The Girl from the Mountains: Hiking in Armenia

Vera Mirzoyan
11 min readSep 13, 2023

Have you ever happened to look at the trees, mountains, and rocks and think that they’re yours? It always happens to me.

I love Armenia and I’m fond of Armenian nature, especially the mountains. When I say Armenia I imagine a small country with huge mountains, and at the same time a small yet hard and picturesque mountain in our huge world.

My Love towards Mountains: Where it Comes from

Being born and grew up in the Tavush Province, nature has always been my happy place. If you have a chance to see the breathtaking views of Tavush nature, you’ll get me. My best friend always says that it’s difficult to be surprised by nature if you were born in Tavush. There’s a truth in that.

So, I was in love with the Armenian mountains and wanted to hike those mountains to get to know them better. At first, I didn’t know how those mountains would help me get to know myself as well.

For a long time, I was looking at the mountains, following some hiking clubs, and being inspired, but the introvert inside of me didn’t let me take that step alone as none of my friends wanted to join. Yet, once I got that courage to do things alone, I found the real me.

My First Hike: to the Mountain Dimats

I chose Dimats Mountain (2378 m) for my first hike (it was July 2022), as I had been attracted by the beauty of this mountain a lot. It’s located in the Tavush region, in the Dilijan National Park, and it’s visible on my way to my hometown from Yerevan.

My first hike was a great experience and challenge. I didn’t have proper hiking staff: boots, clothing, and accessories. I just wore sports clothes, took my gym backpack and went. People say it isn’t an easy hike for the first time, especially if you aren’t well prepared, but I was okay, despite the fact that I got sunburnt. Yet, let me confess, this was somehow out of my comfort, but the views and atmosphere really attracted me, and filled me with emotions.

However, I was somehow confused. Okay, I like being in nature, especially in the Armenian landscape, I like trekking, but something prevents me from going hiking again. Who knows?

I didn’t go hiking for about 8–9 months…

Back to the Mountains

“Actively hiking” was one of my goals for 2023 and here I am. I took the first step back to this part of me in April and chose another hiking club for this time. And you know what? I didn’t even imagine I was going to find a new family.

It’s already 5 months since I’ve been hiking with this club and I’m sure I’ll choose them whenever the mountains call me: this means every weekend. I’m happy I found these people — my people and I always recommend people to hike with them — Trichq Hiking Club. The word “Trichq” means “flight” in Armenian. And this is not a metaphor, with them, you really fly like a bird.

My Favorite Hiking Destinations in Armenia So Far

Today I’ve already reached the peaks of many mountains in Armenia, including the highest point of the republic — the North Peak of Mount Aragats (4,090m.).

Now I’ll share my top 3 favorite hiking destinations in Armenia so far.

#1 Mount Azhdahak

This is one of the most beautiful phenomena of nature my eyes have ever seen — a crater lake on the top of a previous volcano.

Hiking to Mount Azhdahak

As its name says, this mountain is giant. In Armenian, the word azhdaha (աժդահա) means huge, giant and the mountain itself is. Some part of the road we passed on a truck because the road wasn’t accessible for cars, then we started walking. We walked to the top of this mammoth mountain (3,597m.) where we had a breathtaking view.

Later we walked down to the crater lake, which was also a very interesting experience. The water was cold and there was still snow on one side of the lake and also in some parts of the road to the mountain.

During this hike, we ascended to 2 neighboring mountains as well. The second peak of the day was Karmir Katar (from Armenian “Red Peak”) which is 3,530 meters in height. It also became one of my favorite peaks, as I felt a huge power in this mountain.

Karmir katar mountain

And the third one was Paytasar (from Armenian “Mount Horseshoe), with 3,177 meters of height. The name of this mountain seems strange but at the same time logical, as it looks like a horseshoe from afar.

And from the top of the mountain, there’s a fascinating view of Mount Ararat — the Biblical Armenian mountain.

mountain Paytasar

Mount Ararat was the highest peak (5,137m.) of Armenian Highland. However, Armenians lost it when the western part of the country was genocided by Turks. Now the mountain is in the territory of Turkey.

If I speak about Mt. Ararat, I’ll speak very, very long. However, I have a dream to reach its peak next year (2024) and I prefer to express my emotions then.

#2 Mount Aragats: North Peak, Southern Peak, Western Peak

Aragats is the highest point in the Republic of Armenia. This is an isolated four-peaked volcano massif. When I first saw the crater from the top of the Southern peak I was impressed. What if we visualize the joining of the 4 peaks? Probably, this would be one of the giants of the world.

I’ve been to 3 peaks of Mount Aragats. My first hike to this mountain was to the Southern and Western summits. We started the hike from Lake Kari (from Armenian “Stone Lake”).

The Southern peak (3,887m) is easy to ascend. This is a good hike even for beginners. However, make sure to take a windproof coat with you because it’s cold and windy on the top.

Then we decided to hike to the Western peak (4,001m) as well. We went down near the crater and then climbed again to the Western peak. This is a relatively difficult climb, and it’s not recommended for beginners. Although, I think that you can do it, once you have proper hiking shoes and you are physically fit.

Two Peaks of Aragats in one day: this is one of my favorite hikes. Especially when you are with your favorite people and you can play snowballs in the middle of summer. Aragats is really powerful and it makes me strong as well.

That day I decided that I should climb to the North Peak of Aragats as well.

