Khevi, Kazbegi and the Military Highway

Key information: Khevi, Kazbegi and the Military Highway

  • Khevi sits east of South Ossetia, up the historic Georgian Military Highway. Georgia’s most accessible walking area. 
  • A huge number of outstanding walks, from short climbs to viewpoints to thrilling multi-dayers.

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Vital Statistics

  • Length: Your choice
  • Maximum Altitude: 3,430m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable
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WALK SUMMARY

Khevi sits east of South Ossetia, up the historic Georgian Military Highway, which links Tbilisi and the heartlands with Russia via a driveable pass. One of Georgia’s two best known walking areas, and its most accessible one. 

Kazbegi: a region as well as a town (officially known as Stepantsminda) in the high range just south of the border mountains. Centred on the Tergi river valley and dominated by the icy dome (well, so it appears from Kazbegi) of 5,033m Mt Kazbek, the crazily eroded remains of a vast extinct volcano.

To the Gergeti Glacier: A fascinating and thrilling walk up a superb ridge above a dramatic gorge, towards the high glacier below mighty 5,033m Mt Kazbek, with grand views of Mt Kazbek and passing the famous Tsminda Sameba church. 22km, 8hrs or so. One of the Caucasus’ finest walks.

Kazbegi to Roshka or Gudauri in Khevsureti via the Sadzele Pass (at 3,056m). 2 days +, superb-sounding walking. Or add the 4 day walk onward over the Barbalo and Tsubrovana passes to Ardoti – or, indeed, one more day on across the Khadotani Pass to Mutso in Khevsureti, a classic fortified village. 

(You can also trek between the Darial Gorge in Khevi, southward up the Khde Valley to the Kibishi Pass (3,500m) to descend to Juta. 3 days. A difficult walk including a glacier crossing.)

The Truso Valley runs westwards off the upper Tergi valley north of Gudauri and west of Stepantsminda (Kazbegi), hard up against the South Ossetia border and leading right up to the high Russian border ridge. (It is said to lead to the source of the Tergi river.) A dirt road runs a long way up it from the Georgian Military Highway, through a canyon then into wide meadows with old villages, many sadly abandoned, and past ancient towers. You can simply walk up the valley, which is fascinating and beautiful in its own right. As long or short as you want, as long as you have transport.

Keli Plateau: a bare if exceptionally beautiful once-volcanic plateau including features such as old lava flows and ex-volcanoes. Trek over two high (3,400m) but stunning passes to reach the region and beautiful Kelitsadi Lake. A demanding 3 day/37km tour. (See more on the excellent www.caucasus-trekking.com)

Around Juta, up a long and rough road east of the Georgian Military Highway.

Juta to Roshka in Khevsureti via the Chaukhi (Abudelauri) Pass: a superb trek up a perfect grassy valley, via a lake, then across this high pass in wild, beautiful landscape: fascinating both naturally and in human terms. 3 days, up to 3,430m. (It is said that you can do a one-day alternative.) (Recommended by www.caucasus-trekking.com and our friend Nick Ince.)

(You can also cross to Roshka via the Sadzele Pass (3,060m) in a day, and via the Arkhoti Valley in 2 days.)

Or walk up the flower-strewn valley to the lake and on to the foot of Mt Chaukhi near Juta for a superb day walk.

Tetu Peak (3,210m) – a superb day walk. This minor summit on the high ridge near Mt Chaukhi, with fantastic views including of Mt Kazbek. 4hrs or so if from a trekking camp high in the valley. A very long [ ]hr walk from Juta.

Off the Georgian Military Highway - around Gudauri: several walks here, including:

Khada Valley (often called Khada Gorge, because it does start with a bit of gorge). Wonderful expanse of steep green slopes bristling with towers, all below high, craggy ridges. Gentle meadow-enjoyment, or the longer slog up to the hill to the wonderfully-sited Fire Cross Tower.

Fire Cross Tower: A fascinating and thrilling walk up out of the Khada Valley to an ancient beacon tower on a steep, grassy ridge south of Gudauri with superb views of the plunging slopes, crags, woodlands and tower-bristling hamlets of the mid Greater Caucasus.

Lomisa Chapel: A steep climb to this C9 chapel perched high on the ridge which forms the border with break-away South Ossetia. Stunning views, magical atmosphere.

See also thoughts and detailed information on the brilliant  www.caucasus-trekking.com, who have inspired some of the ideas here.

This can be demanding walking in remote mountains with uncertain weather. Come fully prepared.

We would love to give more information. Please send us your ideas and photos! Thank you!

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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