• TRUSO VALLEY HIKING GUIDE

    GEORGIA

    The settlement of Abano in Truso Valley, with the old monastery on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind
  • TRUSO VALLEY

    The settlement of Abano in Truso Valley, with the old monastery on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind

TRUSO VALLEY HIKING GUIDE

GEORGIA

Looking for an easy day hike from Kazbegi with maximum scenic reward? Truso Valley is the perfect choice. This 21 km round trip hike passes through a dramatic steep-sided canyon before entering the wide valley and leading to a crumbling hilltop fortress. There is plenty of interest along the way, including abandoned villages, monasteries, and colourful travertine mineral springs. The trail is mostly flat with fantastic mountain views all around, and it’s just 40 minutes by taxi or shuttle bus from Kazbegi. It makes a great day hike in itself, but is also a good warm up for the more challenging Gergeti Glacier hike.

In this guide we’ll cover everything you need to know about hiking in Truso Valley, including times and distances, key sights along the way, transport options to the trailhead, and practical tips. There is also a downloadable map and gpx track to help you find your way.

TRUSO VALLEY HIKE QUICK FACTS

          • Distance | 21 km return from Kvemo Okrokano
          • Duration | 5 hours return walking time (allow up to 8 hours with stops)
          • Start/End | Kvemo Okrokana
          • Min Elevation | 2029 m
          • Max Elevation | 2231 m
          • Total Ascent | 341 m
          • Total Descent | 341 m
          • Hiking Season | Spring – Autumn
          • River Crossings | Yes, but all with bridges
          • Water Sources | Yes, from streams/river, but the water can taste ‘eggy’

TRUSO VALLEY HIKE QUICK FACTS

Distance
21 km return

Duration
5 hours return walking time
(allow up to 8 hours with stops)

Start/End
Kvemo Okrokana

Min Elevation
2029 m

Max Elevation
2231 m

Total Ascent
341 m

Total Descent
341 m

Hiking Season
Spring – Autumn

River Crossings
Yes, but all with bridges

Water Sources
Yes, from streams/river,
but the water can taste ‘eggy’


WATCH OUR FILM

Watch the behind the scenes version of our Truso Valley hike on Instagram stories

Watch the behind the scenes
version of our Truso Valley
hike on Instagram stories 

TRUSO VALLEY HIKING MAP

TRUSO VALLEY

HIKING MAP

Use the map below to help guide you on your hike through Truso Valley. 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 alternative offline mapping apps such as Gaia (iOS/Android) or OsmAnd Maps (iOS/Android). See our 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.


TRUSO VALLEY HIKE

We’ve broken down the Truso Valley hike into sections below and given approximate timings for each. These are based on average hiking speeds. If you’re a fast hiker you can expect it to take less time, and conversely, if you’re a slow hiker you can expect it to take longer. These times do not factor in rest periods, lunch breaks, etc. Our personal hiking time from start to finish was around 8 hours, but we stopped to film, drone, and photograph a lot.

ELEVATION PROFILE AND 3D ROUTE MAP VIDEO

Note that the figure of 341 m given for total ascent and descent is approximate, as the steep-sided walls of the Kasari Canyon play havoc with the GPS signal.


Kvemo Okrokana to The Bridge | 50 minutes | 3.5 km

Kvemo Okrokana to The Bridge

50 minutes | 3.5 km

The Truso Valley hike starts just before the bridge in the largely abandoned village of Kvemo Okrokana. After crossing the bridge, the route follows a dirt road for most of the day. You climb a little at first, passing through the village and up into the increasingly impressive Kasari Canyon. The Terek River rages below, with dramatic cliffs rising high above. The views are wonderful. After reaching the highest point, you descend back to the riverside and cross a small bridge over the Kasarastskali before turning sharply to the left. After walking for about 50 minutes, you come to the bridge across the Terek River.

