and the serpents – milder. Two creeks are crossed and the trail enters the forest through a vast inclined meadow. In its lower part Benkovski hut is seen and northwest of it rise Bratanishki Ushi (Malki and Golemi Bratanishki Ushi)

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Hut Tuja, Rusaliite, shelter Marinka, peak Botev

The tourist bureau in the town of Apriltsi organizes outings in the mountain and provides transportation to the starting points for the huts Pleven and Tuja. By preliminary request and for groups of at least 10-12 tourists the bureau also provides trained mountain guides and instructors.
A well-outlined mountain trail, which starts from hut Tuja and extends south-southwest will take the tourists to the Penchov chuchur place in less than 1.25 hours. From that point on the hikers should follow the mountain ridge and the vertical Republican marking in western direction. In 1.40 hours they will reach mountain shelter Marinka, at the foot of peak Botev. There is drinking water in the rocks, some 100 meters away from the shelter. The place is dangerous, the hikers must be cautious not to slip down. It will take them only 40 minutes to reach peak Botev from the shelter. There is no tourist dormitory on mountain peak Botev.

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The Ostrets quarter, Hristova strujna carpenter’s shop, hut Tuja, peak Maragidik

The tourist bureau in the town of Apriltsi organizes outings in the mountain and provides transportation to the starting points for the huts Pleven and Tuja. By preliminary request and for groups of at least 10-12 tourists the bureau also provides trained mountain guides and instructors.

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Hut Pleven, Vodnite dupki cave, hut Pleven


The tourist bureau in the town of Apriltsi organizes outings in the mountain and provides transportation to the starting points for the huts Pleven and Tuja. By preliminary request and for groups of at least 10-12 tourists the bureau also provides trained mountain guides and instructors.
The route is an extremely interesting, not too difficult 2-hour march to the Vodnite dupki (Water holes) cave. The trail, which is poorly marked runs level past hut Pleven and enters the Djendema reserve. The cave itself has many niches and chambers. A high capacity stream springs from the cave. The entering into the cave without proper illumination and a rope is forbidden. The engaging of a mountain guide for the route is highly recommended.

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Hut Pleven, Polenitsi, peak Jaltets, Peshtta, hut Pleven


The tourist bureau in the town of Apriltsi organizes outings in the mountain and provides transportation to the starting points for the huts Pleven and Tuja. By preliminary request and for groups of at least 10-12 tourists the bureau also provides trained mountain guides and instructors.

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Hut Pleven, peak Botev, hut Rai, Bash Mandra place, hut Pleven


The tourist bureau in the town of Apriltsi organizes outings in the mountain and provides transportation to the starting points for the huts Pleven and Tuja. By preliminary request and for groups of at least 10-12 tourists the bureau also provides trained mountain guides and instructors.

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The Mazaneto place- hut Pleven - mountain peak Botev- hut Pleven- the Mazaneto place


The tourist bureau in the town of Apriltsi organizes outings in the mountain and provides transportation to the starting points for the huts Pleven and Tuja. By preliminary request and for groups of at least 10-12 tourists the bureau also provides trained mountain guides and instructors.

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The town of Sopot – the Zalamovo kladenche place – hut Dobrila – 7 hours

The route that starts from the town of Sopot, follows the Leevitsa River and reaches the mountain ridge is also the road, which was used on 21 June 1877 by the defenseless residents of Sopot to escape from the bullets and yataghans of the Turks.

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Town of Teteven – mountain peak Visok (2 hours) – the Trusa saddle – the village of Malka Jelyazna (2.30 hours) – duration 4.30 hours

From the central square in the town of Teteven one should head north, past the Manastirski dol quarter. The tourist route passes by the Monastery and the Kamichets place. In this place the waters of the gorge have incised into the limestone and created a deep hollow.

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The village of Hristo Danovo – hut Kozya Stena – 4.30 hours

The route to hut Kozya Stena starts from the center of the village of Hristo Danovo. It goes past the school and continues south, outside the village. The road describes a wide arc and extending to the northwest starts climbing up the eastern slope of the valley of the Damludere River. For approximately 1.30 hours it reaches the meadow where the hut of the forestry enterprise is. Then along through the bridge over the river the road transfers to the other slope of the mountain and continues to ramble. Near by the place where the Damludere and the Baba Dere rivers join the road takes a sharp turn to the west. Here the road sign indicates that the tourists should leave the road and start ascending up the Uzunburun ridge.

