NINE GREAT TREKS IN GEORGIA
FOR THE EVERY TYPE OF HIKER


The Country of Georgia lies between the Black and Caspian sea, at the border between Europe and Asia. Known also as “Gem of the Caucasus”, it occupies the southern reaches of this 1100 km long mountains range. Even though the country is quite small, it is a trekkers paradise - and it doesn’t matter whether you prefer to explore its remote, medieval villages or undertake long treks in the wilderness.
Development of tourism in Georgia was for a long time hampered by wars and instability, but thankfully those times are finally over and the country is quickly opening up to the world.
Yet, there is still very little information about its treks and walks online. And even more surprisingly, nobody has put them on the list as of yet. So let me grab this opportunity and introduce to you nine multi-day treks which, in my humble opinion, are amongst the best ones this country has to offer.
Mountains above Tobavarchkhili lake

1. From Mestia to Ushguli

Trek connects Mestia, center of Svaneti region with the remote mountain village of Ushguli. This is the most popular trek in Georgia and for a very good reason - it offers great natural and historical sights, is accessible and not that long. Another advantage is the possibility to sleep every night in old, rustic villages, so unlike other multi-day hikes, for this one, you don´t need a tent.

In case that four days is not enough for you, you can easily extend this hike into an adventure almost 2 weeks long and explore less touristy parts of Svaneti.

Recommended for: Hikers who are looking for best possible scenery, contact with locals, comfort and don’t mind meeting other tourists.
Distance: 58 km
Duration: 4 days
My advice: For even better views, on the first day take an alternative higher route crossing Zuruldi massif with the sleepover in Tsvirmi (instead of sleeping in Zhabeshi village).

By Pablo Naumkin (for more photos, click on any image)


2. From Omalo to Shatili

This trek connects villages of Omalo and Shatili, historical centers of mountain regions Tusheti and Khevsureti. It’s intriguing not only by natural sights but also by several middle age villages, dominated by stone towers such as Omalo, Shatili, Dartlo and others.

The first two days are spent in inhabited valley, then comes the section in the wilderness where you will meet only occasional shepherds, trekkers or border guards. The highlight of the trek is a crossing of the 3413m high Atsunta pass.

Recommended for: Those who want to experience the culture of mountain people, as well as some camping.
Distance: 70 km
Duration: 5 days
My advice: Instead of spending the first day hiking on the dirt road, consider higher, more scenic trail traversing Pirikita range. You will not be able to visit medieval Dartlo village but views are much better here. You will then connect "classic" trail in the Parsma village.


3. Hike through Chaukhi pass

The popular trail connecting Juta village in Kazbegi region with the Khevsureti. Very interesting due to a proximity of the imposing Chaukhi massif with its seven sharp peaks and a necessity to scale 3338 meters high Chaukhi pass. At the other side of the pass, you will find Abudelauri lakes - three beautiful alpine lakes with different colors (green, blue and white).

If you have more time, you can turn north and visit communities of Arkhoti. Especially upper part of this remote valley is worth a visit - you can expect to find there nice gorges, waterfalls, and the complete solitude. The next day you can cross Arkhoti pass and return back to Juta.

Recommended for: Hikers who visited Kazbegi, saw the most iconic sight of Georgia and are looking for other great sceneries in its proximity.
Distance: 21 km (one-way) or 52 km (with return through Arkhoti)
Duration: 2 days (one-way) or 4 days (with return through Arkhoti)

By Jesper Ansbaek


4. From Svaneti to Racha

This beautiful, but very demanding trek takes you to some of the most remote parts of Caucasus. It follows the old road, which once connected Zeskho village in Svaneti with Ghebi in Racha, but fell into disrepair a long time ago. Nowadays almost nothing remains of it, as it has been destroyed by landslides and is now almost totally overgrown.

The route is very difficult, it crosses two steep mountain passes and a the wild valley of Tskhenistskali river. Not for everybody!

Recommended for: Adventurers who primarily don’t seek cultural or natural sights, but go after a sense of achievement, want to overcome obstacles and don’t mind wading through fields of 2-meter tall hogweeds and stinging nettles.
Distance: 39 km
Duration: 3-4 days


5. Trek to Black Rock lake

The Greater Caucasus is a home to numerous animal species, yes sometimes its valleys feel a bit empty, devoid of life. It is caused by an age-old hunting instinct of local people (or, to put it more bluntly, poaching).

