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Garni to Azat Reservoir

Garni to Azat Reservoir

3.5h
13.0 km
1412m
1053m
Medium

Things to see

Azat Reservoir
Symphony of Stones
Garni Temple

Named for its starting point, the pagan temple of Garni, this trail takes you through the Azat River Gorge, where you’ll find impressive rock formations and the “Symphony of Stones” natural monument. End your hike at the Azat Reservoir. 

 

This marked trail starts at the temple of Garni in Garni village, just a 45 min drive from Yerevan. Take some time at the top of the cliff overlooking the ravine to explore the temple complex. A symbol of pre-Christian Armenia, Garni temple attracts tourists from all over the world! When you’re ready to make the descent down to the Azat River Gorge, read the trail information board and get hiking!

 

The trail will take you past the “Symphony of Stones,” a natural monument made up of well-preserved hexagonal and pentagonal basalt columns. Near these stones you’ll notice an 11th-century medieval bridge, which you can take to the Khosrov State Reserve, if you feel like making a detour. Otherwise, continue through the Azat River Gorge and admire the striking beauty of the geological formations on either side. You’ll end your hike at the serene waters of the Azat Reservoir. If you catch it around sunset, you’ll find the surrounding mountains awash in brilliant red sunlight. The Reservoir is a beautiful spot to camp for the night.

 

This trail is of medium difficulty and takes about 3 and a half hours. Keep in mind that this is a one-way trail; if you’d like to end back at Garni, you will have to head back the way you came through the gorge, making for a total hike time of 7 hours. Alternatively, you can retrace your steps for about 4 km (1 hour and a half), and exit the trail at the road leading to Banavan village. There you can arrange for transportation back to Yerevan.

 
 
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Yuriy Volynnikov
Nice and easy. Most time the road is quite easy. I start from the lake. Yes it is tricky to reach the river from the road, but further there be no obstacles.
Anna V
I liked the trail, it was especially good in September. But as many other commentators have mentioned, it ends up with a dead end, the trail just disappears somewhere in the forest and you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. I chose to climb a rock to get on the road, but it was kind of dangerous experience considering my shoes. The other option was to spend much time to go back. On the road the only one option is to hitchhike to Garni. The trail itself is beautiful but keep all these details in mind while planning your trip :)
Evzen Masopust
The trail itself is amazing, but don’t try to take any shortcut in Garni, because you will end up with longer and worse route. As well the trail do not lead to the reservoir. There probably is a trail leading further, but on left shore of a river. I’ve seen a bridge on my way, but haven’t tried if it goes to the trail I’ve seen on the other side of the river while trying to go as far as possible to see the reservoir (and failed :D). The best way to get back to Yerevan is to hitchhike, because nearest bus stop is about 5 km from Banavan.
hiker hiker
The trail's name is misleading, as there is no way you can reach Azat Reservoir. As many other hikers mentioned, to get to the road at the end of the route you would have to do a steep, sandy and dangerous climb. Local people directed us to it saying like it was an everyday thing for them, (don't blame them, just pointing out), but don not try it, unless you have special equipment or otherwise experienced in climbing rocks. Apart from that, happy we walked this trail, since the views are breathtaking!
Marina Malysheva
Alelsei Morozov
ЧИТАЙТЕ ПЕРЕД ВЫХОДОМ НА МАРШРУТ! Маршрут заканчивается тупиком. Есть 2 варианта выхода: взбираться по отвесной скале суммарно около 100м или идти обратно 6км до Банаван! Учитывайте это, что бы выйти до темноты.
Галина Петрова
For the most part, it is a simple and unambiguous road along the bottom of the gorge. However, against the description there is no road to the reservoir. The end of the trail (or the start, if you are walking in the opposite direction) can be quite difficult to find. We walked in the opposite direction, and this option seems more logical to me. Firstly, for the dynamics: the most impressive views remain at the end. Secondly, it's easier to find transport back from Garni than on an empty road in the middle of nowhere or even from Banawan. If walking from the reservoir to Garni: we came to a bend in the road closest to the trail's terminus. From there you can easily walk up to the cliff. From there it's a short walk along the bluff to the left. A fenced garden begins there, but there is a passageway in the fence next to the gate. The trail we descended starts very close by (no more than 50 metres from the garden boundary). Once you find the start of the trail, it's easy from there. The path is marked with white arrows, it is not difficult and it soon leads to a road. It is dangerous to try to descend elsewhere, as the cliffs are steep. The trail is marked on the map in the appendix; it is the closest trail to the reservoir. Although it is marked on the map that it gets lost at the top, using geolocation it is fairly easy to find. If you walk from Garni to the reservoir, nearer to the end of the route you will need to start looking for landmarks so that you don't miss the trail at the top. The main landmark is the big blue pipe rising up the cliff. It can be seen from afar, so you won't miss it. When you get close enough, you'll see an old overgrown road climbing straight up to the blue pipe. Once up this road, you'll need to follow the path along the slope for a bit and then turn up, following the white arrows. I find this trail scenic and uncomplicated, if only there was a well-described and marked exit for it. Unfortunately, it isn't, so I've tried to fix that. I hope it helps someone to navigate more easily and not have to go halfway back to get out.
Akash Nair
First hike for us. Honestly went pretty good. The only problem I had was that we were never able to reach Azat reservoir unfortunately as the road came to an end despite the trail having continued on the map. The road got riskier and came to an abrupt end. Not to mention after clearing it we had to walk back to Banavan and we got lucky to find someone willing to drop us to the Banavan station. But yeah enjoyed the experience overall.

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