Guba to Gusar, Azerbaijan
A guide to 102km (6–10 days) of hiking on the Transcaucasian Trail
This guide will help you plan a self-supported hike along a 102km section of the Transcaucasian Trail through the high mountains and deep canyons of the Guba and Gusar regions of Northern Azerbaijan. Here you’ll find overview maps, practical information, trail notes, as well as downloadable GPS data with which to navigate the route.
Newly launched for 2022, this dramatic 102km stage of the Transcaucasian Trail takes you through some of the most spectacular parts of northern Azerbaijan’s mountains.
This trail network includes a 18km side trail towards Khinalig, where the future TCT thru-hiking route will likely connect to the south (and which is worth a visit in its own right). We highly recommend spending the extra few days to experience the best of the diversity and terrain Guba and Gusar (sometimes written as Quba and Qusar) have to offer.
Self-sufficient thru-hikers will find plentiful wild-camping opportunities, giving you flexibility in terms of your schedule and level of challenge. For those wishing to spend their nights indoors, guesthouse accommodation is available in many villages along or near the route.
Elevations range from 1,280m (4,200ft) in the town of Qrizdehne to 2,650m (8,700ft) on the trail between Griz and Laza. Expect to spend 6-10 days completing the entire route in good conditions, assuming a reasonable level of fitness, and depending on your desired distance per day and which optional add-ons you decide to hike.
The route itself is not incredibly difficult in terms of navigation and supply availability. Much of our suggested route through Guba and Gusar overlaps with trails that have been cleared and signposted by the Azerbaijan Tourism Board, as part of their work to develop and promote ecotourism throughout the country.
The settlements along this hike host several ethno-linguistic groups unique to their location in the Caucasus. The Gusar region, and thus Yergi Kek and Laza, is majority Lezgin, a Northeast Caucasian ethnic group spread across southern Dagestan and northerneastern Azerbaijan. In Guba are distantly related groups. In Griz and Grizdehne are Griz people, and in Khinalig are the Ketdid. These groups all speak their own languages, as well as Azerbaijani. You may also find a few speakers of Russian and Turkish.
The TCTA strives to provide accurate, current information as to trail conditions and the trail route. However, actual trail conditions may be different, and such information may not be accurate or complete. Trail users are urged to consider all the information available from other sources and to heed local advice when available. Trail users are ultimately responsible for all decisions as to the trail routes, trail conditions, weather, and safety.
In addition to the hazards posed by steep terrain and mountain weather, hikers in should be prepared for difficult route-finding and challenging trail conditions, the possibility of washed-out bridges and dangerous river crossings in high water, aggressive dogs guarding sheep and cattle, giant hogweed, and frequent summer thunderstorms with extremely intensive periods of lightning. Access to emergency medical care and search and rescue is not always available.