Cell service (via VivaCell-MTS) is usually available throughout the route (Haghartsin to Jukhtak). The 911 emergency services operate throughout Armenia in case of any accidents. There are drinking water sources mentioned on the route, however, to be on the safe side, be sure to bring bottled water!
Features: Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
The most convenient way to do this run is to take a taxi from Yerevan to the trailhead at Haghartsin, which will cost 11,000-12,000 AMD. It is recommended to take a taxi with a working meter (be sure the driver uses it) or agree on a price beforehand.
Another way to reach the trailhead is to leave from Yerevan’s Northern Bus Station to Dilijan (this will cost 1000 AMD) and from there to the Haghartsin village (for 500 AMD). All-in-all, the cost will be 1,500-2,000 AMD. The best time to visit is April to November.
This run can either be completed in one long day or split into two days; for the two-day option, you can stay the night in nearby mountain huts (1,900m above sea level). The trail is 18.6 km long, and passes by water springs and resorts as it leads to the Jukhtak Monastery.
After passing the monastery, runners can arrange to meet a driver at the trail’s end to shuttle them back to the start. The run's scenery is extremely varied passing by forests, gorges, mountain summits, and rivers, making it interesting and magnificent.
Haghartsin Monastery is a monastic complex (built in the 10th-13th centuries) that consist of three churches, two narthexes, chapels, cross stones, and a refectory. The chapels and carved cross stones sit on the sloped rocks east of the main monastic constructions. A bronze boiler, weighing in at 350 kg, was found at Haghartsin; as a great example of skilled metalwork, and it is now preserved in the State History Museum of Armenia.
The Jukhtak Monastery is located in the Tavush region, 3 km northeast of Dilijan. Jukhtak translates to “pair” in Armenian, and the 11th-12th century monastery consists of two churches—St. Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) and St. Grigor (St. Gregory)—as well as a surrounding cemetery. Despite having the same names, these are different from the churches of Haghartsin!
Flora & Fauna
Flora: The forests of Dilijan cover about 340,000 hectares of territory. In 1958, a national forest conservation area was opened here in order to protect the space; in 2002, it was named Dilijan National Park. The park has 94% forest cover, and nearly 40 valuable tree species (particularly hornbeam, oak, beech, maple, birch, ash, willow, lime, and elm). About 123 types of edible herbs, 180 species of medical herbs (including helichrysum, mint, thyme, shandra, and bryony), and various species of edible mushrooms are also spread throughout the forest.
Fauna: Dilijan National Park is also rich with fauna. The forests are home to brown bears, wolves, martens, lynx, roe deer, otters, squirrels, hedgehogs, wild boars, and various reptiles and amphibians. The park is also home to birds such as warblers, quails, grey partridges, wild pigeons, griffon vultures, bearded vultures, booted eagles, golden eagles, and many types of falcons.