Cell service may not be available in the canyons and in Dilijan National Park, but nearby villages and at the top of mountains, Ucom and VivaCell-MTS networks are available. In case of emergency, call 911, a service available throughout Armenia. Beware of dogs guarding flocks of sheep. Be sure to bring plenty of bottled water.
This scenic run begins in the village of Aghavnavank located in the Tavush province. The distance of the trail is 24km and it is recommended to do this as a two-day run since there are many ascents.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Spring — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
To get to the trailhead for this run, you'll need to travel to the village of Aghavnavank. It is most convenient to travel by taxi. Taxi services are quite affordable throughout Armenia, and it is recommended to take a cab with a taximeter. Yerevan is approximageluy 125km (about 1hr. 58min) away from the village of Aghavnavank. A taxi should cost about 12,500-13,000 AMD. The best time to run this trail is from April to October.
On the first day, you'll start by running along the narrow streets of the village, up to Yew Grove in the Dilijan National Park. Picturesque forest pathways will lead you to Aghavnavank Church, which is surrounded by a rare species of trees.
Aghavnavank is a dilapidated Armenian monastery complex originally built in the 12-13th centuries. The church is set in a forest clearing and is surrounded by the few virgin groves of yew trees that grow there. The church is a small central domed structure with chapels, built with yellow, pockmarked stone. The dome, with its peaked hood, stands on arches which bridge the pilasters. The dome and the church roof were covered with hewn flagstones, a few of which have been preserved. The cornice shaped stones have fallen with time, and the church is no longer in use. One of the trees near the church is considered a "dream tree" where you can make a wish by tying handkerchiefs on the branches of the tree.
From the church, the ascent begins at Aghavnavank, and continues up to 2,150 m. After this long climb, you might meet people living in tents on the mountains during the summer. The camping spot where you can pitch your tent is marked on the trail; you can also find water here. During the run as well as in the evening, you'll be treated to views of the verdant lush Tavush province and the high and rocky mountain range of Ljevan. You can sit and watch birds soaring in the sky, and spend the night watching the stars.
On day two, you'll continue your run down to the newly built church of Gandzakar village, which is the end of the trail. The remainder of the run is a steady and easy downhill.
Flora & Fauna
Flora: The Tavush province occupies 2,704 square kilometers and half of it is covered with various species of trees. An area for preserving national forests was created in 1958 and was named Dilijan National Park, in 2002. The slopes, at an altitude of 600-2,000m, are forested, but in higher areas the landscape is mountainous. Runners will be amazed by the diverse plants and flowers in the high mountainous meadows. The main species of trees in these forests are the oriental beech, oak, hornbeam, linden, maple and yew.
Fauna: The fauna of Tavush is varied and visitors may spot deer, Caucasian bear, wild boar, rabbit, badger, fox, hedgehog, jackal, voles, lynx, marten, myoxus glis, or even a squirrel. There are also various birds and reptiles.