Nice dayhike offering interesting perspective of the Ushba mountain.
A pretty nice day hike connecting two valleys of Upper Svaneti. It offers great views of Mt Ushba with surrounding glaciers as well as a nice view of Enguri valley and Svaneti ridge.
On the final descent to the Mazeri village, you will come across wonderful original fir forest.
The trail is marked and mostly easy to follow, yet somehow “below the radar” of most tourists as they usually drive directly to Mestia and overlook villages on the road.
Duration: 6,5 hours
Ideal day hike - not too easy, not too hard. There is Baki pass to cross, but the climb is manageable (1000m up and 800m down).
How to get to Etseri:
Just wait for a marshrutka traveling between Zugdidi and Mestia and ask the driver to drop you at the Etseri village (25km before Mestia).
He should charge you up to 20 GEL.
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How to leave Mazeri:
There is no public transportation to Mazeri. The closest road served by marshrutkas lies 7 kilometers away, at the mouth of Becho valley.
You can reach this road on footg, or, preferably, hire someone in the village to drive you there.
There are also are two nice daywalks connecting Mazeri with neighbouring villages - Mestia and Etseri.
Description of the route
Hike starts in Etseri by the tourist marker at the bus stop - the whole trail is marked by white/red rectangles.
Just to make it clear - Etseri doesn´t appear on many maps as it´s not an actual village but rather an overall name of several smaller communities (Iskari, Kurashi, Barshi)
bunched at the mouth of Leshta valley.
Follow the slowly, but steadily rising dirt road deeper into the valley. In the beginning, you will pass several smaller villages.
Road then enters the upper part of the valley, where you can find numerous shepherd huts and herds of cows - for this reason,
it´s quite hard to find a clear spring so bring enough water from the village.
Road turns into a dirt track, then into a trail and turns east, towards the Baki pass. The climb is pretty straightforward and after some 400 elevation meters, you should make it to the top.
From the pass, great views of Ushba´s south summit open up.
Follow the top of the ridge to the southeast for about 600 meters. Trail then leaves the main ridge which rises towards Detsili hill, turns a bit to the left and navigates the hillside.
It climbs once more a bit, then goes down through a sparse birch forest. Eventually, it leaves the forest and descends to the small chapel known as the Meziri Church of the Archangel.
From there, it heads a bit further to the southeast on the bare side ridge until it reaches a small platform known as Meziri hill.
From the hill, there is a great view in all directions - it’s also a good place for a break as it’s the last panoramic break on the trail.
Not far to the southeast, you can see a small, muddy lake. Don´t go there - it´s possible to reach the Mazeri village also from the Meziri lake, but the trail is much harder to find.
Instead, sharply turn to the left, to the forest to the north. The trail is marked and well-trodden, so you should be able to follow it easily.
Next section is the steep descent through a beautiful fir forest. Trail heads more or less to the north - there are several sharp bends, but the route is marked
and signposted so you shouldn´t get lost.
Finally, you will leave the forest and cross a few meadows and pastures. Trail then turns to the left and enters Tvebishi village.
Pass the village, cross the bridge over the Dolra river and reach the main road. Mazeri village lies nearby on your right side.
Several photos from the hike were provided by Olga Drewnowska, who also wrote
report from the trail (in Polish).
Remaining photos were provided by Martin Lazar. Gps log was recorded by Victor Drutman. Big thanks to all of them!