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Fitness
Long Distance Hiking Stage

Boldogkőváralja - Nagy-nyugodó (OKT-26.)

Long Distance Hiking · Northern Hungary Bergland · open
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  • Foresters' lodge at István-kút
    / Foresters' lodge at István-kút
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  • / Kéktúra 5. rész: Aranyösvényen a Zemplén tetejére
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    Photo: Barna Burger, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
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    Photo: Barna Burger, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
200 400 600 800 1000 m km 10 20 30 40 50 Boldogkői vár

The 26th section of the Blue Trail guides you through Zemplén, the mountain with the most typical Carpathian character. During your hike you will traverse creek valleys, high rising peaks with medieval ruins offering vistas over extensive forests.

open
moderate
54.6 km
16:30 h
1675 m
1475 m

Eperjes-Tokaj Region deeply stretches into Slovakia running north to south peaking at 1092 m (Šimonka). The northern part of the mountain begins with the Milic Group making up a narrow range of island-like volcanic peaks separated by narrow valleys and low saddles. The southern part in Hungary called Zemplén Mountains is a much more extensive mass.

Zemplén differs from other mountains in the country from aspects. Although the highest peaks do not even exceed 900 meters, hills of 500 to 700 meters in the central part form a closed wilderness area. The mountain made up mainly by andesite and rhyolite belongs to the inner volcanic range of the Carpathians, i.e. it is the result of volcanic activities triggered by tectonic shifts. Basins in the southern part hide tiny villages getting more and more popular among tourists.

Many separate eruption spots formed small volcanic peaks next to each other. Although original shapes have eroded by today, the tent-like peaks are still typical of the region. A telltale sign of this character is the word “sátor” meaning “tent” in some geographical names (e.g. Sátoros-hegyek, Sátoraljaújhely). As waters hardly can drain into volcanic rock mass, the area is abundant in surface waters running towards the rim of the mountains. Creeks have etched an extensive network of deep gorges so lookout points offer a view over an exceptionally segmented mountain.

Huge cliffs of Zemplén greatly contribute to the picturesque character of the mountains. They were formed by the impact of low temperature and water frozen in cracks during the last ice age resulting in fractures. These chimney-like rock formations, such as Nagy Péter-mennykő and Sólyom-bérc offer a stunning view over the area.

The majesty of Zemplén is accounted for by its remoteness also. Compared to other mountains in the country Zemplén is much less frequented by tourists and developments including tourist and public transport facilities lag behind other regions.

This section of the Blue Trail passes by ruins of two medieval castles (Castle of Boldogkő and Regéc), guides you along the picturesque valley of Arka Creek and takes you to tiny mountain villages. Next you will enter the central part of the mountains and climb to the lookout point at Nagy Péter-mennykő and Sólyom-bérc. After crossing the birchwoods of Istvánkút resembling a Lapland landscape you will pass the meadow of Zsidó-rét and head towards the eastern rim. The section ends near Sátoraljaújhely.

Author’s recommendation

  • Take your time to visit the castles of Boldogkő and Regéc.
  • If you like nomadic environment, stay overnight at the hunters’ lodge of Istvánkút, deep inside Zemplén.
  • Make a short detour to Nagy Péter-mennykő to enjoy the most stunning view in Zemplén.
  • Make a short detour from Mlaka-rét to enjoy the splendid view from Solyóm-bérc.
  • Take your time to explore the adventure park near Sátoraljaújhely with a lookout tower, a bobsled run, a chairlift, a zipline and various interesting geological features.

Recommended entries and exits

  • Regéc (OKTPH_136_1, OKTPH_136_2, OKTPH_136_3): bus stop “Regéc községháza
  • 4.4 km from the hunters’ lodge of Istvánkút (OKTPH_137): bus stop “Háromhuta (Középhuta), templom
  • Makkoshotyka (OKTPH_139_1, OKTP_139_2): bus stop “Makkoshotyka, községháza
outdooractive.com User
Author
Áron Dömsödi
Updated: October 24, 2019

Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
Dorgó-tető, 712 m
Lowest point
Makkoshotyka, 140 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Safety information

Between Regéc and Makkoshotyka the trail avoids inhabited areas. Make sure to have sufficient food and drink.

Equipment

Basic gear: hiking boots, seasonable wear, drinking water, food. Use Természetjáró app. to navigate.

Start

Boldogkőváralja, train stop (162 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
48.345479, 21.208664
UTM
34U 515461 5354721

Destination

The saddle of Nagy-nyugodó (or Sátoraljaújhely)

Turn-by-turn directions

Itinerary

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.

Detailed description

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.

Public transport

Public transport friendly

  • Get off at Boldogkőváralja train stop (scarce train service).
  • Get off at bus stop “Boldogkőváralja, arkai elágazás”.
  • Get on at Sátoraljaújhely train station (direct access to Budapest).
  • Get on at bus stop “Sátoraljaújhely, Hősök tere” or “Sátoraljaújhely, vasútállomás”.

Getting there

  • In Boldogkőváralja, the Blue (K) Trail passes by the railway station and the bus stop, too.
  • From Nagy-Nyugodó the Blue + (K+) spur trail leads to downtown Sátoraljaújhely where follow the Blue (K) markers (Blue Trail of the Plain) to reach the train station.

Parking

  • Free of charge parking in Boldogkőváralja near the train stop.
  • Paid parking in Boldogkőváralja in the parking lot at the castle or free parking along Kossuth Lajos Street.
  • Free parking at Sátoraljaújhely train station.
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

Author’s map recommendations

  • Hiking map of Zemplén (northern part)


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Status
open
Difficulty
moderate
Distance
54.6 km
Duration
16:30 h
Ascent
1675 m
Descent
1475 m
Public transport friendly In and out Multi-stage tour Scenic With refreshment stops Cultural/historical value Geological highlights Botanical highlights Faunistic highlights Healthy climate

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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