If the wildlife is what you are looking for, you should head for Lagodekhi park, the oldest natural reserve in Georgia. This Park offers several hiking trails, the most interesting of which being the trek to Black Rock lake. You will cross ancient, preserved forest and be able to observe local fauna such as chamois, deer, and mountain goats. When you climb above the treeline, some beautiful views of the mountains will open up. Trek ends near Black rocks lake, lying at the elevation of 2800 meters. Also, in 2016, the another trail was opened to the lake so now you don't have to return the same way you arrived.

Recommended for: Hikers looking not only for natural sights but also for wildlife.
Distance: 45 km
Duration: 3 days

By I. Kurtauli


6. Trekking on Keli plateau

This trek, starting in picturesque Truso valley, explores the Keli volcanic plateau - a barren, rocky piece of land lying west of Georgian Military Highway. Only a very few people ever come hiking here as this area is in the close proximity of the territory of South Ossetia and a permit from Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs is needed. The highlight of the trip is a visit to the glacial Kelitsadi lake.

If you want to spend more time in the area, you can explore also gorges of Mna and Suatisi north of Truso valley - they offer interesting rock formations, waterfalls and the unusual perspective of the Kazbegi massif.

Recommended for: Trekkers familiar with more touristy areas of Georgia, looking for something new and impressive.
Distance: 37 km
Duration: 3 days

By Jussi Saha


7. From Tusheti to Khevsureti through Borbalo pass

Alternative, the longer route connecting Tusheti and Khevsureti. Also, one of the very few trails which directly traverses the main ridge of Greater Caucasus. The first section of the trek follows the valley of Tushetis Alazani, but once you climb to the Borbalo pass, you will be able to spend almost two days at the top of the ridge.

Trail linked here ends at the Datvisjvari pass, but it can be further prolonged - with some effort, it´s possible to traverse the main ridge for the another three days, all the way to Roshkasghele pass. Another option is to descend through the valley of Chanchakistskali river to Mutso and join the classic trail between Omalo and Shatili.

Recommended for: Hikers looking for long, remote, panoramic treks.
Distance: 77 km
Duration: 5 days


8. St. Andrew´s trail in Borjomi-Kharagauli park

Borjomi-Kharagauli National park is located in the mountains of Lesser Caucasus. Being one of the largest national parks in Georga, it’s famous for its pristine forests, wildlife and developed infrastructure.

Park has 9 marked trails. Probably the best one of them is known as St.Andrews trail - it offers great views as well as the possibility to climb Sametskhvario, the highest mountain in the park. Also, tents are not necessary as it’s possible to sleep in tourist shelters for a small cost (better book them at the rangers stations)

Recommended for: People looking for “the Swiss experience” (pristine forests and developed trails at the same time).
Distance: 54 km
Duration: 4 days

By Borjomi park administration


9. Trek to Tobavarchkhili lake

Tobavarchkhili (Silver) lake lies at the heart of Egrisi mountains, which separates the Svaneti region from lowlands. To reach it, you have to walk for 3 days, then you can continue north to Svaneti.

There are no cultural sights such as villages or towers on the way, but it’s more than compensated by a very diverse environment - glacial lakes, rocky gorges, waterfalls, shepherds huts and much more.

What’s even better, you will meet only a few hikers, mostly Georgians. Foreign tourists with limited time and even more limited ability to remember crazy Georgian words such as "Tobavarchkhili" usually focus on better-known areas and keep this gem of Caucasus mostly unspoiled.

Recommended for: Nature lovers, who want to avoid crowds.
Distance: 70 km
Duration: 5 days

By Max Richter





At the eastern Toba pass Trail above Mestia Adishi glacier Ushguli village Upper Omalo Below Atsunta pass Fortified village Shatili Chaukhi massif Arkhoti valley Juta valley from Arkhoti pass View from Rioni valley in Racha Sasvanostba lake Black Rock lake in Lagodekhi NPs Kelitsadi lake Views close to Borbalo pass On the ridge of Greater Caucasus St. Andrew´s trail Mountains above Tobavarchkhili lake Ochodze The best treks in Georgia - map

Copyright © 2016 Jozef Antala. All rights reserved

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