One of the most scenic parts of the Forest Trail stretches along the historic village of the Līgatne Paper Mill, passes Spriņģi Rock, curves along Skaļupe Trails and the Mythological Trail, stops at one of the most secret sites on this side of the Iron Curtain, the Soviet Bunker, then continues along Roči Nature Reserve, crosses Amata (the most beautiful and rockiest part of the river) and finally comes to Zvārtes Rock. Next, the Forest Trail runs along the high banks of Amata valley and follows the historic Cēsis–Riga “highway” (now a small rural/forest road with old mileposts) to Rakši, then ascends up the Vāļukalni hills and Ozolkalns, following along the River Gauja until it meets Cīrulīši Nature Trails. It comes to a stop at Gaujas street, but travellers may continue down the path for a further 2.8 km to Cēsis, spend the night there, and continue walking on the following day.

Practical information

Length: 26 km

Duration: 8 – 10 h

Starting point: Līgatne, Līgatne TIC

End point: Gauja street in Cēsis near the bridge over Gauja.

The course of the route: Līgatne (Brīvības street – Gaujas street) – Skaļupes trail – Skaļupes – Ķūķu Cliffs – Amatas geological trail – Zvārtes Rock – V329 road (up to Krustkalni) – Rakši – Meijermuiža – Cīrulīši Nature Trails – Cēsis (Gaujas street)

Road surface: Predominantly forest or small country roads, forest trails, gravel roads, paved roads and sidewalks in Līgatne

Difficulty: medium / hard (if planned for one day)

Danger points: Some stretches of trail in the ancient valley of Gauja and Amata river slopes may be slippery in damp conditions, winter and spring. Be careful on the shores of Amata! Swimming in Gauja River can be dangerous!

Keep in mind! The Roči Forest Reserve is not open to visitors.

Alternative route options:  This section can be divided and completed in two days: on the first day, continue on the route from Zvārtes Rock via the Amata trail to Kārļi (~ 10 km, follow the trees marked in orange, total length ~ 25 km); on the second day, walk from Kārļi to Krustkalni (3.3 km), then continue along the Rakši road to Cēsis (total distance ~11 km), just as the main route would.

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