Day hike from Kazbegi village to the foot of glacier covering Mt. Kazbek.
Nice one-day hike from Kazbegi (Stepanstsminda) village to the foot of Gergeti glacier covering Mt. Kazbek at the elevation of 3200 meters.
On the way, you will pass beautifully situated Gergeti Trinity church, probably the most famous Georgian landmark.
Duration: 7-8 hours
It takes up to five hours to climb to the glacier and another 2-3 hours to return.
In a single day, you will have to hike 1600 meters up and down.
How to get to Kazbegi:
The best place to start is Didube bus station in Tbilisi. As soon as you leave the subway, you will be approached by taxi drivers offering a ride to Kazbegi.
They usually charge 100-120 GEL, the best price we were ever able to haggle was 75 GEL for five people. The main advantage of a taxi is the possibility to make breaks at various sights along the highway
such as Ananuri fortress, Friendship monument or travertines behind Jvari pass. Road itself is magnificent, so it´s worth it to pay a taxi, at least for the first time.
If you are not interested in a taxi, you can look for a marshrutka - they depart when full from 8. am till late afternoon. The trip takes 3 hours and costs 10 GEL.
Marshrutkas to Tbilisi leave hourly from the bus stop at the main square. The first one departs at 6:00 am., the last one at 6 pm. and the trip also costs 10 GEL.
Description of the route
Cross the Tergi river and enter village Gergeti. Follow the main road; you should see several signs showing the way
to Tsminda Sameba (Gergeti Trinity church).
The marked path will eventually leave the main road and turn left into the hill. After a short walk between the houses, you will end up on a meadow.
Shortly, your path will cross jeep track, but don't let it disturb you and walk straight to the information panel you can see from the crossroad.
Then follows a pleasant walk in the forest and not so pleasant steep ascent on a rocky road. Your path will cross jeep track again, but don't follow it for too long
and turn left into the forest. The trail will eventually lead you out of the woods, within sight of Gergeti Trinity Church. I think this is the most straightforward path to the church - chosen here since the church is only the first stop on the hike to the glacier. If you want to hike only to the church, I recommend you to take slower, more scenic trail which approaches the church by the valley from the south, better check this post about the hike.
The church is really nice, but the views are somewhat spoiled by a new road with the parking lot (which is a good idea, but most of the drivers ignore it and keep parking right by the church).
Luckily, this is the highest the cars can go. The trail now turns west, climbs into some undergrowth, and after few minutes you will end up on a ridge. Walk straight as there is nowhere to get lost, the path is pretty obvious.
After some pretty long and steep ascent, you will come to the small pass with the stone cairn (elevation 2900m) - this place is called an Arsha pass. From here you have a first views of Gergeti glacier and Mt. Kazbek.
Now path descends a little, crosses several streams forming Sabertse river and ascends again to the foot of the glacier. You can try a small walk on a glacier,
take a few pictures and its time to go back the way you came.
It is also possible to reach meteostation Bethlemi hut at elevation 3600 meters (route also on the map),
but to make it there and back to Kazbegi in a day is very exhausting (11 hours of walk). At the station, you can sleep (booking recommended) or camp nearby for 10 GEL.