The wild trails of Europe. Emen Canyon, Bulgaria

Emen Canyon is still a place to hike without being suffocated by the abundance of tourists

In the heart of the Balkans, in Bulgaria, at 20 km from Veliko Tarnovo and at the foothill of the Central Balkan Range winds a spectacular canyon, Emen Canyon. Of course, you haven`t heard about it. How could you? Unless you live in Bulgaria you couldn’t find many pieces of information about it. This makes of this canyon to be a place where you can still feel the genuine emotion of discovering a stunningly beautiful monument of nature. Maybe I should call it a bio travel or a bio experience because we should not limit only to food to be called bio. I am saying that because exploring that canyon felt to be so authentic. Nature is nothing but authentic, always.

This scenic trail starts from Emen village. When I arrived there, if I would not know that somewhere around should be a canyon I would never have guessed it. I was expecting, ok a canyon but not something to be amazed by. So, imagine the “WOW“ that came from my mouth followed by the instant jaw-dropping the moment I saw its dimension…

Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
The entrance to the trail by the village Emen,  Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
The Emen Cave, Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia

This dramatic gorge was made by millennia of diligently carving by the Negovanska river. The layers of limestone were eaten away by the river water and gave birth to this astonishing gorge waving its way through the mountain. The trail is the first eco path built in Bulgaria, and it was made out from connecting wooden footbridges. Sadly those footbridges are not safe because I doubt that there were ever maintained since they were made. I do not advice because are really dangerous although, it would have allowed being an exhilarating trail pure adrenaline rush. Even if the footbridges cant be used the path along the gorge is none the less scenic. The Negovanka Eco Path is poorly signalled but even like this, you can’t miss it. It has portions where if you do not like highs do not go because there aren`t any protective railings. It starts with a cave which is more a grotto because is a hole in the limestone for 3133 m without stalactite or stalagmite but home to lots of bats. There is no light inside so if you decide to explore it you should bring a flashlight. It seemed to me a bit creepy and after few hundred meters inside it, I decided to get out. In Neolithic, this cave was inhabited and since then humans were present one way or another. For thrill seekers maybe is heaven, not for me though.

Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia

From the cave, the path is going up and from there the view is absolutely fantastic. If you do not like heights you should probably think twice before going there, also if it is humid you should pay attention as a portion of the trail is going so close to the edge and there are no railings to keep you from falling if you slip. An amazing view appears when the canyon turns right and narrows. The Emen canyon`s high and steep vertical walls look like big rocky teeth that are grinding the water as it winds through alternating-thresholds.

The canyon ends with a spectacular waterfall as the water find its way through the massive steep walls. Maybe in the summer is much beautiful but to me the few yellow leaves that adorned the almost naked trees it made me feel like I was visiting some Japanese garden where everything was in harmony.

Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
The shaky wooden bridges, Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia
Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Catalinoiu Felicia

The footbridge that goes to the waterfall is safe but you should still pay attention. If you think it does not look very safe just take an alternate route is not a problem. I was happy that I could take some beautiful pictures with it an emphasis on the Autumn.

Now, the  10 m waterfall is called Momik Skok, meaning girl`s leap because it was customary for girls back then to leap in the waters from a high cliff for love or not to be taken by Turks. The waterfall is the last threshold of the canyon, formed by the collapsing of the eroded layers of limestone. The big boulders scattered around are the product of the collapsing layers of stone..

It looked like I was facing a fortress in a magical world from a medieval fairy tale. Maybe I have a vivid imagination, but even so. There is no denial, it is absolutely wonderful.

The return is on the same trail. I was pleased to enjoy those wonderful views once more and fill myself with awe. I got more than I bargained for. Maybe this is what I was missing for so long. Nature always hold the answers, to everything…

Emen Waterfall, Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
Emen Waterfall, Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
Emen Waterfall, Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
Emen Waterfall, Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu

The return is on the same trail. I was pleased to enjoy those wonderful views once more and fill myself with awe. I got more than I bargained for. Maybe this is what I was missing for so long. Nature always hold the answers, to everything…

Emen Waterfall, Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
Emen Waterfall, Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
Emen Waterfall, Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
Emen Waterfall, Emen Canyon, Bulgaria, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu

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