2023 fundraising trek in Guba and Gusar, Azerbaijan
Ten-day itinerary, June 21 – 30 2023
Contribution: $2,450 per person
Join the Transcaucasian Trail team for a trek across the Guba and Gusar regions of Azerbaijan.
This summer, we are excited to host our very first fundraising trek in Azerbaijan. Join us for an exploration of the Greater Caucasus mountains of northern Azerbaijan– a diverse and rapidly changing region, full of fascinating villages, spectacular landscapes, and historical sites. Along the way we’ll indulge in delicious and fresh local cuisine, meet locals from a diverse range of Caucasian ethnolinguistic backgrounds, and have an absolutely unforgettable adventure on a beautiful route through the eastern Greater Caucasus.
From the cosmopolitan seaside city of Baku, we will make our way to the highest villages in Azerbaijan, experiencing an unparalleled combination of nature and culture along the trek.
These tours will be led by members of the TCT team in Azerbaijan. We will stay in local guest houses and see up close the work of the TCT and why it is important. All proceeds from the tours will go to support our work on the trail in Azerbaijan.
Keep reading for more details. For enquiries and bookings contact [email protected]
June 21 – 30
Day 1 – Baku to Guba
Day 2 – Sohub to Budug to Zeyid
Day 3 – Zeyid to Grizdehne
Day 4 – Grizdehne to Griz
Day 5 – Griz to Khinalig
Day 6 – Griz to Laza
Day 7 – Laza to Yergi Kek
Day 8 – Yergi Kek to Guturghan
Day 9 – Guturghan to Gukhur
Day 10 – Gusar to Baku
Help us put hiking on the map in Azerbaijan.
Over the past 2 years, we have worked with local guides and volunteers to map the historical trails forming the first sections of the TCT across Azerbaijan. Now, we are excited to share them with you.
Our 10-day itinerary will take us to some of the most isolated, breathtaking villages of the Guba and Gusar regions of northern Azerbaijan. We’ll visit some of the highest-elevation villages of the country, including Yergi Kek and the famous Khinalig, and many villages of less than a hundred residents – where elevation and isolation only contribute to the deep-running hospitality and fascinating history of the Caucasus.
We’ll trek along the edges of deep canyons, through colorful wildflower fields, and over mountaintops offering spectacular panoramic views. And to make this trek even more special, we’ve also incorporated some of our favorite side trips along the Guba-Gusar TCT route, including pearls like the Xaribulbul peak, Guturghan village, and Mixtokan plateau.
Along the way, we’ll run into pirs (holy sites) and mosques, old fortresses, nomadic graveyards, and shepherd settlements. This region and its inhabitants hold a fascinating history, shaped by migrations, religions, and numerous empires and khanates– and best learned while hiking and while feasting on fresh plovs, kebabs, and dolmas. On this trek, you’ll have the rare opportunity to learn some of these local stories while traversing the landscapes where they took place.
As with all of our fundraising treks, 100% of the profits go back into our work in the local area, helping ensure the future of this world-class long distance trail.
Explore Azerbaijan’s fascinating mountain cultures.
Get ready to discover all that Guba and Gusar have to offer while you travel by foot from village to village.
Our itinerary is very active. We’ll be hiking almost every day, and a few of the days are long. But you’ll have a delicious home-cooked meal and a cozy bed at the end of each day. We will be staying in family run guesthouses in the mountains, and we’ll have a car, so we don’t have to carry all our stuff. Read the itinerary below for more information about distances and elevation gain. If you are wondering about the difficulty of the hikes or the fitness level required, feel free to send us an email at [email protected].
Here are the details:
Day 1 – Baku to Guba
The first day, we’ll make the trip from Baku to the northern district center of Guba. We’ll spend some time checking out the town of Guba, with a chance to visit, parks, museums, and the bazaar, as time and will permits. We’ll stay the night in a nice local hotel and enjoy a dinner to kick off the trek.
Day 2 – Sohub to Budug to Zeyid (12.4km, +1043/-682)
The second day, we’ll begin in Guba’s small village of Sohub, from which we climb up to the old fortress ruins overlooking the landscape. We’ll continue into Budug, an ancient village hosting its own ethnolinguistic group. We’ll have lunch here, and continue to another small historic village of Zeyid, where we’ll have dinner and spend the night in a local’s guest-home.
