North Olympus mountain – Papa Stream

SHORT DESCRIPTION

North Olympus is admittedly one of the most beautiful destinations on the mountain of the gods and we have visited it repeatedly, since from the forest recreation area Agioi Apostoloi there is a wide network of routes and destinations for all tastes and endurance. From simple walks up to hard trekking paths like the one that climbs to the Muses plateau (one of the most demanding ascents to the plateau is the one from Barbalas ridge). It is very convenient also, for one-day circular routes that all climbers love. Just to mention a few that we have done in the past , Agioi Apostoloi – Kleftovrisi – Agia Kori stream or – Agioi Apostoloi – Pigi Mastorouli – Papa aloni – Krevatia, Monastery of Agia Triada ( Holy Trinity) – Krevatia refuge – Barbala ridge and many more.

USEFUL INFORMATION

Distance from Thessaloniki: 83 km

European Emergency Number:  112

Fire Brigade Dept: 199

Medical Emergency:  166 

Krevatia refuge: 697 177 3070

Greek Mountaineering Association of Vrodou: 697 222 4665 / 6973 804 843

Papa Stream (Alt 300m) – Krevatia Refuge (Alt 1005m) – Monastery of Holy Trinity (Alt 430m) – Papa Stream (Alt 300m)

Route Information

Route Description: Circular route – Trekking (Difficult)

Route Length: 8 km

Water in route: No (only at Krevatia refuge)

Marking: Yes, red – yellow and blue – yellow marks

Duration: 4h (Ascent)

2h (Descent)

The route took place on MAR 2020

Team members 2 adults

The path that will lead us to the beautiful slopes of the Papa stream, starts just opposite the Church of the Holy Apostles and the refreshment cabin of EOS Vrodous (Greek Mountaineering Association of Vrodou). On the opposite side of the road, a forest road begins, which after about 200 meters, turns to the left, where the path is starting. At the beginning of the forest road there is a relevant sign that sends us to “Papa Aloni”. The marking of the path is discreet but sufficient; with red and yellow colors. From time to time there are crossroads with road signs that leads the hiker to various locations of the mountain. We are taking the direction for the “caves” and a pretty path with beautiful traverses, is starting in the rich fauna of northern Olympus. The route is not too hard, giving us the opportunity to enjoy the imposing landscape which starts from the steep slopes of the stream and reaches the peaks of the “Muses Plateau”. About half the way we reach the “caves” site where we can enjoy some geological formations in the natural shed created by the big rocks.

geological forms in Caves

Having the caves on our left, we follow the marking of the path to the direction of “Papa Aloni”. After about one and a half hour, we arrive at a crossroad with wooden road signs. The left route according to the signs goes to”Papa Aloni” and the right route goes to “Krevatia” refuge. So far we have walked two and a half hours, exactly the time that is estimated on the signs at the beginning of our trek. At this point we change our direction following the path to “Krevatia”.

signage

The color of the marks on the path is now yellow and blue. Attention. This trail is a mountain trail and has passages that can be closed in case of snowfall or can be dangerous to cross. It is a good idea to be informed by the local agencies such as the management of “Krevatia” refuge or Vrodou mountaineering association, about the condition of the route before attempting to follow it. Also, do not attempt to follow this route in bad weather conditions, unless you have sufficient knowledge, equipment and experience.

trail to Krevatia

So, we turn right and after a while we reach the banks of the stream. With great caution we pass over the rocks (there is a signal on the rock from where we have to start) going to the opposite bank. The path is clear and shows us its intensions from the very beginning, as it is quite steep. Of course in the one and a half hour that we need to get to “Krevatia”, there are mild spots and passes but in general we gain altitude very fast. We realize this when, after about an hour, we see the banks of the stream hanging 500 meters below our feet. A little bit of courage more and we arrive to the refuge. In the last one third of the route we have to keep in mind that there are many fast flowing torrents. Therefore, caution is also needed here as well, in case of heavy or long rainfall.

Finally, after four hours trekking on the slopes, we reach “Krevatia” plateau and the refuge, where we will spend the night. In our original plan we had included an ascent to Barbalas Ridge, on the second day, and that explains the overnight staying. Without overnight staying, the route lasts five and a half hours and is suitable for a daily hike.

refuge

Krevatia” refuge has been under new management for the last two years and is fully operational with excellent hygiene and living conditions. Isaac Adamidis, refuge’s manager, in addition to the experience of the local area and mountain activities, is a hospitable man with a willingness to actually serve visitors. The end of the first day finds us enjoying the wonderful view of Olympus’s peaks and the playing of the fog with the trees in the ravine. After having dinner, just before we go to sleep, we enjoy the full moon that illuminates the summit of “Profitis Elias” at the opposite site of the mountain. Magical landscapes, magical moments!! Full of positive energy from smiling pictures and smiling people, we fell asleep.

In the morning there was no reason to hurry. The climb to Barbalas ridge was canceled due to a minor injury, so we are keeping our strength for the way back. We took our coffee on the stream’s cliff side, while mountaineering clubs and individual groups began to arrive, having as their main goal to climb “Barbala”. The weather is unstable. The weather sites are saying that showers will come in the afternoon, but the mountain had other plans. The rain started at 10.00 in the morning and we decided not to be late. So we get quickly prepared and at 11.00 we were ready to go.

The route from Krevatia refuge to the monastery of the Holy Trinity lasts one and a half hour. It is a pleasant route on a ridge between firs, oaks and willows, having great view to the snow-capped peaks of Olympus. The route is not so easy and needs a little attention with the marking since it moves in bushy vegetation which can hide the marks on the rocks. Also many large furrows, formed by rainwater, can be confused with the path. Wearing our raincoats, we started the descent into a foggy landscape which has nothing to envy from the sunny landscape of the previous day. It has a different beauty, more modest and more silent but the same loveliness . The path is well curved and it moves through the forest with red-yellow markings on the trees, making many nice maneuvers on the slope. After a while we are crossing the forest road that connects Krevatia refuge with the Church of the Holy Apostles and now we hike the last part of the route that will take us to the picturesque Monastery of the Holy Trinity.

fog

As the rain continues ,we are making a short stop at the monastery just to say goodbye to the stream from above and we continue to hike up to the point where we have parked our car, about 500 meters from the monastery at the beginning of yesterday’s route.

TEXT: George Manolopoulos