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The village of Karnare – hut Dermenka – 3.30 hours

The village of Karnare is connected to the towns of Sopot and Kalofer through regular bus lines. The village has a train station for passenger trains moving along the sub-Balkan railroad line. There isn’t a tourist dormitory in the village of Karnare.
A well-outlined path starting from the village takes the tourists to hut Dermenka. North of the village, past the orchard gardens, the path starts climbing the denuded of forests slopes of the Djafar dere ravine. Next, the path continues along the Debeli Dyal ridge, then to the northeast crosses the Orman dere ravine and comes up on the Kavakliya ridge. The path extends further, winds up and reaches a mountain meadow that offers a beautiful panoramic view of mountain peak Sivriya to the west.
The path is no longer so steep after it crosses the meadow. It passes by a coniferous forest and extends to the northeast, thus reaching the ridge of the Troyan Mountain, east of the Tabiite peak.
Here the path from the village of Karnare merges with the mountain ridge trail from the Troyan pass, which takes the tourists to hut Dermenka

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Hut Haidushka Pesen – hut Kozya Stena – 2.30 hours

The mountain trail from hut Haidushka Pesen for hut Kozya Stena extends southwest. Ascending the slopes of the valley of the Rogacheva Reka River the trail continues climbing up and enters into a forest. By following the Tumin Dyal ridge the trail ascends even higher. It crosses the Kiselincha meadow and climbing the rocks below the Kucheto mountain peak reaches the avalanche groove of the Vetroviti preslap place.
From this point on for another 15 minutes along the ridge part of the trail one can easily reach the hut. Hut Kozya Stena rises south of the main ridge of the mountain, in the Haidouk cheshme place. The last stage of the route provides the tourists with the opportunity to admire the fantastic panoramas to the north and south of the mountain.
Hut Kozya Stena (1600 m above sea level) was named after the located in proximity rocky mountain peak Kozya Stena (1670 m above sea level).

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Hut Vasil Levski – hut Rai – 4 hours

From mountain hut Vasil Levski one can ascend above the forest zone near the Govedarnika place in just 30 minutes by walking to the east, past the ski track and the pretty breech-spruce wood. From here following the same direction and gradually gaining altitude the path traverses slantwise the right valley slope of the Golyamata Reka River and again in approximately 30 minutes draws out of the northern side of a large plain. At this key point cross some of the main tourist trails: the one to the north-northwest via mountain peaks Jaltets and Polyanitcite – for the town of Troyan, the one to the northeast for mountain peak Botev with a detour for hut Pleven, the one to the southwest via Kochmara for the town of Karlovo with a detour for the village of Vasil Levski and the one via Chufadaritsa for the Kalofer Monastery and the town of Kalofer.
From this road fork the well-marked trail for hut Rai descends to the northeast reaching the shallow valley of the Derindere River, crosses its waterbed and taking the opposite direction ascends the flat water divide between the Derindere and Kanladere Rivers. With a slight turn northeast again the trail descends to the stone building of Bashmandra, called by the local shepherds Kanlamandra (The bloody dairy). Its name is connected to a tragedy from the years of slavery when a revengeful band of Turks slaughtered the local dairymen and shepherds due to which the cold waters of the mountain brook started running blood-red. To the south of the join of the Kanladere and Byala reka rivers is located the famous Haidushkata vodenitsa (water mill) place. From Bashmandra to hut Rai the path is well outlined and marked. By taking many turns it traverses along the southern slopes of mountain peak Botev, under the cascade of vertical granite stone walls and above the abyss of the Southern Djendem.
The path crosses four of the main brooks that form the Haidushka River, then passes by the Derekliiska cave and a great number of small and beautiful waterfalls. Before reaching the steep water bed of the Praskalska River the path ascends its western water divide, which offers a magnificent panoramic view of hut Rai, the Kaloferski Kupeni and the Praskaloto waterfall – the highest waterfall in Bulgaria. Here the path forks and the summer “Tarzan” path extends north heading for peak Botev. With a light diagonal descend it passes under the Praskaloto waterfall, over the Hanmaara cave and comes to the plain meadow on which hut Rai is located.

