Follow the Blue (K) markers all along the trip.
- From the train stop hike to Boldogkőváralja.
- Continue to Arka.
- Proceed to Mogyoróska and Regéc.
- Traverse the forest to reach the hunters’ lodge of Istvánkút.
- Continue to Eszkála hunters’ lodge.
- Hike to Makkoshotyka.
- Hike to the saddle of Nagy-Nyugodó and finish the section near Sátoraljaújhely.
Boldogkőváralja train stop – Boldogkőváralja
At the train stop take the road to Boldogkőváralja to cross Szerencs Creek and the fields towards the castle. The remote track and train stop are the heritage of an unfortunate situation that when the railway was constructed, local landlords refused to grant access to lands closer to the villages.
The castle of Boldogkővár sits atop an andesite tuff hill. Volcanic explosions spread a tuff cover over the area, which was later cemented by silicic acid oozing from the deep forming a hard rock mass. Being more resistant to erosion tuff formations protruded from their environment. The castle was built on a peak of this kind in the 13th century to control the valley of Hernád. The short offshoot with a lookout terrace today used to host a bastion.
Boldogkőváralja – Regéc
After rounding the castle the trail enters Zemplén and parallels Arka Creek on a paved road. You will pass some disused mine pits and past a narrow section arrive at the small village of Arka. The neat village is located in an idyllic environment and is getting more and more popular tourist destination.
The trail crosses the village and traverses a scrubland along the edge of a former fruit garden. After turning back to the creek a lengthy hike begins parallel to the creekbed. The middle part of the valley narrows down to a gorge and the trail guides you to a small plateau. Past abandoned pastures and hiking under the shady canopy of the forest along the creek you will arrive at Mogyoróska. Hike uphill along the main street towards the castle hill of Regéc rising between the two villages.
At the bottom and the slope of the hill the trail traverses the forest scattered with meadows to reach the junction with a spur trail to the castle. The fort built in the 13th century palyed an important role in the history of the country until the late 17th century. It hosted even Rákóczi’s treasury for a while. Finally, it was demolished upon Habsburg order. In modern times, more and more parts have been restored and the view over central Zemplén is among the most beautiful ones. In clear weather, the terrace of the snack bar offers a splendid view even of Kojsói-havasok beyond Kassa. Past the castle the trail descends to Regéc (stamper in the visitor center, in Veronika family hotel and on a pole at Csobogó B&B).
Regéc – István-kút
Exit the village and hike uphill along the valley of Puskás Creek. The forest turns wild with the large moss-covered rocks and cliffs showing the typical face of Zemplén Mountains. The trail arrives at Bekecs Meadow on the edge of the vast pine forest of Dorgó. Turn right at the junction and descend into the little saddle. Check the view on the edge og a clear-cut towards Milic Group and the basin of Hegyköz. Skirt Tokár-tető and pass the cliff of Pengő-kő. It is a typical rock formation in Zemplén shaped by cryoplanation, that is cold-climate processes during the last ice age. Climbing the cliff, unfortunately, is not awarded with a view due to outgrowing trees.
Proceed in the forest to reach a vast clear-cut with a view over the basin of Bodrog river. The trail bends sharply left and soon arrives at a meadow. Here the Blue ▲ (K▲) spur trail branches off to guide you to the peak of Nagy-Péter-mennykő. It is definitely worth the effort. It boasts a stunning view over central Zemplén and beyond including the Nagy-Milic and the castle of Füzér.
Return to the Blue Trail and cross the pine woods. Just like in most parts of the country, coniferous trees are non-native species, which will soon disappear for good due to climate change. Turn off the forest road bending left and hike downhill. The forest changes dramatically as you arrive in dense birchwoods scattered with clearings. A larger clearing hides the white hikers’ lodge of István-kút (stamping location).
István-kút – Eszkála hunters’ lodge
The palm-shaped signs guide you to the cold spring of István-kút. You will soon arrive at one of the most exotic spots of Zemplén in a Lapland environment with a timber hunters’ lodge near a small pond amid birch trees. Although it is not in a good shape still it attracts attention. The protected birch grove is a remnant of the ice age. Despite climate change this little grove could survive in the chilly micro-climate of the bowl-like depression.
The trail leads to Mlaka meadow under the canopy of a majestic beech forest. Take a rest in the middle at the picnic spot under the trees. It is worth a short detour along the Yellow ▲ (S▲) to enjoy the view from the rock of Sólyom-bérc over the green blanket of the forest with the castle of Regéc in the distance and the valley of Háromhuta.
The Blue Trail crosses more clear-cuts and arrives at a pine grove where the Blue▲ (K▲) trail branches off leading to Kerek-kő. The volcanic tuff rock offers a great wide angle view somewhat spoiled by large clear-cuts. Kerek-kő is popular habitat for common vipers, too.
Return to the Blue (K) Trail and continue through the thinned forest. Soon past the junction at Gerendás-rét you will arrive at Eszkála foresters’ lodge (stamping location).
Eszkála foresters’ lodge – Makkoshotyka
The trail begins a gradual descent along a ridgeline closing the valley of Háromhuta. You will hike through planted pine woods and young groves over Kecske-hát to reach the meadow of Zsidó-rét. It used to serve as a pasture, but today it is highly protected and scything prevents the forest from reclamation as it is a habitat for rare species of plants. The outskirts of Komlóska are also visible from here. After rounding the head of a valley the trail decends to Cifra-kút with an encased spring and a picnic spot. It takes around 30 minutes to reach Makkoshotyka from here (stamper in the grocery store and on a Blue Triail information board at the corner of Rákóczi Ferenc Street and Petőfi Sándor Street).
Makkoshotyka – Cirkáló-tanya
Hike shortly along the main street of the village and turn right to exit the village through the garden of Meczner Castle built in the early 20th century. After crossing a scrubby grove the trail runs along an open field granting view over the area with the signature pyramid-like Sátoros Hills in the northeast or Sárospatak and the basin of Bodrog river in the southeast. The trail crosses Kovács Creek and a clear-cut to continue in the forest until Cirkáló farm with grapes on the hillside behind (stamper at the barn).
Cirkáló-tanya – Nagy-Nyugodó
The trail descends on a wide track to a long valley called Radvány-völgy just to cross it and steeply climb out of it. This part of Zemplén is abundant in low flow springs feeding an extensive network of creeks. In the saddle the Red (P) Trail crosses and you will soon pass the ancient Rákóczi tree. It is supposed to be a witness tree of a clear-cut producing seeds so that seedlings could reclaim the hillside. Taking a closer look you can see traces of human intervention to help it survive.
Approaching Sátoros Hills the trail rounds steeper and steeper slopes. This is because thick lava could not spread wide and built up conic rock masses. At the foot of the hills erosion etched deep hollows where heavy rainfalls create rapid, temporary water flows. You will cross some of them over the next kilometers. The gutter of Bancsi-gödör makes you almost crawl to climb out. Past a rolling terrain you will arrive at Pandák valley also requiring a steep crawl, but this is the last challenge of this kind. The trail begins a short level traverse and takes the paved road along Bányi Saddle (Bányi-nyereg). Ascend on the side of Tatárka-hegy and past a tiny clearing hike uphill on Kecske-hát. You have arrived at Sátoros Hills with a Blue Trail information board and the stamper of Nagy-Nyugodó Hill in a narrow saddle.