Two weeks later I’m on my way to the Peak of Armenia — North Peak of Mt. Aragats (4,090m.). My hiking friends told me that it wasn’t an easy climb so I mentally prepared myself not to panic in case I physically couldn’t reach the peak.

The North Peak of Mount Aragats has two summits — fake and real. The real summit is only a few meters higher, but you need to pass through about 200 meters of dangerous distance through rocks to reach the real summit from the fake one. This makes the situation even worse for me. But I was ready not to reach even the fake summit.

So we started the hike and everything was fine. Aragats welcomed us with colorful flowers and sunny weather. I was feeling good. The hike was difficult but I was ready for that. We were walking to the fake summit, and then the leader of the group should decide who was ready to pass the rocky way to the real summit.

We were about to reach the fake summit and the weather became horrible, clouds covered the view, rain, hail, lightning, thunderstorms… We had to go back as it was very dangerous to stay at about 3,900 meters in height. On our way back, we walked to the Gegharot waterfall.

This is a very beautiful waterfall on the slopes of Aragats. The weather was wet, I had a headache and felt nauseated because of the height, but the sound of the water was very peaceful.

At the end of the day, I was happy that the North Peak of Aragats became the first summit I didn’t reach. It isn’t a simple mountain, it’s the Peak of Armenia. For the first time, I didn’t reach the top of the mountain. But I understand that it’s possible. The weather can prevent you from reaching the summit and the same is in life. It’s not certain that you always achieve your goals. The most important thing is to believe in yourself and not to lose your hope. And so did I. I went home planning my next try to reach the summit.

A few weeks later I came back to reach the Peak of Armenia, and this time I did. The weather was very nice. Again we started walking from Lake Kari and reached the crater from the point where Southern and Western peaks meet, then we passed through the crater and reached the point where Northern and Eastern peaks meet. There is a very nice view of the North Peak from the crater.

The next step was to climb the North peak to the fake summit. We reached the point where my previous try ended up because of the bad weather, then we continued to the top. This was still a difficult ascend, but the group reached the fake summit. It was very high and wonderful. After a few minutes of rest, we started to go to the real summit through the dangerous route I talked about above.

climb the North peak of Aragats from the fake summit

It was like climbing rocks and walking through a very narrow stony route. If you are afraid of heights, do not try to go through it, as it may be very dangerous. A wrong step and you can’t keep your orientation.

Despite all the dangers and circumstances, I stand at the highest point of Armenia — the North (Real) Peak of Mt. Aragats (4,090m.). The view from the top is really breathtaking. You can see all the peaks of Aragats, the crater, the lakes on the slopes of the mountain, other mountains, etc. It’s really wonderful.

One of the most interesting things that happened during this hike was eating the best watermelon of my life in the Peak of Armenia. It turned out that a Russian hiker brought a huge 12kg watermelon in his backpack.

After eating and having rest at the top, we started walking down to the crater. When we passed through the crater and climbed to the “crossroad” between the Southern and Western peaks, it was almost dark.

We walked under the stars to Lake Kari where our car was waiting to bring us back to Yerevan. This was a really great experience for me. Now I’ve been to three peaks of Aragats and I want to say this is a very beautiful and strong mountain. Hopefully, I’ll climb the Eastern Summit as well.

#3 Month Dimats

As I’ve already mentioned above, Dimats (2378 m) is the first mountain I hiked. Later it became the home of my first camping trip, and also it’s the first peak I reached for the second time.

If you ask me, Dimats is one of the most beautiful peaks in Armenia located in the Ijevan Mountains. This is an aesthetic mountain with a breathtaking view from the peak as well as from all over the trekking route (about 20 km): rich forests, green fields, flowery meadows, waterfalls, and a rocky wall of the peak. Surely, you’ll notice a lot more.

This is the mountain I chose to live in a tent, and I’m glad I did. During this 2-day hike, I saw how the clouds run, how the sun shines after a heavy rain, and how nature expresses itself through this change. My eyes are so thankful… I’m so happy with every moment I live…

I Do Choose Mountains! Wondering Why?

“Why do you hike?”, “What have you lost in the mountains?”, “Which mountain do you hike this time?”, “Do you ever go home?”, “Don’t you hike this weekend?”…

The list of questions I hear all the time is going and going on… But you know what?

I can’t explain why I chose mountains. You either know it or not.

An essential part of me is a hiker. This is one of my roles in this wonderful life. Like I’m a girl, a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a friend, an aunt, an employee, I’m also a hiker. And you know what? I like it! I like being in nature and bringing its rules to my life.

Hiking requires me to navigate trails, overcome obstacles, and be aware of my surroundings. By focusing on my footsteps, breathing, and following the path ahead, I naturally shift my attention to the present moment. This is one of the things I try to do all the time — to live the moment fully.

To Sum Up

I hope you enjoyed reading about my hiking experience and now you also want to hike. Feel free to contact me through my Instagram: Sunflo.wer___ and express your emotions or opinion. I’m always ready to share my experience and recommendations about hiking in Armenia. Don’t be offended if I don’t reply immediately. I’ll definitely do it when I’m back from the mountains!

And in case you want to meet me in the Armenian mountains, follow trichq_hiking_club_ on Instagram and join their hikes. Most likely, I’ll be there!

--

--

Vera Mirzoyan

The Sunflower Girl 🌻I never try to find more readers for my writings, but I try to write the best writing for my readers! ig: sunflo.wer___