The dirt road to Truso Valley descends back to the Terek River before entering the narrowest part of Kasari Canyon

The road descends back to the Terek River before entering the narrowest part of Kasari Canyon



The dirt road to Truso Valley descends back to the Terek River before entering the narrowest part of Kasari Canyon

The road descends back to the Terek River before
entering the narrowest part of Kasari Canyon



The Bridge to ‘Truso Valley Viewpoint’ | 20 minutes | 1.6 km

The Bridge to
‘Truso Valley Viewpoint’

20 minutes | 1.6 km

Shortly after crossing the bridge, the canyon opens up to a wide pasture and your first sight of some travertine mineral springs ahead. These are mostly white, ochre and charcoal coloured. The road bends to the right, and across the river you’ll see some colourful huts hiding in trees. This is Truso Camping, a cafe and camping spot set on the river bend.

You can cross the bridge and make a detour to the camp, or simply continue on the dirt road. As you go, increasingly broader valley views open up ahead of you. At the point marked ‘Truso Valley Viewpoint’ on Maps.me, look across the river and you’ll see an attractive pool of blue water surrounded by big rocks, with a red tinged channel of water flowing from it. It’s known as Abano Mineral Lake, and it’s a lovely scene. If you want to get closer you can follow the short trail up and around the hillside behind Truso Camping (1.5 km there and back from the camp).

‘Truso Valley Viewpoint’ to Red Travertine Spring | 20 minutes | 1.8 km

‘Truso Valley Viewpoint’
to Red Travertine Spring

20 minutes | 1.8 km

A little further up the valley you’ll find a huge mineral spring near the river. Shades of orange, lime, yellow and ochre blend together and snake among one another, like a giant marbled canvas. The most striking colour is the vibrant red around the two pipes, where mineral rich water gushes out – the colours at the second pipe are the most impressive. You can climb down from the grassy verge for a closer look.

Rich reds and orange mineral deposits surround two gushing pipes on the side of a verge in Truso valley in northern Georgia

Colourful mineral deposits surround the verge where the spring exits the pipes



Rich reds and orange mineral deposits surround a gushing pipe in Truso valley in northern Georgia

Rich colours at the second pipe



Rich reds and orange mineral deposits surround two gushing pipes on the side of a verge in Truso valley in northern Georgia

Colourful mineral deposits surround the
verge where the spring exits the pipes


Rich reds and orange mineral deposits surround a gushing pipe in Truso valley in northern Georgia

Rich colours at the second pipe



Red Travertine Spring to Abano Monastery | 40 minutes | 2.1 km

Red Travertine Spring
to Abano Monastery

40 minutes | 2.1 km

A little beyond the spring you’ll find Ketrisi (Keterisi), a smattering of mostly abandoned houses (and perhaps a large dog with the face of a polar bear chained up next to some rabbits). Further on, cross the bridge and continue up the slight hill. A bright pink-roofed building sits above to the right, a monastery for monks. The older looking, more striking monastery for nuns lies ahead, in the small settlement of Abano.

The settlement of Abano in Truso Valley, with the old monastery on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind

The settlement of Abano, with the old monastery on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind



The settlement of Abano in Truso Valley, with the old monastery on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind

The settlement of Abano, with the old monastery
on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind



Abano Monastery to Zakagori Fortress | 20 minutes | 1.5 km

Abano Monastery to
Zakagori Fortress

20 minutes | 1.5 km

From the monastery it’s a simple 20 minute walk to the foot of Zakagori Fortress, a crumbling collective of stone towers sitting on a hill above the border guards’ camp. The short but steep climb up is definitely worth it for commanding views eastward down Truso Valley, and westward towards the Russian border. Because of the border this is as far as you’re allowed to go, so here you turn around and begin your 2.5 hour walk back to Kvemo Okrokana.

The magnificent crumbling ruins of Zakagori Fortress on a hilltop in Truso Valley, Georgia

The magnificent crumbling ruins of Zakagori Fortress (if you want to fly a drone here, get permission from the border guards first)



The magnificent crumbling ruins of Zakagori Fortress on a hilltop in Truso Valley, Georgia

The magnificent crumbling Zakagori Fortress ruins
(if you want to fly a drone here, get permission
from the border guards first)



HOW TO GET TO TRUSO VALLEY FROM KAZBEGI (STEPANTSMINDA)

The best place to start the hike is at the small village of Kvemo Okrokana. It lies at the end of a bumpy dirt track about 5.5 km west of Kobi, a village on the Georgian Military Highway. The total distance from Kazbegi is 22 km and it takes 30-40 minutes to get there by car.

