Vratsa Eco-Trail “Borov Kamak”

Having come to the Vratsa Mountain, be sure to set apart at least half a day to walk the eco trail to the Borov Kamak Waterfall, also known as the Vratsa Eco Trail. Being one of the most picturesque and extreme trails in Bulgaria, the walk will make you feel the cocktail of adrenaline in your blood and the beauty of Vratsa Mountain.

The trail's starting point is easy to find: it is just a few hundred meters from the last houses of Zgorigrad. Once in the village centre, keep walking straight along the road and then along Leva River. The eco trail starts at the switchback near clearing at the foot of the forest, as the Vratsa Mountain Nature Park Directorate has indicated in its signboard.

Initially, the trail runs almost flatly by the former tailings pond of the Mir zinc factory of the mine above the village, which operated until 2002.

This is the venue of a most tragic moment in Bulgaria's recent history: on May 1, 1966, after several days of heavy rains, the retaining wall of the local tailing pond collapsed and a huge mass of mud and heavy metals swept Zgorigrad, destroying half the village and the Kemera quarter of Vratsa, killing more than 500. On the trail's left side the jutting tailing pond's water towers can be seen, as well as leftovers from the retaining wall – forlorn vestiges of the tragedy that ravaged the scenic Leva River valley. An acacia coppice has long overgrown the former tailings pond.

The trail meanders along a quaint creek and soon after the first wooden bridge threads its way through a cascade of rapids and pools, then runs over bridges, steep wooden stairs and railings all the way to the Borov Kamak (pine stone) waterfall, within a 1.5 hour walk. Those who walk over the bridge, surrounding a cliff that rises over 15 meters above the river, are in for a particular thrill. The waterfall trail continues after this peculiar via ferrata.

The path is well marked with wooden signs, but if at times you are wondering which way to go - look at your feet, in many places you will see bright red points.

The waterfall is 63 meters high, almost dry in summer, but still worth seeing!

After a memorable selfie under the waterfall, you may opt to climb above it too and enjoy the beautiful panoramic vistas of the valley. The trail passes just behind the waterfall and climbs a wooden staircase to the right.

If you keep making your way along the path you reach a clearing with a wooden shelter and a barbecue place. You have the following options: walking one hour on to Parshevitsa Lodge or four hours along the red-marked path to Okolchitsa Peak.

Useful information:

At the eco-trail starting point there is a small makeshift parking lot for no more than three cars. Have water with you, especially in summer, as there is no water source along the way. children under 8 are best not taken along this trail, especially if lacking training or climbing shoes: the trail is rather steep in some places, there are large rocks to negotiate and a river to cross at several points.

If you do this out of the dry summer season, some more robust equipment is in order, especially a pair of sturdy hiking boots to prevent slipping on wet rocks. Be especially cautious on steeper spots covered fallen leaves - there might be mud or even snow underneath to make slippages more likely.

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