Join the 2017 fundraising trek in Dilijan National Park, Armenia!

Dates: 19th–29th September 2017
Fundraising goal: $2,000 USD per person

About The Trek

Join Transcaucasian Trail co-founder Tom Allen and his local team in Armenia for an 11-day adventure through the forests and mountains of Armenia’s Tavush province!

A pioneering team of up to 10 fundraising hikers will have an exclusive opportunity to hike the TCT’s newly-designed and constructed trails in Dilijan National Park, taking in the very best of the natural and cultural wonders the region has to offer, as well as testing out the route’s extension into the neighbouring provinces.

Best of all, the funds you’ll raise to participate will be invested directly back into the work of the Transcaucasian Trail in Armenia, helping ensure the future of this ambitious new long-distance trail.

Itinerary Overview

Day 1: Yerevan transfer to Ijevan. Welcome meal. Night in guesthouse
Day 2: Full trekking day (Ijevan-Okon): Overnight camp
Day 3: Full trekking day (Okon-Hovq). Overnight camp
Day 4: Full trekking day (Hovq-Haghartsin). Monastery visit. Overnight camp
Day 5: Full trekking day (Haghartsin-Dilijan). Night in guesthouse
Day 6: Free day in Dilijan. Night in guesthouse
Day 7: Full trekking day (Dilijan-Gosh Lake). Overnight camp
Day 8: Full trekking day (Gosh Lake-Kalavan). Night in guesthouse
Day 9: Full trekking day (Kalavan-Drakhtik). Overnight camp
Day 10: Full trekking day (Drakhtik-Shorzha). Overnight camp
Day 11: Free half day in Shorzha. Transfer to Yerevan

Apply Now!

Want to join us?

Read on for the full details of this exclusive Armenian adventure…

Day 1: Welcome and transfer to Ijevan

We’ll convene in Yerevan in time at a pre-agreed meeting point for an afternoon transfer to Ijevan, the regional capital of Tavush province and an important historical stop on the Silk Road route through the Lesser Caucasus Mountains (‘ijevan’ means ‘caravanserai’ or ‘inn’ in Armenian). We’ll spend the night at a traditional Caucasian family guesthouse, enjoy a home-cooked meal, and prepare for our departure the following morning. 

Includes: Yerevan centre to Ijevan transfer, dinner, overnight guesthouse accommodation (twin / triple room) with shared bathroom facilities

Day 2: 20 km (5 hour) forest trekking & overnight camp

The trek begins with an easy hike up the Sarnajur valley, following dirt roads through Ijevan State Sanctuary. When the road ends, we’ll head into the forest, have lunch and a wild swim at Lastiver campsite, then continue up the valley using ancient traditional paths along the steep gorge sides. Emerging from the forest at the tiny hamlet of Okon, we’ll follow the valley up through wild open meadows and make camp by the river. 

Includes: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: 15 km (5 hour) mountain trek & overnight camp

We’ll start the day with a refreshing river crossing, then navigate our way up to a secret breach in the cliffs of the Ijevan Mountains. From here we’ll take in the panoramic clifftop views of Dilijan National Park and the Aghstev Valley, before descending the far side to a camping spot just above the tree line. 

Includes: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4: 16km (6 hour) forest / mountain trek & monastery visit

Today’s trek weaves in and out of the lush broadleaf forests and meadows beneath the limestone cliffs in the north-eastern part of Dilijan National Park. We’ll visit traditional farmsteads as we traverse the valley side, and test out some of the newest trails that have been cut by the Transcaucasian Trail volunteer team. Our route will bring us out above the spectacular Haghartsin Monastery, a recently-restored 13th-century monastic complex. After some time to explore, we’ll spend the night camped on the monastery site itself. 

Includes: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: 18km (5 hour) mountain trek & overnight in Dilijan

From the monastery we’ll ascend through temperate rainforest to a spectacular mountain pass that brings us to the final descent into Dilijan town via the ‘Milky Way’ valley. We’ll wind up at a local guesthouse for a traditional meal. 