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Hut Tuja – mountain peak Rusalka (Maragidik) – 1.15 hours

The beautiful mountain peak Rusalka rises northwest of the Tuja hut. The ascend to the peak is easy and pleasant and the altitude that has to be overcome is comparatively small – 400 m. The well-marked path extending west gradually climbs towards the peak. After approximately 1 km the mountain trail forks – the left path crosses the springs of the Tuja river just under the main mountain ridge and by arcing takes us to the Rusaliiska meadow. The right path continues northwest and climbs mountain peak Rusalka. The lovely panoramic view from the peak reveals the whole valley of the Vidima river and the town of Apriltsi, the Northern Djendem and the pre-Balkan. The more popular name of the peak is Maragidik. It is connected to different myths and legends. One of them tells of a brave Bulgarian woman from the region who threw herself into the abyss to escape the desecration of the enslavers. Another legend is about the pretty and capricious girl Mara who promised to marry the one who would carry her all the way up the mountain to the peak. There was a brave young man who managed to do that but after he reached the mountain top he died of exhaustion. A third legend about this interesting mountain peak is connected to the name of the sister of Krali Marko.
One of the most interesting legends though is connected to the sister of Tzar Ivan Shishman – princess Mara. She was promised as a wife of Sultan Mourad. On her way to Odrin she crossed that region. She wished to take a look at her mother country from the mountain peak, so she climbed it and grieving of her enslaved homeland started crying. Her pure tears gave birth to the Tuja river and also name of the mountain peak and the pass east of it – Maragidik (Marin pass).

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Hut Tuja – mountain peak Botev – 4.30 hours

This is one of the most popular and often used routes for the climb up of the highest peak in the Stara Planina mountain. This route is often preferred during the winter season, but one should always have in mind that in bad weather and thick fog it hides a lot of unpleasant surprises and dangers because of the almost permanent strong winds over the ridge and the treacherous snow-drifts, overhanging between peaks Yurushka gramada and Ushite (the ears). The path is excellently marked with the standard winter and summer marking.
From hut Tuja west past the small electric power station the mountain trail crosses the valley of the Tuja river, southwest of which begins a continuous ascend. The trail passes through a century-old breech-tree wood where deep snow-drifts are formed during the winter, then comes out of the wood and crosses the high northwestern slopes of the Rusaliite peak and reaches the Rusaliiska meadow. To the west the well-outlined trail overcomes an ascend of approximately 200 m, passes south of mountain peak Yurushka gramada, for a short while follows the main ridge of the mountain and by arcing rounds peak Paradjika from its south side. From this point on the trail turns northwest and south of the Ushite peak and descends down to the Marinka shelter. The cold water Marinka spring gushes from the granites some 200 m west-northwest of the shelter. There is a 300 m climb to the peak from the Marinka saddle. Peak Botev can by reached through its northern side along the well-marked path passing nearby mountain peak Malkia Yumruk.

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Town of Kalofer – Kalofer Monastery – 1.15 hours

 

ABOUT THE ROUTE


In the western end of the town of Kalofer from the road to Karlovo sets off a second road, which passes by the monument of Kalifer chieftain and follows the flat water divide between the Tundja and the Byala reka rivers. The same road can be taken from the northern part of the town – via the church bridge and past the upper Convent. From this point the path heads north through sweet-scented lavender fields. Mountain peaks Chufadaritsa, Ravnets, Jaltets and Botev rise in front of the eyes. Somewhere below, on the road to Karlovo can be seen the bridge over the Byala reka river. Traces from an old Turkish roadside watch (guard) tower can be found here. It is believed that this is where the name of the Strajata (the Guard) elevation comes from. Some kilometers further down where the Byala reka river enters the Karlovo valley, on the left valley slope of the river there are ruins from an ancient fortress – Kaleto. Some 200 – 300 m north of the monument of Kalifer chieftain a thin path sets off from the road. It extends northwest, steeply descends towards the Byala reka river, crosses the river some 2 km north of the Kulata and ascends up the Yurumbair mountain peak (671 m).
Approximately 2 km northwest of the town of Kalofer, near the Trunkata place the road forks. Its right branch crosses the Paradjika place and reaches mountain hut Rai and the left one gradually descends down to the valley of the Byala reka river. The Old Bulgarian fortification Zvanigrad was once located in that place called Sredna Kurniditsa. The road crosses the river and joins a path, which comes along the valley from the Kulata place. From here you can easily reach the Kalofer Monastery in just 15 – 20 minutes.
The white building of the Monastery located on a plain meadow some 20 m above the river grabs the eye from afar. Right against it stand the Belite bregove (white strands) – the brooks and rain water have shaped them into draperies and tellurian pyramids. The Small monastery whose surrounding area has once been an old haidouk gathering place has perched on the very mountain ridge, just over the Belite bregove place. Some hundred meters north of the Kalofer Monastery begin the endless labyrinths of the Southern Djendem and the Great Kalofer Kupen peak and the majestic Botev peak stand out.
It is believed that the Kalofer Monastery has been established in approximately 1606 – 1640. Just like the town of Kalofer it has been repeatedly burned and pillaged by the Turkish hordes during the years of Ottoman yoke and later during the war for Liberation in 1876.
The Kalofer Monastery is a convenient starting point for hut Rai – 5.30 hours or for mountain peak Botev – 7 hours.
There are several available routes leading back to the town of Kalofer. One of them follows the trail to the bridge over the Byala reka river, then takes a well marked road to Kulata and after that continues along the main road or the direct path to the town of Kalofer – a total of 1.45 hours. Another trail starts from the Monastery, crosses the Byala reka river, rounds the Belite bregove to the south and past the Small monastery comes out to a broad road at the water divide between the Byala reka and the Tundja river. By following this road one can easily reach the town of Kalofer in just 1.15 hours.

