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E-3 International Trail

International Trail E-3

The international mountain road „Kom-Emine" is known by the initials E-3. It is running along the ridge of Stara Planina Mountains (The Balkan Range) which is the longest mountain chain in Bulgaria. It extends from the Belogradchik pass to cape Emine on the Black Sea coast. The route is almost 700 km long. It is suitable for walking-tours and skiing.

The route „Kom-Emine" is indicated by special-for-the purpose signboards bearing the initial E-3 aid a band mark in white-red - white colour. In many spots both the band and winter (posts in yellow-black-yellow colour) marking coincide with the ridge of Stara Planina Mountains.

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Map of the trail

Notwithstanding the fact that in morphohydrographic and morpho-structural respect the Stara Planina Mountains constitute a huge massif of mountain chains, a number of signs and peculiarities make for its cross division into three great parts - West, Central and East. Stara Planina Mountains occupy an area of 11.596 km2 which is 10 per cent of the total area of the country. The average elevation above sea level of the main Balkan range is 735 m. In the remote past it was called Kaemus, Haem, Matorni mountains, the Balkan. The name of Stara Planina came to be known for the first time in the beginning of the 16th century.
The Central Stara Planina has the highest elevation above sea level. Its main ridge often rises higher than 2000 m above sea level. Of all the 29 peaks in Stara Planina Mountains exceeding 2000 m, 25 are to be found in its Central part. The highest among them is mount Botev (2376 m) which rises in the Kalofer mountain (Kaloferska Planina).
Along the „Kom-Emine" route are 18 peaks of over 2000 m height to be climbed up out of 27 dotted about the whole Balkan Range. There are three national parks: Vrachanski Balkan (Vracanski Balkan), Ethur (Etar) and Sinite Kamuni (Sinite Kamani). on the territory of Stara Planina Mountains as well as many preserves and sites under protection.
Five preserves - Boatin, Tsarichina (Caricina), Steneto, Dzendema and Kamchia) have been declared by UNESCO as being Biospheric and are included in the international programme „Man - Biosphere".
On the area of Stara Planina Mountains and the Fore-Balkan Range there are 130 chalets, rest-homes, dormitories and shelters.

 Profile of the trail

Profile of the trail

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Using GPS Device

Should I use my GPS to navigate to the hut?Garmin Oregon 

We advise against relying solely only on the GPS for use in accessing the huts because they may not provide the desired accuracy due to weak satellite signals caused by forest cover, inclement weather, topography, less-than-ideal satellite positions, and other factors. A GPS unit can be a good tool for backcountry navigation when used in conjunction with a map, compass, altimeter and appropriate skills.  If your GPS fails, you will be very thankful that you wisely brought your map, compass, and altimeter - and know how to use them.

What is a mapping datum?

Garmin ColoradoA datum is a mathematical model of the Earth which approximates the shape of the Earth and is used as a reference on maps. It enables calculations such as position and area to be carried out in a consistent and accurate manner even though the earth is not perfectly round, but is spheroid in shape.  Every map has a map datum reference that is usually listed in the title block or legend of the map.

Why do I need to know about mapping datums and which one should I use?

When using a map and GPS together for navigation, your GPS must be set to the same datum as the map you are using. Failure to do so could result in errors of 200 meters or more in your displayed position.  This is because the same position on earth (a hut or trailhead for example) will have different coordinates depending on the datum used to create the map.    Most United States Geological Survey (USGS) topographic maps and ALL 10th Mountain Division Hut Association winter maps are referenced using NAD 27.  Some newer USGS maps use NAD 83. If you are using your GPS without a map (shame on you for not having a map!), using WGS84 is generally the best datum to use as it is considered the most accurate datum to use with a GPS alone. Consult your GPS owner’s manual to learn how to set the correct datum to match your map's datum.

Why are there two mapping datums? Garmin 60 SCxOver the years, many different datums have been developed and used as references on maps all over the world.  NAD27 (1927 North American Datum) and WGS84 (World Geodetic System 1984) are the two most predominantly used today.

REMEMBER! when using a map AND GPS together, BE SURE YOUR GPS IS SET TO THE SAME DATUM AS YOUR TOPO MAP!  Failure to do so could result in errors of 200 meters or more in your displayed position.  Consult your GPS owners manual to learn how to set the correct datum to match your map's datum.  Note that most GPS units come from the factory with WGS84 as the default map datum.

GPS coordinates in this site are carefully verified and tested, but are not guaranteed as 100% accurate. Before using any GPS coordinates from any source, always cross-check with a map to verify as closely as the map scale and Datum allows since a typo can result in a useless or possibly dangerous coordinate being entered into your GPS unit and used as a navigation goal. Coordinates in the charts are subject to revision as each location is re-checked using best available technology. Trailhead locations may vary due to snow plowing and road closures.   

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National Parks

Bulgaria has a unique geographical location in the far Southeast corner of Europe on the Balkan Peninsula. The territory of the country is rather small only 111 000 square km but it is situated at the crossroads of three bio-geographic regions. They are the Middle European forest, the Eurasian steppe, and the Mediterranean. This location with the huge variety of different landscapes – the Black Sea coast, wide plains and steppes, rivers and lakes, valleys and forests, hills and mountains ensures a rich biodiversity. You can enjoy all four seasons, each one with its own character and color.