34. The seven Rila lakes – Bulgaria

Easy day hike in a stunning ambient

Date: 4.7.2019

Starting point: Rila lakes hut – 2130m

Highest point: Otovishki peak 2535m

Altitude difference: 405m

I have heard of the Seven Rila lakes even before I have heard of Musala. Probably because we also have the Seven Triglav lakes in Slovenia. When we decided to come to the Rila they were of course on our must-see list.

HERE is a wiki description and some info on the lakes.

Since we only had a week in Bulgaria we did a one day hike. If we had more time, whole other set of options emerge. I would love to do the hike from Rila lakes to Rila monastery. But looks like it will have to wait until next time.

We drove from Sapareva Banya passing Panichiste and parked at Pioneerska hut at 1585m. From there the chair lift took us up to Rila lakes hut at 2150m.

From there a few options are possible. An easier round route of lower lakes and a bit longer (It says 5 h but for an average person used of hiking it is 4h the most) to see all seven. There are also a few huts. Rila lakes hut that is more a hotel than a hut and a rustic Old seven lakes hut, that I really liked.

We started to the left side from the Rila lakes hut as seen on the photo below. You can see the line of the chairlift on the upper border of the ap and the ht right beside it. We ascended up to the ridge on the green/yellow path, above the lower lakes.

We first arrived at the Kidney lake, named by its shape.

There were many more people than on our Musala hike, but still not as many as I expected. Lots of families and sitting by the lakes enjoying their time in nature and the view. We also met a group of Japanese tourists photographing everything frantically and a group of scouts headed towards Rila monastery. All in all, as you can see in the photos it was far from crowded. Next up was the Okoto lake. Its name means the eye, because of its circular shape. It has an amazing 37,5 meters depth.

We continued up, with great views of both of the mentioned lakes. Here the trail became steeper and the ascent was quite busy. The path is rocky and although not difficult, I would still not advise going in ordinary shoes or sandals. Come with hiking shoes and appropriate clothes for mountain weather.

About half an hour of ascent has brought us to the highest lake. The Salzata lake, meaning the teardrop, cause of its amazingly clear waters. A few meters above the lake is the Otovishki peak, the viewpoint at 2535m.

Returning towards Rila mountain hut we chose the path passing by the lower four lakes.

We stopped by The old seven lakes hut and enjoyed our late afternoon. We needed about 4 hours of a walk for the full circle. That is without the breaks on the top and at the hut.

If you ever visit Bulgaria and if you are a hiker or not, I highly recommend visiting The seven Rila lakes. If you want to avoid crowds go late June or early September. It is a great family day out and also possible to do it with little hikers. If you are serious trekker on the route across Vitosha, Rila, and Pirin, include it in your trekking plan, you won’t regret it.

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Thanks for reading. If we can help you with any info on the Seven Rila lakes hike let us know on kosir.barbara@gmail.com

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