Summer is well upon us here in Armenia! With the temperature rising, what better way to escape the hot, stuffy air of the city than to escape to nature?
Whether you’re looking to take a break for a day or simply can’t get enough of Armenia’s beautiful countryside, we’ve got you covered. More seasoned trekkers looking for a challenge can check out these delightfully difficult trails. But if you’re new to hiking and are looking for something a little less intimidating, we’ve got just the thing for you.
Last year, we told you about 5 easy hikes to greet spring. Now, we give you 5 more just in time for summer!
Location: Ararat Province
Distance: 10.9 km
Time: 2.5 hrs
This beautiful and unique little canyon is just an hour away from Yerevan, and yet many people, including locals, have never heard of it. The jagged red rocks in this part of the Ararat Province give it a Martian-like feel, and the trail’s proximity to the Khosrov State Reserve also means there’s a variety of wildlife to observe along the way, from the Armenian tortoise, which you may find putzing around your feet, to the steppe eagle soaring high above the ground. To continue hiking the trail at the end of the canyon, simply scramble up the rocks to the other side and follow the dry river bed. While you’re walking, take in the view of the surrounding hills and Mt. Ararat, the national symbol of Armenia, just beyond them.
Location: Syunik Province
Distance: 5.5 km
Time: 2 hrs
Located 15 km away from Tatev Monastery near the isolated village of Tandzaver, this loop trail is home to an open-air museum of art made using the natural environment. A total of 10 art pieces were created by both local and international artists, and are on permanent display in this open air gallery. Additionally, the trail will take you through a forest of oak trees that are over 100 years old, and to an open field at the summit of Mt. Ashkharates, meaning “see the world” in Armenian. On a clear day, you can see all the way into neighboring Iran, hence the mountain’s name. Along the entire route, you’ll find various medieval khachkars (traditional Armenian cross-stones), before reaching the beautiful ruins of St. Gregory Bardzrakash Monastery.
Location: Lori Province
Distance: 6.3 km
Time: 3 hrs
Looking for a relaxed hike through the woods? This easy trail in the lush Lori Province is great for those who are new to hiking, and offers an opportunity to visit the COAF Smart Center, a children’s tech and educational center revolutionizing rural life, located just below the village of Dsegh. Winding along old footpaths that were once used by locals to get to and from the village, this part of Armenia has a special past; Dsegh is the birthplace of one of Armenia’s most celebrated poets, Hovhannes Tumanyan. He describes his childhood in the region as a “divine extravaganza.”
What’s so special about this place? According to Tumanyan, it’s “the gorgeous nature of Lori, the breathtaking air, the drizzle of water fountains, the freedom of mountain and village life, the equality in our old village living, where everyone used to live in the same way, eat and drink the same thing together.” We must say, much hasn’t changed in the area since Tumanyan’s time, and thank goodness for that!
Location: Vayots Dzor Province
Distance: 6.5 km
Time: 2.5 hrs
This easy loop will take you to the semi-abandoned village of Old Martiros that dates back to the year 1283. There’s even a khachkar in the village where its founding is recorded! As you make your way out of the village, a signpost will direct you to the rock-hewn Holy Mother of God Church, also known as Martirosats Monastery. This little church has been carved out of the mountainside below the peak of Mt. Nazar (2,446 m). As you continue on the loop, you’ll pass Chumov Lake, an idyllic lake with a natural island. This route is part of a larger trail network in Vayots Dzor connecting the villages of Martiros, Gomk, Artavan, Zaritap, and Kapuyt. We’re proud to have funded the creation of this network back in 2018!
Location: Tavush Province
Distance: 1.6 km
Time: 1.5 hrs
Many people know about the 13th century Haghartsin Monastery, but few know about the beautiful hidden waterfall located just 1.6 km away! To get to the waterfall, you’ll traverse the snaking veins of the forest until you arrive at the waterfall, which is so well hidden by cliffs and boulders that it wasn’t discovered until recently. Tune out your worries and tune in to the burble of the creek and the aura of the forest. Be sure to give yourself some time before or after completing this hike to explore the monastery complex if it’s your first time at Haghartsin. There are many medieval khachkars hidden in the forest, plus an old chapel and a half-built Soviet cable-car station with amazing panoramic views of the monastery, the gorge and the rectangular peak commanding the background.
This trail is an easy 1.6 km hike, but parts of it require that you walk over the river flowing from the hidden waterfall, which can be difficult when water levels are high in the springtime. That’s why we’ve listed this trail as having a medium difficulty level on our app and website. But when the water is low in the summer month, the hike is definitely easy and the waterfall is just as beautiful.
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Looking for more trails to scratch that hiking itch? We don’t blame you. Hiking in Armenia is something else! Check out our website or download our free app to find more trails, professional local guides that speak your language, cozy guesthouses, and reviews from other hikers. What are you waiting for? Plan your next nature adventure today!