Daywalks in the Hevek valley
The holiday is based on the village of Barhal, at an attitude of 1200m in the valley of the Barhal river,close to the Kaçkar National Park. The pension has en-suite double chalet rooms overlooking the river. Accommodation is halfboard. Walks are all on waymarked paths; there is a variety of views as some are above the treeline and others through villages, meadows or forest.
• The Kaçkar mountain range in NE Turkey
• Altıparmak (Barhal) village, a Pontic village with a Georgian church
• Mountains rise from the sea or Çoruh valley up to 4000 m.
• Tiny mountain lakes on the slopes of the mountain range
• Lush fir and pine forests clothe the hillsides
• Home to a wide range of wildlife; rare species of butterflies
• Wild flowers
Grade: moderate /hard
Distances: km per day/ Total
Elevation: 1200-3000 m.
Two simple, small pensions, wooden chalets with ensuite bathrooms.
Day 1: Arrival in Barhal.( Altıparmak village)
You will be met at Erzurum aiport or train/bus station and transferred to the Pension in Altıparmak ( Barhal) village.( 185 km/ 3,5 hrs) Extra € 150
Alternative: Bus from Erzurum to Yusufeli ( every 2 hrs) Transfer from Yusufeli to Altıparmak village ( 30 km/ 60 mins)Extra € 75
There is a bus service between Yusufeli and Altıparmak village . Busses dept in the afternoon.
Alternative: Private transfer from Trabzon airport to Altıparmak (Barhal) Village / Extra € 240
Overnight: Wooden chalets or pension in Barhal village.(HB)
Day 2 Barhal to Kudret, Pançet, Sabangil and Barhal
To lunch with villagers
Start your walk from the pension, through the village and past the 10th C church. Continue along a water channel and then climb the hillside to a steeper area with pines and rocks. Climb mountain paths first upwards then horizontally to arrive at Pançat mezraa, a cattle-keeping village of only about 10 houses. Village lunch, with views over the Barhal valley and to the Altıparmak mountains. Take a zigzag path down the mountain to a group of abandoned houses amongst orchards. Continue on path among oak scrub and pines to reach Barhal and the pension
Overnight: Barhal (HB & PL)
Walk: . 6 – 7 hrs / + 650/ – 650 m:(Moderate)
Day 3 Barhal to Şabangil to Börekli (Kilyon) to Barhal
Are there any bears in the woods today?
Take a bus for 10 minues to a bridge over the Barhal river. Cross the river and follow steep paths above a gorge where crag martins circle. Reach a saddle with views over the valley and continue to Şabangil village, passing a look-out point from which you can see all the villages of the Kilyon area. Reach the dirt road and follow it horizontally to a viewpoint over the neighbouring valley – there are many bears in this area and you will see traces of them. Return to the spring and wooden benches at Şabangil, where you can enjoy your picnic and drink tea with the villagers. Take a footpath through orchards to another village; join the village road for the descent to Barhal.
Overnight Barhal (HB & PL)
Walk 5-6 hrs walk: + 600m/- 500m ( Moderate)
Day 4 ( Barhal) transfer to Amanesket.
Walk Amanesket to Karagöl, a high icy lake to Satibe, to Sarıbulut to Barhal.
Following a transfer to the village of Amanesket, a lovely village at the foot of the climb to Karagöl lake. Follow the ridge upwards, turning off along a canal leading to the dramatic campsite at Satibe. From here a path climbs up the hillside between rhododendrons caucasicum bushes to the lake. Around the blue and often icy lake it is possible to see or hear two rare birds of the Kaçkar – the Black Grouse, which nests among the rhododendrons, and the Caspian Snowcock, which frequents snow patches above the lake. Leave by the lower path over scree, descending to a water channel. Your route now follows village paths and water channels on a long but descending walk back towards Barhal.
Overnight: Barhal (HB)
Walk: 7 hrs walk; ascent 750m, descent 1500m ( moderate-hard)
Alternative: Camp at Satibe and return the next day.
Day 5 Barhal to Doles to Barhal to Monastery and chapels
Start the day with a short climb to Doles, a small mezraa (hamlet) with old wooden houses close to Barhal ( 2hrs)
After lunch in Barhal village walk to the 10th C Georgian monastery church, built by David the Magnificent, and stop to explore the building, with its ancient carvings and secret tunnel. Descend and cross the stream by a watermill; climb up to the ridgetop and a small ruined chapel – there are great views down to the huge of the church
( 3-4 hrs)
Overnight:Barhal (HB & PL)
Walk: 6 hrs walk/ + 900m/ – 700m.( moderate)
Day 6 ( Barhal) Walk Mikelis to Modut to Yaylalar
The old village road, and chamois
Transfer to Mikelis. From this village, on the Barhal/Hevek river, an old paved path climbs to Modut, a summer village on a slope. From here, wide paths lead west, climbing over several headlands where you will see the prints of chamois; you may hear or see a flock of them. In later season, look out for apollo nordmannii, a rare butterfly, which lives on a pretty blue corydalis flower. Picnic on a viewpoint, then descend past the ruins of stone huts towards the valley floor. Here you follow the old road once more into the village of Yaylalar. Your baggage will be transferred and you will spend one night at the Camyuva Pension in the village.
Overnight: Çamyuva pension in Yaylalar (HB &PL)
Walk 7 hrs walk/ + 1050m/ – 800m.( moderate-hard)
Day 7 ( Yaylalar) Walk to Sulamenta, the burned village
Your host will transfer you to the start of the day’s walk 15 minutes away at Karamolla. Here, a steep climb on zigzag paths takes you above the village and onto grassy slopes leading to a pass. You descend into a secret world – first a row of summer houses, then flowery streamside paths through forest, past the burned village of Sulamenta, where just the mosque survives. Lovely paved inter-village paths take you gently downwards to Yukarı Veknal. Here, ignoring the new road, you descend the old mule path, which emerges in the village of Demirdöven. You will be met by a taxi and transferred back to Barhal pension.
Note: The old village road and the burned village are only possible after about mid-July. Before that date we will substitute two other walks, one in the valley of Taşkıran, which is noted for early butterfies and flowers, and the other to waterfalls at Ciro.
Walk:7 hrs; + 600m, -1200m.( moderate-hard)
Day 8 Onward travel.
The price includes:
7 nights breakfast and dinner.
4 x packed lunch
(luggage) transfers mentioned in the program.
Kaçkar guide book ( Kate Clow & Chris Gardner), basic maps and descriptions. GPS points available .Yellow – red marked routes.
Excluded are transfers from and to Erzurum, Trabzon, Yusufeli
Combine the guided summit trek with some selfguided walks
•The Butterflies of Artvin
With about 210 species (nearly 60 percent of all butterflies found in Turkey), Artvin is among the provinces with the greatest butterfly diversity in Turkey. During the summer months, one can see huge numbers of butterflies in virtually every village, pastureland, garden and orchard in all districts within the province, though the butterfly density is the greatest in open meadows on the south-facing slopes of the Kackar Mountains, along the Barhal River, and in the Choruh Valley between Yusufeli and Kılıçkaya. The Yaylalar Village in Yusufeli is one of the prime butterfly areas in Turkey, not only because of the diversity and density of its butterflies, but also because it is home to a number of rare species that are endangered in Europe