GPS coordinates start / finish: 41.62075, 24.67709
Distance: 40 min, 1.3 km total
Elevation: 62 m
Degree of difficulty: ★ ☆☆☆☆
The eco-trail around Smolyan Lakes, in the area of Pamporovo and Smolyan, is a pleasant destination around some of the most popular among them – the Grassy, Clear, and Muddy Lakes.
The route is circular: it slopes at the beginning at the Grassy Lake, then at the ascent to the Muddy Lake it becomes steeper. In addition to the beautiful lakes, you can enjoy several curious natural attractions along the route.
About the Smolyan lakes
The lakes are located in the Western Rhodopes, near Smolyan, under the Orpheus rocks and Snezhanka peak.
In the past, there were over 20. Now there are 8 left, and one of them has been turned into a micro-dam. The largest is the Grassy Lake, the deepest is the Muddy Lake. Among the largest of them are Lagera, Clear Lake, Silage, Platenoto Lake, Osmanoviya Gyol, Milushevskoto Lake, Lilyakovo Lake. The Grassy and the Clear lakes are connected by a river arm. The Grassy lake is covered with a meter of peat layer, which explains the vegetation on it and its name.
Start of the route to the Smolyan Lakes
We started the route from Grassy Lake, where there was a spacious parking space. There were even parked campers whose occupants wondered whether to expose themselves to the scorching sun or cool off in the sweltering mountain shade.
A few years ago, when we visited the area for the first time, by chance as we were walking we even joined a marathon organized by the municipality of Smolyan. Of course, as amateurs, there was no way to qualify first, but that’s why we received an award for participation from the Olympic champion Katya Dafovska.
Here is the small monastery of the Holy Spirit, and next to it there is a fountain where you can recharge your water resources.
Immediately after the Grassy Lake, we reached the Clear Lake or what was left of it from the land in the summer. We crossed the dry swamp and entered the dense pine forest.
There was the more extreme part of the route, associated with a rather steep climb, but short. Apparently, because of the marathon, the trail was littered with red and white stripes and various signs.
In this part, be careful not to miss the Throne of Eurydice. A symbolic throne place hidden between the trees.
The culmination of the trail to the Smolyan lakes
The crown of the route is the Muddy Lake, which held its breath with its crystal-clear mirror surface, in which the pines rushed to show off their lush green robes.
Time for rest and photos, after which we started a smooth descent to the end of the route. In this part is the eye-catching natural landmark Lyre of Orpheus. Its shapes are well defined, so you can’t miss it.
After the end of the trail, we drove down the asphalt road to see the relatively large lake Lagera. In the past, it was leased as a dam, but due to a technical problem, it was again turned into a lake.
From here, in addition to the alpine roofs of the nearby hotels, you can admire the panorama of the magical Orpheus Rocks.
The last lake we visited was the Silage, which is located on the road just before Smolyan.
Snow White Tower
Another landmark in the area is Snezhanka peak and the 156 m high TV tower on it. The peak is 1926 m and is the highest in the region of Pamporovo.
As we drove to the tower, we were amazed at the thought that the well-maintained asphalt road is actually the lightest ski slope in the resort of Pamporovo in winter. Good thing there were artificial snow facilities to recognize it.
There was a short wait in line for the elevator, putting on an outer garment, not to be blown away by the winds at the top, and a stunning panorama in all directions to the surrounding region.
Of course, we immortalized the moment, with beer and barbecue, at the nearest pub at the foot of the tower.
GPS coordinates start: 41.63522, 24.67862
GPS coordinates final: 41.62898, 24.68267
Distance: 20 min, 0.9 km one way
Displacement: 22 m
Degree of difficulty: ★☆☆☆☆
The walk to the Orpheus Rocks in the area of the Snow White Tower is also very easy and pleasant. And here, campers and tents had littered the area at the beginning of the route. Mountain bikers swept to the right and left, not particularly impressed by the slope displacement.
Apparently, the route was quite popular because we met a large group of campers and many families with children.
On the route itself, there is nowhere to go wrong. At the end, there is a sign for the landmark and a gazebo.
There is a very slight climb, on the rocks above. Here we had to wait patiently for the three elderly ladies, who were taking selfies for about half an hour until they made sure they hadn’t missed anything of the stunning scenery behind them.
And it is majestic! Apart from the powerful slopes of the Rhodopes, the huts, and the hotels in the valley, the fabulous eyes of the Smolyan lakes were blue below.
The region of Smolyan and Pamporovo offers a number of attractive panoramic places and intriguing routes for tempering the physique and enjoyment of the soul. The Smolyan lakes, Snezhanka peak, and Orpheus rocks are only a small part of the mystical and captivating mosaic of natural pictures of the Rhodopes.