You can take a taxi (from around 80 GEL return for the vehicle), or book a seat on the shuttle bus operated by Mountain Freaks (30 GEL return per passenger). Taxi drivers will usually be happy to wait at Kvemo Okrokana while you hike, just be sure to agree on a timeframe in advance. In our case, we just messaged our driver before entering Kasari Canyon on the way back (where there’s no phone reception). This gave him enough time to drive back and get us.

 The Mountain Freaks shuttle bus departs Kazbegi at 9am or 11am, returning at 4pm and 6pm, between April 15th and October 31st. This gives you roughly an hour to explore, on top of the trekking time. Book at least one day in advance, and note that there’s a minimum of 3 passengers and a maximum of 7.

Crumbling ruins sit among a few still occupied homes in the village of Kvemo Okrokana, the trailhead for the Truso Valley Hike

Crumbling ruins among a few still occupied homes in Kvemo Okrokana



Crumbling ruins sit among a few still occupied homes in the village of Kvemo Okrokana, the trailhead for the Truso Valley Hike

Crumbling ruins among a few still occupied
homes in the village of Kvemo Okrokana



If you’re on a strict budget, you could take a Tbilisi bound marshrutka from Kazbegi to Kobi and hike up the valley from there. This adds at least an extra 8.5 km to your return hike which makes it a pretty long day. In this case you could break it up over two days, taking camping gear or booking a stay in the cabins at Truso Camping.

It’s also possible to get to Kobi via the Kobi-Gudauri cable car/ropeway, which usually operates in summer as well as the winter ski season. This connects Gudauri on the southern side of Jvari Pass with Kobi on the northern side and takes about 15 minutes. In summer it operates from 1000 – 1800 and costs 30 GEL return.

Note that a dirt road extends all the way up Truso Valley.  If you don’t want to walk, or if you want to arrange a car all the way to Zakagori Fortress in one direction, this means that it’s possible to visit on a ‘Delica’ tour (the ubiquitous 4×4 Mitsubishi vans that seat 6-7 people). Ask at your accommodation about tour prices and booking. A regular car can make it (slowly) along the bumpy road/track to Kvemo Okrokana, but only a proper 4×4 can make it all the way up Truso Valley.

WHAT TO PACK FOR HIKING IN TRUSO VALLEY

FOOD

It’s a good idea to bring snacks and a packed lunch for your Truso Valley hike, given that you’ll be walking for at least 6 hours. You can pick up supplies at the supermarket in Kazbegi, or ask your guesthouse to make a packed lunch for you.

WATER

There is limited shade in the valley and the sun can be relentless and exhausting. Make sure you drink plenty of water along the way. Bring a water bladder or water bottle in order to refill from the river or at the tap in Ketrisi. You may wish to sterilise the water, so have a steripen/purification tablets or such like with you. Also, be aware that the Truso Valley water sources as far as Abano are rich in minerals and sulphur and can taste ‘eggy’ and bubbly.

ALL WEATHER CLOTHING

Regardless of what the forecast says, you should expect anything and everything from the weather in the Caucasus! It’s a good idea to pack a waterproof jacket and a warm layer, plus a hat and sunglasses.

An old house in the largely abandoned village of Ketrisi in Truso Valley, with even older ruins seen across the river

An old house in the largely abandoned village of Ketrisi, with even older ruins across the river



An old house in the largely abandoned village of Ketrisi in Truso Valley, with even older ruins seen across the river

An old house in the largely abandoned village of
Ketrisi, with even older ruins across the river



COMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR

Hiking in Truso Valley doesn’t require hiking boots, but you will need a comfortable pair of trainers at least to complete the 21 km walk. The short section up to Zakagori Fortress has some loose stones and slippery bits, but otherwise you’ll be walking on grass and dirt roads.

