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Vardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim), Khosrov Reserve, Urtsadzor

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Madina, Gegharkunik, Armenia

Vardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim), Khosrov Reserve, Urtsadzor is a 32.3 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Madina, Gegharkunik, Armenia that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as moderate and is primarily used for mountain biking.

Length 32.3 mi Elevation gain 2,844 ft Route type Point to Point

Mountain biking


Wild flowers


Historic site

Waypoints (0)

Description of the Trail The trail begins in the village of Nshkhark and passes through the sandstone paths of the Argichi river valley. The biking trail is located in the Gegharkunik and Ararat provinces of Armenia. T he famous Silk Road, which stretches from East to West, passed through Armenia in ancient times. The evidence of this is scene among the ruins of the 14th-century caravanserai (not included in this trail) found nearby. 2 hours riding out from the village of Nshkhark (2,300m), you will reach a height of 2,500m. You can view Mount Ararat from this height, above green meadows, valleys and the sun-lit image of the Argichi River. By the way, you must cross the river twice. While crossing the river you need to take off your shoes, as there is no bridge, but fortunately, the river is not deep. Starting from a height of 2,500m, going down the trail will lead you to the Khosrov State Reserve. Here you will see many different types of flora from the area and maybe even come across some wild animals. While leaving the Reserve, you must introduce yourself at the security post. Then you will ride for 10km via a paved road till the end of the trail. The trail ends at the village of Urtsadzor, in the Ararat province. The return path is from Urtsadzor. Flora The flora of the Khosrov Reserve is very rich. There are 1,800 species of plants in the Reserve, which represents more than the 50% of the flora found within Armenian. 146 plants are registered in the Red Book of Armenia. The lowest slopes of the mountains are considered a semi-desert landscape. In the middle altitudes, forest plants are spread like islands throughout the area. These places are full of junipers and oak forests. There are also broadleaf trees like cherry, rowans, and Caucasian cherry-woods. In higher areas, the flora is mountainous. Here you can see chicory, white chamomile, sage, valerian, cornflower, healing nettle, plantain, white bryony, yarrow, and more. Fauna You may cross the entire trail and not come across a single animal on your way. But it may also happen that you’ll come across several amphibian reptiles which are very common here because of the hot summers. All animals are protected in the Khosrov Reserve, under a strict regime with an aim to promote their breeding. Armenian mouflons (wild sheep) and bezoar goats are very typical for the fauna of Armenia. There are also leopards, brown bears, wild boars, foxes, rabbits, lynxes, martens, wolves, rock badgers and other animals here. There are also many species of birds here, such as milvus migrans, gypaetus barbatus, griffon vultures, eagles, wild pigeons, seagulls, etc. There are numerous reptiles, including the poisonous Gurza (poisonous snake) in the Reserve. Spotted deer (axis) were introduced back in 1954. Safety In the Khosrov reserve, which is adjacent to the biking trail, the mobile connection is very poor. In the Vardenyats Mountain Pass, the village of Urtsadzor, and in the surrounding areas, all the networks of Armenia are always available. In case of an emergency, call 911, a service available throughout Armenia. Beware of dogs guarding flocks of sheep. Technical Specifications of the Trail The best time – from April till October Yerevan is 146km away from village of Nshkhark, so you can reach the place in 2hr. and 11min. by taxi, the cost of which is between 14,600-15,000 AMD. The distance of the trail is 52.3km. The biking trail duration is 6 hours. The area is located at an altitude of 1,380-2,300m above sea level. 90% of the road is covered by sandstone, 10% is paved. The best drink to have on hand is bottled water. How to Reach the Trail To reach the above-mentioned biking trail you should first reach Nshkhark village, in the Gegharkunik province. It is most convenient to travel by taxi. Taxi services are quite affordable throughout Armenia. Taking a cab with a taximeter is recommended.

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