• BLACK ROCK LAKE TREK

    LAGODEKHI NATIONAL PARK

    Black Rock Lake reflection
  • BLACK ROCK LAKE

    Black Rock Lake reflection

BLACK ROCK LAKE TREK

LAGODEKHI NATIONAL PARK
GEORGIA

The Black Rock Lake trek is an excellent and easily accessible 3 day hike in Lagodekhi National Park, north-eastern Georgia. The trail traverses a wide variety of landscapes, from lush forests to lake-dotted alpine zones. There are fantastic views of the Caucasus Mountains to the north and the lowlands of Khakheti to the south. It’s possible to overnight in mountain huts along the way (or camp if you prefer), and the waymarked trail is easy to follow, making this trek a great choice for hikers of all levels. Lagodekhi is easily reached from Tbilisi and elsewhere, and this border town makes a great first or last stop on a trip that combines Georgia with Azerbaijan.

In this guide we cover everything you need to know about the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi NP, including a breakdown of the route with trekking distances and times, what to pack, and how to get there. We also provide maps and a GPX track download to help you find your way.

Note that it’s also possible to complete the Black Rock Lake loop on horseback. You can contact the very knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and friendly local guide Bakhva Shaorshadze (+995577395634) to arrange a horse trek. It costs 50 GEL per horse per day, and 50 GEL for the guide per day (this cost can be split between the group). He speaks enough English to communicate, backing it up with Georgian, Russian, and lots of comic (yet effective!) miming.

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – if you purchase a product or service via these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps offset the cost of running this blog and keeps us travelling so that we can continue to produce great content for you. We greatly appreciate your support!*

BLACK ROCK LAKE TREK QUICK FACTS

            • Distance | 38 km
            • Duration | 3 days
            • Start/End | Lagodekhi Visitor Centre
            • Min Elevation | 557 m
            • Max Elevation | 2865 m
            • Total Ascent | 2531 m
            • Total Descent | 2464 m
            • Hiking Season | Summer (in dry weather)
            • River Crossings | None
            • Water Sources | Streams and Springs

BLACK LAKE ROCK TREK QUICK FACTS

Distance
38 km

Duration
3 days

Start/End
Lagodekhi NP
Visitor Centre

Min Elevation
557 m

Max Elevation
2865 m

Total Ascent
2531 m

Total Descent
2464 m

Hiking Season
Summer
(in dry weather)

River Crossings
None

Water Sources
Streams and Springs

 


WATCH OUR FILM

Watch the behind the scenes version of our Black Rock Lake hike on Instagram stories

Watch the behind the scenes
version of our Black Rock Lake
trek on Instagram stories 

BLACK ROCK LAKE TREK HIKING MAP

BLACK ROCK LAKE TREK

HIKING MAP

Use the map below to help guide you through Lagodekhi National Park, to Black Rock Lake and back. Tap the menu button at the top left for more details, to toggle layers on and off, and switch between satellite and terrain view.

To use an offline version of this map, download our KML file for use with Maps.me (iOS/Android), or the GPX file for use with other offline mapping apps such as Gaia (iOS/Android) or OsmAnd Maps (iOS/Android). See the expandable box below for tips on using these apps. 


To save this map to use online on desktop or mobile just tap the star symbol at the top. When you open Google Maps on your phone, navigate to ‘Saved’ at the bottom, then swipe along to ‘Maps’ at the top. You’ll find this map in your list of maps.

On desktop, click the three lines at the top left, select ‘Your Places’, then ‘Maps’. Click the map, then scroll down and select ‘Open in My Maps’ to access the interactive version.

Alternatively, just tap the rectangle symbol at the top right of the map in this blog post to view the My Maps version larger on desktop.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to view this version of the map offline, but we’ve provided a download for a similar version for offline use.


MAPS.ME

Maps.me is our go-to offline mapping app. We find it straightforward to use for planning routes in advance, as well as navigating on the trail. It doesn’t drain our phone battery, and it’s quick and easy to save and organise ‘bookmarks’. There are many trails already marked on Maps.me, plus you can download and import a KML track of your route to the app. 

