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The Stolo rock phenomenon - the pearl in the crown of the Ponor mountain

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The Stolo rock phenomenon - the pearl in the crown of the Ponor mountain

The Stolo rock phenomenon is the jewel in the crown of Ponor Mountain. It is located near Svoge, Bulgaria on the road from Sofia to Montana (about 50 km from Sofia). The walk to the rocks is about 4km long and very pleasant, and the end of the path will reward you with its beautiful view. Stolo is a rocky ridge and is known for its sheer cliffs and the incredible panorama that opens to Vitosha, Rila and Mount Kom.

How do you get to the Stolo rock phenomenon?

There are several famous routes to Stolo, but I will tell you about the one we took. We reached by car the village of Dobravitsa, and more precisely, Gorna Dobravitsa. You can reach it by taking the road Sofia - Montana, stopping at Buchin Prohod in the direction of Iskrets, from there to Breze (pass through it) and then turn right in the direction of G. Dobravitsa. There are signs along the route, but I'd recommend turning on your GPS if you have the chance. The starting point is right here - click.
We passed through the village and not long after we left the car at a junction after this stone cross.
From there, we follow the white-red-white markings and walk to the left towards the rock crown. Don't worry if you feel like you're detouring or drifting away - that's totally expected. The road goes through a coniferous forest for a short time and then turns right to a cleft between the rocks, from where you will climb up onto the plateau. The path continues forward and just before the phenomenon turns right. The walking route is about 3.5-4 km long. and is covered in an hour and 15 minutes at an average pace. It's almost all uphill to Stolo, so if you think it's necessary you can equip yourself with poles.
Download GPS track

How long does it take?

The time you need to climb is about 1 hour and 15 min. In total it took us a little over 3 hours to get up, down and take pictures.
If you are traveling from Sofia, the driving time is about 1 hour in one direction.

Is the trail steep? Are there scary sections?

The trail has steep sections and requires you to be physically active. There are no scary sections on the trail. You can only get scared if you stand on the edge of the rocks, because they are straight down and quite high.

Can you tell me more about the route to the top?

There is no water on the route and for the most part there is no shade. For sunny weather I would recommend a hat and sunscreen.
The terrain is mainly grass and sticky mud with some rocks. In case it has been raining for the last few days, you may fall victim to slips and get terribly dirty. I personally managed to taste the mud - it is wonderful.

Is the trail suitable for small children?

Yes, I think you can take your kids with you and they will really enjoy the time outside. They usually don't struggle with the climbs as much as us adults. You should be more careful when you get to the Stolo rocks and watch the children more closely.

Is there a convenient picnic spot nearby?

There are no gazebos or benches along the trail, but if you bring a picnic blanket you have a huge choice of locations. Until the Stolo phenomenon itself, the meadow is quite flat and pleasant.

When is the best time to visit?

For a visit, I would recommend spring or autumn, but almost the whole year is suitable for a visit. The two main things that turn me off for summer/winter are the fully exposed path to the sun and the flat plateau next to the rocks where you have no way to hide from the wind.

Can I bring my dog?

Oh yes and you shouldn't hesitate at all. Our dog Jerry was very happy to run around in nature and was constantly moving back and forth to find anything interesting. There were also other people with dogs who had walked the trail.
* It is good if you are worried about your dog to leash it when you reach Stolo, because the rocks there are steep and dangerous.

What's interesting nearby?

You can visit the beautiful Dobravishka Skaklya waterfall very close by. If you have more time, you can stop by Bov station, where the "Under Kamiko" eco-trail starts, and there is also a panoramic platform. The vase eco-path to Skaklya waterfall is also an excellent option for a walk.

About my adventure

I have long wanted to visit Stolo. In 2021, we made our first attempt, but we were not very well prepared. We chose a route from the village of Zimevitsa and for a long time we moved between the fields and electricity poles. In the end we managed to get almost to Stolo, but we didn't have time for more because we had to go back. Even then, we met a shepherd on the way, who told us about the significantly shorter route and marveled at our endurance. On the way back, we managed to lose the car (ie we couldn't find it) and barely made it home in time. Amazing stories every time :)
Now, two years later, we made a much more prepared attempt to reach Stolo. As soon as we arrived in Gorna Dobravitsa, we saw two cars that had arrived before us and we already knew that we were on the right track. We didn't mean to rush it as I am post knee surgery and still having difficulty moving. Our dog, Jerry, hadn't been on an adventure for a while and was constantly running ahead to look and back to check on us. It wasn't long before we left the village and realized that yesterday's rain would make our task even more difficult. The path was quite muddy and slippery, and it didn't take long for me to stumble for the first time. Fortunately, I was able to support myself with my hand and save the clean clothes.
The rock massif with the Stolo phenomenon was already visible on the right side and made us impatient to reach it. However, the path had a different opinion and we were moving in the opposite direction. We pass through a coniferous forest and noticed the group that had preceded us a little further up the trail. Soon the path made a right turn and we headed towards the gap between the rocks from where we would climb up to the plateau. I admit it was difficult for me there and I used the help of the pole to climb without straining my injured knee too much.
We were now on the plateau and the trail became narrower and less steep. Another ten minutes and after a little confusion we notice how the Stolo flag is flying. We're heading straight there with anticipation. The weather throughout the trek was changeable with the appearance of hot sun and its replacement by gloomy rain clouds. With the descent to the rocks, a hurricane wind appeared and although it was about 15 degrees outside we froze. We were well prepared and even wore gloves, but the mountain gave us another lesson in what to expect.
We found some low bushes and hid so I could launch the drone without freezing. Fortunately, I was carrying the heavy artillery DJI Mavic 2, which allowed me to shoot about 20 minutes. before heading back down the road. As soon as we got off the plateau the wind stopped, the sun came out and it was too warm again for all the clothes we had put on. It was definitely an exciting day out in nature.

However, the quick descent allowed us to visit another nearby location we had in mind. And you will find out what it is in the next article.

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  • Avatar
    Стефан от "Фото моменти" , April 04 reply

    Митак, страхотно приключение и чудесна публикация! Поднасям моите поздравления! Всичко е великолепно описано и обяснено подобаващо чрез страхотни фото моменти! Тръгвам и аз на пътешествие към тази перла!

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    ТД Понория, April 05 reply

    Поздравления за хубавата статия и благодарности за хубавата реклама на нашия край!

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    Красимира Василева, April 06 reply

    Прекрасна статия, маршрутът оживява и се запечатва в съзнанието ни. Отлично описан, а фотографиите са перфектни и много добър пътепоказател. Била съм по споменатите екопътеки и гара Бов, но сега си набелязвам: Столо - Перлата в короната на Понор. Привет от Русе.

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