Mestia to Ushguli
Key information: Mestia to Ushguli
- An engrossing 3-4 day walk past tower-bristling villages and across spectacular high ridges and passes.
- Said to be Georgia’s most popular hike, with good cause.
- Walkopedia rating92
- Natural interest16.5
- Human interest10
- Negative points0
- Total rating92
- Length: 58km
- Maximum Altitude: 2,655m
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.
A fabulous 4 day, 58km hike through glorious scenery, village-to-village so tents are not required, and crossing spectacular high ridges and passes. Said to be Georgia’s most popular longer hike – and with good cause. Strenuous in places.
These are amazing villages – not just Ushguli (World Heritage Site though it is), so you will get deep into Georgia’s history and culture.
Doable between mid June (flowers but wetter) and early October. High season July and August, when you will need to book accommodation.
Day 1 (16km, strenuous on places with 760m of ascent) climbs and crosses the ridge due east of Mestia, then winds on a track along the superb northern slopes of a long, deep valley between some staggering old tower-villeges to Zabeshi at the top of wide alluvial meadows. A stunning day walk in its own right, with easily arranged taxis back.
Day 2 climbs for some 900m through meadows and forest to the 2,500m high ridge (and ski area, arrgh!) south of Zabeshi. Descend to Adeshi. 11km-ish.
Day 3 crosses the potentially dangerous Adishi river, then climbs to the 2,655m Chkhunderi pass, the route's high point, for stellar views. A long descent to Iprali. At nearly 19km the longest day, 860m of ascent and 1,070 of descent. Would make an excellent day walk if you could sort transport.
Day 4 contours up above the main road to Ushguli, up the beautiful Enguri valley. Involves road sections at start and end.12.5 km, 700m-ish of climb, so still some work to be done.
You could do it in 3 days if carrying a tent.
A possibly even better alternative is via Tsvirmi (a day walk in its own right), which takes in the higher Zuruldi Massif so gets superb views on day 1. A bit more demanding. With a newish cable car taking you to the top of the Zuruldi ridge east of Mestia, a beautiful if at times barely visible trail crosses stunning high ground with extraordinary views to remote Tsvirmi. A long walk. Day 2 takes you some 17km, climbing some 1,270m, across goreous highland hillsides with extraordinary views to join the main trail at Adishi.
Getting away from Ushguli can be hard: consider arranging transport in advance.
See also further information on the brilliant www.caucasus-trekking.com.
This is demanding walking in remote mountains with uncertain weather. Come fully prepared.
We would love to give more. Please send us your ideas and photos! Thank you!
See our Svaneti page for more on the Svaneti area.
For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Greater Caucasus Mountains walk page.
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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