To use Maps.me, first download the app (iOS/Android). Hover over the region or country that you want to visit and the app will prompt you to download this map. Once downloaded, it can be viewed offline. 

You can tap anywhere and save it as a ‘bookmark’ by tapping the star symbol at the bottom. Hit ‘Edit Bookmark’ to personalise the bookmark colour, organise your bookmarks into different folders, and rename them. 

You can navigate easily or plan routes in advance by tapping your start point and selecting ‘route from’, then tapping your end point and selecting ‘route to’. Tap the car, walking, or cycling symbol at the top of the screen to indicate your mode of travel. If you want to plot a different route to the one suggested by Maps.me, just tap a third (or fourth, fifth, etc.) bookmark between the start and end points and select ‘add stop’. 

Maps.me shows the distance and travel time, plus elevation profiles for hiking trails. Note that the estimated time isn’t always reliable, but we’ve always found the distance and elevation gain/loss to be largely accurate. It only shows very basic contour lines.

You can track your progress on the trail using GPS. The arrow shows your direction of travel. Tap the compass at the top right of the screen to keep the map in a fixed position (the arrow will rotate). Alternatively, tap the arrow at the bottom right of the screen to rotate the map in the direction of travel (the arrow will stay in a fixed position).

GAIA

Gaia (iOS/Android) is another offline mapping app that is very useful. It shows the contours in much more detail than Maps.me, as long as you have previously viewed the section of map online. With a paid membership you can download various maps in advance for offline use. The app has existing OpenStreetMap trails marked and you can import GPX tracks and view them offline. You can also create new routes online yourself and export them as GPX or KML files. You can navigate easily on the trail using the arrow that shows your GPS location. Unlike with Maps.me, it isn’t possible to quickly check distances between two points (or at least we haven’t figured out a way to do it). There are a lot of useful features in the free version and even more benefits if you have a paid annual membership, so if you spend a lot of time outdoors it is worthwhile learning how to use the app to its full advantage. 

In our experience, Gaia drains your phone battery much quicker than Maps.me, even in flight mode, so it’s best to shut down the app completely each time you finish using it. 

OSMAND MAPS

OsmAnd Maps (iOS/Android) is another great offline mapping app with lots of useful features. In our opinion, it’s not as intuitive as Maps.me, and it has so many features that it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Like Gaia, we recommend checking out the written and video tutorials on the OsmAnd website to learn how to fully use the app. The benefits of the app include being able to plot routes in advance and save them as GPX tracks, and to view detailed elevation and terrain information, including surface types. You can also import GPX tracks. One downside is that the free version does not include contour lines, but these can be added via a paid plugin.


BLACK ROCK LAKE HIKE

We’ve broken down the Black Rock Lake hike into daily sections below. We’ve also given approximate timings and distances for each, as well as approximate figures for elevation gain and loss. The timings are based around average hiking speeds. If you’re a fast hiker it may take you less time, and conversely, if you’re a slow hiker it may take you longer. Our personal hiking time was at the longer end of the scale as we stopped to film and photograph a lot.

ELEVATION PROFILE AND 3D ROUTE MAP VIDEO

Black Rock Lake trek elevation profile

This shows the elevation profile of the trek to Black Rock Lake and back, a circular route returning via Demidovi Shelter



DAY 1 | VISITOR CENTRE → METEO SHELTER

10 km | 5 – 7 hours | + 1422 m / – 34 m

DAY 1

VISITOR CENTRE
METEO SHELTER

10 km

+ 1422 m / – 34 m

5 – 7 hours

Ensure you’ve registered and paid camp/hut fees at the visitors centre before starting (open 9am – 6pm daily). Fill up enough water for the whole day. Day 1 is mostly in the forest, with plenty of shade, but it’s a big climb so you’ll need at least 2-3 litres of water.

The Black Rock Lake trek starts at the visitor centre, at the top of Vashlovani Street in Lagodekhi town. There are signposts at the start of the trail and dotted throughout, plus regular waymarkers painted on rocks and trees. These are white and blue for the most part, but change to red towards the end of the three days.

