Most of you will visit Stepantsminda (Kazbegi) just to start the journey to the top of Mt. Kazbek (5047 m a.s.l.) – the highest mountain in our area, and first of all, the third highest peak in Georgia. However, we would like to encourage you with this short entry to stay in our region after the mountain action because it is definitely one of the most beautiful places in all Georgia and offers much more than just climbing Mt. Kazbek!
This is the most beautiful valley in Georgia. Truso Valley is a magical place with magnificent mineral springs, a rapid river and natural “pools”. In the valley, you can do on a delightful trek (22 km of the flat route) through the Kasari Canyon, the abandoned village Ketrisi, two monasteries (women’s and men’s) to the Zakagori Fortress and the border with Ossetia, where the Georgian military base is located. In the valley, you can arrange a picnic and have lunch. For those who wish: a bath in a natural “pool”. In the valley, you will meet many shepherds and their herds.
This is the highest situated town in our region. On the way, you can stop by the mysterious statues that we call the Georgian Easter Island and in the most important village of the region, which is Sno because Georgian Patriarch comes from there. Before you reach Juta, you can climb to the top of the Georgian defensive tower, and also take a walk in the tiny village of Karchuna, which is not ‘conquered’ by tourists yet and in which you can see the true face of Georgia. After commuting to Juta, you can do a trek under the Chauchi massif, which is called the Georgian Dolomites (about 5 hours). If you have a reserve of strength, you can reach the Chaukhi Pass, which is 3431 m a.s.l. (about 8 hours of trekking). After the toughness of hikes you can eat khachapuri in the restaurant Fifth Season in Juta, from where you can admire one of the most beautiful mountain views in Georgia
The Dariali Gorge is called the Gate of the Caucasus. During this tour you should to visit all the most important places of the Gorge, and stop at several viewpoints from which you will take fantastic pictures (the gorge is 1000 meters deep). First of all, you should to visit the mysterious Tsdo village, in which only 5 people live and in which old Georgian rituals are still cultivated. In the village, you should to go up the hill and see the altar where ritual slaughter of lambs takes place once a year in order to guarantee the peace and prosperity of the village. You can also visit the traditional Georgian cemetery. Then you should to visit two Gveleti waterfalls (small and large one). The last point of your trip will be a complex of monasteries, which is located at the very border with Russia.
GERGETI GLACIER OR METEO STATION (BETHLEMI HUT)
This is an option for those, who didn’t do this route as part of expedition to the top of Mt. Kazbek. This trekking you can start in Stepantsminda (then you have to add plus 1 hour one way) or from the hill above the village, where the the Gergeti Trinity Church is located (then you have to drive there by car/bus). You will reach the glacier in about 4 hours. You will walk by a well-trodden path, so you can’t get lost. Along the way you will pass a small stone chapel on the Arsha Pass, Altihut Hut and river (sometimes need to take off your shoes and roll up trousers to pass through it without risk of getting wet). Back to the Church (the same way) will take you about 2 hours (much faster, because you will be walking fast down!). Ambitious and glacial experienced trekkers can try to continue the journey to the Meteo Station (3650 m), which is the main base camp for those, who want climb to Mt. Kazbek. From start the glacier to the Meteo Station and back at the same place you need to calculate about 5 hours. Also such a hike is very difficult and we recommend it only to those who are really fit and like to get up early in the morning because the whole trip you have to start very early to get back before dark. In addition: crampons will be necessary and we remind you: you should to know how to move on the glacier and how not to get into the crevasse! Trekking to the Gergeti Glacier or to the Meteo Station is a great chance to see the part of the route to the top of Mt. Kazbek and a miracle of nature which is a glacier.
In the area of Kazbek, you can also do treks to Khde Gorge, Abudelauri Lakes, Arkhoti Valley, Arthmo Gorge, Kelitsadi Lakes, Mna Valley or climb other peaks: Mt. Kuro, Mt. Shino, Mt. Shani / Pshani, Mt. Ortcveri. Visiting these places requires more preparation and more free time than one-day trips to Truso Valley, Juta and Dariali Gorge.
Information how to get to the Truso Valley, Juta and Dariali Gorge from Stepancminda you will find: HERE. If you have other questions, write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us here: Mountain Freaks – Mountain Travel & Adventure Agency.