Everyone knows that Georgia for summer hiking is paradise, but what about winter? Can you hike in winter in Georgia and actually enjoy in hiking in this country? Well, winter can be also an amazing season for hiking lovers. Fresh snow, colder temperatures, nice cottages in national parks can make winter hiking as amazing as summer hiking. So, for those of us who cannot wait for summer hiking, winter time also is a time to do hiking in Caucasus mountains.
If you are wondering which hiking trails you should explore in winter, here are 5 best hiking destinations in Georgia.
01 Lomi Mountain (Lomistma) in Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
This hiking trail will lead you into the heart of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. The park is in central part of Georgia and covers 85,083 ha of the land. At first, we need to travel to Borjomi city from Tbilisi. You can hire a taxi or use public transport. From Tbilisi, you can take Akhaltsikhe or Borjomi mini-buses which run from Didube bus station. The cost of the one way is 8 Gel (4$). You need to get off from the bus in Likani village and make registration in the main office of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. After registration, hiking trip starts at Likani ranger station, goes to the top of the mountain and then heading back to Likani. The trail on the both way covers 30 km with technical difficulty of being moderate. Be warned; this trek can be challenging and winter hikers will want to be well prepared with the proper gear.
02 Gergeti Trinity Church-Kazbegi
If you travel to Georgia, plan or wish, then you have to put in your schedule to visit the stunning areas around Kazbegi despite the fact that it is winter now. Travel along the Great Caucasus Mountains. Visit Ananuri castle complex (14-18cc), explore mountain roaring rivers and waterfalls, and enjoying stunning panoramas of Mount Kazbegi and Caucasus from Gergeti Trinity Church (2200 m). This famous touristic destination is full of tourists in summer times but in winter, here is a few number adventure lovers. You can hike to Gergeti Trinity church which almost all time in winter is covers by snow. Hiking trail is 10 km (roundtrip) and follows the car road.
03 Khada Gorge Near Gudauri
The journey in Khada gorge starts at Kvesheti village. Here the road paves the way through the gorge. The gorge comes to a sudden end in Tskere village which is surrounded by peaks and abandoned houses. The beautiful winter trail follows the car road, but in winter time literally almost no one enters in the gorge. You can take tents and camp near the village or find shelters with some elderly people still staying in the almost abandoned villages in the gorge. This is generally an easy to moderate walk, although snow conditions can make it more challenging that it would first appear. Still, experienced hikers will generally have no issues along the way.
04 Lomisa mountain
Stretching 5.7 miles in length, Lomisa mountain hiking trail is one of the best day hiking destination in winter. On the top of the Lomisa mountain, Church of St. George of Lomisa (VIII-IX cc.) and a chapel are located. You can hire taxi or use public transport to reach final car destination to Lomisa – village Zemo Mleta (Upper Mleta). Near the bridge at the end of the village, you need to get off the car and start hiking. The path starts near the church, follows small streets of the village, cross the forest and then goes up to the top of the mountain. On the top, you can find hot tea and warm place with local monks.
05 Birtvisi Canyon (Birtvisebi)
Located to the south of Tbilisi, Birtvisi is the best destination for hikers who want an easy hike in nature. Birtvisi canyon is located in Trialeti Planned National Park and consists ruined fortress and citadels built on the top of the cliffs inside the canyon. You can hire a taxi or take public transport to reach Partskhisi village, from where you can start walking towards the canyon. Public minibusses run from Samgodi bus station and cost 4 Gel. However, the best option is to hire a car/taxi due to the fact that minibusses run only a few times in a day.