Day 3 – Zeyid to Grizdehne (14 km, +370m/-1,119m)
We’ll spend the day making our way to Grizdehne, a beautiful village at the foot of the Gudyalchay river canyon. Once in the village, we’ll visit some magnificent waterfalls before enjoying a nice dinner and spending the night in a local hotel.
Day 4 – Grizdehne to Griz (12 km, +1,149m/-339m)
From Grizdehne, we will climb up to the village of Griz. A steep ascent will get our heart rates up but reward us with spectacular canyon views at the top. Once in Griz, we’ll have time to see the ancient relics of this village’s fascinating history, and meet some of the locals, who make up their own ethnolinguistic group. We’ll spend the night in Griz at a local’s guest-home.
Day 5 – Griz to Khinalig (18km, +1683m/-1461m)
From Griz, we’ll hike through the cool, caved Gurgur waterfall to reach the village of Galaykhudat. After lunch here, we’ll climb up to Xaribulbul peak, from which we can witness panoramic views of several of Azerbaijan’s 4000m+ peaks. We’ll descend into the famous, ancient village of Khinalig, where we’ll have dinner, before being driven back to Griz for another overnight stay.
Day 6 – Griz to Laza (19 km, +869m/-1,207m)
From Griz, we take a long, and leisurely hike to the Gusar district’s village of Laza. Get ready for plenty of cows and green landscapes overlooking northern Dagestan. In Laza, we’ll visit another waterfall, have dinner at a local restaurant, and spend the night at a nice local resort.
Day 7 – Laza to Yergi Kek (12km, +1,305m/-603m)
We’ll depart Laza for a green hike over to Kuzun, witnessing cliff waterfalls along the way. We’ll have lunch at a stop by the village of Kuzun. Following is an ascent to Azerbaijan’s highest-elevation village, Yergi Kek. In Yergi Kek, we’ll enjoy a Lezgi dinner and stay at a local’s guest-house.
Day 8 – Yergi Kek – Guturghan: 10km
We’ll depart Yergi Kek and head to Elik, another small village with its own ethnolinguistic group, related to those of Griz and Budug peoples. After lunch in Elik, we descend into Guturghan, another small Lezgi village with a mysterious history. We’ll spend the night here in a local guest-home.
Day 9 – Guturghan – Gukhur: 8km; to Hezre by car
For our last day of hiking, we will follow breakfast in Guturghan with a climb up to Gukhur, a small, ancient, nearly abandoned village with fascinating ruins. We’ll then take a car back down through Guturghan, all the way to the village of Hezre, right near the border with Dagestan, and enjoy local wine, and of course, delicious food. We’ll have the option of staying the night in a local’s guest-home, or driving to the district center of Gusar for a hotel stay.
Day 10 – Gusar to Baku
We’ll depart the district of Gusar, and make our way down to Baku. Along the way, we’ll stop to visit Besh Barmag Mountain, the future eastern terminus of the TCT. Besh Barmag lies right at the eastern foot of the Greater Caucasus range, with views over far-stretching plains and the vast Caspian Sea. This is a sacred spot, and visitors may make a wish to the mountain, with the promise of returning once the wish comes true! Once in Baku, everyone will have time to settle back in at their hotels of choice, and we’ll reconvene for a final dinner in the city.
Hiking Boots At The Ready!
So you’re interested in joining us in 2023? Get in touch using the form below! We’ll send you an application form to join the team. Places are offered on a first-come first-served basis, so register now to secure your spot.
If you prefer not to use the online form, you can contact us directly at [email protected].
What happens after I click the big green button?
This is an enquiry form, not a booking form, and using it neither obliges you to take part in the trek or guarantees you a place! We first want to make sure that you’re fully informed about the experience and that your expectations match what we’re offering. Our team will respond to your message by email or phone to go over the details of the trek and ask you a few more questions relating to your level of hiking experience and fitness. If all is well, we’ll ask you to pay a deposit to secure your place on the team. We’ll be in further contact with you before your departure, and we’ll always be on hand to answer any questions you may have during that time.