3 OFF-BEATEN TREKKING TRAILS IN SVANETI
Svaneti is definitely the most touristic mountainous region in Georgia. More and more visitors are going to the region to explore its beauty and marvelous cultural heritage, but sometimes the established and well-known treks seems quite overcrowded and full of tourists. You can avoid them by choosing off-beaten-path treks where you see almost no one even during the peak season of hiking. Here is a 3 must-see off-beaten-path treks that you can hike away from tourists crows.
01 Kareta Pass – Trekking from Khalde to Ushguli
This place is probably the most beautiful place to enjoy fully wild and beautiful Caucasus Mountains. It lies between Ushguli, and Khalde and is accessible from all sides. However, it is recommended to hike from Khalde side, as it is less step and offers better panoramic views.
You will have two options of doing this trek. First is to combine Kareta pass trekking with classic Mestia-Ushguli trek. In this case, you will hike from Mestia, reach Adishi village, cross Chkhutnieri pass, and descend into Khalde valley. If you have a tent, you can cross Khaldechala River, and overnight in tents just under Caucasus mountainous range. Nevertheless, if you prefer not to carry tent, then you can follow Khaldechala river, and reach Khalde village. You can overnight here, and in the early morning, follow back to Khaldechala River, cross the river, and reach Kareta pass. From the top of the pass, you can see Shkara, Tetnuldi, and even Elbrus Mountain peaks. After the pass, you will down towards river Enguri, and then reach Ushguli community (unites four small villages). This trek can be done in 2 days, or even in 1 day, however, not under bad weather conditions.
Checkout below the map and trek of the Kareta Pass
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02 Mestia Banguriani Mountain Trekking Trail
One of the forgotten a day trip-hiking route from Mestia goes to just under Banguriani Mountain, and reaches a small glacier.
In the past days, this was a popular day hike from Mestia, but nowadays there is no trail, nor any marks. You cannot spot this trek in maps, and because of the reason, you will find no one doing this trek in the summer. Off-beaten-path trek, fantastic panoramic views, and reachable on foot from Mestia makes this day trip another must-do trek in Svaneti.
Checkout below the map and trek of the Banguriani Mountain.
03 Mestia Lekhziri Glacier Trekking Trail
All visitors going to Upper Svaneti visits Chalaadi glacier, because of its proximity Mestia and an opportunity to see the glacier. However, not many people knows that near to Chalaadi glacier, there is another, more beautiful glacier – Lekhziri.
The starting hiking point for both glaciers are the same. You will take a car from Mestia towards Mestiachala river, and reach a place where Georgian border police guards are stationed. From this place, one trail goes to Chalaadi Glacier, the route is well marked and easily noticeable, and because of this, almost everyone chooses this route. Another “route” goes to Lekhziri glacier. When you get off the car near the border police station, you simply do not need to cross the river, but follow the right bank of Mestiachala river.
The starting of the trail is promising, it is well noticeable and easy, but very soon it becomes hard, and you will not see any trail, nor people around you. You will need a full-day hiking to reach Lekhziri Glacier, and come back to Mestia. You will need to cross several small streams and one small river. Before you set up for this trek, you need to take a permission from Georgian border police, which you can do easily in Mestia, it needs only 5 minutes and your ID. The border police building is on the way to Lekhziri, near Mestia airport (The address – Kakhiani street 53)
Checkout below the map and trek of the Lekhziri Glacier.