Country/Region: Georgia, Upper Svaneti
Trekking Date: 10/2014
Duration: 4 days
Difficulty Level: Easy
If you sleep and eat in guesthouses it’s rather convenient.
Recommended Season: Summer, June-September (July-August are the best but also the busiest)
Maximum Height: 2655m – Chkhunderi pass
It’s a rather known route in northern-west Georgia in the Svaneti region. Starts from the small town of Mestia and travels through rural valleys and beautiful mountains. It is recommended to spend the nights at the local guesthouses and familiarize with the local Georgian farmers, it’s worth the experience and enable you to travel light. Each day in this route ends in a village where you can find several guesthouses. The route is generally marked but not always. Consult the tourist information in Mestia to be updated with recent changes and weather conditions and ask them for the route tourists map of this trek. This route is pretty popular and you can find a lot information online.
Required Equipment & Supply:
You can find food and water in the many villages along the way. If you choose to camp outdoors make shore to bring all the relevant camping equipment with you, as there isn’t any camping store in Mestia. There are few mini-markets in Mestia to buy food, but if you plan to cook all meals you better buy all the ingredients in one of the big cities (e.g Zugdidi or Kutaisi).
No permit is required (10/2014) although you ought to register in the tourist information center in Mestia prior to setting off.
Note that marks on this map are not completely accurate and do not substitute a proper trekking map.
Getting to/from there:
Most of the people start and finish in Mestia. There is however, a possibility to extend the trek from Ushguli towards Kutaisi by 4X4 car or by foot, supposed to be beautiful and less touristic I haven’t tried it. To get to/from Mestia is very easy by shuttles (local “Marshrutka”) to Zugdidi and from there by train to Tbilisy/Batumi etc.
Distance: 12 KM
You leave Mestia center on the main road east, this will be the primary direction of the first day. At some point ~1 KM from from the center (ask the local people for guiding they all know this path) you leave the main road as it turns north-east and ascend to the saddle up east, where you have a beautiful view of the Mulkhra river valley on the east. There are few villages in this valley and you can find guesthouses in all of them. We spent the first night in Zhabeshi which is one of the eastern villages. You can skip this walking day by car from Mestia to the villages in this valley. However, it is a convenient adjustment day to this route.
Distance: 9.5 KM
The second day starts with ascend to the ridge on your south. To find the right trail you better ask the local farmers as they know it perfectly, rather then counting on the tourist maps they give in the tourist information, make sure to climb in the right path, otherwise it will be a lot harder. Once the ascent is over (~2500 m) you will reach some kind of “high road”. This is a ski resort that is being built. The construction disrupts the original path to Adishi as it is very dynamic. You must consult the local villagers/construction workers for the right path, we found it by asking a local truck driver and he even gave us lift to the starting point of this path. Once you find the path it will take you all the way to Adishi, a small and pastoral village.
Distance: 10.5 KM
~2 KM south-east along the river from Adishi, is the crossing point of the river. It could be dangerous to cross the river at different point or when the stream is too strong. You have to consult the people in Adishi about this issue. They offer horses for the crossing, we didn’t use horses and it was OK but we crossed early in the morning, because when it is get warmer the flow in the river (from the glacier) get stronger. After the river-crossing the path ascends to a saddle named Chkhunderi pass (2655 m) and from there a long descent south towards Iprali. ~1 KM from Chkhunderi pass the path becomes 4×4 road and turns south-west to Iprali.
Distance: 9 KM
The route to Ushguli is a 4X4 road along the Patara Enguri river. We did it by hitchhiking since it didn’t seemed very interesting. Ushguli is actually four different villages. You can find a lot of information about it online. We hiked to the glacier that feeds the Patara-Enguri river and went back to Mestia the next day by car. You can ask the local people for guidance to Kutaisi from ushguli by car (4×4) or by walking (through Latpari pass) but be aware that this routes are outside of the main tourist trails so it will be more complicated.