River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
VivaCell-Mts cell phone coverage is almost always accessible throughout the Vayots Dzor route, and the 911 emergency services operate throughout Armenia in case of any accidents. It is strongly encouraged that runners travel in groups of two or more in order to make bears aware of your presence.
In order to reach Gnishik, the most convenient option is to take a taxi from Yerevan. This will cost around 14,500 AMD. Taxis are affordable throughout Armenia, and it is advisable to take a taxi with a working meter (be sure the driver uses it) or agree on a price beforehand. There are also buses and minibuses to the city of Yeghegnadzor, that leave from the Northern Bus Station. From there, runners will have to take a taxi to reach Gnishik village. This alternative travel option will cost around 3,500 AMD.
To reach the Gnishik-Noravank Trail, which is located in the Vayots Dzor region, you first have to reach the village of Agarakadzor. In Agarakadzor, take a taxi to Gnishik village (16 km away), where the route begins. Gnishik village is home to only a small handful of families, totaling only about 15. The best time of year to visit is April to November.
From the western side of the village, you'll see a lovely trail leading down into a beautiful gorge, winding along the river. This trail will lead you to an ancient monastery. Carefully examine the surroundings, and you might see a bezoar ibex (goats), bear tracks, or badgers, or if you scan the sky, soaring vultures and eagles. Passing through the vertical, crimson colored rocks, you'll reach a beautiful chapel known for its healing waters.
Crossing through Vayots Dzor, runners can admire the picturesque, semi-scarlet, medium high cliffs and the high mountains and peaks along the road. Because the trail narrows near the river and the canyon space is limited, it is recommend to run the Gnishik-Noravank Trail with two or more people. In order to scare the bears away, runners should engage in loud conversations.
Flora & Fauna
Flora: The flora in Vayots Dzor is fertile and diverse, and the nature is vibrant with sunny mountains and colorful flowers. Canes and sweet-flags are very popular in Vayots Dzor, and they grow in relatively humid areas. The flora is also rich in different flower species. The yellow ascension flowers (daisies), dark purple wild tulips, and yellow bellflowers are widespread in the region. Yellow, aromatic primulas as well as rose hips and other species are popular in spring. The flora is less diverse in the relatively higher areas of the mountain, where the flowers grow sparsely and have short stems.
Fauna: Vayots Dzor is a region with rare, rock climbing bezoar goats and Armenian mouflons. These animals mostly live in the Khosrov Forest State Reserve in Vayots Dzor and the Zangezur mountain ridge.