Includes: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, overnight guesthouse accommodation (twin / triple room) with shared bathroom facilities

Day 6: Free day & overnight in Dilijan

A free day for exploring Dilijan, the ‘Little Switzerland of Armenia’, with a hearty evening meal at a popular local restaurant. Includes: Breakfast & dinner, overnight guesthouse accommodation (twin / triple room) with shared bathroom facilities

Day 7: 18km (5 hour) forest trek & overnight camp

Our next day of trekking takes us through deep forest on the north-facing slopes of Dilijan National Park. We’ll be amongst the very first groups to test the newly-built trails through this region, before hiking over to the village of Gosh, visiting the famous Goshavank monastery, and camping at the nearby Gosh Lake. 

Includes: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: 20km (6 hour) forest trek & overnight in Kalavan

From Gosh Lake we’ll bear south into the Getik Valley, following forest tracks through remote, abandoned villages before ending up in the sanctuary-like settlement of Kalavan, staying overnight in a small locally-operated guesthouse. 

Includes: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, overnight guesthouse accommodation (twin / double room) with shared bathroom facilities

Day 9: 19km (5 hour) valley trek & overnight camp

From Kalavan we’ll head up a wild side valley, emerging from the forest into high alpine meadows, and camping before the village of Drakhtik. 

Includes: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: 30km (7 hour) trek & overnight beach camp

We’ll start the day off clambering up and out of the valley, reaching the spectacular high-altitude Lake Sevan and following the lakeside. We’ll pitch our final camp and take the afternoon off for swimming and exploring before a final celebratory barbecue dinner on the beach at Shorzha. 

Includes: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11: Free half day & transfer to Yerevan

No need to get up early (except if you want to) – we’ll remain on the beach for a morning of rest and recuperation, before taking the minibus back to Yerevan centre for goodbyes and departure.

Fundraising goal for participation:
USD $2,000 per person

Apply Now!

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s included for my donation?

For your $2,000 contribution, you’ll receive all of the services and inclusions as detailed above, as well as the company of two TCT guides for the duration of your trek. Not included are items of a personal nature (e.g. phone credit), visas or applicable fees, international flights, personal travel insurance, tips to guesthouses or any other services, or any personal hiking/camping equipment (except for stoves and cooking equipment).

How do I secure a place on the team?

Get in touch using the contact form below and we’ll send you a full application form. Once accepted, we’ll ask you to pay a deposit of USD $500 to secure your place, with the balance (USD $1,500) due 30 days before departure.

How fit do I need to be?

We’ll be covering up to 30km per day, with one rest day, and with a daily elevation gain/loss of 500-1000m. In other words, you must be fit and conditioned to regular long days of hill walking and wild camping in locations without facilities.

Is any equipment provided? If not, what do I need to bring?

We’ll supply the food and the kitchen gear to cook it with, but team members are expected to bring all of their own personal hiking/camping equipment with them. Click here to download a full packing list (PDF).

I want to book my flights – what time should I aim to arrive and depart in Yerevan?

On the 19th September, we ask you to make your way to central Yerevan by 15:00, so any flight arriving before 12:00 midday will be suitable. On the 29th September, any flight departing after 19:00 is suggested.

I have special dietary requirements – can these be catered for?

Vegetarians and vegans can be catered for. We suggest bringing personal trail snacks if you have special dietary requirements, including nut allergies. Meal requirements can be provided for if we know in advance and within reason considering the rural location.

I notice that on some of the nights we’ll be in guesthouses. What should I expect?

Guesthouses in the Caucasus are of a simple and basic nature with shared bathroom facilities. Shared rooms are with more than two persons, with single beds. A hearty breakfast should certainly be expected.

How many other hikers will there be?

We’re accepting a maximum of 10 participants for this trek, not including the two guides.

I’d prefer to rent camping equipment locally. Is this possible?

Yes, this is possible. We can offer to arrange it on your behalf at an additional cost of USD $200 per two person tent (Denali II with accessories), and USD $65 per sleeping mat. Sleeping bags are not available to rent at this time, however.

Is this experience available anywhere else?

No – this is an exclusive offer to supporters of the Transcaucasian Trail who wish to explore the region with the TCT founders themselves, and at the same time help raise funds to support our future work. No other guided treks are being offered on this route in 2017.

Hiking Boots At The Ready!

So you want to get involved with this fundraising trek? Get in touch ASAP using the form below. We’ll send you a full information pack and an application form to join the team. We’re looking forward to welcoming you to the Caucasus!