Ruen’s peak, the highest peak of Osogovo mountain (2252 m.), is a must for everyone who loves hiking. The trail is very scenic and interesting since the peak is located at the border between Bulgaria and Macedonia. This also means that it is recommended that you have your ID/passport with you.
In general, I was not left with the impression that the trail is very popular. I started the hike on an early Saturday morning and only on the way back I saw max. 10 people going for the peak. It might be because the hike takes around 3 hours and a half one direction and also because of the fact that the trail is not located very close to big cities (such as Sofia or Plovdiv).
A couple of things worth mentioning are:
Back to the hike itself: Once you reach Osogovo hut, you should keep on the main car road leading into the mountains. Only for maximum fine minutes though, as soon you will have to go right along a dirt road. The hike is marked in white-red-white, so you won’t have a doubt where to go right, don’t worry. Around 30 minutes after the start of the trail is the most confusing part. The dirt road splits a couple of times and there is no red sign to show you where you actually need to go. The map that I used (www.kade.si) showed me that I have to stick to the right and this was correct. This is also pretty much the last place where you will see forest and putting on sun protection is vital. Around 10-15 minutes after the road splits you will also reach the place where you can refill your water bottle. At this point you should also be able to see the first hut (no longer used, even locked I think) on the way – it is a white house in the distance. You should reach it in another half an hour. I recommend having a break around 10 minutes after that this old hut – you will reach the Prevala shelter which looks very nice.
At this point you will see many peaks in the distance and you will be hoping that Ruen is one of them. Unfortunately, you will be able to see Ruen peak only during last 10 minutes of the hike. After the Prevala shelter, you continue on the dirt road following the red signs. Soon you will also reach the first “steep” hike which takes less than 10 minutes though. It is a shortcut of the dirt road and it takes you on the top of the mountains (back to the dirt road) where the views are really really nice.
Around an hour – an hour and a half later you will see a really old shelter/building. Soon after you pass it, the trail leaves the dirt road and you have to go right. Again, there is a red sign, so you will definitely notice it. This is a short cut of the dirt road leading to the peak – I wouldn’t say it is steep/dangerous and it will save you some time to reach the peak. From there you need around 30-40 minutes to reach Ruen shelter and Ruen peak (which are only a few minutes away from each other). Hence, don’t get your hopes up every time you see a peak in front of you – once you see the shelter on the top of the mountain, you will also see Ruen peak.
It is quite windy on the peak itself, so we had a short break at the shelter. On the way back we were walking on the dirt road (we accidently missed the short cut that would have taken us directly to the old shelter). Keep in mind that if you go back via the dirt road, the road will split in around 20-30 minutes and you will have to go left. You will also see yellow signs pointing at Osogovo hut. From the signs to the old shelter (where the short cut would have taken you) it takes another 10 minutes. From there you know how to go back to Osogovo hut. Going back from the peak to Osogovo hut took us around three hours and 15 minutes. In total, the whole adventure took us around 7-8 hours, including breaks.
Watch my video from the trip!