This trek explores Pirikiti and Gometsara valleys, crossing the Nakle-Kholi pass in-between.
This nice 3-day trail explores Pirikiti and Gometsara valleys. It combines visits of traditional Tush villages with some serious trekking - Nakle pass (2920m)
offers some of the best views you can find it Tusheti. It also can be finished without sleeping equipment, as nowadays there is a guesthouse in both Parsma and Verkhovani village.
Duration: 3 days
This trek takes three days but offers many sidewalks so that it can take even five days to finish.
First and last day of the trek is spent mostly on dirt roads, but on the second day there is a difficult crossing of Pirikiti range.
A tent is not necessary, it is possible to sleep in the guesthouses.
There is no public transport to Tusheti. To get to Omalo, you will need to hire a driver with 4WD. First get to Kvemo Alvani village - this can be done by marshrutka or a taxi. Marshrutka departs from Ortachala bus station in Tbilisi at 9.am and two hours later arrives at Alvani (price 7 GEL). Just confirm with the driver that he is going all the way to Alvani, they sometimes try to drop passengers in Telavi in order to hire them another taxi to Alvani (or sell them an overpriced jeep).
These local drivers usually approach the tourists and offer them to arrange the transport to Tusheti. If your driver doesn't, you will need to ask around for a driver - it shouldn't be too hard. The trip usually takes 5 hours and costs 250 GEL for the whole jeep (that means 50 GEL per passenger).
How to leave Omalo:
Again, you will need to hire a jeep with a driver. Price should be the same as what you paid to get there.
Description of the route
Day 1: Omalo - Parsma distance 22.6km, 778m and 863m
Leave Upper Omalo by jeep track heading to the north. You can follow this road all the way to Dartlo, but there is a shortcut you probably will want to take.
Some 1,5 km from the Omalo village there is a serpentine, where road sharply turns left. At the bend there is a marker with directions, so just turn from the main road to the right,
follow the smaller path, climb the meadow and you will soon come to the road in the forest. This road after some 2 km joins again the main road to Dartlo.
Dartlo is one of the loveliest villages in Tusheti, beautifully situated in the hillside. If you have time for a detour, you can also climb to the Kvavlo defense tower some 200m above the village,
which offers some nice sights. Then you can continue via road to Dano village, which lies higher in the hillside. The path climbs even higher above the cliffs and only then descends to the river.
If you want to pick an easier path, just follow the main road by the river and after some 2 hours, you should arrive to Chesho village. Another hour of walking
and you will come to Parsma village - time to break a camp. And you still should have time to see this interesting village.
You could easily spend two days on this section - if you go through Kvavlo, Dano and then decide to visit villages beyond Parsma, further up the Pirikiti valley.
Day 2: Parsma - Verkhovani distance 12.1km, 1195m and 1274m
Cross the bridge in Parsma and follow the road downstream - in the same direction from which you came yesterday, but on the different bank. There could be a herd of sheep, so beware of the dogs.
After one mile, the path turns right and starts sharply ascending. Follow the path, it's quite obvious. It will eventually turn southeast and after several hours you will finally reach Nakle pass.
Nakle-Kholi pass is flat and wide, there is even a pointer showing the direction to Verkhovani.
Start walking in that direction - path heads to the southwest, you will see the marking from time to time. Then comes the tricky part -
there is a spot where you will need to leave pleasant, slowly descending trail heading to the west and start the sharp descent.
The place is hard to describe and poorly marked, use GPS or keep in mind that you can’t get too far away from the river valley to the south because you will eventually have to end up there.
Follow a barely visible trail to the south, it soon becomes obvious again. It descends to the river and leads to the abandoned village of Dadikurta.
Below the village, it turns into a serpentine and descends to the small river, with the forest at the other side.
Next section is short but may take a while as it’s necessary to cross the stream three times.
First crossing is doable without getting wet, but the remaining two are not so easy - if you have sandals, I recommend to put them on. Finally,
after third crossing, the trail climbs a bit uphill, circumvents the hillside and enters Verkhovani village.
The village is built on a steep slope, they are only a few places to camp (moreover, the ground is very rocky).
If you think you deserve to sleep in the bed after today’s effort, you can do so in the “Guesthouse Lamata” (+995 99 70 03 78)
Day 3: Verkhovani - Omalo distance 21.9km, 815m and 633m
If you have time, you can spend another day in the area, using Verkhovani as your base and visiting abandoned villages in the Tsovatistskali valley to the west.
But you have just three days, it's time to return to Omalo. You can descend to the river, cross the bridge to get to the main road and follow it downstream, but I think it's more interesting to stay on the trail a little bit longer.
So, instead, don't descend to the river but follow the path which goes from the village to the southeast, in paraller to the river. The trail is mostly in a good condition but there are also a few landslide sections where you need to be more careful. After 2 km, you will get to the Jvarboseli village where there is another bridge by the tower (there is also the another guesthouse). Once at the correct side of the river, just climb to the main road and follow it to the east.
After one hour the road crosses a river again and climbs a little into Beghela village.
Here it abandons a river, ascents into the slope and follows the contour line through the forest. Follow the road, after another hour you should see Dochu village below you -
it's amazing, almost aerial sight, as Dochu is situated in the slope below the road.
Follow the road for another few hours, it will cross Bochorma village, dive into the forest and eventually join the road from Omalo to Dartlo.
On this intersection turn right and follow the road all the way to Omalo.
Many great photos used in this article were taken by Mario Sklenar. More of his photos can be found here.
Photo of Dochu is borrowed from this webpage with more info about Georgia. Thanks Oliko.