Orlovets shelter

Orlovets shelter is located high up in the Rila Mountains, between the peaks of Orlovets and Kamilata

Orlovets Shelter is located at 2520 m of altitude in the Northwestern part of Rila, not far from Malyovitsa Peak (2729m). It is built on a small rock terrace in the dry cirque between the peaks of Orlovets (2686m), Zliya Zab (2678m), Lovnitsa (2695m) and Kamilata (2621m). The shelter is a small, stone building that has a single room where up to 10 people can stay. There is a bunk bed, two benches and a small area next to the door used for storing canned food and other supplies. The air inside is often damp and cool even in the warmest part of the year (the shelter is built at an altitude of 2520 m a.s.l.) so keep that in mind when planning what equipment do you need for staying there. You will probably find that the provided blankets are not sufficient to keep you warm during the night. Bringing sleeping bags and mats with you is not a bad idea. An extra fleece may be of use as well.

Water is available from a small spring located about 10 minutes away from the shelter. To find it,  follow the marked path in the direction of Malyovitsa (due west) until you get to a flat area covered with grass where you will see a stone table and seating area. Here, turn left and follow the trail marked with small stone pyramids. It will take you to the spring, located at the bottom of a shallow hollow under a rock.

The shelter also has a toilet which is the small building that looks like it is falling apart next to the main building. You are requested to only use normal toilet paper and not to throw wet tissues down the toilet or any other materials that do not easily decompose.

Schematic map of the area next to Orlovets Shelter

A good starting point for hikes up to Orlovets Shelter is Tse-Pe-She 'Malyovitsa'. TsPSh stands for Tsentralna Planinska Shkola - a former Central Mountaineering School where the Bulgarian alpinists used to train back in the time. It is located in the valley of Malyovitsa river, at altitude of 1713 m a.s.l., just above the tree line. An asphalt road connects it with the villages down at the foot of the mountain (Govedartsi, Madzhare, Mala Tsarkva) and the nearby town of Samokov. If you are travelling by car, you won't have any problems to recognize the place because the road ends there. There are two car parks, one paid and one free. To get to TsPSh by public transport, you need first to go to Samokov (60 km south of Sofia). From there a minibus travels twice a day, once at 8.15 h and once at 16.15 h (from TsPSh the minibus departs 10.15 and 18.15, for more information, Samokov Bus Station’s phone number is 0722 / 6-65-40).

From Malyovitsa Central Mountain School, the trail to Orlovets Shelter follows the one to Malyovitsa (50min) and then goes up along the course of the Malyovitsa River to Vtora Terasa (30min) on a red-marked path. The two paths separate at the rock with memorial tiles of perished alpinists and mountaineers. The red marking goes on towards Elenski Ezera and Malyovitsa Peak. The path towards Orlovets Shelter forks to the east, crosses the river, steeply ascends the southwestern slope of Kamilata Peak and, after an hour, reaches the shelter.

There is a great variety of trad climbing routes in the area. Some, for example those on the northern side of the summit of Zliya Zab, are within a short walk but others are further away and getting to them can take up to more than an hour of strenuous scrambling. If you want to climb in the area, you will find the information published on this website invaluable. There are routes' schemes, categories, required equipment, maps, pictures etc., all very usefull for a better planning.

The area around the shelter is attractive for landscape photographers as well. There is an amazing view from the top of the peak Orlovets. From up there one can see the greatest part of the Rila Mountains but what impresses the most are the steep gullies that runs down towards the deep valley of Rilska river. The view from the top of peak Kamilata (north of the shelter) is also beautiful.

In this part of the mountain one can see wild goats (Rupicapra). Late in the evening or early in the morning, when there are fewer tourists, the wild goats come close to the shelter and if you are equipped with the necessary long focal length lenses, you may be able take some nice shots. Please keep in mind that the Rila National Park (on which territory the Orlovets shelter is built) is a protected area which purpose is not only to offer us a place to get in contact with an unspoilt mountain environment, but also to guarantee protection and preservation of the wildlife. Do not disturb the animals by trying to get too close or follow them. Causing stress for the wild goats, especially during their mating season (October-November), will further increase the risks for their population.