Eco-path "Pod Kamiko" - about Bov's waterfalls with love
Eco-path "Pod Kamiko" - about Bov's waterfalls with love
There are many eco-trails in Bulgaria, and also many waterfalls, but I don't know if there is an eco-trail with so many waterfalls. One of the most beautiful areas in the Iskar gorge is the Bov area, and here we will go on an adventure in search of the "Pod Kamiko" waterfall meaning "Under the rock". What we didn't expect, however, was that at every turn on the trail we would come across a new beautiful waterfall, and the roar of the river would accompany us almost to our final destination.
How do you get to the eco-trail?
The eco-trail "Pod Kamiko" starts from the incredibly beautiful Skala stadium in the village of Bov. Bov is located about 55 km from Sofia in the direction of Vratsa.
If you are traveling from Sofia by car, drive carefully, because the road along the Iskar gorge has many turns and is dangerous. The journey by car from Sofia to Bov is about an hour and 15 minutes.
Another option is to travel with our favourite BDZ (Bulgarian railways). There are more than 10 trains in the direction of Sofia - Bov during the day and you have a large choice of arrival and departure time. The travel time by train from Sofia to Bov is between 1h. and 1 hour and 10 minutes and costs about BGN 4. in direction. You can check the schedule from here. From the railway station, your path increases by 600-700 meters of gentle ascent to the stadium.
How long it takes the hike to the falls?
The hike to the waterfall itself is about 4.5 kilometers and we covered it in an hour and 15 minutes. On the way back you have the choice of returning the same way or making a full circle by going over the waterfall and descending through the forest. Both routes are more or less the same length. We decided to do the full circle and it turned out to be just under 9km to the starting point. (According to the official information, the entire tour is 6.75 km)
* On the full route to the waterfall, you move along the river, and on the way back, it moves away from it and moves through a forest. Quite a calm and wide road with views of the Iskar gorge in several places.
* The path from the stadium to the waterfall is not very wide and it is a bit more difficult to pass groups of people. Keep that in mind if you decide to go back on it.
The main path goes in the wrong direction several times and it is good to follow the markings carefully. You can read a detailed description in "My Adventure" or download a GPS track for the route.
Download GPS track
How high is the waterfall?
Bovski waterfall, also known as "Pod Kamiko" waterfall, is about 20 meters high. The water breaks in several places and deviates, which makes it extremely beautiful and similar to the Dobravishka Skaklya waterfall, which we visited recently.
The many smaller waterfalls along the path are of different heights up to ten meters.
How long does it take?
I would advise you to set aside 3-4 hours for a leisurely visit to the falls and a pleasant walk. The nature in this area is very beautiful and it is good to have time to enjoy the views. Our tour was just under 3 hours without any longer breaks.
When is the best time to visit?
The waterfall is at its fullest in the spring, of course. I would recommend you to visit it in the months of April/May. In autumn, it almost completely dries up, but the walk is still pleasant.
I would not recommend visiting it after it has rained as the trail gets quite muddy and may spoil your enjoyment a bit.
Do I need special equipment?
No! The path is passable without special equipment. However, on our visit the bridges to cross the river were missing or broken in several places and it was quite exciting to cross over the stones. I admit that I got both feet wet because I wasn't wearing waterproof sneakers and the river was quite full.
*A tip from me - wear shoes with a good grip and waterproof ones, especially if you're visiting in the spring.
Is the path steep? Are there scary sections?
There are a few steeper climbs, but I wouldn't say it's much. There are no scary sections.
We met older people on the trail who were using walking sticks and you might consider this option if you find the climbs difficult.
* This location in the photo is off the trail, but you can stop to take a photo if you wish.
Can I bring my dog?
Oh yeah! The path is a perfect place for your dog to run freely. There were a few other people with dogs and most people were happy for us. Our dog Jerry was very happy with the walk and fell asleep in the car on the way back to Sofia.
Is there a convenient picnic spot nearby?
We saw benches with tables only in the village above the waterfall and on the road from the waterfall to the stadium, which goes through the forest. There were water fountains there as well and I would say it was a good place to rest and eat. In case you bring a picnic blanket, you can eat at the stadium, above the waterfall in the village of Bov or somewhere on the way back.
* Above the waterfall in the village there was a water fountain and vending machines with various drinks and snacks if you were very hungry.
What's interesting nearby?
- Skala Stadium - the starting point is one of the most beautiful stadiums in the country. Nestled between the rocks, this stadium is Bov's local treasure. I don't know if there are football matches being played on it at the moment, but it's definitely worth checking out and enjoying the beautiful scenery.
- Panoramic platform in the village of Bov - a few hundred meters above the stadium is this panoramic platform. It offers a view of the Iskar valley and the surrounding rock ranges. I don't know if I would travel there specifically for her, but it's a lovely place to visit after the hike to the falls.