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Town of Sopot – Sopot Monastery – Anevsko kale fortress – 2 hours

This route is one of the easiest as it is short and does not require the overcoming of great heights. Most of the sites of interest can be seen from distance and there is no chance of getting lost. The tourist route starts from the center of the town of Sopot where one can visit the house of birth of the Patriarch of the Bulgarian literature – Ivan Vazov, transformed into a house-museum. This is not the original house. It was restored in 1932 by the initiative of the poet’s brother Georgi Vazov and officially opened as a museum on 6 June 1935. Here along with the original documents giving evidence for the life and work of Vazov one can get acquainted with the atmosphere characteristic of the time, which the writer described in his novel “Under the Yoke”. The monument of the poet rises in the square in front of the house-museum. The house of another prominent resident of the town of Sopot – the courier of the “Iskra” newspaper Ivan Zagubanski is also preserved.
As you start walking along the street north of the square you will quickly reach the Rada’s school and the town church with the belfry. The “St. Peter and Paul” church was built by Master Nikola Trayanov in 1846 and burned by the Turks in 1877. Two years later it was completely restored. The church is a remarkable monument of the Bulgarian Revival architecture. The Rada’s school, described in the novel “Under the Yoke” is located in the church yard and through a small gate in the eastern wall one can enter the Girl’s Monastery, also described in the novel and connected to the revolutionary activity of the prominent Bulgarian revolutionary Vasil Levski.
The Monastery was founded in 1667. All that is left from its old buildings after its burning by the Turks in 1877 is the “Presentation of the Blessed Virgin” church and the residential building, in which the abbess lived. The vine in the yard was also spared. Today the visitors can see here the cell of Abbess Hristina who would often give shelter to Vasil Levski in the past, the secret passage from her cell to the hiding place and the very hiding place of the Apostle of Bulgarian Liberty. The grave of the Abbess who was killed by the Turks in 1877 is located near the wall of the Monastery church, which was built in 1402.
From here the route continues northeast between the last houses located at the far end of the town of Sopot and a pine-tree wood. The path passes through the villa area and the Manastirski dol place. Where the steep southern slopes of the Troyan Mountain touch the Karlovo valley, in the valley of the Manastirska reka river, between the trees gleam the white walls of the Sopot Monastery “St. Spas” – founded in the XIV century, burned by the Turks in 1877. After the Liberation of Bulgaria the Monastery was restored with the assistance of Bulgarians living in Romania, that is why when the visitors enter the church they find its interior unusual. The Monastery church was restored without its murals and frescoes. During the years of ottoman yoke the Monastery became an important cultural, educational and revolutionary center. Here on 7 December 1858 Vasil Levski was ordained as deacon Ignatii. Again here in 1875 Todor Kableshkov swore in the members of the restored revolutionary committee of Sopot.
Approximately 150 m south of the Monastery gates one can reach the now restored Dyado Stoyan’s water mill just by following a narrow path.
If you want to reach the Anevsko kale fortress, which has perched over the mountain ridge (at 960 m above sea level) you have to walk northeast of the Monastery. What is left of the fortress built at the time of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom is 1 m thick and 10 – 15 m high walls – part of two towers – southern and northern, connected to each other by a fortress wall.
The climb to the fortress is exhausting but the panoramic view revealing the Karlovo valley and the Sredna Gora Mountain is worth the efforts.
You can return to the town of Sopot by following the same path south past the village of Anevo and reaching the Sofia-Bourgas highway, then in 30 more minutes you will be back to the town.

