Hiking around Elbrus region promises amazingly beautiful landscapes. This high-altitude region of Kabardino-Balkaria is known for its snow peaks, glaciers, sprinkled springs, lakes, rough rivers and crystal clear waterfalls.
Important: The route passes in the border area. For non- Russian citizens it is necessary to issue a border pass, the submission of documents 65 days before the trip. For citizens of the Russian Federation, the submission of documents 2-3 weeks before the trip.
What ot expect:
You will have a hike in the Elbrus region. Radial walks can be made light as every evening we return to the comfortable hotel room at the foot of the mountain. Experienced guides will help you climb the uncomplicated peaks and find out what Vladimir Vysotsky, a famous Russian singer, sang about. You will see the most beautiful Chegem waterfalls and the waterfall Devichy Kosy (Girl’s Braids), the Blue Lakes, the Upper Balkaria and the tunnel in the Cherek gorge, the beautiful Adyr-su gorge. On the cable car, go up to Cheget and find a mountain lake. Discover the deep canyons and valleys of rivers. Rise to the high-mountain shelters of Elbrus and see how the vegetation changes with the change of altitude.
The journey begins in Mineralnye Vody, where you need to get yourself. On the 1st day of the tour from 11:00 to 13:00 you will be awaited by the bus. When the program is completed, you will be taken to the flights departing from 17:00 local time.
Getting to the Elbrus region and walking to the Narzan springs.
Upon arrival, you will be transported to the Elbrus region (about 3 hours drive). The road goes along the beautiful Baksan Gorge. The defile is very narrow, with 200-meter-high rocky walls, like a sawn giant. When you arrive, check-in the hotel and have lunch, you will walk to the glade of Narzan "Bogatyr water", listen to a beautiful legend, drink Narzan from different springs, admire the beauty of the mountains of Baksansky gorge.
Terskol defile and the Terskol waterfall.
After breakfast, you will meet the guide for briefing on the program. The route along the defile starts from the village of Terskol (5 hours hike). The settlement began to be built in the early 60-s of the last century, and lived in it, mostly Komsomol builders of hotels and cable cars in the Elbrus region lived there. Then local residents joined them, for whom work appeared in the field of tourism.
The path from the bus station goes up in the northern direction. On the right on the hill is a monument to those who died on the slopes of Elbrus during the Great Patriotic War. Above the household buildings tourists cross the bridge to the left bank of the river and enter the pine forest. The horizon is hidden behind a majestic panorama of the Main Caucasian ridge with the peaks of the Greater and Lesser Kogutaev, Donguzorun and Nakra. Ahead, in the depths of the gorge, the eastern peak of Elbrus and Glacier Terskol. Further the path is laid along the river through alpine meadows. The left sides of the defile are sheer basaltic rocks. This is the southern spur of Elbrus, having a volcanic origin, it devides the glaciers of Gara-Bashi and Terskol. The right slopes are gentle, deforested, hence this is the best view of Elbrus and the chain of the Caucasus mountains. The higher the viewpoint, the greater the panorama becomes.
Glacier Terskol, similar from afar to the skin of a polar bear, hangs over the upper layers of the defile as a three-hundred-meter-long block. From under it flows numerous streams, uniting, they give rise to the Terskol river. The area of the glacier is about 7.5 square kilometers. On the left, with a crash, falls from the rocks the Terskolsky waterfall, one of the most beautiful in the Elbrus region. The bed of the waterfall is formed by a basalt colonnade.
In the evening, you will enjoy a delicious dinner and rest in the hotel.
Waterfalls Girl's Braids
You will enjoy walking to the Observatory at a height of 3000 m through the waterfall Girl’s Braids at an altitude of 2,800 m (6 hours hike). The path starts at the foot of the Terskol peak in the village of the same name and rises serpentine to the waterfalls. Along the way, you can observe the high altitude zoning - changing the landscape and vegetation with a change in altitude above sea level. The path starts in the mountain-forest belt, from which you will rise higher to the subalpine, or mountain meadow. Another attraction of this route is basalt “pencils”, which come to the surface, they can even be touched. The waterfall of the Girl's Braids is divided into hundreds of jets, thanks to which it got its name. In the evening in the hotel you will find a bathhouse and delicious mountain tea with hutchins and sweets.
