Length: 43 km
Season: June – October
Drop off: Adishi
Price indication: 820 GEL
Visit Saviour’s church of Adishi: + 15 GEL
Visit Archangel’s church of Iprali: + 10 GEL
3 days of great trekking in the region with the highest mountains in Svaneti + UNESCO site Ushguli. Svan towers, summits, glaciers, alpine lakes, rivers and breathtaking panoramas. Day 1 is a popular route, however day 2 takes you off the beaten track and into unmarked trails only locals use, while day 3 is a more panoramic version of the classic route to Ushguli.
Day 1. The car will take you to village Adishi early in the morning. There is a marked trail going out of Adishi and along the Adishchala river. The ford is near Adishi glacier, some 5 km from Adishi village (marked trail along the river with no significant elevation changes). It is possible to rent a horse in the village to cross the river, and we recommend this, because the current is rather strong. After you cross the river the trail goes up to Chkhutnieri pass (highest point for today, 2722 m) with great views on surrounding mountains and Adishi glacier. From the pass the trail descends in wide loops into the next valley and at the shepherds’ houses you need to turn right and follow Khaldechala river all the way down to Iprali. Distance for the day: 15 km. Elevation change: 650 m. Overnight in Iprali or Lalkhori (down the hill, appr. 1 km from Iprali; longer walk today, but better location for the next two days – this will depend on availability of rooms in guest-houses).
You might like to visit one or both of the medieval churches on this route: Saviour’s church of Adishi and Archangel’s church of Iprali. The visit needs to be arranged with the wardens, so we will need to know if you plan to do this in advance. Each will take about 20 minutes. Both churches are on your way, so you can see the one in Adishi before you set off and the one in Iprali in the evening, after you arrive.
Day 2. You set off from Lalkhori and walk a little bit along the car road in the direction of Ushguli, until opposite Davberi you see a wooden gate and road entering into the wide green valley on your right. This is Mushuri. There is no marked trail, but many footpaths used by locals and the cattle. The idea is to hike up along Mushurilici river into the alpine zone and then turn right and walk along the ridge (highest point 2985 m) to see Mushuri lakes and a panorama of the Bezengi wall, then descend at the last lake and return back to Mushurilici making a wide loop. Distance for the day: appr. 15 km. Elevation change: 1225 m.
Experienced hikers will find their way; however if you don’t have a lot of experience you might consider hiring a guide for this day. The route is definitely worth it.
BLUE: route from Davberi into Mushuri valley.
Day 3. Two versions, one with a focus on hiking, the other will give you more time in Ushguli.
Version 1. The car takes you to Latphari pass (2830 m) and you trek from Latphari to Ushguli on foot.
When you reach the pass, the car will stop near St. Luke’s church at 2830 m, the highest built church of Svaneti. From St. Luke’s church take the path that goes around the hill (the hill and the church stay on your left while you go around it and arrive at the ridge that takes you to Gorvashi pass). Your entire route is visible from there, so you won’t have any trouble finding your way. You should still have some time to see Ushguli after you arrive there. The driver will pick you up at the bridge in Ushguli (only 1 car bridge in the village, so no mistake possible).
YELLOW: trail from Latphari pass to Ushguli.
BLUE: Up Latphari by car.
Version 2. Spend about 1.5 hours at Latphari to do a small circular panoramic route.
The car will stop near St. Luke’s church. The view from the church is already magnificent, but if you want to get a 360* panorama, you will need to climb up the little hill behind the church. There is no single marked path, any path taking you to the hill is OK. On the map we showed a circular route: take the footpath that goes around the hill (the hill and the church stay on your left while you go around it and climb it from behind), then return by walking down from the hill straight to the church which you will see below you. This little route will take you about 1.5 hours at medium pace. You will also see Ushguli below you, Ushba, the entire Bezengi wall, Lower Svaneti as far as Racha.
Then the driver will take you to Ushguli by car and you will have enough time to explore Ushguli thoroughly and perhaps do a jeep-tour to Shkhara glacier (180 GEL) or a horse-riding tour to the same glacier (see HORSE-RIDING section). You need about 2.5 hours for the jeep-tour and 4 hours for the horse tour.
The driver will meet you at the central bridge in Ushguli.
BLUE: trail around Latphari pass.
YELLOW: Kala – Latphari by car.