Orpheus Peak Rhodope Mountains
Orpheus peak 2,188 m a.s.l., also known as Shirokolashki Snezhnik and Karlak, is the second highest peak in the Rhodope Mountains. The peak is located in the western part of the mountains, only a few kilometers away from the Rhodopes tallest peak - Golyam Perelik 2,191 m a.s.l. Actually, Golyam Perelik peak cannot be reached-there is a military base on top of it and you can only go as far as the gate of the base-thus making Orpheus peak the highest point accessible in the Rhodope Mountains.
Orpheus peak is one of the most panoramic peaks in the Rhodope Mountains. It offers 360 degrees open views towards the surrounding hills and peaks and from it, you can see large parts of the Rhodope Mountains, parts of Rila, Pirin and even Bozdag mountains in Greece. From the top of it, you can also see the nearby villages Gela, Stikal and Solishta, Golyam Perelik peak, Pamporovo’s Snezhanka Peak and Tower.
The peak is not difficult to access. The European long-distance path E8 passes just a few hundred meters below the peak and there are several starting points to choose from:
From Shiroka Laka village. It takes a minimum of 5 hrs walking time, 10 km walking distance and 1,100 m elevation gain)
From Gela village (3hrs 30 min, 7 km, 720 m elevation gain)
From Lednitza hut (you can access the hut by 4X4 car and then hike 2 hrs, 3,5 km, 530 m elevation gain)
From Persenk hut (3 hrs 30 min, 7.2 km, 230 m elevation gain)
When choosing your route keep in mind the elevation gain, especially if you are coming back the same way, steep descents might put too much pressure on your knees.
Whichever way you go through you are guaranteed to experience beautiful nature, stunning panoramic views and lush forest meadows. If hiking in the summer, especially July and August, allow yourself extra time on the trail, as the meadows will full with wildflowers, herbs, blueberries and raspberries are sure to slow you down.