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The Smesite place – hut Steneto – 7 km

Those who want to reach hut Steneto by passing through the Smesite place should take the road to the Neshkovtsi neighborhood. The road passes through the neighborhood itself and along the fast-flowing waters of the Cherni Osam river, then through the Kiselitsata (Kiselchova meadow) and finally reaches the hut. The Steneto hut is one of the starting points for the tourist groups that are willing to become acquainted with the beauty on National Park Steneto or continue towards the Dermenka hut or Beklemeto.

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Hut Mazalat – mountain peak Golyam Kademlia – 2.30 hours

A well-marked mountain trail leading to hut Tuja extends west of hut Mazalat. It rounds the southern or northern side of peak Korubashitsa, passes by the Peeshtite skali (the Singing rocks) and to the southwest reaches mountain peak Rosovatets. The marking for hut Tuja continues in the same direction, towards peak Groba and from the direction of peak Golyam Kademlia the tourists must switch onto the path, which heads almost south leading to the Chim koliba saddle. From this point the path extends towards peak Ttriglav reaching it in just an hour.
This route can be varied by following a path from peak Golyam Kademlia past the Groba saddle, through the Malak Kademlia, Pirgos, Mazalat and Belite kladentsi peaks and descending down to the Kimincheto ridge, from where hut Mazalat can be easily reached via the Tunkata ratlina hillock and the Krivata pateka path.

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Hut Vasil Levski – hut Pleven – 4.30 – 5 hours

There is an hour of walk along the road leading from hut Vasil Levski to hut Rai past the Govedarnika to the Djuza place. From this point on the path clearly outlined through the grassy passages and well marked with a standard marking extends north-northeast and crosses the Derindere River, near its spring. Following the same direction it consecutively crosses the Kanladere and Haiduka Rivers, passes to the north of the Pobita glava peak and reaches the saddle at the Botev shelter (2050 m above sea level).

Some 250 – 300 m before reaching the shelter, the main path forks in a northern direction and heads for mountain hut Pleven. It passes over the saddle between peak Botev and peak Bezimennia and at first descends north and after several turns crosses twice the Vassilkovitsa River, north of the main mountain ridge. After it descends some 150 m down the main ridge, the path which worms its way through the large pieces of rocks and the high alpine grass takes a sharp turn to the west and traverses the steep slopes of peaks Bezimennia and Mlechen Chal. The Northern Djendem remains somewhere below the path. Later on the path crosses the steep water beds of five left tributaries of the Vassilkovitsa River – Elachov dol, the Trite kupni, the Sheitanska River, Vartelejkata and the Kralimarkov brook, to the south past the Kupata peak and enters the Peshtta place – a small rocky platform north of the Mlechen Chal peak. From this point on the mountain trail takes a sharp turn to the north, then along the narrow mountain ridge and through a beech-tree forest descends down the Bazov dyal – a water divide between the Lyava Vidima River and the Krivinishka River, from where it ascends to hut Pleven (1390 m above sea level).

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Hut Rai – The Kaloferski Kupeni – 0.30 hours

In order to reach the ridge of the Kupeni we follow a mountain trail, which starts from the town of Kalofer. From here along the very mountain ridge in a southeastern direction we climb the Malkia (small) Kupen (1478 m above sea level), which is actually higher than its neighbor is. This is not a mistake. In fact the Golyam (big) Kupen (1448 m above sea level) is way too impressive and striking. Both mountain peaks are called Kupeni (bowl-like) because of their particular shape. From Malkia Kupen we cross the eastern slope of the saddle and along a scarcely perceptible path we climb the Golyam Kupen peak. The mountain peak offers an incredible panoramic view of peak Botev, the Praskaloto waterfall, the valleys of the Malka and Golyama Bazovitsa Rivers, the Sredna Gora Mountain and the Rhodopes Mountain far to the southeast. The Southern Djendem is located immediately below us.

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Hut Pleven – mountain peak Botev – 3 hours

Hut Pleven is a very convenient starting point for the climbing of the highest peak in the Stara Planina mountain – peak Botev. The route is only available in the summer because during the winter season avalanches often endanger the mountain trail. The route offers marvelous panoramic view of the wild labyrinth of the Northern Djendem. South of the hut the marked trail creeps through the woody Murgata crest, comes out to the open ridge and rests upon the small rocky platform Peshtta (the furnace). From this point on the trail turns east and gradually starts to take height. It passes high above the rocky mountain peak Kupata (Kralimarkovska kupa), which overhangs the Djendem, then passes over the Vodnite dupki (Water holes) cave and after crossing the left spring tributary of the Vasiliovitsa river it takes a sharp turn south and climbs the saddle at the Hristo Botev shelter. The tourists can reach mountain peak Botev in just 30 – 40 minutes by following the well-marked ridge trail.

