Day 2: Hovk to Haghartsin Monastery

Distance: 15.6KM
Elevation: +760M / -966M
Status: Unmarked

Stage description

Proceed 3.4km NW from Hovk village (40.806911°N 45.008533°E), following the tangle of dirt roads uphill to a flat, open area beneath the cliffs.

From the shepherds’ hut beside the ruined farm building (40.810230°N 45.003956°E), proceed N uphill to the singletrack footpath. This will take you on a traverse through the lush, deciduous forests for which the region is so well known – oak, beech and hornbeam trees decorate the trail, as well as wildflowers in abundance. You’ll exit the forest at a farmstead (40.811618°N 44.986007°E), from where local produce can be bought. Just S below the farm buildings you’ll find a rocky outcrop on which to take a rest or lunch, or simply enjoy the view.

Follow the dirt road SW for 800m, before switching back up N on another dirt road and then climbing NW to the shoulder of the hill (40.808924°N 44.977477°E). From here you’ll traverse open hillsides with a spectacular view of the valley to the S and dramatic escarpments to the N. Maintain your elevation for 1.7km, heading generally W until you reach the steep dirt road alongside the next major stream crossing (40.819677°N 44.960935°E). Follow the dirt road N up the canyon to the north for a few hundred metres, then double back and up S on another dirt road (40.821062°N 44.957790°E) that traverses the hillside.

As the dirt road veers downhill to the E, leave it and continue on the singletrack trail that skirts the edge of the meadow, following it W for another 1km as it crosses steep rocky escarpments towards the shoulder of the next hill (40.810900°N 44.945873°E). Continue your traverse for another 2km, maintaining your elevation until you meet the next jeep track (40.815245°N 44.931593°E), following it generally N and then W for another 2.2km to reach the ruins of another farm at the forest’s edge.

A singletrack path will take you on a dramatic traverse of this thickly forested section of steep hillside. Reaching a dirt road shortly before the forest’s edge (40.814726°N 44.901661°E), you’ll find yourself crossing a stunning alpine meadow populated by local farmers who spend their summers grazing cows and horses on these high pastures. Those who wish to camp early will find suitable accommodation here; otherwise another hour of hiking W and then S through stunning woodland will bring you out at Haghartsin Monastery (40.801963°N 44.890714°E), from where the trail continues towards Dilijan.

A suitable camping location with running water can be found just to the E of the monastery itself. Please notify the monastery staff before pitching camp. Local honey and jam can be purchased from the monastery gift shop, and there is a small coffee stand in the vicinity, as well as a restaurant outside the complex, which can be found by walking 200m along the paved road back down the valley.

Route Map & Elevation Profile