A complete guide on hiking Transcaucasian trail in Georgia
There are various very interesting hiking trails in Georgia (country), but the longest hike would be the Transcaucasian trail. A 10-day hike in the wilderness between the oldest villages in Svaneti region including the highest inhabited village in Europe - Ushguli. It takes you through the five spectacular passes, making the landscape change fast. Deep, forested valleys or rushing rivers and alpine meadows alongside the powerful peaks and stunning glaciers of the Greater Caucasus is all worth it to challenge yourself and take this adventure.
We hiked TCT and a bit more in June of 2020, right after COVID-19 lockdown ended in Georgia. So basically we were the first hikers and tourists in season, whole nature to ourselves but also a bit sad to see such empty resorts. In normal conditions, there are 200 hikers daily walking the last Mestia - Ushguli part of the trail, making it well trodden and better marked, but knowing the trail in advance and having gpx track is still highly recommended. If you’d like to avoid planning hustle, you always have an option to join our guided adventures as well.
Important facts to know before you start TCT
The trail is divided into five sections: 1 Chuberi to Nakra, 2 Nakra to Becho, 3 Becho to Mestia, 4 Mestia to Adishi and finally, 5 Adishi to Ushguli. To learn more about them continue reading further, but first some facts about TCT:
Total length of trail: 150 km
Start point: Chuberi community, village Kvemo Marghi (840 m)
End point: Ushguli (2200 m)
Duration: For full distance 10 days, but you can make it shorter by taking any specific section according to your preferences.
What should you pack?
Hiking boots, gear and camping equipment (if camping) and cash.
When should you go?
May – October (depending on the section and level of snow that year).
What are the dangers?
High altitude passes, fast change in weather, remoteness, language barriers, shepherd dogs, if you feel unsure or it's your first hiking experience, you can join guided hikes.
What are the highlights?
National park, endemic wildlife, the hospitality and food of local communities, high mountain passes, regional history and traditions.
Where to stay?
There are guesthouses in every village, see the list at the end of the article.
How to get to the start?
Train to Zugdidi and then Marshrutka/taxi to Kvemo Marghi.
Highlights of TCT in Svaneti by sections
Section 1: Chuberi to Nakra
Distance: 27 km
Accumulated elevation gain: ⬆ 2296m; ⬇1861m
Hiking time: 10 hours
In Chuberi community, village Kvemo Marghi (844m) is 80 kilometers from Zugdidi, nestled in the Nenskra Valley. It’s the starting point of our exciting hike. It starts with a dirt road, until you eventually come to a wooden bridge or one might say - a fallen over tree. From here, the hike really begins. You will ascend more than 2 km vertically on this day.
The western part of Svaneti feels different from the much more visited eastern part. It doesn’t have the ancient ruins and towers, but makes up for it with spectacular raw natural beauty. On the way, you will see a beautiful alpine lake, panoramic views at astonishing Utviri pass (2,720m), and pristine nature. Its flourishing with alpine meadows connects the Nenskra valley to Nakra.