Sightseeing tour around the Elbrus region
After an early breakfast (7 am) you will go on a tour of the most beautiful and legendary places of the Elbrus region (10 hours). Chegem defile and Chegem waterfalls. Chegem waterfalls are a nature monument, a group of waterfalls on the Aday-su, Sakal-Tup and Kayaarta rivers flowing into the Chegem River in Chegemsky district of Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia. A group of Chegem waterfalls are formed by 3 waterfalls. If we move along the Chegem defile to the south, then the first, 2 km south of the village of Nizhny Chegem, will be the Aday-Su waterfall (or the Small Chegemsky). It is located on the tributary of Chegem - the same river that flows into Chegem on the right. The waterfall is located about 200 m from the road and outwardly resembles a huge stone tray created by nature - the water of the Aday-su river overthrew it. This waterfall is considered the most powerful from the whole group, and its height is about 30 m. Further, south of the village of Khushto-Syrt, begins the Chegem defile (Su-Auzu - "water from the throat") - the width of the defile in the narrowest place is no more than 25 meters. Within this defile are the Great Chegem waterfalls. The first to us opens a waterfall on the Sakal-Tup River - the right tributary of the Chegem River. Like the first waterfall, it looks like a giant tray with water, only a different shape and water level is much lower than one of Aday-Su. Finally, about half a kilometer further south, the main Chegem waterfall opens on the Kayaarta River, another right tributary of the Chegem River. It is considered to be the most unusual of the group of Chegem waterfalls, since it is actually a group of waterfalls. Part of the water pores into Chegem in the form of small cascades from a height of 50-60 m, the other comes from the clefts of rocks in the upper part of the wall. Falling from the ledges, the water breaks down and turns into water dust, which, reflected in the sun, creates a sparkling rainbow pattern. Cherekskoe Defile is one of the most picturesque places in the republic. The pearl of this defile is the Blue Lakes, as well as the ancient monuments of the Balkar people. The Cherek Defile is considered to be the first place of settlement of Balkarians. The sights of the defile are: Andemirkan Mound, Nijnegoluboye (Low Blue) and Goryachee (Hot) Lakes, Zylgi fortress, Amirkhan Tower, Cournoyat Castle, City of the Dead. The walls of the defile are almost vertical, their height is more than 500 meters. They are steep, and in some places converge to a distance of 30 meters.
Regularly many tourists come here to enjoy the pristine nature and clean mountain air. Those who came here, will certainly return again. The Blue Lakes are considered to be the deepest in the world karst lakes. Many myths and legends are associated with these amazingly beautiful places. The Blue Lakes are considered a unique monument of nature. Chirik-Köl is the second in the world according to the depth of the location of the karst spring. It is a karst aquifer that has steep walls. The maximum width of the surface of the lake is 130 meters, length is 235 meters. In the upper part there is an extension, so the depth difference is determined from 0 to 40 meters. Chirik-Köhl has no tributaries, a small river flows from it. The weather on the Blue Lakes is determined by season, but the water temperature is unchanged and is 9 degrees. This lake is absolutely transparent, with good weather, visibility is maintained on the depths of 30-50 meters. The history of the appearance on the Blue Lake of the dive center begins in the summer of 1982.
The upper Balkaria is an unusually picturesque place known for its monuments of the Balkar people. It is believed that it was the cradle of the Balkar people. Until the beginning of the 40s of the 20th century there were about 20 settlements in this territory, which after the February revolution were united only in two settlements - Upper Balkaria and Lower Balkaria. Upper Balkaria completely united only after 1957, when the Balkars returned from deportation to their homeland. The Cherek Defile does not resemble any other one in the North Caucasus, the depth of the gorge is about 500 meters! High cliffs in the clouds are like floating islands in the movie "Avatar", this must be seen with your own eyes!
