Vitata Stena Eco-trail (village of Zdravkovets – village of Yavorets)

The route between the village of Zdravkovets and the village of Yavorets surrounds most of the plateau of Vitata Stena and is about 8 km long in one direction. It is suitable for both walking and cycling. There are many options for shorter routes and tours depending on the preparation and preferences. The transition between the rock massif and the village of Yavorets is assisted with railings that facilitate climbing / descending.

The starting point for the eco-trail is the farm building at the end of the village of Zdravkovets, which is located in the upper part of Vitata Stena. Take the forest road, pass by Belyakovets Lake and reach a fork for Neolithic caves and rock phenomenon “Momichkite”. The main route continues to Zablatenoto Ezero (the Swampy Lake) and Mount Golemiya Repey (Big Burdock). The two paths converge at the northwestern end of the rock wreath, where the remains of the fortress Vitengrad (The Town) are located. From the sheer cliffs there is a magnificent view of the surrounding villages and the peaks of Central Stara Planina. Then there is a steep descent to the village of Yavorets, located at the foot of Vitata Stena. If you approach from the village of Yavorets, the steep section to reach the rocks and plateau is climbing through the forest, about 1-2 km from the beginning of the trail.

The spiral wall is an impressive arch-shaped rock wreath, which is composed of limestone rocks and is located in the westernmost part of the Strazhata plateau, located between Sevlievo, Dryanovo and Gabrovo. It is part of the NATURA 2000 ecological network as a protected area for the conservation of natural habitats and wild flora and fauna.

One of the interesting places along the route is the Black Cave (“Chernata cave”), declared a significant underground habitat of bats in Bulgaria. It is located in the protected area BG0000190 “The Winding Wall”, declared by order of the Ministry of Environment and Water № RD-359/31.03.2021. This cave is home of bats and is an important site for their conservation.

The Mysterious World of Bats

When we think of bats, we often associate them with the dark depths of caves. And while not all bats live in them, caves are indeed important for many species. Some spend their entire lives in caves, usually in karst areas. They often form huge colonies, with numbers reaching over 100,000 individuals. This makes them easily vulnerable and requires special protection. Caves are one of the most important habitats for breeding, rearing and overwintering.

When visiting the Black Cave (“Chernata cave”), observe the following rules:

  • Avoid visits during critical periods.
  • Do not make noise or disturb bat colonies.
  • Do not camp in or in front of the cave.
  • Do not disturb hibernating bats – do not touch them or take flash photographs.
  • Do not light fires at cave entrances or enter with torches.
  • Never throw litter in or around the cave.

Bats are an integral part of our ecosystem and their protection is vital. By following these simple rules, we can help protect these amazing creatures and their habitat. Visiting caves can be a fascinating and enriching experience, especially when we treat their inhabitants with respect.

  • LENGTH
    ca. 8 km (in one direction)
  • DISPLACEMENT
    ca. 403 m
  • DURATION
    ca. 2 hr (in one direction)
  • MARKING
    red strip, indicative arrows
  • START
    village of Zdravkovets or village of Yavorets
  • ACCESS
    The distance on an asphalt road from Gabrovo to the village of Zdravkovets is ca. 20 km, and from Gabrovo to the village of Yavorets (on the way to Sevlievo) – ca. 17 km
  • NEARBY OBJECTS – remains of the fortress Vitengrad (The Town) – panoramic view – the most picturesque horizon in all directions is revealed by the vertical rock wreath above the village of Yavorets – Neolithic caves, with discovered artifacts from the lifestyle of the people who inhabited these places as early as ca. 6000 BC
  • Black Cave (“Chernata cave”) – declared a significant underground habitat of bats
  • READ MORE – there are no fountains on the eco-trail; you can use the fountain in the village of Zdravkovets