Discover the stunning beauty of backcountry Armenia on the first fundraising trek of 2018!
If you’re keen to be among the first to hike the newest section of the Transcaucasian Trail, and you want to support our work in Armenia by doing so, why not join this exclusive 6-day adventure through the forests & mountains of Dilijan National Park?
Transcaucasian Trail co-founder and “Explorer-in-Chief” Tom Allen will lead a pioneering team of up to 10 fundraisers on a hike on our newly-designed and constructed route through Dilijan National Park, taking in the very best of the natural and cultural gems the region has to offer – an experience you’ll find on offer nowhere else.
Best of all, the funds you’ll raise to participate will be invested directly back into our work in Armenia, helping ensure the future of this ambitious new long-distance trail.
June 11th-16th 2018
Day 1: Afternoon transfer from Yerevan, welcome meal & night in homestay.
Day 2: 17km hike & lakeside camp.
Day 3: 25km hike & night in guesthouse.
Day 4: 24km hike & monastery camp.
Day 5: 26km hike & night in guesthouse.
Day 6: Walking tour of Dilijan, afternoon transfer to Yerevan.
A truly exclusive opportunity to hike the newest long-distance trail in Dilijan National Park, Armenia.
How do we know this experience is one-of-a-kind? Simple: we built the trail with our bare hands. You’ll be the first group we bring here to hike it.
In 2017, an army of local and international volunteers descended upon Dilijan National Park to take on a new and unprecedented mission in Armenia. Over six months of sweat and strain, we built new trails and rehabilitated old ones, resulting in over 100km of new hiking routes in the Park, and a showcase for the vision of the Transcaucasian Trail across Armenia.
This fundraising trek represents your exclusive opportunity to become part of this story and experience first-hand the fruits of our labours. You’ll be accompanied at all times by members of the team who actually built the trail, who’ll share their stories of how this pioneering project came to be, what we discovered through designing and developing the route, and what the future holds for the Transcaucasian Trail…
This experience combines stunning natural beauty with the best of Caucasian hospitality.
The Caucasus is famous for two things: gravity-defying mountain landscapes, and some of the friendliest people on Earth! We combine both for the most authentic experience possible. Read on to find out exactly what this trek has in store for you…
Monday June 11th: Welcome and transfer from Yerevan
We’ll convene in the Armenian capital of Yerevan at a pre-agreed meeting place and time for an afternoon transfer to Khachardzan, a small village on the road 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 family guesthouse, enjoy a home-cooked meal, and prepare for our departure the following morning.
Tuesday June 12th: 17 km / 5 hour forest hike & lakeside camp
The hike begins with an easy walk up the Getik valley, following dirt roads through Dilijan National Park. When the road ends, we’ll head into the forest, have lunch, then continue up the mountainside using ancient traditional paths along the steep gorge sides. Emerging from the forest at the abandoned village of Chermakavan, we’ll traverse into the neighbouring valley and make camp by Gosh Lake.
Wednesday June 13th: 25 km / 6 hour forest hike & overnight in Dilijan
Today’s hike weaves in and out of the lush broadleaf forests and meadows of Dilijan National Park. After visiting Goshavank monastery, you’ll be amongst the very first to test out the newest trails that have been cut by the Transcaucasian Trail volunteer team. Our route will bring us out right in the centre of Dilijan city itself. We’ll spend the night at a traditional local guesthouse.
Thursday June 14th: 24km / 7 hour mountain hike & overnight camp
We’ll head out of Dilijan via the Jukhtakvank twin monasteries, visiting traditional farmsteads along the way up to a spectacular mountain pass. After a break to enjoy the panoramic views, we’ll descend through temperate rainforest to the world-famous Haghartsin Monastery, making camp at the monastery itself.
Friday June 15th: 26km / 7 hour mountain hike & night in guesthouse
Our final full day of hiking is perhaps the most spectacular of all. We’ll climb out of the forest and above the limestone cliffs that dominate the northern half of Dilijan National Park, taking in a stunning panoramic route along the escarpment (if the weather is fine!) before dropping back down into the valley to our final destination of Hovk. In Hovk we’ll enjoy the hospitality of an infamous local mountaineer and his family for our final night on the trail.
Saturday June 16th: Tour of Dilijan and transfer to Yerevan
No need to get up early (except if you want to!) – we’ll arrange a tour of the old Soviet spa town of Dilijan after breakfast, then take you to our favourite local restaurant for a final celebratory lunch. After lunch, we’ll say our goodbyes, and transport back to Yerevan will be arranged for your departures on Saturday evening or Sunday.
Hiking Boots At The Ready!
So you’re interested in joining our first fundraising hike of 2018? 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.
