- Riding style(s): Cycle touring, bikepacking
- Length: 82 km / 51 miles
- Elevation gain/loss: 1,466m / 4,810ft
- Suggested duration: 1 day
- Road conditions: Mostly paved, with one major unpaved section
- Terrain: Rolling valleys & gorges with one significant mountain pass
This challenging route on a mixture of paved and unpaved roads will take you up and down through the remote side valleys of Vayots Dzor, the ‘gorge of woes’, via some truly spectacular mountain scenery. While a very fit rider could complete the ride in a day, we recommend splitting it over two days to enjoy the landscapes to the fullest. Make sure your bike is happy on dirt roads for this one.
Head north from Yeghagnadzor on the M10 road towards the Selim Pass. After a gentle warmup, turn right through Shatin village and continue through Yegheghis, perhaps stopping to climb up to Smbataberd fortress on the ridge to the north via a waymarked hiking trail. Accommodation is available in Hermon if you’re already ready to stop for the day; otherwise it’s time to tackle to toughest climb of the route on the remote dirt road over into the Herher valley. The plateau above the treeline is excellent for camping, or you can descend to Herher village where a family homestay is available for overnight stays.
From Herher, continue down the valley past the reservoir and deep into the Arpa gorge, where the route rejoins the main road: beware of traffic on the narrow sections here. Vayk has plentiful facilities and there are numerous roadside restaurants where you can stop and refuel. West of Vayk, the detour through Malishka is very quiet and well worth taking. It’s then a short and easy freewheel back down to Yeghagnadzor.