Hiking and Trekking in Armenia

In recent years, adventure travel in Armenia, namely trekking and hiking, has gained immense popularity. No wonder the country has amazing mountain landscapes, variously diverse flora and fauna, and different climatic zones. The country offers various trekking routes all of which pass through mountainous places full of various historical and cultural monuments. Keep reading and you will learn the most popular Armenian trekking routes as well as lots of useful information.

Trekking in Armenia: The best season for trekking in Armenia

Mountainous Armenia is distinguished by a variety of climatic zones. Due to geographical location and elevations, the small area has both subtropical and continental climatic zones. While it is hot in the valley, a cold wind blows in the mountains, and you should take into account the temperature changes while planning the trip. The summer in Armenia is hot and mostly sunny. The average temperature on the foothills is +26, in mountainous areas +22. Autumn in the region is velvety, the cold weather on the foothills begins in November. Winter in Armenia is unpredictable. Usually, it does not last long, the average temperature on the foothills is -5, in mountainous areas -14, but there can be strong frosts up to -30. Keep in mind that due to the geo-position of the country (most of Armenia is at an altitude of more than 2000 meters above sea level), there may be sudden temperature and pressure changes.

Spring trekking in Armenia

March is the worst month for trekking. It often heavy rains across the country and it is cold in the mountain regions. Spring begins in April, and then the snow starts melting in the mountains. The end of May is the most beautiful time for hiking across the country. It is still cold in the mountains at night this is why warm clothing is a must.

Summer trekking in Armenia

Hot summer in the plains starts from the beginning of June, the temperature reaches up to +27, in the mountains the summer begins at the end of the month. The best month for mountain trekking is July, when it is pleasant in the daytime and it is slightly cool at night. In August it is hot, but at night it will be quite comfortable. If you planned a trip to Armenia in the summer, your days will be filled with sweet taste and aroma of Armenian fruits. Each month will have a taste of a new ripening fruit; apricot, peach, plum, melon, watermelon, and berries.
Be sure to have a sunscreen with at least 50 SPF, because the sun in the mountains is very bright.

Autumn trekking in Armenia

Autumn in the mountains begins in late August. It is still warm with less rain across the country. From October the temperature slowly drops and the golden autumn reigns in Armenia. In November, the hiking season closes until next spring.

Winter in Armenia

In Armenia, winters are mostly not harsh with heavy snow in the mountains. Ski resorts in Armenia are perfect for beginners, professional skiers and freeride lovers. For mountaineering, the Armenian mountains are true treasures and an excellent opportunity to test skills.

Trekking in Armenia: Popular trekking routes

Lake Seva - Dilijan - Lake Parz - Gosh village - Goshavanq monastery - Ijevan - Makaravanq monastery - Lastiver - Enoqavan - Yell Extreme Park

Duration - 8 days

Level of complexity - average

Best season for trekking - from May to October

One of the most interesting trekking routes starts from Lake Sevan, the largest mountain freshwater lake in Armenia and the CIS, and the second largest high mountain lake in the world. Sevan is a popular destination for summer holidays, as well as an ideal place for camping and trekking. You can spend а few days exploring the shores of the lake and spend nights in a tent on the beach.

Trekking along the shores of the lake includes visiting the monastery of Sevanavank (IX century) on the peninsula, then climbing the mountain Artanish (altitude 2460 meters).

The next destination of the route is Dilijan, one of the most picturesque corners of Armenia. The resort town of Dilijan is located in the national park. Coniferous forests and mild climate are ideal for health while the whole territory of the region and the resort town are ideal for trekking.

From Dilijan, we head to Lake Parz that is a well-known natural landmark of the region. All trekking tours start from the shores of the lake. Through the forest, the road leads to meadows, along a small river and Ijevan range. On the way, you will see ancient khachkars and finally, the Goshavank monastery (XII century) will appear before your eyes. In clear weather, you can get back to Lake Parz and place tents for the night.