The trek starts on an easy forest trail with a gentle incline, forking to the right and reaching a river after about 20-30 minutes. Cross the river on the inventive bridge made from one huge tree trunk and a wooden handrail.

A hiker and dog walk through sun-dappled forest on the first, flat part of the Black Rock Lake trail in Lagodekhi National Park

A nice and easy start to the Black Rock Lake trail



A hiker and dog walk through sun-dappled forest on the first, flat part of the Black Rock Lake trail in Lagodekhi National Park

A nice easy start to the Black Rock Lake trail



A little further on you’ll come to a spring that comes from an old metal spout in a clearing, but the water is a little eggy smelling. As the trail to get here is fairly easy, we’d recommend just bringing all your water from the start instead.

Not long after the spring, the trail starts to climb. The forest is mostly open, spacious, and nicely shaded. The trail itself might occasionally be covered in leaves, or blocked by a fallen tree trunk, but just keep a look out for the plentiful painted waymarkers and you can’t go wrong. It’s a fairly steady climb, steeper in some parts, but overall a nice trail to hike on (assuming it’s dry and the mud and horse poop isn’t too bad).

A hiker climbs the forest trail on Day 1 of the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi National Park, Georgia

A steady climb through the forest



Blue and white painted waymarkings on tree trunks, showing the way on the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi National Park

Possibly the best waymarked trail in the whole of Georgia



Blue and white painted waymarkings on tree trunks, showing the way on the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi National Park

Possibly the best waymarked trail in Georgia


A hiker climbs the forest trail on Day 1 of the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi National Park, Georgia

A steady climb through the forest



You’ll reach a sign near a makeshift picnic spot which says 6 km / 4 hours to Meteo Shelter. Not long after this the climb becomes a bit steeper, but nothing difficult. The trail flattens out around 3 km later, curving around the hillside and up through a forest clearing where wonderful valley and mountain views await. From this point you can relax knowing that the hardest part of the day is done.

It’s an easy final walk to Meteo Shelter, a red-roofed, yellow/orange weatherboard hut in a clearing with lovely views. It has three rooms with 16 beds in total. Tomas the ranger will show you to your bed, or which spot is best to camp. The bunk beds all have mattresses on them, but they’re a bit old and not the cleanest. You may want to bring a camping mat/sheet as a layer between the mattress and your sleeping bag. Outside there’s a nearby spring for drinking water, some benches around a campfire, and lines for hanging up your clothes. There’s a drop toilet close to the hut, too.

Note that there is phone reception for most of the day, including at Meteo Shelter.

Brightly coloured Meteo Shelter in a forest clearing with mountain views is the place hikers stay at the end of Day 1 on the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi National Park

Meteo Shelter, in a forest clearing with superb mountain views



Brightly coloured Meteo Shelter in a forest clearing with mountain views is the place hikers stay at the end of Day 1 on the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi National Park

Meteo Shelter, set in a forest clearing
with impressive mountain views



DAY 2 | METEO SHELTER → DEMIDOVI SHELTER

14 km | 6 – 8 hours | + 1025 m / – 326 m

DAY 2

METEO SHELTER
DEMIDOVI SHELTER

14 km

+ 1025 m / – 326 m

6 – 8 hours

The scenery is completely different on Day 2. The trail stays above the tree line for the most part and there are great views all around. You must visit the border guards, so be sure to have your passport/ID handy. There is a spring about 2.6 km from Meteo Shelter.  The next reliable water source after this (besides the lake itself) isn’t till Demidovi Shelter.

The day starts with a short climb as you backtrack slightly from Meteo Shelter. This is followed by a stretch of flattish trail that cuts across open hillside, with overgrown bushes either side of the path. The trail then climbs steadily through a shaded forest before emerging at a fantastic viewpoint. There is no more shade from here on, and the stony, vegetation-crowded path ascends to another viewpoint where you’ll find the spring. It takes about 1 – 1.5 hours to reach this point. Fill up all the water you need for the rest of the day.

From the spring it takes around 30 minutes to climb to the next viewpoint. To the northeast you have views of mountains in Dagestan, Russia, and to the southeast, mountains in Azerbaijan.

