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Тhe Canyon of Waterfalls near Smolyan, Bulgaria

by Vanessa White

You’re in for an exciting day exploring the Canyon of Waterfalls. Tread carefully across shaky bridges, climb wooden ladders, feel the refreshing spray from waterfalls of all sizes and breathe the crystal air of the cool Rhodope Mountains. The picturesque woods seem like a filming location for fairy tales; you’ll be reminded of Little Red Riding Hood as you make your way along the hiking trails...

What you will see in the Canyon of Waterfalls

The Canyon of Waterfalls eco-trail is located in the buffer zone of Soskovcheto Reserve. You’ll see 46 waterfalls of all sizes and capacity along the route. Standing head and shoulders above the rest is Orpheus, which reaches 68 m, and other large waterfalls include Kamen Uley (Stone Chute), Sartseto (the Heart) and Kazanite (the Barrels), Ropkata. The best section of the trail includes numerous wooden bridges, zigzagging between both sides of the river Elenska. Use the railings and ladders to help you along the trail. The most appropriate season for visiting the Canyon of Waterfalls is the beginning of summer, when water levels are high and everything around is green. Autumn also offers beautiful conditions, as the canyon’s trees show off their yellow, red and brown leaves - the colours of the traditional local dress.

You can find plenty of panoramic views overlooking the beautiful Rhodope Mountains, as well as summer houses, benches and picnic tables along the route. Bring some sandwiches and water to sustain you for a whole day in the canyon.

Soskovcheto Reserve

Soskovcheto Reserve was created to preserve centuries-old spruces, which on average live to 112 years, with some even reaching 250-300 years. You can come across squirrels, dormice, otters, badgers, red deer, does and wild goats in the reserve.

Useful information

If you’re coming from Plovdiv/Pamporovo, enter Smolyan and drive straight to the first traffic light. Turn right and follow the signs to the village of Mugla (Мугла) until you exit the town. In 2-3 km you will see a sign marking the beginning of the eco-trail. Take a right into a narrow road leading to the foothill. About 1.5 km after the beginning of the turn-off, you’ll see a tourist center, where you can admire a permanent photo exhibition displaying pictures from the region. Tour guides will tell you interesting stories about the mountain, and will introduce you to the plants and animals in the reserve, which is open from May to October. Make sure you wear comfortable and appropriate footwear as the stones near the waterfalls can be slippery. The eco-trail consists of several circles, as marked on the local map; the route is 10 km long and climbs around 700 m in total, but the most visited part is about 6 km long. Spare at least 4 hours for a relaxed walk, giving yourself enough time to rest and take pictures.

The trail is properly marked and not too difficult - there are only a few relatively steep sections.

Coordinates of the beginning of the trail: 41.580095, 24.659370 or 41°34'48.3"N, 24°39'33.7"E

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