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 fundraising trek coordinator 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 50% of the donation amount as a deposit to secure your place on the team. We’ll be in further contact with you before your departure for Armenia, and we’ll always be on hand to answer any questions you may have during that time.
Your Questions & Concerns Answered
What exactly is included for my donation?
For your USD $1200 donation, you’ll receive all of the services and inclusions as detailed above, as well as the company of two 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 does prior membership of TCTA affect the price?
If you are a donation-paying member of TCTA at the time of paying your deposit, we will offset your membership donation against the total cost of this trek. In other words, if you donated $100 for membership, and your membership is active when you pay the $600 deposit, the final fundraising balance due will be $500 instead of $600.
If you are not a member, you will acquire complimentary TCTA membership for one year from the date of paying your deposit, including all the benefits of membership unless stated otherwise.
(Free TCTA membership acquired as a result of participation in previous treks, events or projects cannot be redeemed against the cost of this trek.)
How do I secure a place on the team?
Get in touch using the registration form to inform us of your interest. We’ll send you a full application form to ensure that your expectations will be met by the kind of experience we’re offeding. We’ll ask you to pay a nonrefundable deposit of USD $600 to secure your place, with the balance (USD $600) due 70 days before departure.
How fit do I need to be?
We’ll be hiking up to 26km per day, 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 take care of meals and cooking equipment, but team members are expected to bring their own personal hiking/camping equipment with them. Click here to download a full packing list (PDF).
What is the weather going to be like?
Dilijan National Park is famous for its cool, fresh climate in the summer, and is popular with Yerevan residents for that reason. In June, we expect mostly sunny days, interspersed with the passing rain showers that keep the Park green and beautiful. Wildflowers will be abundant and are one of the main attractions at this time of year.
I want to book my flights – what time should I aim to arrive and depart in Yerevan?
On Day 1, we ask you to make your way to central Yerevan by 14:00, so any flight arriving before 11:00 should be suitable. On the transfer day to Yerevan, 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. These meal requirements can be provided for only 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 generally accommodate two or three people in single beds. A hearty dinner and breakfast should certainly be expected!
How many other hikers will there be?
We’re recruiting a maximum of 10 participants for this trek, not including the two guides.
Is the itinerary set in stone?
The general route through Dilijan National Park will remain as advertised. Depending on weather and on the availability of accommodation, exact routes taken and overnight accommodation options may vary, for reasons of practicality and safety.
Can the Dilijan fundraising hike be combined with other adventures in Armenia?
Yes! We can recommend several operators to create and coordinate other adventure and cultural experiences in Armenia and the Caucasus, in order to make the most of your visit to the region.
Are there any safety or security risks I should be aware of in Armenia?
We suggest you check the UK FCO website for comprehensive information and guidance on travel in Armenia.
What kind of travel insurance will I need?
Personal travel insurance is mandatory for each individual to cover any accidents and emergencies. Your policy must include trekking activities at up to 3,000m altitude. Please be aware of the possible dangers of this type of travel (e.g. limited medical facilities in some areas, mountain travel, non standard accommodation with limited electricity and water), and that conditions can mean a greater risk of discomfort, sickness, theft, natural disaster, etc. We will ask you for your policy number and the 24-hour medical emergency contact number of the insurers so that in the event of a medical emergency we may be able to contact the insurers on your behalf. We would also advise you to buy cancellation insurance as soon as the booking is made to protect your deposit.
What happens if the trek has to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances?
We will do everything possible to deliver the experience as detailed here and to make sure that you enjoy your time on the TCT as much as possible, even in the case of unexpected circumstances. However, we cannot always provide the planned service in the the case of unavoidable events or beyond our control, including Force Majeure. In the case of Force Majeure, this means that we will not pay you compensation if we have to cancel or change your travel arrangements in any way. These can include, for example, war, threat of war, riot, civil disobedience or strike, industrial dispute, terrorist activity and its consequences, acts of god, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, adverse weather conditions, technical or maintenance problems with transport providers, closure of airports or any unforeseeable or unavoidable event beyond our control. This is standard practice in the terms and conditions of organised treks such as this, and should be covered by your personal travel insurance.
I’d prefer to hire a tent rather than bring my own. Is this possible?
We can arrange tent hire on your behalf at an additional cost of USD $100 per two person tent. This additional cost may be split with other interested group members.
Will I be able to charge my phone/camera/other device? How about internet access?
WiFi is available is some guesthouses, as well as 220-240v mains electricity (with European-style sockets) in all guesthouses. If you wish, extra power packs can be taken to charge phones and other devices. Mobile data is available in certain areas via the purchase of a local SIM card and data package, but reception cannot be guaranteed.
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.