Grey, brown hills with gentle slopes and very few vegetation

Transcaucasian Trail Armenia

TCT, Armenia

About the Transcaucasian Trail Armenia

861 km(535 mi)
Type of trail
Thru-hike, Long-distance

Difficulty is highly personal. Be aware of the weather conditions as bad weather turns easier trails in difficult trails especially in the mountains.


Lodging means a mix of hotels, hostels or AirBnB’s.

Wild camping, Lodging
Elevation gain
52000 m(170604 ft)
Most of the time
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The Transcaucasian Trail Armenia traverses 861 kilometers (535 miles) of wildly diverse terrain between Armenia’s northern border at Lake Arpi and its southern border at Meghri. The route weaves through red desert canyons, treeless steppe, lush hills, insane cliffs, high-altitude volcanic plateaus, and just about everything in between.

The full Trans Caucasian Trail (TCT) is a long-distance route that spans Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. In 2015, the TCT Association was officially established to coordinate the planning and development of the trail. Since then, volunteers and professionals have worked to map out routes, build infrastructure, and promote sustainable tourism practices. The Armenia and Georgia sections are open for skilled thru-hikers, and the Azerbaijan section is still under development.

Stiina Kristal

Stiina Kristal

Stiina is an IML-qualified mountain leader and an experienced long-distance hiker. Together with her partner Kris, they love to explore trails all around the world, learning more about themselves with every adventure.

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The Trail

The Transcaucasian Trail Armenia is also a journey through the region’s history: it passes prehistoric archaeological sites, ancient monasteries tucked deep into forests and canyons, Silk Road caravanserais, and the sanatoriums and monuments that serve as relics of the Soviet era.

On the Armenian stage of the trail, parts of the route are still off-trail and will require independent route-finding. The weather and terrain conditions in the Caucasus can be harsh. Hikers must be prepared to be self-sufficient for extended sections and aware that emergency medical care and search and rescue may often be unavailable. The route can be hiked in either direction.

You’ll start the trail in Meghri, near the Iranian border. Here, you’ll hike through steep canyons and rolling hills until you arrive in Kapan.

When you head out from Kapan, you’ll climb through forests and meadows. If you’re on the trail at the right time, you’ll see lots of wildflowers! Check out Mount Khustup on the way, and you’ll pass Tatev Monastery, which sits on a gorge with incredible views. From here, you will trek north through the Vorotan River Valley and Syunik’s forests. Cross high mountain passes and end in Yeghegnadzor, a wine region (which you’ll be happy about!).

Next, you’ll hike through the Arpa River Valley and Noravank Gorge’s cliffs. Descend to Lake Sevan and wrap up in Martuni before you climb into the Geghama Mountains for panoramic views. Then, you’ll descend into the lush Dilijan National Park, nicknamed “Armenian Switzerland.”

When you leave Dilijan, you’ll begin to trek through Tavush’s hills and forests. On the way, you can also visit Goshavank Monastery before reaching Ijevan. Once you hike through Tavush, you’ll turn and hike west from Noyemberyan through the Debed River Valley. Check out Haghpat and Sanahin Monasteries, then finish in Alaverdi.

From here, you will into the Lori plateau, with views of pastures and villages, and end in Stepanavan, known for its botanical gardens and pine forests. Finally, you will cross the Pambak Mountains and descend into the Lori River Valley. This is where you will finish the trek in Vanadzor, Armenia’s third-largest city.


The Transcaucasian Trail Armenia is divided into the following sections (from south to north). The stages within each section are subject to change based on your preferences since this trail is almost completely hiked in the backcountry, meaning you can set up camp whenever you’d need/like.

  • Syunik
  • Vayots Dzor
  • The Gegham Mountains
  • Tavush
  • Lori
  • Shirak


It is possible to use guesthouses in towns and villages but at this stage, it is best to wild camp along the route (notable exceptions are state reserves, such as Shikahogh State Reserve in the south, where overnight stays are forbidden). Please respect the Leave No Trace principles by setting up camp late and leaving early.

Best time of the year

The thru-hiking window for the Armenia route is roughly from early June to mid-October. Earlier starts or later finishes may be possible, but you will likely have to contend with snow in the higher mountains and be prepared to take alternate routes if necessary.

Safety & Gear

The Trans Caucasian Trail is still very new, which means there are sections that you’re going to need to bushwhack and navigate using GPX. Only attempt this trail if you have extensive backcountry experience and are confident in your physical and mental abilities removed from people.

Research the trail as thoroughly as you can using our site, the official trail website, the information channels the organization provides for hikers, and by talking with people who have already hiked this trail. Share your plans with people you trust, including your anticipated start and end times, chosen route and any alternates, and emergency contact information. It’s always nice to check in with them when you have service to keep them updated.

Stay informed about the weather conditions in the area where you intend to hike. Talk with locals or use a weather radar app, but avoid being in the backcountry during severe weather conditions, including thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, or extreme heat.

Try to have at least 2 liters of water each day and top-up on snacks in towns to maintain your energy and prevent dehydration. Bring a trail map and carry navigation tools such as a compass or GPX device to stay oriented and avoid getting lost.

Invest in the right hiking gear, including comfortable, supportive footwear, proper hiking clothing, such as warm base layers and a hardshell rain jacket, hiking poles, a well-fitted backpack, and essential equipment like maps, GPS devices, and a first-aid kit. Check out our comprehensive gear list for long-distance trails like this.

Respect the principles of Leave No Trace by minimizing your impact on the environment. Stick to designated trails, pack out all trash, and respect wildlife and natural habitats.

Good to know

Registration is currently required to hike the route through Arevik National Park and along the border of Shikahogh State Reserve. Contact the TCT organization for help with this.

Cell phone coverage is sporadic and often nonexistent, particularly in the higher-altitude sections of the route (which are also the most remote). If you’re desperate, the herders will usually know the closest spot in which service is available. Likewise, the only reliable charging opportunities for electronic devices will be those you bring with you, ie: battery packs and solar panels.

The route passes larger towns with supermarkets roughly every 50–100km, either directly or via a short hitch.

Some sections of the trail still include bushwhacking, often through spiky blackberries.

You will pass many farms and nomads during your thru-hike and thus will meet many angry shepherd dogs. Usually, the shepherd will keep them away from you but be prepared for these situations and know how to defend yourself.

In the southernmost section of the trail there will be areas where a lot of giant hogweeds grow – be aware that these plants have phototoxic sap. Plan your route through the bush accordingly.

If en route at the right time, there will be plenty of blackberries, plums, cherries, and apples along the trail for you to enjoy.

Armenian people are some of the most kind and hospitable in the world. Do not be surprised if you are offered fruit, Armenian coffee, or vodka while meeting the locals.

Water can be obtained from natural sources along the route. Always filter or boil as there might be cattle around.

Point to point
Highest point
2387m (7831 ft)

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Always read the disclaimer

Terms of Use: important to all visitors on this website. We strive to publish high quality content and information on this website. However it’s always possible that we’re missing out on some crucial information. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps) were prepared under diligent research by the specified contributor and/or contributors, the accuracy of such and judgement of the author is not guaranteed. Therefore, and contributors are in no way liable for personal injury, damage to personal property, or any other such situation that might happen to individuals hiking or following this route. Should you choose to hike this trail, this is always at your own risk. Check out our guidelines for safety hiking and Leave No Trace principles at the hiking 101 page.

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