Enģeļu ala Skaņākalna dabas parkā

Skāņaiskalns Nature Park and Dauģēni Trail

It appears that someone has scattered nature wonders across Latvia as if sowing seeds in the field. When you are sowing - some places get a sprinkle more than others. At Skaņaiskalns, the wonders of nature have gathered in abundance—caves, cliffs, and werewolf pines—all nestled alongside the picturesque banks of a river. And then, someone else recognized the potential of this beautiful place and added a touch of artistry with wooden sculptures. The result is a captivating destination for a weekend getaway: Skaņaiskalns Nature Park. But for those seeking to get those extra steps - don't worry. At the end of the Skaņaiskalns trail, the Dauģēni Nature Trail begins. 

Let us venture towards Mazsalaca to explore these enchanting paths and discover which suits you best.

In this article (shortcuts):

Skāņaiskalns Nature Park

Entrance fee and working hours.

Let's purchase tickets at the ticket booth and embark on an adventure. We can follow either a forest trail or an asphalt road. I invite you to take the forest path one way and return via the asphalt road for a more varied route. 

Do you want to become a werewolf? Werewolf Pine

I don't see any descriptions of the unusual tree, but I've heard a legend before. If you pass through the trunk of a pine tree naked during a full moon, you can become a werewolf.

I don't know who would want that. But the werewolf pines in Skāņaiskalns Nature Park would be perfect for such an adventure, with the tree trunks forming several pockets near the ground.

Skaņākalna vilkaču priede

These pines truly look extraordinary. So, if you don't want to turn into a hairy creature with an intense desire to howl at the moon, you can just capture these trees in photographs.

Skaņaiskalns birds and other wooden sculptures

Skaņaiskalns means Sound Mountain. Who creates sounds in the forest? Birds. While walking along the nature trail, you often hear their melodious songs. 

That's why the wooden bird sculptures scattered throughout Skaņaiskalns Nature Park are perfectly fitting this place. They beautifully fill in the gaps between natural wonders along the trail. 

Putna skulptūra Skaņākalna dabas parkā

But birds are not the only ones immortalized in sculptures. In Skaņaiskalns Nature Park, you will also find sculptures of fish, people, and a wooden bicycle you can ride.

Skaņaiskalns Angel's Cave

Soon, you'll be greeted by the first orange-brown cliff with a cave. If you've heard stories about the cliff in Skaņaiskalns that echo, when shouted at - screaming at this one, is pointless; it's not that cliff. We will reach that one later.

This is a truly beautiful cliff on the riverbank, featuring the Angel's Cave. Why is it called the Angel's Cave? My speculation is that when you look at the rock formation, you can see the stylized silhouette of an angel. Can you see it too?

Skaņākalna enģeļu ala

Work for your dreams - the Stairs of Dreams

When you've walked a considerable distance, there's a sign - the Stairs of Dreams. It sounds romantic. 

But as you approach, you'll realize they are tall wooden stairs. The idea is simple - if you have a dream, you need to think about it and count the steps as you climb up the stairs. If you count correctly, your wish will come true. 

Sapņu trepes Skaņākalna dabas parkā

I could climb and count the steps for you. But honestly, I'm already exhausted just looking at these stairs. I know one should work for their dreams, but this climb feels more like a nightmare. So I'll refrain this time.

Impressive Skaņaiskalns Devil's cave

In general, many names along this trail are associated with mischief - Devil's Cave, Devil's Stone, Devil's Desk. Right here, you'll also find a witch's cottage and a witch with a propeller in her back. But it seems the Devil is not home today, so we can safely go on an excursion to one of his residences - Skaņaiskalns Devil's cave.

The exterior of the cave is quite beautiful - orange-gray rock walls covered with moss and decorated with carvings. Let's go inside!

Skaņākalna Velnala

The inside of the cave is dark. We can't know if someone is waiting on the other end or even - how long the tunnel is. Let's bring out a flashlight. It turns out the cave chamber is quite large. Larger than one would expect based on the size of the entrance.

The Skābuma baļļa (Sour Pool) with seemingly no sourness?

What's sour? Lemon juice is. But in the Sour Pool, it seems there is no sourness. It's a small cave from which a clear spring flows.

Turns out the sourness comes from a story. The same Devil whose residence we visited once spilled a local drink called "Sour". And that's where the spring started flowing.

Skābuma baļļa Skaņākalna dabasparkā

Curiosity is probably tormenting you now, wondering what this "Sour" drink is. I'll ease your torment - according to Delfi "Sour" is a refreshing drink made by the people of Vidzeme from coarse rye flour. Now we both know more.

View of the Neļķu Cliffs

Because one cliff is not enough.

Because one cliff is not enough. These can only be seen from a distance. But they beautifully blend into the surrounding landscape and are quite photogenic. The best view of these cliffs is from the Velna kancele (Devil's desk). 

Skaņākalna Neļķu klintis

All paths lead to the Skāņaiskalns Cliff

And finally, we have reached the main attraction of the trail - the Skaņaiskalns Cliff. This is the one that responds when called. Unfortunately, there is a wedding party here to take some pictures. So I feel a bit embarrassed to shout. Perhaps you will be braver?

But judging with the eyes, it's a large rock wall on the other side of the river, with many round holes visible. Is anything living in them?

Skaņākalna klints

Skāņaiskalns Dwarf Trail - Have we teleported to Tērvete?