The next stop of the trekking tour is the city of Ijevan, another picturesque corner of Armenia. Thanks to mineral waters, mild climate and dense forests Ijevan is considered one of the popular resorts. For trekking, horseback riding and camping Ijevan is also one of the best destinations.

The first stop in the city is the Makravanq monastery and natural attractions. The monastic complex with all the churches is considered one of the main medieval architectural masterpieces. Makarevanq is built of dark pink and green stones and from the distance, the whole complex looks impressive.

The route from Makaravanq continues to the oldest settlements, the cave of Lastiver. The descent to Lastiver will be along the old staircase and along the banks of the Khachahpyur River. At the end of the path, you will have a fabulous view of the waterfall in the gorge. At the entrance to the cave, there is a bas-relief of the pre-Christian era. Lastiver can make a stop or even spend the night in tents.

The road from Lastiver leads to Yenokavan, to the gorge and the caves of Yenokavan. The most interesting in Yenokavan village is the new Yell Extreme entertainment Park. In the park, you will have the opportunity to fly on a paraglider, ride a zipline, and stroll through the Rope Park. Routes and bridges are built on trees and, to overcome the path, you will walk from one tree to another. Also in the park, you can play Paintball and try your skills as a driver on Off-road tours.

Village Sevaberd - Lake Akna - Azhdahak

Duration - 2 days

Level of complexity - above average

Best season for trekking - The end of June to the first half of October

Trekking route starts in the village of Sevaberd and leads to Geghama mountains. This is one of the most authentic and wild trekking routes, the difficulty level is above average. From the village of Sevaberd, the route leads to the mountain lake Akna. The lake is at an altitude of 3,032 meters above sea level. Akna was formed in the crater of the volcano, on the Geghama Highlands. In the autumn it feeds on rain, in the winter months the lake freezes completely.

From the lake, an 8-kilometer ascent to Mount Azhdahak begins. This is another extinct volcano and the highest point of the Geghama Range (3597 meters). Climbing to the top, you can admire the Geghama Range, Lake Sevan, Mount Aragats, Mount Ararat and Mount Ara.

Saghmosavanq monastery - Hovhannavanq monastery - Qasakh river canyon - Amberd fortress - Lake Kari - Mount Aragats

Duration - 5 days

Level of complexity - above average

Best season for trekking - The end of June to the first half of October

One of the trekking routes passes through historical monuments, Lake Kari and ends with an ascent to Mount Aragats. Saghmosavanq monastery is located on a wide plateau near the cliff of the picturesque canyon of the Kasakh River. From canyon, you can see a beautiful view of Ararat and Arailer mountains. Sagmosavank is one of the brightest architectural masterpieces of the XII century.

Exploring the monastery, the walk continues along the gorge to the village of Hovhavannavan, where there is another historical landmark – the monastery of Hovannavanq (XII century). One of the first churches (IV century) built after the adoption of Christianity is included monastery complex. Like all other first basilicas in Armenia, the basilica of Hovannavanq was built on the site of a pagan temple. Hovannavanq was an educational center in Armenia, where they studied philosophy, music and calendar art. In the monastery were found rare manuscripts, which were transferred to the Matenadaran for storage.

From the temple, the road leads to the ancient fortress of 2 millennium BC and further to the gorge Kasakh. The rapid river originates from the slopes of Aragats, the length of the river is 85 km. The gorge is a multistage canyon, part of which can be easily reached, part of the gorge is ideal for climbers.

Another attraction of the region is the fortress of Amberd that is located above the gorge. The fortress is considered the largest on the territory of Armenia. Despite the fact that the fortress is partly ruined, strong walls still proudly rise at an altitude of more than 2000 meters.

On the way to the Aragats mountain, on the slope, there will be a stop at the high-mountain Lake Kari located at an altitude of 3,190 meters above sea level. From the coast of Kari begins the ascent to the lowest southern peak of Mount Aragats.

