Hiking in Armenia – Mount Aragats
Mount Aragats is the highest mountain in Armenia. Aragats is volcano and it has 4 peaks, the Northern one is the highest peak in Armenia, standing at 4090 meters above the sea. As hiking in Armenia is getting more and more popular Mount Aragats is a popular tourist destination in the counry and many of them try to climb it.
It is possible to take a tour from Yerevan, many hostels and tour agencies organise climbing trips to mountain, especially during the high season. Sometimes people choose to do it with overnight stay near Kari lake or on one of the peaks (usually Southern one). Mount Aragats tour price depends on the company, length of the trip and number of people going. I did it by myself so I will write about how I did it independently.
Yerevan to Kari lake (Stone Lake) by taxi
It was already off season (beginning of October), so I didn’t want to do overnight trip and decided to do it as quick as possible. Northern summit was the main goal, but whatever else I could climb would be a bonus. I woke up around 7:30 AM and asked the receptionist from the hostel to call me taxi. He used Yandex taxi app and the driver was there after ~10 minutes. In Armenia taxi prices are about ~100AMD/km, so I had to pay 7000AMD from Yerevan to Kari lake.
There is also another option if you choose to do an overnight trip. You could take a bus from Yerevan to Byurakan and then hitchhike. But the earliest bus leaves Yerevan at 10:30AM.
Climbing Mount Aragats – South, West and North summits
Together with Jonathan we arrived at Stone lake at around ~10:00. We started our walk to Southern summit first. This one is the easiest one from 4 peaks. After that – descend from Southern and ascend to Western summit. While on Western peak we managed to find the geocache which is hidden there.
Our main goal was Northern summit, which is the highest mountain peak in Armenia. So we descended from Western peak and tried to climb Northern peak as fast as possible, as the path was not so good and in some places there was no proper path it took us couple of hours.
First you will reach False Northern summit, which is almost as high as the real one, but about 100 meters away from the real one. The way from False summit to real one is pretty extreme, so definitely be really cautious and careful while trying to reach the real one.
If you start early in the morning or if you are faster walker than us you can easily do Eastern summit too, then you can call yourself true hiker, who did all 4 summits of Aragats mountain. We managed only 3 of them.
Getting down from Mount Aragats to Aragats village
Usually I like to try different routes to descend than the ones I took ascending. So this time we took another, much longer way down, which led us to Aragats village. Getting down from the summits to the valley is steep and sometimes it is easy to loose sight of the trail, so be careful and follow the GPX track.
A lot of people come to Aragats village to try traditional local food called Khash, so if you have an opportunity – do it.
From Aragats village you need to get on the main road. You can either hitchhike, walk or take a taxi. From the main road you can take marshrutka which should be around 500-600AMD. Taxi ride would cost around ~5000AMD.
By the way – it is also possible to start from Aragats village, there is a nice hiking spot with a toilet near the river on the way to volcano!
Our route and GPX track:
If you are interested in more hiking adventures from Yerevan check the hike from Garni to Geghard. It is a short and easy option for a daytrip from Yerevan. Enjoy your hike and let me know how you did it! 🙂
Joseph, I am an experienced hiker and have done some 14K mountains in Colorado. I would like to climb this mountain with my athletic adult daughters this May 2019. I am wondering about temperatures at the top in mid-May and what jackets/gloves we would need. We will bring hiking boots of course. Flying in from Virginia on May 10.
Hi Rob! I am sure it will be an easy hike if you have done some 14K mountains in Colorado. The only one which is more technical and harder is Northern peak. About the weather I am not sure, but mid May should be already fine and something similar to what I did in October. Bring some thermal base layers, wind and rain jackets + thin gloves. Enjoy your hike and let me know how did it go!