It's no secret that in Latvia, wooden dwarfs are associated with Tērvete.

So, when I spotted the first dwarf on the Dwarf Trail, I couldn't resist taking a photo and posting it on social media with the question, "Guess where I am?" To see how many of my friends will guess Tērvete.

The dwarfs here seem very busy - working with their little axes and saws. Building something. 

Koka rūķis skaņākalna Rūķu takā

Dauģēni Nature trail

Starting point next to Skaņaiskalns cliff.

When you are done exploring Skaņaiskalns ...

Vai tālāk doties arī uz Dauģēnu taku?

Good question. 

It depends on your interests. If you enjoy long walks amidst nature, the Dauģēni trail offers an ideal opportunity. Stretching approximately 10 km in one direction, the trail takes you through a serene forest setting. However, compared to the Skaņaiskalns Nature Park, the Dauģēni trail has fewer attractions. Its main allure lies in its untouched natural beauty. So if you are just after photo spots to share on social media... Then the trail might seem a bit boring to you. 

We want to achieve our daily step goal, so we will explore this path as well. 

!!! But I have an important warning . It looks like there are a lot of ticks on this trail. We picked a whole 3. It might be a coincidence, but please take safety measures - get appropriate clothing and anti-tick spray. And check if no ticks are crawling on you time after time.

Upe Dauģēnu dabastakā

Orientēšanās Dauģēnu dabas takā ir izaicinājums

Are you up for a challenge?

The first test is finding the trail itself, as there are no clear indications of the "Dauģēni trail" at the Skaņākalnas cliff. However, a forest path starts from the camping area, which might be the right one. There's no harm in trying, right?

Let's go. 

After a while, our perseverance pays off - there is a stand adorned with a map of attractions, confirming that we have indeed found the entrance to the Dauģēni trail. Hooray! 

However, our journey is far from over. Let's push forward, shall we?

There is complete peace and quiet here (except for the bird songs). We are the only people here today. It's us, the trees, the moss, and the blueberry bushes. 

To navigate our path, we rely on small notes with icons of people, occasionally appearing on the trees.

Takas zīmīte uz koka

But when we get to the intersection... Can you please explain to me how to read this sign? What do those numbers mean? And why one number is indicated in several directions.

Krustojuma zīme ar bultiņām un cipariem

There is no internet access in this area, leaving us no choice but to rely on our own powers of logical thinking.

Considering the map we previously consulted, it appeared that the majority of attractions were nestled alongside the river. So let's stay close to the river. 

Let's keep moving. We have walked for a while, and I am starting to feel a bit anxious. But then, we spot a well-maintained picnic area. That must mean we're heading in the right direction, right?

Where can we find the Covs' cave of Dauģēni trail?

Let's continue. It's hard to gauge how far we've walked. but finally, we see a sign "Govs ala" (Cov's cave). While we should be pleased with this discovery, it also implies that we have unintentionally missed the Simaņu Rock—an exquisite formation with caves and a spring—and the huge Simaņu Rock. I wouldn't be a terible teammate in an orienteering competition, would I? 

Oh well. Let's just look for Covs cave on the opposite side of the river. Do you see anything?

Dabas skats

I don't. 

The moral of the story here - always read the fine print. 

When you read the description of the place of interest, you will find out that Cows' Cave was once here. But it has since collapsed. This is now the site where the Cows' Cave once was. This is one of those facepalm moments.

But don't worry - everything will only go up from here. There will be attractions on the Dauģēni trail that we will actually see.

The photogenic boardwalk of the Dauģēni trail

After Cows Cave, you have to go through an overgrown meadow. We're not the ones who give up easily, are we? And our endurance pays off. Because after a while, you get to a beautiful footpath with reeds growing on both sides. It's just like Kanieri's little cousin!

Laipa ar niedrēm abās pusēs Dauģēnu dabas takā

This photogenic place motivates us to go further. And as I said - it only gets better.

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - Dauģēni rocks

We have finally arrived at the most famous attraction of the trail - Dauģēni rocks. 

Dauģēnu klints

These rocks boast steps that allow you to descend and examine their rough texture up close. Interestingly, they bear a striking resemblance to the rocks at Skaņaiskalns, with the same shade and small holes. Could they be relatives?

Dauģēnu klints

There is also a beautiful view from the cliffs. On the way here, time after time, the river delighted us by breaking the routine of the forest. But the view of the river valley from the top of the rocks is undeniably the most beautiful. Isn't it?

Skats uz upi no Dauģēnu klints

This is where we go back along the same path. As I later found out - this is how we missed the bridge and another big rock. I guess I would really do terribly in an orienteering competition.

But that's alright.

Now that we have returned to Skaņaiskalns, let's opt for the other route, the asphalt road, leading to the parking lot. This way, we can explore additional attractions along the way, such as Devil's Rock and some wooden sculptures. Including the Dwarf Trail, which I already talked about a little in this article.

This was indeed an adventure. From the abundance of attractions at Skaņaiskalns to the untouched forests of the Dauģēni trail. And I hope you appreciate my honesty - with all the ups and downs. But now, let's continue to enjoy dinner, find accommodation, and explore interesting places in Valmiera. That will be covered in the next article." 

Spoguļklintis Cīrulīšu dabas takās

What else to see in Vidzeme

Extend your trip with other destinations in Vidzeme

Thanks for visiting my little corner of the internet, and I hope this article was helpful to You :)

Best regards, Armanda


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