2024 fundraising trek in North-West Azerbaijan

Ten-day itinerary, September 20 – 29 2024
Contribution: $2,850 per person

Join the Transcaucasian Trail team for a trek across the North-Western (Sheki, Gakh) and Western (Goygol, Dashkasan, Gadabay) regions of Azerbaijan.

We are excited to announce our second supporter’s trek in Azerbaijan this September! Join us for an exploration of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus mountains during one unforgettable trip.

This trek is truly off-the-beaten path, as this part of Azerbaijan currently hosts even fewer hikers than the North. This gives you an opportunity to experience the region as it is – real hospitality, home-cooked traditional food, and amazing views!

From the cosmopolitan capital city of Baku, we will make our way to the lush forested mountains of Northwest in Azerbaijan, diving into history 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 trails in Azerbaijan.

Keep reading for more details. For enquiries and bookings contact [email protected]

Itinerary Overview

2024 dates:

September 20 – 29

Day 1 – Baku to Shamkir

Day 2 – Historical sites in Gadabay

Day 3 – Dayagarabulag to Amirvar

Day 4 – Dastaphour to Kollu to Chiragli to Azgilli

Day 5 – Summiting Kapaz mountain

Day 6 – Rest day in Sheki

Day 7 – Kish to Bash Goynuk

Day 8 – Bash Layisgi to Gashgachay

Day 9 – Gashgachay to Ilisu

Day 10 – Gakh to Baku


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Help us put hiking on the map in Azerbaijan.

Over the past 3 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 Sheki, Gakh, Gadabay, Dashkasan, and Goygol regions of western and northwestern Azerbaijan.

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.

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Explore Azerbaijan’s fascinating mountain cultures.

Get ready to discover all that the Sheki-Zagatala & Western regions 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 (in some cases, comfy homemade wool-stuffed mattress placed on the floor) at the end of each day. In the mountains, we will be staying in family-run guesthouses and sometimes in the families’ houses themselves (since some remote villages don’t have separate guesthouses yet). We’ll have luggage deliveries every 2 days, 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 Shamkir

The first day, we’ll make the train trip from Baku to Ganja city. We’ll spend some time in this historical city, with sightseeing followed by lunch. Later, we’ll head out to a wine tasting at of one of the region’s popular local wineries. We’ll stay overnight at a hotel in the city of Shamkir. Modern Shamkir was founded in 1819 as the German colony of Annenfeld, and went on to become a hotbed of winemaking in Azerbaijan.

Day 2 – Historical sites in Gadabay

After breakfast, we will head to the unique historical city of Gadabay. We’ll slowly warm up our “trail legs” with a series of short walks and site visits. For dinner and our overnight stay, we will head to a remote village near Gadabay, Dayagarabulag.

Day 3 – Mahrasa – Maiden Tower – Amirvar (14km, +910m / -550m)

After having a traditional village-style breakfast, we will take a 4×4 ride to the valley, where we will start our 14-kilometer adventure of the day. We will visit several ancient sites on our way. At the beginning, we’ll visit Mahrasa, an old Albanian Temple that served as a magnificent temple of fire worship and was originally known as a sacred place for the worship of celestial bodies. This ancient temple was one of the central temples in the Caucasian Albanian province of Girdiman. After hiking down the river, we will detour to climb to the Maiden Tower (or Namerd Gala), a medieval fortress located on the top of the mountain. Heading further down by the river, we will cross the river barefoot (about 40-60cm deep, 6-10m wide). After crossing, we’ll hike the trail through the forest up to the village Amirvar.

Day 4 – Dastaphour – Kollu – Chiragli – Azgilli (18km, +1110m / -940m)

Our early morning will start with hiking (of course after a traditional breakfast!) from the village Dastaphour to several villages – Kollu, nearly unexplored by travelers; Chiragli, the most remote village of the day; and finishing in Azgilli, a village with a tiny population. Along the way we will cross another river crossing (30-50cm deep, 4-7m wide). We’ll spend the night in a nice hotel.

Day 5 – Summiting Kapaz mountain, 3066m ASL (6km, +700m / -700m)

We’ll have an early morning, but the views will be worth it! At sunrise, we’ll be dropped off by 4×4 vehicles at the foot of Kapaz mountain. Our hike will start at an altitude of ~2350m and will continue up to the peak. We’ll cross our fingers crossed for cloudless weather so that we’ll be able to see the stunning views! After descending the mountain the same way, we’ll visit mountain lakes (Maralgol and Goygol) within Goygol National Park. We’ll spend the night in the same hotel as the previous day.

Day 6 – Rest day (drive from Goy-gol through Mingachevir to Sheki)

Today will be a travel and exploration day as we move from the Western regions of Azerbaijan to the North-West sections of TCT. Sheki is Azerbaijan’s historical capital, with spectacular historical sites including the Sheki Khan’s palace and a large Caravanserei. It is hard to pack all of the wonderful sites in one day, but we will enjoy our visits to the “must see” places of Sheki city!

Day 7 – Markhal – Kish – Bash Goynuk (21km, +1281m / -1376m)

We will depart Markhal resort in the morning to follow the cobblestone streets of Kish to its historic church, housed within a charming garden. Following the tree-shaded trails lining the mountain ahead of us, we’ll reach green pasturefields atop the mountain, and eventually descend into the village of Bash Goynuk. We can expect to run into a shepherd shelter toward the end of our route. We’ll spend the night at a homestay in Bash Layisqi and finish the long day with a hearty dinner!

Day 8 – Bash Layisgi – Gashgachay (13.5km, +731m / -402m)

In the morning we will head out from the hamlet of Bash Layisqi and take a hike through forests and fields up and down the mountain into Gashgachay. We will have a picnic lunch, and spend the evening in Gashgachay village, where we may enjoy the shaded serenity of creeks running through the forest. Today’s hike won’t be too difficult, as we’ll try to rest for the following day’s journey.

Day 9 – Gashgachay – Ilisu (18 km, +1560m / – 1546m)

Our grand finale of the trek will take us back on a mesmerizing and challenging (but highly rewarding) hike through the forests and pasture fields as we enter Gakh’s mountains. Our uphill efforts will be rewarded with visits to shepherd shelters and a historic fortress, as well as stunning landscapes as we descend into the banks of the Kurmuk River. We will spend the evening in Ilisu, a charming town that holds the histories of nomads, sultans, and mountain warriors. 

Day 10 – Way back to Baku

After having breakfast we’ll depart the district of Gakh, and make our way down to Baku. 

Deadline for the registration is Aug 31, 2024. However, due to the limited number of places, the trip may fill up before the deadline. Register today to secure your spot!

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Fee for participation:
$2,850 USD per person

(See price in GBP / EUR / AZN)

Includes 1-year membership of the Transcaucasian Trail Association.

Already a member? Did you know your fee counts towards your place on this trek? Find out more

Hiking Boots At The Ready!

So you’re interested in joining us in 2024? 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.

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