With the Caucasus Mountains spanning the north and south of the country, Georgia is prime trekking territory. From challenging long-distance hikes through remote regions, to easy day-hikes in the shadow of spectacular snowy peaks, Georgia’s mountains have something to offer every kind of traveller. But, whether you’re planning a hike of a few hours or a few months, there are some key things to know about trekking in Georgia that will help you get the most from your Caucasus adventure.
In this guide we’ll cover the best regions for trekking in Georgia, the various types of accommodation available, the best months to hike, practical tips for trekking in the Caucasus, and more.
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This map gives an overview of the Georgia hiking trails featured in our guides. Tap the menu button at the top left to get more details, toggle layers on and off, switch between satellite and terrain view, and for links to each guide.
The Greater Caucasus Mountains form a natural border along the north of Georgia, from Svaneti in the west to Lagodekhi in the east. It’s here that the most spectacular scenery can be found, alongside the best trekking in Georgia.
Kazbegi and Svaneti are the most accessible regions both in terms of transport links and tourist infrastructure. They are also home to some of Georgia’s most iconic mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls – Mt Kazbek, Mt Ushba, Adishi Glacier, and Shdugra Waterfall to name a few.
Unsurprisingly, they are also two of Georgia’s most popular tourist destinations, meaning you’re unlikely to have any of the main hiking trails entirely to yourself, or feel truly remote (with the odd exception like the Kelitsadi Lake trek). Both regions offer a variety of trekking trails, from easy day-hikes to multi-day adventures. Guesthouses are plentiful, making a trip to Kazbegi or Svaneti ideal for those looking to hike with minimal gear and avoid camping.
Mt Kazbek glowing in the morning sun, with Gergeti Trinity Church still in shadow (seen from Kazbegi town/Stepantsminda)
Mount Kazbek glowing in the morning sun,
with Gergeti Trinity Church still in shadow
(seen from Kazbegi town/Stepantsminda)
Tusheti is another mountainous region in Georgia’s Greater Caucasus, with beautiful landscapes, unique culture, and numerous treks suited to a variety of abilities. But, it sees far fewer tourists compared to Kazbegi or Svaneti, largely because it is only accessible for a few months over the summer, via a somewhat notorious road.
There are a number of villages dotted throughout the region which make good bases for day-hikers, or allow for guesthouse to guesthouse trekking. But, Tusheti also has a lot to offer more adventurous hikers looking for multi-day camping treks, with routes crossing mountain passes into Khevsureti to the west, or Pankisi Gorge and the Kakheti lowlands to the south. What Tusheti lacks in lofty snow-capped peaks, it definitely makes up for in remote beauty.
Looking down from Nakaicho (Nakle-Kholi) pass to the Pirikiti valley below, this stretch lying between Girevi and Dartlo
Looking down from Nakaicho (Nakle-Kholi) pass
to the Pirikiti valley below, this stretch lying
between Girevi and Dartlo
Like its neighbour Tusheti, Khevsureti is cut off by snow from around October to May. From a trekking perspective, this region is best suited to more experienced hikers carrying their own camping equipment, as it’s a remote area with high passes to cross and limited infrastructure.
Upper Racha is another Georgian region best suited to more experienced and self-sufficient hikers. Udziro Lake is the main draw for most hikers making the trip here, although for those keen on extended multi-day routes, Racha connects to both Svaneti and Imereti by way of challenging trails under development by the Transcaucasian Trail, and to Lower Svaneti by way of the Lechkhumi Range. The main towns of Ambrolauri and Oni are accessible by road year round.
Standing at Udziro Lake appreciating the morning views of the Greater Caucasus and Georgia’s highest peak, Shkhara (5193 m)
Standing at the end of Udziro Lake, appreciating
the morning views of the Greater Caucasus and
Georgia’s highest peak, Shkhara (5193 m)
Lagodekhi, situated at the far north-eastern corner of Georgia, is home to the country’s oldest protected landscape. While there are a few short hikes in the national park, the big draw here is the 3 day loop trek to Black Rock Lake, sitting at 2850 m. This is a very scenic but not too challenging option for self-sufficient hikers. It is easily accessible from Tbilisi, and sits close to the Azerbaijan border crossing, very handy if you’re planning a multi-country Caucasus adventure.
Situated in the Lesser Caucasus, about 100 km to the south of the Greater Caucasus Range, Borjomi-Kharagauli NP has numerous marked hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulties. Compared to hiking trails in the Greater Caucasus, those in Borjomi NP are accessible much earlier and later in the year, making it ideal for those visiting Georgia outside of peak summer trekking season. There are even a couple of snowshoe trails open in winter. You won’t be getting up close to any of Georgia’s most famous snowy mountains, but on a clear day the views of the Greater Caucasus Range are impressive, and the autumn colours in Borjomi are beautiful.
Generally speaking, the main trekking season in Georgia runs from July to September, but this can vary depending on where you want to visit and how high you plan to trek.
