Most maps of the Sevan-Yerevan region will only show the main highway between the lake and the Armenian capital. While it’s possible to cycle on this highway, it is recommended against for many reasons. The traffic is dangerously fast and heavy, the gradients steep and merciless, and it’s also extremely boring.
There is a far better route available for cyclists riding between Sevan and Yerevan, whether beginning in the city or at the lake. This alternative route is quieter, easier and a lot more interesting, and with better facilities for cyclists.
Starting elevation: 1,860m
Finishing elevation: 1,011m
Elevation gain: 606m
Elevation loss: -1,455m
Max slope: 18.7% / -12.4%
Route Description (Beginning at Sevan Peninsular)
Cyclists are likely to pick up the route from the Sevan lakeside road which passes the popular peninsular, bypasses Sevan town, and then becomes the Sevan-Yerevan highway westbound. This is also the road on which riders coming from Dilijan will find themselves.
Several junctions from the lakeside road will lead to the town of Sevan. From the square at the west end of Sevan town, follow the road to the north-east, which leads down a short hill and crosses the railway line. Immediately after this is a left turning, which will take you onto a long, straight road heading west from the town. This is the beginning of the quiet alternative route from Sevan to Yerevan.
The route passes through a number of small villages in wide, open country, before reaching the town of Hrazdan at 20km. This section is mostly well-paved, with a couple of sections which are (at the time of writing, August 2012) being resurfaced. Roadside springs and resting places are frequent. Interesting detours include a hilltop monastery, visible from the road, and the alpine resort of Tsakhadzor up a side valley to the north before reaching Hrazdan.
At the south-west end of Hrazdan, riders must turn right off the main road in order to skirt the reservoir and end up on the north side of the river. From here, the road descends into a picturesque gorge. While paved, the road surface here can be somewhat bumpy, but the spectacular ride makes it worthwhile.
Shortly after the town of Bjni is the village of Arzakan, in which can be found a natural hot spring and bathing complex. Ask in the roadside store for directions.
The route continues via Nor Geghi. An interesting detour from here is to the bottom of the valley where Arzni’s natural mineral water may be found and drunk in and around the old Soviet spa complex. Ask locally for directions.
At Nor Geghi, watch out for a right turning to avoid the Arzni road bridge and the highway. This turning takes the route through the fruit-growing lands of Mrgashen, via Kanakeravan and reaches the outskirts of Yerevan before crossing the Davitashen bridge into the city, at which point a small amount of highway riding is necessary.
Follow the route directions carefully after crossing the bridge for a relatively quiet route into central Yerevan, ending at the Opera House.