One of the four peaks of Aragats is considered the highest point in Armenia and the entire Transcaucasus. Aragats is a four-headed extinct volcano, with the age of more than 60 million years. The height of the highest North peak is 4090 meters, the Western peak is 400 meters high, then the Eastern peak of 3916 meters height and the Southen peak of 3879 height. The trekking route to the Southern peak does not require special preparation. The climbing the North Peak needs special skills. The duration of the ascent is 12 km, the altitude difference is about 670 m.

Areni - Noravanq monastery  - Smbataberd - Tsaghats Kar - Caravanserai

Duration - 2 days

Level of complexity - average

Best season for trekking - the end of April to October

The village of Areni and the caves of Areni are considered the center of winemaking in Armenia. The fact is that the very first winery in the world with the age of 6000 years was found in the caves of Areni. The caves are partially open to visitors. The traces of the most ancient civilizations since the Stone Age are still visible in the cave. If you are planning trekking in early October, you will have a chance to take part in the annual Areni wine festival.

From the caves of Areni along the gorge we head to the monastery of Noravanq (XII century), built over the edge of the gorge. From the monastery, you can see amazing views of the gorge and steep cliffs. The monastic complex is built of pink and peach tuff. On the background of the rocks, the historical monument looks absolutely harmonious.

Next destination is the village of Artabuinka from where begins 2 km ascent to the mountain and Smbataberd Fortress. Powerful fortress walls stand proudly on the top of the mountain. From the top, you will have an impressive view of the gorge.

Tsaghac Kar monastery is located in 2 km from the fortress.  This is a large complex of several parts, each of them includes a group of churches, a cemetery, cells, a porch and other household buildings.

The last point of the trekking route is the Selim Pass and the IV century caravanserai. The caravanserai was built on the Silk Road, where caravans with goods stopped. The entrance is decorated with stalactite ornaments.

Karahunj - Khndzoresk - Tatev Monastery 

Duration - 2 days

Level of complexity - average

Best season for trekking - the end of April to October

This trekking route passes through Syunik region, the richest one with natural and historical monuments. The first destination of the route is Karahunj or Zorats Karer. This is one of the most mysterious places in Armenia, the secret of which has not yet been revealed. According to one theory, a group of stones with perfect holes served as an observatory. It is proved that Zorats Karer monument is much older than the famous Stonehenge monument.

From one ancient monument, we go to the next, no less unique place called Khndzoresk. This is an ancient cave settlement on the slopes of the gorge. The caves were inhabited until the XX century. Local people lived in carved out niches at an altitude of 30 meters. The modern suspension bridge made the caves accessible, but you can also go down to the gorge and go on foot.

The most famous architectural monument, the monastery complex of Tatev (XIII century) is also located in Syunik region. The monastery is located above the break of the gorge Vorotan, the largest and picturesque corner of Armenia. The path to the monastery passes along the narrow stone bridge Satani Kamurj and take up for 100 meters. Part of the bridge is covered with stalactites: on the way to the monastery, there are many mineral springs.

Trekking in Artsakh

Duration - 3 days

Level of complexity - average

Best season for trekking - the end of April to October

Artsakh is a picturesque region with the beauty that is still not fully revealed. That’s why the trekking route for popular sights can be considered one of the most interesting and memorable adventures.

The trekking starts in the capital of Artsakh, Stepanakert, a cozy clean city with a breathtaking view of the mountains. From the capital, we head to the Dadivank monastery along the thick forests and the river bank. The monastery is surrounded by breathtaking nature. Here you will definitely wish to stop the moment. The next stop is the city of Tigranakert. The city was founded in the I century BC on the bank of the Khachenaget river. Under the ruins of the city were found valuable finds of the reign of Tigran the Great including pottery, the ruins of buildings of the pagan period and the early Christian period. From Tigranakert the route leads up to Mount Vankasar.

The most popular historical sight of Artsakh is Gandzasar, a monastery complex of the XIII century. The nature of the surroundings, the mountains, and the historical monument itself fascinate with its magical beauty. On the territory, there is an ancient cemetery with unique tombstones.

