3 Km
Level of difficulty: Easy

The Vikmeste creek once served as a natural boundary between Turaida and Krimulda. There are several concealed picturesque sandstone outcrops in the valley.

The trail is about 3 km long and begins at the car park off the Turaida-Ragana road opposite the Reiņa track (Gravzaķi) and leads to the foot of the Krimulda road serpentine. The trail is very scenic and there are several sandstone outcrops along the way. You can hike or bike along the trail.

The Vikmeste Nature Trail, also known as the Wilderness Trail, was established in 1990 by a group of Gauja National Park staff’s children and young people from the US who later worked together in Yellowstone National Park in America. Members of the group included Ieva Bērziņa, Ilmārs Murāns, Inga Gradauska, Mārcis Mitrevics, Sandis Kalniņš. Gauja National Park, with the help of the Latvian Environment Fund, dismantled the concrete spillways on Vikmeste creek to allow salmon back to this river for spawn season. The name Vikmeste derives from the Livonian (Livs) language, it probably meant Mežupīte (Forest River). The ruins of Krimulda Castle and the Vikmeste ancient settlement site can be found on the banks of Vikmeste creek.

Vikmeste ancient settlement site is located on the right bank of the Vikmeste river, at the confluence of several side gullies, less than one kilometre north-west of the Krimulda castle ruins. The settlement site with dimensions of 55 by 75 metres is surrounded on three sides by steep, mostly artificial hillock slopes about 26 metres high.

The cultural layer of the mound is rather thin and weakly visible, which suggests that it has been inhabited for a relatively short period of time. There is no slope on the western side where the settlement site is separated from the surrounding plain by a rampart 40 metres long, 4.5 metres wide and 3 metres high. A 3-metre-deep moat lies in front of the rampart and the ancient entrance was located at the southern end of the rampart. The possible enclosed forecourt of the castle is situated on a 100 x 100 metre plot of land to the east of Vilkmeste. The site is currently covered by woodland. In the latter half of the 19th century, the mound was visited several times by Governor-General of Vidzeme Suvorov, which is why it is sometimes referred to as Suvorov’s Hill.

Some historians believe that the mound dates back to the events mentioned in the Chronicle of Henry of Latvia (Henricus de Lettis) in 1206, when the chieftain of the Turaida Livs, Kaupo, murdered his own military unit along with the Germans, and looted and burned the castle. Others believe that Kubesele castle may have been located here.

Sightseeing objects

Vikmeste path and castle mound
Vikmeste’s river
nature routes linear routes routes up to 5km