A local guide standing at a viewpoint where you can see mountains in neighbouring Dagestan and Azerbaijan, on Day 2 of the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi National Park

Bakhva the horse guide demonstrating the best spot to view the mountains in Azerbaijan, seen here across the valley



A local guide standing at a viewpoint where you can see mountains in neighbouring Dagestan and Azerbaijan, on Day 2 of the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi National Park

Bakhva the horse guide demonstrating the best
spot to view the mountains in Azerbaijan, seen
here across the valley



From here it’s an easy trail with a gentle incline, followed by a short steeper climb, and then a final steady climb to a high point with a cairn and info sign. By this point, around 5 km from Meteo, you will have ascended 900 metres and the bulk of the day’s climbing will be behind you.

From the cairn, the gently undulating trail leads around the hillside before sloping down towards the border guards camp. There are springs marked on Maps.me in this area, but they were dry when we trekked in early August.

With the bulk of the climbing done, a hiker traverses the grassy high altitude hillsides on an easy trail towards Black Rock Lake

After reaching the cairn, the trail becomes much more gentle as it winds across the undulating hills towards Black Rock lake



With the bulk of the climbing done, a hiker traverses the grassy high altitude hillsides on an easy trail towards Black Rock Lake

After reaching the cairn, the trail becomes
much more gentle as it winds across the
undulating hills towards Black Rock Lake



Follow the left trail to check in with the border guards then climb back up to rejoin the main trail. There are some ups and downs, a rocky section with great views of Lagodekhi town, then a brief descent towards an info sign and a dried up lake.

Just after the info sign, it’s possible to go off-trail and hike up to a beautiful lake with ‘islands’ of reeds growing in the middle. Check our gpx track for the route. There are two more higher up, if you have the energy to continue.

Two hikers and a dog rest on a rock in front of an unnamed lake on the Black Rock Lake trek

Enjoying a rest with the dramatic light and views at the ‘reed island’ lake



Two hikers and a dog rest on a rock in front of an unnamed lake on the Black Rock Lake trek

Enjoying a rest with the dramatic light
and views at the ‘reed island’ lake



If you go this way there’s no need to return to the main trail below. Just navigate straight towards Black Rock Lake using your gps and our track for reference. Once you curve around the hillside the lake will appear below you, with the main trail approaching from the left.

Black Rock Lake sits at 2865 m and has crystal clear water. On the opposite shore, the Dagestan mountains rise up on either side, with those on the right particularly impressive. Be mindful to stick to the Georgian side of the lake and not approach the (unseen) Russian border, which runs through the middle of the lake and adjacent hillsides.

A dog sits on the hillside above Black Rock Lake in the late afternoon sun

Maggie, our companion for the whole three day trek, posing perfectly in front of Black Rock Lake



A dog sits on the hillside above Black Rock Lake in the late afternoon sun

Maggie, our companion for the whole three day
trek, posing perfectly in front of Black Rock Lake



Once you’ve enjoyed the views at the lake, you still have to hike 3 km to reach Demidovi Shelter. This should take roughly 1 hour. Head for the mangled sign on the small hillock above the lake. From here it’s a fairly gentle incline towards a small pass, with more scenic lakes to the left of the trail. The views looking back to the mountains and over the wetland lakes are incredible. From the small pass the trail descends then climbs a little to reach a viewpoint over the valley and Demidovi’s Hut. From here you’re on the home stretch, with a slightly steep descent turning into a steady downhill path all the way to the hut.

Cream coloured Demidovi’s is newer than Meteo and the location is much more open (and higher in altitude). There are 3 rooms with 5 beds in each, plus a large common room with a table and two more beds. There are lights in each room, but no electricity sockets. Again, each bed has a mattress but you’ll need a sleeping bag at least. Outside there is plenty of camping space, a covered table, a drop toilet, and a campfire spot (although there’s no wood to scavenge around here). There are water sources nearby and fantastic views over the lowlands from the rocky hill in front of the shelter.

Note that there is no phone reception for most of this day, and none at Demidovi Shelter.

