Lagodekhi Nature Reserve: trekking in the first protected area of Georgia

Lagodekhi Nature Reserve: trekking in the first protected area of Georgia

Lagodekhi Reserve

Intact forests, waterfalls, wild rivers, alpine lakes or landscapes that will take your breath away are just a small example of what is waiting for you at this nature reserve. Lagodekhi goes into the Caucasus Mountains with a difference in altitude from 1312 and 11482 feet tall. This remote area of Kakheti shares borders with Russia and Azerbaijan. It is the northeastern end of Georgia.

Since the 19th century, it drew the attention of botanists for its biodiversity and it was the first protected area in the country, which has helped preserve its ecosystem almost intact. It is a sanctuary for the brown bear, the deer, the wolf or the Eurasian lynx. It offers good one-day walks for the most beginners and another a little more demanding of several days to Shavi Klde Lake. The trails are marked but you have to pay attention so as not to lose them.

There is a Visitor Service Center in the town of Lagodekhi that rents mountain material (sleeping bags, tents, camping equipment). It offers all kinds of information and it organizes horse riding. To enter the reservation, you have to register before. In the village, there are some lodgings to spend the night and it calls the attention the number of fruit trees that there are in the streets: cherry trees, pear trees, apple trees, plums… Everything, within easy reach.

Routes around Lagodekhi

Black Grouse Waterfall

It is the most popular hiking route. It starts from the visitor center and it ends at the small waterfall of Rocho, about 2.8 miles. It’s a round trip road without any trouble and it is well signposted that will only take you three or four hours. If you are lucky, you will see some deer or roe deer.

Great Waterfall

This trail begins in the information booth of the nearby village of Gurgeniani and it ends at the Ninoskhevi waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Georgia. It is a simple round trip (6 miles) that will not take you more than 4 hours in total. It goes up the Ninoskhevi River thanks to a well-marked road that is surrounded by exuberant nature. The finishing touch is marked by a 131-feet waterfall filling everything with freshness and humidity.

Machi Fortress

This round trip trail begins at the information center of the nearby Matsimi village and it ends at the ruined Machi Fortress. You should not take more than four hours in this 2-mile route. It was one of the Kakheti fortresses, and it was built in the Middle Ages to defend the territory.

Black Rock Lake

It is the main dish of Lagodekhi. It is a three-day round trip beginning at the Lagodekhi visitor center and it ends at Lake Black Rock, which marks the border with Dagestan and it is almost 3.000 meters high (9842 feet tall). The route passes through diverse ecosystems: humid forest, semialpine landscapes, glacial lakes… and it offers stunning views of the Alazani valley and the Caucasus Mountains. The first day you climb almost 1000 meters (3280 feet) to the camping area, 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the starting point. Here there is also a small shelter with capacity for 16 people. You get to the lake on the second day and you can go back to the refuge. It is much more relaxed on the last day. You just go down to Lagodekhi.

Practical information

Address: 197 Vashlovani Street (Lagodekhi).

Opening Hours: all day.

Phone: +995 577 10 18 90 / +995 5 77 10 18 45.

It is located in the building at the entrance to the park, about 1 mile up the main road. You should sign up when you get there. They rent all kinds of material: tents (10 GEL), mochlas (5 GEL), sleeping bags (5 GEL), and camping equipment (3 GEL). They also coordinate horse riding (50 GEL). They offer all kinds of information and advice.

  • Lagodehki-Tbilisi minibuses: 6:45, 7:20, 7:55, 8:45, 9:30, 10:10, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 1:50, 2.50, 4:00, 4:45 and 5:30 p.m.
  • Lagodekhi-Telavi minibuses: 8:00, 9:00, 12:30, 1:30, 2:20 p.m.
  • Lagodekhi-Kvareli minibuses: at 12:00 p.m.
  • Kvareli-Lagodekhi: every hour from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
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