Thermal springs Geduko. Thermal springs were discovered at the time when oil was sought in the territory, in 1950. Water from the Geduco springs has a unique healing power, and according to the legends of the locals is rejuvenating. Water from springs reaches a temperature of 50° C and comes to the surface from a depth of 4000 meters. By its chemical composition, nitric-carbonic, sodium calcium and bromine compounds prevail in the water, so it is possible not only to swim, but also to drink in it. After dinner you will go to the hotel.
Day 5 and 6 Adyr-su Defile and the alpine camp Ullu-tau
After breakfast, you will be taken to the ski lift in the Adyr-su Defile, where we will take the good road along the mountain river to the Ullu-tau alpine camp. The journey takes 4-5 hours.
Ullu-Tau is a place where a modern people can rest from a sweltering and dusty city, improve health, gain strength to achieve goals, develop intuition and get answers to their questions, as well as communicate with like-minded teammates. The nature of the defile strikes the imagination with its pristine beauty. From the Baksan valley, the Adyr-Su gorge is separated by a 200-meter rock step. The river sawed a narrow canyon here. Cars get here with the help of a unique lift. The length of the defile is 14 km.
The mountain ULLU-TAU is called Mother-Mountain, the mountain strikes with its grandeur and pristine beauty. It is said that a person who has been at the foot of this mountain, gets relief from illnesses, charged with positive energy. The desire to see snow-capped peaks, to visit together with an amazing natural force, breathe the cleanest air, enjoy and remember the memories of the amazing natural beauty, will undoubtedly be fulfilled. Here at 2400 m above sea level in the magnificent pine forest stands the Soviet base "Ullutau", which for more than 60 years attracts climbers and tourists and is considered the highest mountain base in the North Caucasus. After the walk, you will stay in the instructor's house with all the amenities, relax, dine, and in the evening you will have a shish kebab, a night starry sky that you will not see anywhere else, sweet mountain tea and a healthy sleep.
In the morning, after breakfast, you will go with a guide to the Zimny (Winter) peak, try yourself as mountaineer, the path is safe and suits even the 12 year old child, and the pensioner will also be able to do it. The wire railings are laid along the route. And the beautiful panorama will not leave a trace of fatigue. Upon returning to the house you will have lunch and go back to the hotel.
Day 7 Elbrus
You will be taken to the Azau meadow. By cable car you will reach the station of Gara-Bashi (3750 m). If the physical condition allows, you will walk to the Shelter-11 or higher. Perhaps for the trip you will need special equipment that can be hired on site. This is a serious height, which requires utmost attention and following all directions of the guide. Climbing takes 4-5 hours.
Day 8 Cheget and Lake Donguz-Oron-Kel
On this day you will have the ascent to Cheget (3600m.). After lifting by the cable-chairlift, you continue to climb on foot towards Lake Donguzarun Kehl. From the viewing platforms you can see breathtaking views of Elbrus and other peaks of the Greater Caucasus. The walk takes 4-5 hours.
Day 9 End of the program
You will be taken to the airport or to the railway station of Mineralnye Vody.
The cost of the tour includes:
Group transfer airport (railway station) Mineralnye Vody - Prielbrusye - airport (railway station) Mineralnye Vody. Transfer according to the program. Guide services. Accommodation in a hotel in 2 and 3-bed rooms with all amenities. Accommodation in the Ullu-Tau alpine camp (1 night). Three meals a day on the route (breakfast at the hotel, lunch-lunch box, dinner). Visit to the national park "Elbrus". Eco-fee in the reserves.
The tour price does not include:
Air or railway tickets to Mineralnye Vody
Single accommodation (+7950 rubles per person)
Single accommodation in the hotel (+8000 rubles per person) Meals in the cafe.
Additional service in the hotel (sauna, billiards, etc.), booking additional excursions.
Tickets for the Elbrus cable car (from 1500 rubles per person), Cheget (from 700 rubles per person)
Rental of personal tourist equipment.
Accident insurance, ticket for a thermal spring.
For a confirmed booking, a deposit of (10%) is required. Deposit is paid by credit card (secure payment via Stripe, no credit card fees). The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon start of the trip - unless Host & Traveler agree on different payment methods.
Cancellations can be made free of charge up to 30 days prior to the beginning of the booked service. The deposit (10%) is only refundable if the booking is canceled at least 30 days in advance.