A hiker walks through golden brown grass at sunset with mountains rising behind, on the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi National Park

After descending from the small pass, the trail climbs up to the gap ahead before the final stretch down to Demidovi Shelter



A hiker walks through golden brown grass at sunset with mountains rising behind, on the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi National Park

After descending from the small pass, the trail
climbs up to the gap ahead before the final
stretch down to Demidovi Shelter



DAY 3 | DEMIDOVI SHELTER → VISITOR CENTRE

14 km | 5 – 6 hours | + 84 m / – 2104 m

DAY 3

DEMIDOVI SHELTER
VISITOR CENTRE

14 km

+ 84 m / – 2104 m

5 – 6 hours

Day 3 involves a 2100 metre descent back to the visitors’ centre, most of which is on a narrow trail through forest. The trail is steep in parts, with some drop-offs, and it’s not recommended to hike this route after lots of rain (or snow) as it will be slippery and very muddy. There are no reliable water sources until near the end, so you must carry all your water with you from Demidovi Shelter.

Leaving Demidovi Shelter, the trail climbs first to a nice viewpoint, then heads down and around a hillside for about 45 minutes. You’ll reach another viewpoint where you can see your route from the previous days, and even pick out Meteo Shelter across the valley. Around 2.5 km from Demidovi Shelter, the proper descent starts.

Once you begin to descend, it takes around 30 minutes to reach the tree line. The trail is good and easy to follow, with a mixture of gentle and steep sections.

A hiker descends a hillside switchback trail towards the forest on Day 3 of the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi National Park

The switchback trail descends towards the forest, with views of Lagodekhi and the lowlands below



A hiker descends a hillside switchback trail towards the forest on Day 3 of the Black Rock Lake trek in Lagodekhi National Park

The switchback trail descends towards the forest,
with views of Lagodekhi and the lowlands below



After entering the forest, it should take around 3 – 4 hours to arrive at the Black Grouse Waterfall trail. It’s not too steep initially, although there are parts with overgrown bushes either side of the trail, and plenty of rocks and branches underfoot, desperate to trip you up.

A prolonged steep section starts around 3 km from where you first enter the trees. It continues for about a kilometre and there are limited spots to stop and rest. This is the longest steep section of the day.

The descent continues through a jungle-y area, with the temperature becoming noticeably hotter as you get lower in elevation. Once you meet the ridgeline, the trail generally becomes less steep. The forest opens up a bit more too, with fewer overgrown bushes to struggle through.

Another steeper part is followed by a gentle decline, before the last descent to join the Black Grouse Waterfall trail. The final 2 km stretch is easy, on a wide and mostly flat trail back to the start.

Note that you’ll pick up phone reception at points throughout the day.

