Stage 3: Goshavank to Parz Lake

Part of the Transcaucasian Trail route through Dilijan National Park, Armenia.

Distance: 7.2km
Elevation
Difficulty: Easy
Status: Open & Marked

Trail description

Walk uphill on the paved road passing the entrance to Goshavank complex and follow it round to the left. Turn right past the houses up a small footpath that runs alongside the village cemetery. Follow this path through the cemetery and through the wooded gorge until it reaches a small stream crossing after 220m.

Cross the stream and follow the trail steeply up and NE. Following this footpath up steep slopes will bring you to a rocky outcrop with natural rock steps and ledges. Ascending here will bring you to open ground, affording excellent views of Goshavank below. The remains of khachkars can also be found at this viewpoint.

Follow the signposted route uphill for 150m or so until you reconnect with a defined trail heading NW and up along the side of the ridge. After 300m, the trail will bear left and pass between a natural notch in the rock. After the notch, continue to follow the ridge directly uphill. You’ll re-enter the forest after 250m.

Turn left after passing through the notch in the rock and follow the ridge down to its natural tip for a spectacular lookout point over the valley.

Follow the trail up through the forest for 700m. You’ll reach flatter land and eventually emerge from the trees below the ridge, on the edge of haymaking fields. Continue in the same direction for another 130m to reach a dirt road near an isolated tree and stone pile. Turn left on this road and follow it roughly W for 420m to reach a junction of six roads.

Just 20m S of the junction, you’ll find an excellent collection of khachkars hidden behind the long grass and bushes.

Follow the track NW from this junction (the second road on your right, if following the described route from Gosh). After 150m you’ll come across a covered picnic shelter on your right. Just behind the downhill trees you’ll also find a public toilet. From the picnic shelter, turn left off the main dirt road and follow the side road W past the electricity pylon.

Continue along the track that traces the edge of the forest for 250m, at which point the trail will start to penetrate deeper into the woods. After a short time you’ll cross a clearing with a single tree in its centre. Be careful to take the correct exit from the clearing as at least two trails are present here. The correct one bears roughly S and is clearly marked.

After another 100m or so, the trail crosses a dirt road at the edge of the forest, which will be on your left. Cross straight over and follow the winding footpath through the forest, which will begin to descend. After 150m you’ll cross a newly-built footbridge over a deep gully.

Follow the marked trail for another 2.2km down through the forest to reach the bottom of the valley and the junction with an old dirt road repurposed for hiking. Be aware that the route of the trail crosses several logging roads and takes several minor detours through the woods to avoid areas of recent logging. Avoid getting lost by keeping an eye out for the regularly placed trail markers.

Shortly after the switchback, you’ll pass a small freshwater spring on your right. This is the only drinking water source before Dilijan. If you don’t plan to visit Parz Lake and intend to continue to Dilijan, or camp on the way, here is where you should fill up.

From the junction with the road, turn left and walk another 350m W, crossing a small footbridge to reach a clearing. From here, proceeding NE for 1km along the road will bring you to Parz Lake. Turning left and walking 60m SW along the road in the other direction will bring you to the entrance of the trail to Dilijan.


Accommodation

Parz Lake is a touristic complex and adventure playground aimed at families, including several small huts offering indoor accommodation.

Camping

While camping is possible at the lake itself by asking the staff, you’ll find considerably more peace and solitude by visiting the lakeside restaurant for dinner, then retreating to the clearing by the junction for Dilijan to spend the night under canvas.

Food

Parz Lake has a cafe-restaurant and snack bar serving the usual Armenian fare at reasonable prices. It does become extremely busy at weekends in high summer during the local school holidays.

TCT Dilijan National Park

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