Length: 48 km
Season: June – October
Overnights: Tsvirmi, Adishi, Iprali
Start from: Mestia
Price indication: 620/660 GEL
Drop-off (IF CHAIR-LIFT IS NOT WORKING): Hatsvali / Kheshkili
If all chairlifts are working, no drop-off is needed. However, sometimes 1 or even all the chairlifts aren’t working – but that is no reason to miss this hike. We will provide drop-off and pick-up so that you can still enjoy it.
Price: 620 GEL
+ 40 GEL with drop-off at Hatsvali middle chair-lift station (if lower lift isn’t working) or at Kheshkili (if none of the lifts are working)
Chair-lift: 15 GEL per person payable at the ticket-office
Visit Saviour’s church of Adishi: + 15 GEL
Visit Archangel’s church of Iprali: + 10 GEL
Another version of the most popular 4-day hike to Ushguli. We added the chair-lift and you get a great view of Mt. Ushba on the first day, as well as a lovely panorama of Tetnuldi and Ipari on day 2.
Day 1. The trail starts in Mestia (1450 m above sea level). Normally you can take the chair-lift all the way up to Zuruldi (station on the Mestia-Ushguli road, near Svaneti Museum). This way you do not need drop-off to start the trail. However if the Mestia station is not working, you will need a lift by car to the middle station (Hatsvali). Sometimes the chair-lift isn’t working at all, and in this case we drop you off in Kheshkili, from where a dirt road goes left and uphill to Zuruldi chair-lift station (walking time appr. 1 hour). Whichever way you arrive at the top, once you are there, you follow a marked trail along Zuruldi Range admiring Ushba, Chatyn, Bjedukh, Tetnuldi and other peaks of the Great Caucasus on your left, and the Svaneti Range on your right, with villages Ieli and Tsvirmi below on the right-hand side. After you reach the 2nd group of cellular retranslating antennae, and stand facing east with the antennae behind you and Mt. Tetnuldi in front, you will see village Tsvirmi on your right and below. Take the LEFT path to descend gradually (the right path does NOT lead into Tsvirmi) through the meadows. Distance for the day: 8 km. Elevation change: 1000 m by ski-lift, 400 m on foot. Overnight in Tsvirmi.
BLUE: main route from Zuruldi upper chair-lift station.
PURPLE: route from Kheshkili to Zuruldi upper chair-lift station.
Day 2. Start from Archangel’s church of Tsvirmi and follow the big dirt road out of the village (in the direction of Mt. Tetnuldi). In 3 km you will come to main concrete road at Ughviri pass. Cross it and go straight uphill (this is the main road to Tetnuldi ski resort) The trail first follows the main car road to Tetnuldi ski resort, but then a footpath branches off to the right (in the alpine zone, a few hundred meters higher up along the road after you pass hotel “Tetnuldi Paradise”, see location “2” on the map). There will be no more significant elevation changes as you walk on to Adishi, which you will see on your right and a little below. There are three churches that you can visit in Adishi: St. George’s and Archangel’s are usually open, so that you can come in and see the 13th-14th century frescoes. Saviour’s church (the first on your way as you go down into Adishi, with a cemetery around) is part of the Svaneti Museum, so your visit there needs to be arranged with the key-keeper. We will be happy to arrange this, if you confirm that you are interested in visiting. This will add 15 GEL to the tour. Distance for the day: 10 km. Elevation change: 850 m. Overnight in Adishi.
Day 3. Start out early in the morning, because today you will need to ford the Adishchala river, and the water level is lowest in the morning. We recommend crossing the river on horseback, but the choice is yours. Your host in Adishi will help you arrange for a horse, just let them know in the evening. The ford is near Adishi glacier, some 5 km from Adishi village (marked trail along the river with no significant elevation changes). After you cross the river the trail goes up Chkhutnieri pass (highest point for today, 2722 m) with great views of surrounding mountains and Adishi glacier. From the pass the trail descends in wide loops into the next valley and at the shepherds’ huts you need to turn right and follow Khaldechala river all the way down to Iprali. The guest-houses are on the left side of the road. Distance for the day: 15 km. Elevation change: 1075 m. Overnight in Iprali.
You can visit Archangel’s church of Iprali to see wonderful 12th century frescoes by King David’s Royal Painter Tevdore (+ 10 GEL to the cost of the tour; the visit needs to be arranged with the key-keeper).
Day 4. Start from Iprali and cross the Khaldechala river. After crossing the river you need to turn left and follow a small dirt road uphill. The trail goes through alpine meadows above the Enguri river and merges with the main road to Ushguli about 2 km before the village. This route to Ushguli is the shortest one, and you should have enough time to make the marked trail in the central part of Ushguli (Chazhashi) and see Lamaria monastery before we pick you up at about 6 pm near the bridge in Ushguli. Distance for the day: 10 km. Elevation change: 450 m. The map shows a slightly different trail, as you see, you get to walk along the dusty car road a lot more in this version. Whichever path you take after Iprali – it is impossible to get lost, so suit yourself.
Photographs in order of the trail