- Three short routes from Krasnaya Polyana
- Routes for two to three days
- Multi-day itineraries in the Lagonaki Highlands
- On a note
Krasnaya Polyana is one of the most popular ski resorts in Russia and at the same time a large center for hiking ecological tourism. It is located in the Sochi National Park, near the Mzymta River. The favorable location has led to the fact that most of the long multi-day routes through the mountains of the North Caucasus and the coast start from here.
Sochi National Park abounds in natural beauty: narrow gorges, clear mountain streams, waterfalls and caves. Usually, from the beach resorts - Sochi, Adler, Khosta - they get to the nearest objects located at a low altitude and five to six kilometers from the coast. But from Krasnaya Polyana there are long routes - both to mountain ranges and waterfalls located quite far from the coast, and to neighboring Abkhazia. Hiking equipment - sleeping bags, tents, trekking poles - can be rented right here.
Three short routes from Krasnaya Polyana
Several dozen routes have been laid in the national park, with overnight stays and markings. You should not leave them, because, firstly, there is a border nearby, and secondly, there are security zones in which you can meet wild boars and other wild animals.
- The route to Keivu waterfall is one of the most popular and uncomplicated ones. The waterfall itself is named in honor of the instructor Elmar Keivu who discovered it in 1967, and in 2011 a sign "To the waterfall and the person" appeared on it. The route is not long, but three kilometers from Krasnaya Polyana to the waterfall, you need to climb about 400 meters - this cannot be called quite an easy walk. The route is marked and follows a well-trodden path, but there may be, for example, fallen trees. The Keivu waterfall itself is not the highest in these mountains, but one of the deepest: it does not freeze or dry out, you can admire it almost at any time of the year. The length of the route is 6 km.
- Krugozor Efremova is an observation deck, which is located on a low mountain called Nun. It offers a magnificent view of Krasnaya Polyana itself and the surrounding mountain slopes covered with forests. It was named so in honor of Yuri Efremov, a poet and geographer who is buried here. The route starts from Krasnaya Polyana (more precisely from the Vertodrom station) and goes up through the Beshenka river. Efremov's outlook is located on the territory of the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve, so you will need a pass.
- Polikarya waterfall is another beautiful and very high waterfall. It is considered the largest in the vicinity of Sochi, and is popularly called "Pants" because it flows in two streams. You can get to it in two ways: on foot along the mountain slopes or with the help of the cable car of the Gorki Gorod resort to the level of +960 m. From the cable car station it is not long to go on foot. Be careful if you decide to walk on foot - there are no markings on the way up. The route is, in principle, not difficult, but there are quite long sections with an even but steep and continuous ascent. But on the way there will be a fortification against avalanches - this is a picturesque wall resembling a medieval fortress. The length of the route is 1-4 km on foot and about 300 meters from the cable car.
Routes for two to three days
If for short walks it usually just requires you to pay the cost of the entrance to the National Park, then for multi-day trips in the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve you need to take permission from the reserve, and if it is a road through the border areas, then also from the border guards.
- Lake Kardyvach is a beautiful glacial lake in a bowl of coniferous forests. Fish is not found in it, but on the banks you can see rare plants and feathered predators.2-3 day routes to it lead both from Krasnaya Polyana and from the nearest resort - Rosa Khutor. Usually it is proposed to take a jeep ride to the village. Engelman's Glades: here the road accessible for cars ends and the territory of the reserve begins, along which a hiking trip to the lake begins. A place for spending the night is equipped by the lake. You can just walk to Kardyvach and back, or you can linger around the lake for the whole day and get to the next lake, which is also very beautiful - it is called Sineokoe. The length of the main route is 36 km.
- Hike to the Achipsi waterfalls is one of the most popular multi-day routes from Rosa Khutor. It is not that long, and it can be done in one day with a "jerk" or stretched out for two or three days of leisurely walk. Most often it is laid out for two days with an overnight stay at Lake Mirror - there is a special place for this, and rhododendrons grow around the lake. This route starts from Krasnaya Polyana, across the Beshenka River, and leads along the Achishkho ridge to Lake Zerkalnoye. On the way, you will meet dolmens and observation platforms. Further, the path descends to the waterfalls themselves, formed by the Achipse River, they are located on the mountainside, and back you can go through a system of 4 reservoirs - Khmelevskie lakes. This is one of the most picturesque roads in these mountains: it includes a mountain forest, alpine meadows, and magnificent views of the mountain peaks of Assar and Chugush. The length of the route is 18 km.
Multi-day itineraries in the Lagonaki Highlands
One of the most popular areas for long hikes is the Fisht Mountain area and the Lagonaki Highlands. These are no longer foothills, but real mountains: the Fisht peak is almost three kilometers in height. and there are glaciers on it, and further west of it there are snow-capped peaks. But these are also areas where special mountaineering equipment and special training are not required, so mountain routes are quite accessible for all sports lovers.
The longest option is to go through the entire region from Sochi to Maykop (moreover, it is easier to go from Maykop to Sochi than vice versa, the ascent will be much smoother). The minimum time required for such a walk is about 4-5 days, but you can stretch it up to 8 days.
You can also climb directly to Mount Fisht itself, but this is already considered a climbing route, albeit of the lowest category of difficulty. Here you will need an ice ax and crampons. On the side of the mountain, there is a shelter where you can rent equipment, or just spend the night on a walking route. Since this is a path through the mountains, where there is always a danger of landslides, it is open only in summer in good weather. In reality, this is a couple of months a year - July and August. The length of the route is 30-75 km.
On a note
Permits to visit the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve in Krasnaya Polyana can be taken in two places: in the aviary complex and in the department of the Russian Geographical Society. The entrance to the reserve is paid - 300 rubles. per day, but if you do not receive it, you may face a fine of up to 4 thousand rubles and removal from the route. At the same points, you can get information about whether the route is now available - the management of the reserve can open and close the routes depending on the migrations of animals, the time of year and weather conditions. If you go in an organized group, then usually permits are obtained in an organized way for everyone.
When traveling in the mountains, you must definitely take care of good shoes - it can be slippery, steep climbs can occur. There are difficult routes on which there are water sources only at two or three points. It can be cool and windy in the mountains, but it is very sunny - you can get burned, so it is better to bring sunscreen with you. But there are not many mosquitoes and ticks here, although it is still worth taking care of the presence of repellents.