See More From Georgia

A white horse grazing on the grassy slopes of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
Two hikers traverse the grassy ridge on Day 2 of the Panorama Trail
A view of Tetnuldi peak from Latpari Pass on the Ushguli to Chvelpi hike
The twin peaks of Ushba and Chatyn-Tau, seen from the trail on Day 2 of the Mestia to Ushguli trek in Svaneti, Georgia
A hiker on the steep final approach to Gul Pass, on the Chuberi to Mestia section of the Transcaucasian Trail in Svaneti
Mountains reflected in Kelitsadi Lake on a still morning
Two hikers and a dog rest on a rock in front of an unnamed lake on the Black Rock Lake trek
A hiker climbs the shale switchback trail to Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek, with the layered mountains of Khevsureti behind
A hiker descends the switchback ridgeline trail from Chaukhi Pass to Abudelauri Lakes on the Juta to Roshka trek in Georgia
Snow capped Mt. Kazbek shining bright at sunrise, as seen from the town of Kazbegi (Stepantsminda) in northern Georgia
The settlement of Abano in Truso Valley, with the old monastery on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind
One of the best views of Gergeti Trinity Church, seen from the hiking trail to Gergeti Glacier and Mt. Kazbek
Hikers descend from the viewpoint at Kojori Fortress in Georgia
A UAZ Buhanka campervan parked at the side of a grassy track to Levani's Lake on the expansive Javakheti Plateau
A person walks beneath the huge dusty sky looking at the seemingly endless hazy view at Takhti-Tepha Mud Volcanoes in the Vashlovani Protected Area
Two people watch something in the distance from outside a parked 4x4 vehicle in the hills of Racha, Georgia.
A white horse grazing on the grassy slopes of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
Two hikers traverse the grassy ridge on Day 2 of the Panorama Trail
A view of Tetnuldi peak from Latpari Pass on the Ushguli to Chvelpi hike
The twin peaks of Ushba and Chatyn-Tau, seen from the trail on Day 2 of the Mestia to Ushguli trek in Svaneti, Georgia
A hiker on the steep final approach to Gul Pass, on the Chuberi to Mestia section of the Transcaucasian Trail in Svaneti
Mountains reflected in Kelitsadi Lake on a still morning
Two hikers and a dog rest on a rock in front of an unnamed lake on the Black Rock Lake trek
A hiker climbs the shale switchback trail to Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek, with the layered mountains of Khevsureti behind
A hiker descends the switchback ridgeline trail from Chaukhi Pass to Abudelauri Lakes on the Juta to Roshka trek in Georgia
Snow capped Mt. Kazbek shining bright at sunrise, as seen from the town of Kazbegi (Stepantsminda) in northern Georgia
The settlement of Abano in Truso Valley, with the old monastery on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind
One of the best views of Gergeti Trinity Church, seen from the hiking trail to Gergeti Glacier and Mt. Kazbek
Hikers descend from the viewpoint at Kojori Fortress in Georgia
A UAZ Buhanka campervan parked at the side of a grassy track to Levani's Lake on the expansive Javakheti Plateau
A person walks beneath the huge dusty sky looking at the seemingly endless hazy view at Takhti-Tepha Mud Volcanoes in the Vashlovani Protected Area
Two people watch something in the distance from outside a parked 4x4 vehicle in the hills of Racha, Georgia.

WHAT TO PACK AND OTHER PRACTICALITIES

You’ll need a decent sized backpack to tackle the Black Rock Lake trek, filled with food for three days, all-weather clothing, cooking equipment, and a sleeping bag for the mountain huts. If you’re planning to camp instead, you’ll need all the usual camping gear as well. We cover everything you need in more detail below. 

FOOD

There is no food available to buy along the trail or at the mountain huts. You can have breakfast at your accommodation on Day 1, and dinner on Day 3. This leaves 2 x breakfast, 3 x lunch, and 2 x dinner to pack for the trek. You’ll need plenty of snacks to keep you going too.

There is a Spar and other shops in Lagodekhi town, making it easy to stock up before the hike, although the widest options are available in Tbilisi. A couple of well stocked and centrally located supermarkets in the capital are Carrefour (near Orbeliani Square and the flower market), and Goodwill (in the basement of Galleria Mall at Liberty Square).

You need to carry all of your waste out with you, so it’s best to avoid excess packaging like tins, cans, bottles, jars, etc.

SNACKS

Pre-made Trail Mix
(eg. nuts, raisins, M&Ms)

Churchkhela
(traditional Georgian snack of nuts on a string dipped in grape juice)

Tklapi
(Georgian fruit leather)

Trekking Bars
(available in Tbilisi supermarkets: Goodwill, Carrefour, etc.)

Snickers
(widely available)


BREAKFAST

Pre-mixed Muesli
(eg. oats + cinnamon + almonds + flax seeds + desiccated coconut – buy in Tbilisi) 

Porridge
(widely available)

Powdered Milk
(available in Carrefour, Tbilisi)

Honey
(small sachets available in Goodwill, Tbilisi)

Extra Toppings
(eg. chia seeds + goji berries + dried fruit + walnuts – buy in Tbilisi)

Coffee
(instant or use an
X-Brew + real coffee)


LUNCH

Hard cheese
(wrapped in muslin)

Bread
(stored in cloth bag)

Nutella/Peanut Butter
(carry in reusable secure plastic container)

Olive Oil
(carry in reusable secure plastic container)

Savoury Biscuits
(widely available)

Cured Meats
(available in bigger towns and cities)


DINNER

Dehydrated Meals
(bring from home)

‘Yelli’ Meals
(available to buy in Carrefour)

Pasta + Tomato Sauce + Cheese + Cured Meat
(small cartons of sauce available in Carrefour)

Pre-mixed ingredients portioned in ziploc bags
(bring dehydrated veggies from home as limited options available in Tbilisi).