Stepantsminda itself is typically accessible year-round, however any high altitude hikes in the region (for example Chaukhi Pass or Kelitsadi Lake) are usually only passable between July and mid-September. If you’re planning on doing a short day hike to Gergeti Trinity Church, Gveleti Waterfall, or Truso Valley, then this should be possible in late Spring and Autumn, too. In Winter, snow and ice makes a hike even to Gergeti Trinity Church fairly challenging.
Gergeti Trinity Church on an atmospheric day of shifting clouds
Gergeti Trinity Church on an atmospheric day
The road to Svaneti is usually accessible year-round, but once again, any high altitude trekking is out of the question from around October to mid-June. July and August are peak trekking months, but it’s definitely worth considering late September or early October, when the Autumn colours start to show and fewer people on the trails makes for a more enjoyable experience overall. Water levels are also lower later in the year, making the river crossing on Day 3 of the popular Mestia to Ushguli trek less tricky. However, less water means that some springs and streams are likely to be dry.
The only way to get to Tusheti is via a high altitude narrow mountain road, or on foot over a high mountain pass. Both become impassable in winter, limiting the trekking season in Tusheti to July, August, and early September. It’s possible to do some shorter hikes around the villages in June (assuming the Tusheti road is open) but the high passes linking Tusheti and Khevsureti will be blocked by snow.
Just like Tusheti, Khevsureti is very much a summer trekking destination. Upper Khevsureti (beyond the Datvisjvari Pass) becomes inaccessible in winter. On the high mountain passes, such as Atsunta on the Shatili to Omalo trek or Chaukhi on the Juta to Roshka trek, snow lasts until around July and usually falls again in late September or early October.
The historic Khevsur settlement of Mutso, perched on a rocky outcrop above the trekking route between Shatili and Omalo
The historic Khevsur settlement of Mutso, perched
high on a rocky outcrop above the trekking route
between Shatili and Omalo
Although the region itself is accessible by road year round, as with most other trekking regions in Georgia, the hiking trails in the high mountains of Upper Racha are best tackled from July – September (possibly mid June – early October).
Short day hikes in Lagodekhi NP are possible from Spring to Autumn, but the high altitude Black Rock Lake trek is best tackled between July and September. If there has been wet weather, the steep descent can become very slippery and the park administration might close the trail, so bear this in mind too.
Maggie, the best trail dog ever, at Black Rock Lake in Lagodekhi National Park
Our friend Maggie, the best trail dog ever, at
Black Rock Lake in Lagodekhi National Park
Borjomi NP has trails open year-round, with 2 out of the dozen or so marked trails being winter snowshoe trails. Regular trekking is possible here from around Spring to late Autumn.
Many treks in Georgia can be done as village to village guesthouse treks while others require self-sufficient camping, and a few national parks offer self-catering mountain huts. So, whatever your preferred hiking style, there’s bound to be a trek out there for you.
The best regions for multi-day guesthouse trekking in Georgia are Svaneti and Tusheti. Outside of these regions, you usually need to carry your own camping gear.
Guesthouses usually provide dinner, bed, and breakfast. Expect to pay around 60 – 80 GEL per person, per night in Svaneti and 80 – 120 GEL per person, per night in Tusheti. A packed lunch can usually be provided in addition to this. Generally speaking, we found the quality and quantity of food served in guesthouses in Tusheti to be better than in Svaneti.
Private rooms are most common, with few places offering dorm style shared rooms. Some places offer rooms with private bathrooms but many have shared facilities. Guesthouses provide bedding and towels. Some places serve dinner and breakfast at one set time, especially if many guests are staying, while others will serve meals at a time you request.
It’s possible to book via booking.com for many guesthouses, and if you’re hiking in July or August it’s a good idea to book accommodation in advance. If you prefer not to, there are usually guesthouses available which don’t have online booking, so you should be able to find a bed somewhere but you might need to hunt around a bit. It’s also possible to ask at your guesthouse to call ahead and book your next guesthouse for you.
The traditional Tushetian village of Dartlo, home to a number of guesthouses
The traditional Tushetian village of Dartlo,
home to a number of guesthouses
In Tusheti, there are guesthouses in almost every village, which opens up plenty of 2 – 4 day hiking opportunities. The somewhat challenging trek from Omalo to Jvarboseli via the Ghele ridge is the most scenic route. If you’re looking for a more easy going trek, you can hike the first 2 days of the Omalo to Shatili route, as far as Girevi, then take a car back. You can also hike from Omalo to Shenako and Diklo in one day, and on to Dartlo the following day via Chigho.
It’s possible to camp wherever you plan on trekking in Georgia. And in the more remote regions, self-sufficient camping is the only option. Wild/free camping is the norm, with zero facilities available apart from at certain designated camp spots in some national parks. Be sure to plan ahead and Leave No Trace. Among other things, you must take all your rubbish with you, bury human waste and carry out used toilet paper, and minimise the impact of campfires, ideally using a stove instead.