MAP

The trail is very straightforward to follow, but it’s always handy to have the maps.me app (iOS/Android) on your phone to keep you right. It’s also marked on other OSM mapping apps such as Gaia (iOS/Android) and OsmAnd Maps (iOS/Android). You can download our GPX/KML files to help keep you on track.

MONEY

You may want to buy drinks or food at Truso Camping, so best to take some cash just in case.

POWER BANK

Even on flight mode, your phone might run out of battery, so best to pack a power bank and cable.

WHERE TO STAY IN KAZBEGI (STEPANTSMINDA)

WHERE TO STAY IN KAZBEGI

(STEPANTSMINDA)

Besides the basic huts at Truso Camping, there are no accommodation options in Truso Valley. Most people stay in Kazbegi town (Stepantsminda) and make a day trip from there. If you’re looking for a closer guesthouse, Kobi House sits at the entrance to the valley, in Kobi Village on the Georgian Military Highway.

There are lots of options in Kazbegi, from homely guesthouses to swish hotels, and even a funky campsite. For a complete range of what’s available, check booking.com.

BEST MT. KAZBEK VIEWS

If you’re looking for the best Mt. Kazbek views, opt for somewhere a little north of the town square such as North Kazbegi, or somewhere up the hillside on the east of town, for example Guesthouse Elia, Wooden Hotel Kazbegi, Sabuka Qushashvili or Kazbegi View. Stunning design hotel Rooms Kazbegi arguably has the best view of all, and an enormous terrace from which to enjoy it. Elia Loft has three gorgeous A-Frame houses in a lovely forest setting.

Snow capped Mt. Kazbek shining bright at sunrise, as seen from the town of Kazbegi (Stepantsminda) in northern Georgia

Sunrise view of Mt. Kazbek from Kazbegi (Stepantsminda)



Snow capped Mt. Kazbek shining bright at sunrise, as seen from the town of Kazbegi (Stepantsminda) in northern Georgia

Sunrise view of Mt. Kazbek from Kazbegi



ON THE MAIN ROAD

If you want to avoid walking up hills, choose somewhere along the main road such as Wooden Guesthouse or Traveler Kazbegi Guesthouse. Both are very conveniently located close to the Tbilisi marshrutka stand, shops, restaurants, travel agencies, and so on.

GERGETI VILLAGE

There are also plenty of accommodation options in Gergeti Village, which is across the river from Kazbegi and close to the trailhead for the Gergeti Trinity Church and Gergeti Glacier hike. Views from here overlook Kazbegi town and the mountains rising behind (not Mt Kazbek and Gergeti Trinity Church). Options include Guesthouse Ketino Sujashvili, Home of Bella & Tamo, Red Stone Guesthouse, and Kazbegi Cabins.

CAMPING

For camping, check out Camp at Kuro, a little north of the town.

FIND MORE KAZBEGI ACCOMMODATION HERE

Booking.com

HOW TO GET TO KAZBEGI (STEPANTSMINDA)

HOW TO GET TO KAZBEGI

(STEPANTSMINDA)

Kazbegi is about 150 km north of Tbilisi, along the Georgian Military Highway. The road is generally open year-round, but can close at times in winter if there is heavy snow. It takes about 3 hours to drive. Check Holiday Autos for car hire options if you want to self drive the route.

You can take a marshrutka to Kazbegi from Didube Station in Tbilisi (10 GEL, approx. every hour from 0800 – 1900). It takes around 3.5 hours, usually with one toilet stop en route. You’ll be dropped at the bus station (more of a stand really) in the centre of Kazbegi. Return marshrutkas from Kazbegi to Tbilisi leave hourly on the hour between 0700 and 1200, then at 1330, 1400, 1530, 1700 and 1800, departing from the same place.

There are also shared taxis departing from Didube Station. These cost about 20-25 GEL per seat. Alternatively, book a private car and driver with gotrip.ge and make as many scenic stops as you like along the way. This will likely cost around 140 GEL, with door to door service.

In Kazbegi, the best place to find a taxi is in the main square near the bus station. Your accommodation owner or staff will likely also know a driver and be able to arrange a taxi for you.

See More From Georgia

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 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.

HIKING IN TRUSO VALLEY

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 hike, 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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