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Hut Dermenka – hut Dobrila – 2.30 hours

There is a convenient cart way, which starts from mountain hut Dermenka and reaches the suitable for skiing during the winter Mecho pole hollow. The road crosses horizontally the hollow and then enters a beech-tree wood. Once the path reaches the meadow the tourists face the Gyurduktepe mountain peak. It is believed that there once has been a watchtower here – part of a signal system, providing security and offering protection of the Kopsis. Form Gyurduktepe the path starts descending, reaching a saddle where there are some almost never drying out puddles. To the east the path enters a coniferous forest, called the Sopot pinewood, and soon after that a second path sets off from the first one leading directly to hut Nezabravka. The mountain trail to hut Dobrila takes a slight turn left, passes through the Groba meadow and in a little more than an hour of walking through the forest comes out in the grassy saddle between mountain peak Dobrila and Levski, where hut Dobrila is located.

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Hut Ambaritsa – hut Dobrila – 4 hours

There is a well-marked and outlined mountain trail between hut Ambaritsa and hut Dobrila. After a 30-minute ascend up the Debeli Dyal ridge one can reach a road fork marked with a pole and direction plates. The mountain trail for Kupenite and peak Botev diverts south. In the Platneshki yarove place another path leading to hut Vasil Levski sets off from the first one. There is also another path, which extends south (from the road fork), passes by hut Hubavets and descends to the town of Karlovo. The third path at first heads southwest, then descends down a waterless gully, takes four turns and ascends up the Kumanitsa ridge. After that the path arcs and reaches the western foot of mountain peak Levski, enters a century-old coniferous forest and crosses the upper stream of the Cherni Osam river. The water join of the two streams, which form the river is called Chatalchuchur and is located higher than the point where the path from mountain hut Ambaritsa to hut Dobrila passes. From this point on the path extends through the coniferous forest. It gets over the mountain ridge and faces the Dobrila hut. The hut is built in the saddle between peak Levski and peak Dobrila, at 1750 m above sea level.
In 1928 the tourists from Sopot built a hut in that place, which was later completely destroyed in a fire.

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Town of Karlovo – hut Hubavets – hut Balkanski rozi – hut Vasil Levski – 4.30 hours

From the central square in the town of Karlovo, to the north, past the town’s hospital we reach the foot of the mountain where we take a well marked mountain trail just west of the bed of the Stara reka river. The local residents call it the Magareshka (mulish) river.
After crossing the vineyards, which encircle the town of Karlovo to the north, the path takes a turn and follows the steep slopes of the Sipeya, high above the right valley slope of the Stara reka river. The ascend is exhausting but short (30 minutes). Down where the Stara reka river leaves the mountain gleams the small Hydroelectric central behind which the Karlovsko praskalo waterfall is. The more we ascend the more the horizon expands and soon our eyes embrace the whole Stryamska valley. The town of Karlovo remains somewhere below us.
After the place Sipeya the rise of the path gradually decreases, the horizon closes down but each step forward takes us closer to the most magnificent part of the Stara reka river valley – a true stony fairy-tale.
We follow the capricious turns of the path, which sometimes extends along the left valley slope, sometimes along the right valley slope of the river, often nearing the restless waters of the river.
In a little more than an hour we reach the equalizer of Hydroelectric central Karlovo. From here up the trip is lighter and easier. The river often calms down its waters into emerald ponds. Beech-tree woods gradually substitute the rocky scenery. In approximately one hour we reach the water join of the Golyamata and Malkata reka rivers, divided by the craggy Hubavets ridge. Hubavets is also the name of a small hut known as a shelter until 1963. From mountain hut Hubavets along the valley of the Malkata reka river, south of peak Levski and peak Zalumitsa, one can reach hut Dobrila in approximately 3 hours and mountain peak Levski or peak Golyam Kupen – 3.30 – 4 hours.
The trail extends northeast up the stream of the Golyamata reka river, crosses several places, the Malak Bashit meadow and through a century old beech-tree wood reaches the Balkanski rozi hut in less than an hour.
The route continues up the stream of the swift-flowing Golyama reka river, which forms great rafts and ponds. The path takes us to the Golemiat Bashit and the Maazite places, takes a turn under the thick shades of an old beech-tree wood and in approximately 1.30 hours leads us to the beautiful Gyurlia place, which shelters the Vasil Levski hut.

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