Suggested ingredients: 

Buckwheat/Bulgar Wheat + Spices + Stock Cube + Dehydrated Veggies + Parmesan + Olive Oil + Seeds/Nuts + Dried Apricots + Cured Meat


COOKING EQUIPMENT

If you want to cook a hot meal or have a hot drink, you’ll need to pack a small stove and gas canister, plus a spork, camping pot and cup as a minimum. It’s best to bring camping gas from Tbilisi (Geoland sells it) or elsewhere as you probably won’t find it for sale in Lagodekhi.

WATER

As there are limited water sources on the Black Rock Lake trek, you need to carry 2-3 litres with you each day. Plan accordingly, and have a water bladder and/or enough refillable water bottles with you. You may wish to treat the spring water. If so, have a Steripen, purification tablets, or such like with you. Some electrolyte tabs are also good for giving you a boost, especially in hot, sweaty conditions.

Spring water coming from a hollowed out log near Meteo Shelter on the Black Rock Lake trail

Spring water near Meteo Shelter on the Black Rock Lake trek



Spring water coming from a hollowed out log near Meteo Shelter on the Black Rock Lake trail

Spring water near Meteo Shelter



ALL WEATHER CLOTHING

Regardless of what the weather forecast says, make sure you pack clothing for all weather eventualities. The weather can be unpredictable, change quickly, and vary greatly between the lower and higher altitudes. As a minimum you should have a waterproof jacket and trousers, warm mid-layer fleece, and a base layer ideally made from merino wool or sweat-wicking material. Avoid jeans or cotton materials – if they get wet they won’t dry quickly and you’ll get cold easily. A hat, gloves and sunglasses are also recommended. Proper footwear is required for this trek too, ideally hiking boots.

Merino T-Shirts x 2
His/Hers

Merino Thermal Baselayer
His/Hers

Merino Thermal Leggings
His/Hers

Merino Underwear
His/Hers

Sports Bra x 2

Fleece
His/Hers

Down Jacket
His/Hers

Rain Jacket/Shell
His/Hers

Waterproof Trousers
His/Hers

Quick Drying Hiking Trousers
(preferably with zip-off shorts)
His/Hers

Trousers to wear at the shelters
(Lightweight, similar to above)

Trekking Socks x 2
His/Hers

Warm Socks for night x 1

Buff

Gloves
Liner & Waterproof Outer

Sun Hat

Warm Hat

Sunglasses

Hiking Boots
His/Hers

Sandals for evening

Belt
You might lose weight on the trek!


HIKING POLES

We’d definitely recommend hiking poles for this trek. They are particularly useful on the steep, potentially slippery descents. They can also help propel you up those tiring ascents.

MAP

You can’t go too wrong on this trail as it’s waymarked, but be sure to have the Maps.me app on your phone, with the area already downloaded so that you can access the map offline. The route is marked in the app, and of course you can import our KML file and bookmarks to make it even easier to follow. You can pick up a paper map at the visitors’ centre, but using GPS is best for navigating.

POWER BANK AND ADAPTER

Even on flight mode, your phone will likely run out of battery, so best to pack a power bank and charging cable. Meteo Shelter has electricity sockets which run off solar power, so pack an adapter if necessary.

SLEEPING EQUIPMENT

You’ll need a sleeping bag for staying in the huts. You can rent one from the visitors’ centre (5 GEL) if you don’t have your own. If you’re camping, you’ll need a tent, sleeping mat, and sleeping bag as a minimum. Again, you can rent these from the visitors’ centre if necessary.

Demidovi Shelter in the morning sun, one of the mountain huts on the Black Rock Lake trail

Looking back at Demidovi Shelter from the trail on the morning of Day 3



Demidovi Shelter in the morning sun, one of the mountain huts on the Black Rock Lake trail

Looking back at Demidovi Shelter from
the trail on the morning of Day 3



TRASH BAGS

You must pack out all of your rubbish. Plan ahead and take rubbish bags with you. Do not leave any rubbish behind, or try to burn plastic or cans on the campfire. Always follow the Leave No Trace principles.

