2.4 Hiking Tour (combined)

Type of service: hybrid (hiking and off-roading combined)

Route: Garni Visitor Center- Berdatak village ruins – Kakavaberd – Kotur River -Sub-alpine area -Verin Vanstan village ruins -Nerkin Vanstan village ruins – Pokr Shen village ruins – Geghmahovit village ruins – Garni Visitor Center

Description: The tour goes through a number of ancient ruins located inside Khosrov Forest State Reserve, which is one of the oldest protected areas in the world. Although most of the settlements are ruined, you get to see some of the oldest Christian spots on the planet, from 4-5-6-7th centuries. After Berdatak settlement (which means «located under the fortress») you hike up on a steep slope to Kakavaberd (or Kaqavaberd) which is a fortress on a ridge overlooking the Azat River gorge, on 1,516 metres (4,974 ft) above sea level. This is quite deep into wilderness inside a protected area where besides the crystal clean air and spring waters you also get to see many endangered plants and even species. The reserve is also a noted area in the Caucasus region for unique European and Asian flora and fauna with about 9.000 hectares of forests located at an altitude of 1600-2300m above sea level. Bezoar goat, Caucasian Brown bear, white – headed griffon, variety of reptile species can be observed in this area. Duration of the tour is approximately 5.00-6.10 hours, and the length is 13.2 km. Bezoar goat, Caucasian Brown bear, white – headed griffon, variety of reptile species can be observed in this area. The trip ends at a different spot from where you started, at Geghmahovit settlement’s ruins. You can be picked up by off-road vehicle or continue the tour on horses and get to Garni visitor center where you started. This tour offers you a good hiking opportunity that would be much enjoyed in combination with either horseback-riding or off-roading due to its length and complicity.

Minimum elevation: 1512 meters (4961 feet)

Average elevation: 1850 meters (6069 feet)

Maximum elevation: 2219 meters (7280 feet)

Maximum slope: 70.1% -40.4%

Condition of trail: middle

Status of trail: unbuilt, unmarked, unsigned (GPS file available)

Length: 13.2 km (8.20 mile)

Difficulty level (and score): difficult, 23

Duration and Type:* 5.00-6.10 hours, loop

*(not counting the times of rest, food-breaks and off-road vehicle transfer)