How Armenia Plans to Become the Next World-Class Hiking Destination

Dilijan National Park stretches across the mountains of Armenia’s northeastern Tavush region, 92 square miles of beech and oak tree forests and pine-covered slopes that delve into deep gorges with wandering streams and rivers. Brown bear and deer are frequent park visitors, lured by the scent of blackcurrants and gooseberries, while rarer flora like Armenian Saint John’s wort and edible scorzonera grow among rocks and along cliffsides.

The park houses some of Armenia’s finest cultural monuments as well: centuries-old monasteries like Matosavank and Goshavank, along with villages and towns like Dilijan, the “Little Switzerland of Armenia,” known for its reportedly healing natural spring waters.

With help this summer from a global network of volunteers, Dilijan National Park is also now home to the newest section of the Transcaucasian Trail (TCT)—two connected long-distance hiking trails—a northern route through Georgia and Azerbaijan, and a southern route through Georgia and Armenia—that, when finished, will span more than 1,864 miles and connect approximately two-dozen existing and proposed national parks throughout the Caucasus region, where the peaks of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains stretch between the Black and Caspian Seas.

Together with ongoing projects such as HIKEArmenia, the TCT is part of an effort to transform modern Armenia into a worldwide trekking destination: one with the infrastructure to connect the country’s rural communities and spur their economy and development through tourism.

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