MISCELLANEOUS

It’s advisable to pack a first aid kit, headtorch, antibacterial hand gel, toilet paper, and suncream for any hike. Bug spray is also useful on the Black Rock Lake trek.

PASSPORT/ID

You must show your passport (or Georgian ID Card) to the border guards on Day 2.

TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR HIKING AT ALTITUDE

It’s important to note that most travel insurance providers will only cover hiking up to a certain altitude as standard (often 2500 m or 3000 m). In order to be covered for hiking above this, you will probably need to add on an ‘activity pack’ or such like. The highest point on the Black Rock Lake trek sits at 2865 m, so make sure you check in advance whether your travel insurance policy covers you or not.

Whether you are currently in your home country or are already travelling, two travel insurance policy providers that can cover for hiking above 3000 m are World Nomads (for residents of 140+ countries) and True Traveller (for UK and EEA residents only). We have purchased travel insurance policies from both of these companies in the past. We have found their policies to be comprehensive, and their online claims and extension processes straightforward.

 If you still need to organise your travel insurance, we’d suggest getting a quote from each to see which suits you best.

HOW TO GET TO LAGODEKHI

Lagodekhi town is well connected and easily accessible. Daily marshrutkas run to and from Isani Metro Station in Tbilisi (7 GEL, approx 2.5 hours). There are also 5 marshrutkas running each day between Lagodekhi and Telavi (5 GEL, approx 2 hours), with more connections to various other regional towns. Lagodekhi is also very close to the Azerbaijan border and many people travel on to Sheki from here (via Balaken and Zaqatala).

Our own journey to Lagodekhi started in Pankisi Valley after finishing the Tusheti to Pankisi trek. We took a marshrutka to Telavi (1 hour, 5 GEL) and changed to another going towards Lagodekhi (waiting 1.5 hours for it to leave). This marshrutka actually transferred us at Kardanakhi (1 hour, 5 GEL), straight onto another marshrutka by the side of the road, which finally took us to Lagodekhi town (a further 1 hour, 5 GEL). We’re not sure if this changeover is normal or not!

Our journey away from Lagodekhi was by taxi, straight to Lost Ridge Inn on the outskirts of the attractive hilltop town of Sighnaghi. This cost us 60 GEL. Taking a taxi to Sighnaghi itself would be about 50 GEL.

The Visit Lagodekhi website has useful info and timetables.

HOW TO REACH THE TRAILHEAD

The bus station is on the main street in Lagodekhi town. To get to the trailhead, walk all the way to the top of Vashlovani Street, approximately 2.5 km away. If you don’t want to walk it, there are plenty of taxis hanging about.

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WHERE TO STAY IN LAGODEKHI

There are many guesthouses and hotels in Lagodekhi, most within easy walking distance to the trailhead. It’s also possible to camp near the visitors’ centre, just inside the entrance to Lagodekhi National Park.

We stayed at the lovely Gardenia Guesthouse before and after our Black Rock Lake trek. It’s on Vashlovani Street, a short stroll from the visitors’ centre. Lia and Gia are very friendly and serve up excellent food and wine (from their back garden winery!). They also have an adorable German Shepherd called Maxi. There’s a small kitchen area for guests, lots of areas to sit on the upstairs balcony or in the lovely garden, and you can leave excess bags with them too. If you prefer to camp, you can pitch up under the grape vines in the garden. Highly recommended!

LAGODEKHI ACCOMMODATION

Booking.com

BLACK ROCK LAKE TREK

That’s the lot. If you have any useful info to add or stories to share, get in touch through the comments section below. Equally, if you have any questions, let us know and we’ll do our best to answer them. And if you’re planning your own trek, good luck and enjoy!

ORGANISE YOUR TRIP


Booking.com

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – if you purchase a product or service via these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps offset the cost of running this blog and keeps us travelling so that we can continue to produce great content for you. We greatly appreciate your support!*

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