Cell service is available throughout most of the route, and the 911 emergency service operates throughout Armenia in case of any accidents. Be aware of bears and snakes. Although there are potable fresh water springs nearby, be sure to bring bottled water!
Features: Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
In order to get to the trailhead, the most convenient option is to take a taxi from Yerevan to Vernashen village. This will cost around 13,000 AMD. It is recommended to take a taxi with a working meter (be sure the driver uses it) or agree on a price beforehand.
From there, villagers offer rides to the top in their all-terrain vehicles for around 7,000 AMD. There are also buses to Yeghegnadzor (a nearby town) from Yerevan Central Bus Station for 1,200 AMD. From Yeghegnadzor, there are buses to Vernashen for under 2,000 AMD.
The trail climbs steadily all the way up to the monastery. Bezoar goats are very common in this area, and can be seen leaping up near-vertical cliffs. The route continues up the rocky mountains until runners reach the medieval monastery, Spitakavor, near Vernashen village. After exploring the area of the monastery, the trail loops back to the south to form a loop, until you rejoin the main trail which you can then follow back to your starting point.
Flora & Fauna
Flora: Vayots Dzor is known for its very hot summers and cold winters, making its steep mountain slopes a tough environment for plants to grow, which may give runners the impression of a dry, arid desert. However, there are a wide variety of colorful flowers and bushes, and in spring,fields of flowers surround the monastery. Due to this, it is sometimes referred to as the Flower Monastery. There are lots of bellflowers, dandelions, red tulips, narcissus, and blue forget-me-nots near the monastery. Locals pick many plants and flowers that grow here for their medicinal value.
Fauna: The fauna of Vayots Dzor is rich and varied, especially on the higher mount slopes. Bears, roes, wild boars, Armenian vipers, different types of lizards, black vultures, blackbirds, quails, sparrows, swallows, and many types of butterflies are often found in this picturesque landscape.