Note that officially marked camp spots on many of the trekking trails are generally to be avoided and at the very least shouldn’t be relied on (with the exception of national parks like Borjomi and Lagodekhi). Two examples spring to mind: the marked campsite on the trail down from Utviri pass to Nakra in Svaneti, a muddy clearing next to a cow herder camp with a loud, aggressive dog; and Sakisto Lake below Mt Tbatana on the Tusheti to Pankisi Valley route, a grazing area close to a nearby shepherd camp with a number of aggressive and territorial dogs.
A quiet morning camping at Koruldi Lakes, around 1300 metres above Mestia in Upper Svaneti
A quiet morning camping at Koruldi Lakes, around
1300 metres above Mestia in Upper Svaneti
Some National Parks in Georgia, including Lagodekhi and Borjomi, have self-catering mountain huts available to stay in for a fee (usually 20 GEL per person). These are pretty basic, but provide shelter from the elements along with a few conveniences such as a table and benches, bunk beds, drop toilets, and an outdoor fire pit. You still need to carry your food, cooking equipment, sleeping bag, and so on. It’s also possible to camp outside the mountain huts and make use of the toilet and picnic table facilities (usually 5 GEL per person).
Whether you’re looking for a straightforward stroll to a magnificent glacier, or a challenging multi-day camping adventure, we guarantee Georgia has the trek to suit you.
A high number of scenic day hikes, with plenty of majestic mountain views, can be found in Upper Svaneti. Mestia, Mazeri, and Ushguli all make great bases from which to explore. Some easy yet highly rewarding short hikes include Shdugra Waterfall (from Mazeri), Chalaadi Glacier (from Mestia), and Adishi Glacier (from Adishi). More challenging day hikes include Latpari Pass (from Ushguli), Gul Pass (from Mazeri), or Bak Pass (from Etseri).
The Kazbegi region also has some great day hikes, and just like in Svaneti, there are plenty of guesthouses and a well established tourist infrastructure, meaning you don’t have to rough it. A day hike in Truso Valley or towards the Chaukhi Massif from Juta requires minimal effort for maximum reward. Or opt for a more challenging hike to Gergeti Glacier, at the foot of Mt Kazbek.
Gergeti Glacier is a challenging full day return hike from Kazbegi (Stepantsminda)
Gergeti Glacier is a challenging full day
return hike from Kazbegi (Stepantsminda)
The remote Tusheti region is also ideal for day hikers. Travelling between villages by vehicle and staying in atmospheric guesthouses allows you to see much of these mountains without the need for a multi-day trek.
Lagodekhi and Borjomi National Parks both have numerous marked trails of varying length and difficulty, many of which can be done in a day or just a few hours.
A multitude of guesthouses in villages across Svaneti means that even a multi-day trek here is fairly straightforward. On the popular 4 day Mestia to Ushguli trek, you can hike with a lightweight backpack and have all your meals and accommodation provided. For a more challenging multi-day hike, still with the comfort of guesthouse accommodation each night, opt for the 5 day Chuberi to Mestia route instead.
In Tusheti, with guesthouses in almost every village too, it is also possible to do multi-day treks from village to village without the need to camp. However, for those inclined, more challenging multi-day camping treks in the region include Omalo to Shatili (crossing Atsunta Pass), Tusheti to Khevsureti (crossing Borbalo Pass), and Tusheti to Pankisi Gorge (via Sakorno Pass).
Kelitsadi Lake, a challenging 3 day hike in the Kazbegi region
Kelitsadi Lake, a challenging
3 day hike in the Kazbegi region
If you’re looking to spend an extended period of time trekking in Georgia, it’s possible to combine a number of treks into one longer trekking route. A good example of this is the 8 – 10 day Transcaucasian Trail route from Chuberi to Ushguli in Upper Svaneti (a combination of Chuberi to Mestia and Mestia to Ushguli). You could add on a hike from Ushguli to Chvelpi to turn this into 9 – 12 days, then add on another 3 days trekking the Lechkhumi Range to Racha. Alternatively, continue east from Ushguli and hike for 3 – 4 days from Zeskho to Ghebi (in Racha) via the future TCT route.
Mountain views on the Mestia to Ushguli trek: the twin peaks of Ushba (in Georgia) on the left, Chatyn-Tau (in Russia) on the right
Mountain views on the Mestia to Ushguli trek:
the twin peaks of Ushba (in Georgia) on the left,
Chatyn-Tau (in Russia) on the right
In the northeast of Georgia, some great treks to link together are Juta to Roshka via Chaukhi Pass and Shatili to Omalo. From here, you can explore more Tusheti villages like Shenako and Diklo, then trek 5 days to Pankisi Gorge in the lowlands, or back to Khevsureti via Borbalo Pass. This whole itinerary would take at least 2 weeks.