Hikes within one hour of Yerevan
The Top Hiking Trails Near Yerevan You Don't Want to Miss
Yerevan is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking view of Mount Ararat. While the city itself offers many attractions, the surrounding region boasts lots of natural beauty. Want to explore on foot? From rugged mountain trails to serene forest paths, here are some of the best hikes about one hour from Yerevan, which we’ve organized by season.
Just a couple tips from our side. Armenia has a rocky landscape, it’s high-altitude and the sun is strong. In addition to snacks, make sure to grab your hiking poles, a hat, lots of water, and some sunscreen. Let’s get going!
Early Spring: The Red Peak of Yeranos
Yeranos is a prominent, clay-colored peak located in the Ararat region of Armenia, about 30 minutes outside of the city. It sits majestically above Azat Reservoir. When the weather is clear, Yeranos offers a stunning panorama of the surrounding landscape, including views of the reservoir and Mount Ararat. Visit in April to catch the trees in purple blossom against a backdrop of red rock. With an elevation of 2410 m, Yeranos is a moderate to challenging hike that can be completed in a day.
In addition to the primary trail up the mountain, another trail snakes along a dramatic hidden canyon of pink striated rock to the base of Yeranos. The “pink canyon” is a stunning option for hikers seeking lower altitude gain.
Azat reservoir is a great location for air and water sports. While in the area, check out SUP boarding and paraplaning.
Late Spring: Wildflowers in Kotayk
Traveling northeast from Yerevan will take you to Armenia’s beautiful Kotayk region, which shines in the spring months. For a short adventure, drive to the village of Meghradzor and hike up to its namesake waterfall. If you’re looking for a challenging climb, hike to the peak of Artavaz, accessible from the same village.
At 2929 m above sea level, Artavaz is most beautiful in May and June when its slopes are covered in wildflowers. Just be prepared. It’s steep, and there are a lot of false peaks that might have you asking “Are we there yet?” But the hike is totally worth it. On a clear day, you can see the Marmarik Reservoir, Lake Sevan, Mt. Aragats and Mount Ararat from the summit!
Summer: Conquer Armenia’s Tallest Peak
At 4,090 meters above sea level, Aragats is Armenia’s highest mountain and its most famous hiking destination. An extinct volcano, it is distinctive for its four peaks and the colorful crater in between them. From Yerevan, you can see Aragats’ southern and western summits. From Gyumri, the northern and western peaks loom large.
Aragats is known for its fickle weather. In one day, it’s quite possible to see sun, rain, hail and snow. For the best chance of clear weather and agreeable temperatures, visit between July and September. In July, you’ll manage to catch wildflowers and remnants of snow.
There are several routes to the top, each offering stunning views of the crater and the surrounding landscapes below, including little lakes along the slopes. Every summit has its own unique features and difficulty levels. If you’re a beginner at hiking, we recommend the southern peak. It is less steep and has less loose rock and gravel than the others. If you’re looking for a challenge, we recommend the northern (and tallest) peak. Finally, if you’re an experienced adventurer looking for a hike to remember (and tell all your friends about), set the goal of conquering all four peaks in one day.
Be warned: this hike is not for the faint of heart. It requires physical endurance and proper preparation and it’s best to visit with a guide or an experienced hiker. It’s also a hike you’ll never forget. On a clear day, you can see as far as Mount Ararat.
Autumn: The Natural and Man-Made Architecture of Garni Gorge
Located just 30 kilometers east of Yerevan, Garni Gorge combines one of Armenia’s top cultural destinations with unique topography. The gorge is famous for its distinctive, hexagonal basalt columns, a remnant of volcanic activity. Walk from the ancient Garni Temple, which dates to pagan times, to the “Symphony of Stones.” There, you can see a natural cluster of the columns that resembles a pipe organ. Should you wish to continue walking, the hiking path follows the Azat River all the way to Azat Reservoir.
Hiking in Garni Gorge is best during the spring and autumn months, when the weather is mellow and the gorge is adorned with flowers or colorful foliage. However, this hike is also possible in winter.
Autumn: Visit the Sleeping King
As legend has it, Mt. Ara (2,605 m) is named after an ancient Armenian king of the same name. The profile of the mountain bears resemblance to a sleeping man. See if you can spot the nose and chin as you approach from afar!
Mt. Ara is located on the border of the Aragatsotn and Kotayk regions, about 45 minutes north of Yerevan. As the area gets very hot in summer, it’s a great hike for the fall months. When you visit, make sure to enter the small monastery Tsakhkevank built into the rock at the base of the mountain. At the summit, when the weather is clear, you’ll get a grand view of Mount Ararat from the south and Aparan Reservoir from the north. If you have energy afterwards, make a stop at the stunning Saghmosavank, nestled at the base of the peak on the edge of the Hrazdan River gorge.
Winter: Frozen Waterfalls at Khosrov
Khosrov Forest State Reserve is a protected area close to Garni Gorge with beautiful forests, unique rock formations, and waterfalls. Because the reserve is a protected region, you’ll need to book a trip with a certified guide. Many hikers enjoy this adventure in the winter when the forest floor is blanketed by snow and the park’s four famous waterfalls are half frozen.
A Refuge in the City
Finally, if you’re short on time, you can visit the Yerevan Botanical Gardens, located directly within the city. The gardens’ assortment of paved and dirt paths ensure a breath of fresh air and a forested relief from the hustle and bustle.
The nearby Yeranos mountain range is visible from Jrvezh forest park, which is located just outside of Yerevan. If you want to build some altitude into your hike, you’ll find it there.
Both dog-friendly locations can be reached within 20 minutes from downtown.
These are just a few examples of hikes within an hour of Yerevan. Armenia has many other beautiful hiking destinations in the regions, which you can explore using the app HikeArmenia. It's always best to research and plan ahead, considering factors such as weather conditions, trail difficulty, and safety precautions before embarking on any adventure. Happy hiking!
Published on June 29, 2023