Unot Canyon, the Karkar River and the unique Umbrella Falls are the most popular destinations for trekking. The route will pass through the village of Carinthak downstream of the Karkar River to the waterfall, the ancient bridge and the cave.

The last stop in Artsakh is the city of Shushi that started a new life after the war. The route will take place along the main sights, the Amenaprkich church, and the Shoushi fortress.

Trekking or excursion?

There is a common misconception that trekking and excursion are simply synonyms of the same notion. If we are talking about Armenia, we should immediately say that these are two different concepts and two different experiences and emotions. During the tour, you will see all the popular natural and historical sights. Trekking is a kind of unique fusion with nature. You will live in nature, feel it and eventually become a part of nature. Finally, you will see the beauty of the Armenian mountains.

Despite the fact that Armenia is a small country, the difficulty level of the trekking is medium and higher. Many newcomers often have the question “do I have to go all the way on foot”. Basically, for walking and sightseeing, participants reach the destination of trekking by car.

Where to begin?

With a backpack on your shoulders, your unforgettable adventure begins, and you still do not know what is waiting for you. To make the trip safe and sound, you need to know the safety techniques and follow the rules. The first rule is to be sociable and positive. Carefully listen to the instruction and do not ignore the rules, because they are needed to help you take the difficulties easier.

Must have things for trekking

Hiking in the mountains has nothing to do with comfort, but in comfortable clothes and a backpack with all the necessities you can make your trip more comfortable and unforgettable. When going on a hike, you need to have the following list of things with you:

Clothing

• Indoor shoes
• Mountain boots
• Rubber slippers
• Hiking pants
• Shorts
• T-shirts
• Windbreaker
• 2 sweaters
• Several pairs of socks
• Cap and hat
• Raincoat
• Sunglasses
• Thermal underwear

Basic supplies for hiking

• Sunscreen
• Backpack
• Walking sticks
• Flashlight
• First Aid Kit
• Towel
• Seat
• Waterproof cape for backpack
• Hygiene means
• Camera for fabulous photos
• Charger for the device and phone

Physical training for hiking

Despite the fact that trekking is not considered a sport, participants should have a particular level of fitness. The most important thing in trekking is endurance and the level of adaptability to trekking conditions. For a successful trekking, it is necessary to start basic training two weeks before the trip.

The first level of training is the training of shoulders and hips. Two weeks before hiking you should prepare the shoulders for wearing a heavy backpack, gradually increasing the weight and duration of wearing. If possible, practice on uneven surfaces and inclines.

The next stage is the preparation of legs and lungs for hiking. Running is the best way to prepare both legs and lungs. If you are going to train on a treadmill, take the maximum incline for intensive training. Over time, you may increase the load of the backpack.

And finally, pay attention to the diet. It is necessary to completely eliminate alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and fast food.

Psychological preparation for hiking

Psychological training is no less than physical training. The first thing you will not have all the things you are used to for a comfortable stay. It will be wet, hot and difficult. The night in the tent sounds romantic, but at first unusual atmosphere can lead to depression. This is why you need to be prepared mentally so that you can stand at this moment. There will be a time when you want to go back, be strong and you will never regret. The support of friend and guides will be very helpful. In the end, you will be glad that you have stood up to the very end and gained a lot of experience and impressions for your entire life.

Our company “Arara” is ready to offer you Adventure Tours created for all fans of hiking, trekking, and mountain climbing. Just contact us and we will arrange for you a real adventure at the highest level!

 

Choose the Tour to Armenia you like most and tour-operator Arara will organize your amazing Holiday in Armenia. Travel to Armenia with the local agency.

Tours to the Caucasus

Other Travel Articles

Solo Traveler Guide to the South Caucasus

Corporate Event of Alfa-Bank Employees in Armenia

Russian Tourists Travelling in Armenia

Ask