National Parks in Armenia

National Parks in Armenia








National Parks in Armenia


Armenia is home to several protected areas, including a state reserve on the old hunting grounds of a fourth century king and one of the world’s largest high-altitude lakes! 


Read on for more details about what you can expect at these unique nature spots. 



Sevan National Park 


At 1900 metres above sea level, Lake Sevan is surrounded by mountains that plunge right down to its shore. The basin itself covers most of Armenia’s Gegharkunik region. At its narrowest, the lake is divided into two parts – big and little Sevan. Mt. Artanish and Shshasar are popular hiking destinations, from which, on a clear day, it is possible to see Lake Sevan in its entirety. At the southern end of the narrowest point, you can explore the unique cliffs of Noratus and a massive pine forest. You can find more than 250 types of birds in the surrounding area, including the Armenian gull, a species endemic to the region. The Masrik river, which flows into Lake Sevan, is an important spawning ground for several fish including the Sevan trout.   


All around the lake, visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, paragliding, fishing, birdwatching, camping and horse-riding. Every year, “Savage of Sevan” organises the “Ride around Sevan,” a half triathlon and a full IronKing triathlon. In 2023, Armenia’s first international paragliding competition was organised next to the lake. 


Dilijan National Park 


Lush and forested, this national park covers 240 square kilometres (93 square miles) of Armenia’s Tavush region. Marked trails of varying difficulty criss-cross the park, passing abandoned monasteries, hidden waterfalls, cliffs, and even a grove of slanted trees affectionately called the drunken forest. Adventurous visitors may enjoy a weeklong backpacking excursion from one end of the park to the other. Visit the Dilijan Tourist Information Centre in town for more information about planning your hike or consult the HikeArmenia app for point-to-point, loop or day hike options. Within the park, you can also explore a reserve for the endangered red caucasian deer. 



Khosrov Forest State Reserve

Created under the dictate of the 4th century Armenian king Khosrov, this protected area is nearly 1,700 years old! About half of the species of flora in Armenia are represented here. In recent years, the endangered caucasian leopard has also passed through the reserve. 


To enter the reserve, each visitor is required to pay a small entrance fee in advance at an EasyPay payment terminal. Hikers can then enter the state reserve through either the Garni or Khosrov visitor centres, showing their payment receipts. It is also possible and encouraged to book a guided tour. With a guide, visitors have access to more of the wonders of the reserve, including its four waterfalls. The two most popular – Astghik and Vahagn – are named after the ancient pagan goddess of love and the god of war. The waterfalls are especially popular in spring when they are at their fullest and winter when they are frozen and fairy-like. 



Arpi National Park 


Arpi is located in the northwestern corner of Armenia’s Shirak region. It takes about one hour to reach its beautiful lake from the largest nearby city of Gyumri. And, once you’re there, it’s possible to rent a tent from the visitor’s centre to camp overnight or even to stay at the guest house there. Hikers will enjoy the 25 kilometre walk around the lake. Fishing, birdwatching, horseback-riding and exploring the pine forests are also popular. In the winter, the water freezes solid, making it a delightful ice-skating destination. Bring your passport when visiting this park; sometimes park rangers ask to see it upon entry.



Arevik National Park 

This remote park is most accessible with an offroading vehicle from the city of Meghri. Located in the dramatic Zangezur mountains of Armenia’s southern Syunik region, Arevik is a crossroads of ecology and topography. Relatively young as a protected area, it gained status as a national park in 2009. The terrain is varied, with a mixture of deciduous forest, alpine meadow, and semi-desert. The Meghri, Shvanidzor and Nrnadzor rivers run through the park, creating a home for several interesting species of fish. Along with the Caucasian leopard, Arevik is also home to several other endangered  species such as the Bezoar goat, Armenian mouflon, brown bear and Caspian snowcock. Watch for snakes in the warmer months! 


With its varied landscapes and untouched swaths of nature, Armenia is an amazing destination for eco-tourism. These national parks and state reserves are just the start! Explore more activities in the great outdoors here


Published on April 03, 2024