- The Vazov eco-trail and Skaklya waterfall - very close on the other side of the river begins Ivan Vazov's favorite trail. I admit that its beauty is unique and worth visiting at least once. Skaklya waterfall is extremely beautiful and with its height of 85 meters is very impressive.
- Ivan Vazov's house❌ - on the full route, after you get out of the forest and exit the main road to the stadium, you will see a yellow "Vazova Kashta" sign pointing in the opposite direction. This house, seemingly close, actually turned out to be an hour and a half away one way. After research, however, it turned out that it collapsed at the beginning of 2023, and now, apart from the ruins, there is nothing else to see.
- Rock phenomenon Stolo - the pearl in the crown of Ponor mountain. This rocky ridge is famous for its sheer cliffs, and the panoramic view from it simply takes your breath away. The transition to it is shorter and not particularly difficult. It is mostly suitable for spring/autumn or in the cooler summer days. You can read more about it here.
- Dobravishka Skaklya Waterfall - a little known but very beautiful waterfall in Ponor. I find a lot of similarity with the waterfall "Pod Kamiko" and if you liked today's walk, you will definitely enjoy its beauty. The transition to it is very easy, and the waterfall is not inferior in beauty to any of its higher counterparts. You can read more about it here.
About my adventure
We chose this eco-trail for our Saturday walk at the end of April. The forecast had predicted rain, but not until the afternoon, and we decided to go for a nature walk beforehand. We stopped at the "Pod Kamiko" eco-trail because now is the season for waterfalls and we wanted to enjoy their full beauty. In fact, I visited this eco-trail a few years ago, but in the fall. To be honest it was very nice then, but the waterfall.. it didn't look much like a waterfall.
We filled our backpacks with water, some food, our raincoats and headed for the village of Bov. We left the car in the parking lot in front of the stadium and walked up the path. Even at the beginning, the path looks misleading as it forks in two. It is important to note here that we must cross the river and move on its right side. (i.e. the river should be on our left) In the first part of the path, we move close to the river, crossing to the left and right. If you move away from the river, you have lost your way somewhere. Insensibly, waterfall after waterfall begin to appear in front of us, and we can't help but enjoy them. The path is narrow and muddy, and at times even slippery, and we move with caution. We get down in front of a few waterfalls for a few photos and enjoy the rest from the trail.
Not long after we reach something like a fork. The main path seems to continue in another direction, but we have to cross the river and enter the forest. However, the full river has flooded a bit more of the trail than we would have liked. The end result is one wet foot - not bad. But we passed successfully. Vili is of course packed in her hiking boots and managed to get away dry unlike me.
We start to move through the forest and the path becomes wide. For direction, we start to see signs with the inscription "Sweet, savory and other delicacies" pointing to the village. It wasn't long before we reached the second river crossing, which was again challenging for us. There is a bridge here, but it has collapsed halfway and we decided that it is not wise to use it. After some searching up the river we met this salamander friend who pointed the way for us to cross.
Successfully traversing the stones at the cost of the second wet sneaker. Vili gives me another lesson on why I shouldn't hike in sneakers, but I continue to ignore the lesson. Having already passed from this side, we begin to climb towards the waterfall and before long we notice it between the trees.
Good motivation! Let's not stay. A few more minutes and we are under the spray of the waterfall, and it is majestic. We walked the trail with two other hikers and they helped us have our photo together as a keepsake. Thank you!
We stay a few minutes to enjoy the waterfall and decide to continue along the trail. Rain clouds peek around the corner, but we decide not to let them spoil our walk. We are heading towards some rather interesting rocks, which seem to have been arranged by masters. We turn past them and climb into the village. Here there is a very pleasant lawn and a beautiful view, which we cannot miss to take a picture of.
We continue forward and our path passes right above the waterfall. From there there is a view down and you can see a different perspective. The path then becomes a nice wide forest path and we are transported to a new and different place. The noise from the waterfall disappears, and we are left with the sound of the forest and the wind passing through the leaves. There are several fountains along the trail, and in the distance, the village of Zasele and the waterfall "Skaklya" can be seen in front of us. For a moment we look at the beauty of this place and begin to see what inspired the poet Ivan Vazov.
The trail gives us views of the Iskar gorge and the beautiful Ponor mountain every now and then, and then hides them behind the leaves of the trees and leaves us to make sense of everything we have seen.
Before long, we descend and pass the small monastery of St. Archangel Michael. Soon after, the trail turns onto a dirt road and we already know we are close to the end point. In the last meters the trail rewards us with a few more bonus waterfalls that seem to flow out of nowhere and cross the road to reach the river.
After the end of the eco-path, we decide to stop by the panoramic platform, which is a little further up the street. The already stormy wind doesn't leave us much time to enjoy ourselves and we decide that it's time to leave for home. As soon as we got into the car, it started to rain heavily. Lucky, huh? The weather definitely allowed us to enjoy a beautiful day in nature and rewarded us with good weather for daring to go despite the expected rain. And still in the car we make plans for the next exciting walks.
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