- Riding style(s): Road cycling, cycle touring, bikepacking
- Length: 98 km / 61 miles
- Elevation gain/loss: 1,498m / 4,915ft
- Suggested duration: 1 day
- Road conditions: Paved
- Terrain: Rolling valleys and deep gorges comprising a long, gentle descent
This route can be easily completed in a day due to the fact that it’s almost entirely downhill! In summer, it’s possible to take your bicycle on the Yerevan–Sevan train, which leaves at 8:30am from Kanaker station every day except Wednesdays. Alight at the starting point of your choice to begin this quiet and wonderful descent of the Hrazdan Gorge.
Starting from Sevan peninsular, turn right off the M4 lakeside road to reach 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.
The route passes through a number of small villages in wide, open country, before reaching the town of Hrazdan. At the south-west end of Hrazdan, 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.
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. In Argel, stop at Anna’s lavash bakery to feast on freshly-baked traditional Armenian bread and other delicious delicacies.
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 quiet route into central Yerevan, ending at Republic Square.
April 16, 2022 @ 9:58 pm
I rode this amazing route on Thursday (April 14, 2022).
My work colleagues rented bikes from Your Bike at 67 Hanrapetutyan St in Yerevan and Arthur drove us up to Lake Sevan for 25,000 AMD (which I thought was a great deal). On the suggestion of this website, I had packed my Diverge gravel bike as luggage and didn’t need a rental.
It was -2C at the lake when we started at 10:30am and plenty of snow on the road shoulders. Snow melt was all over the roads and made for some wet and dirty conditions (cold too!) I couldn’t get my Garmin 1030 computer to route me in Armenia, but Arthur said that other customers of his were more successful. That said, connectivity was solid for the entire route and Google Maps worked well for me. While the route may look intimidating, there are actually only a handful of turns until you get to Yerevan (where I soon got off track!)
Gravel bike is the right ride for this route. MTB would be overkill IMHO and while passable on a roadbike, it would absolutely not be pleasant. The road quality for the vast majority of the ride is quite crappy with rough/bumpy road surfaces, thousands of large potholes to avoid, and over a hundred steep/high speedbumps. Also be prepared for riding through herds of cattle in the middle of the road, navigating around flocks of sheep, and speeding away from packs of intimidating dogs. I also had to contend with very windy conditions, which were especially gusty in the gorge. All those things combined contributed to a relatively low overall speed (that, and frequently stopping to ensure I was not going off-route). While I did not stop for food/beverage, most of the (many) villages along the way had at least one продукы (ie grocery market).
All-in-all, it’s a gorgeous and interesting ride to Yerevan, but I must say that riding in Yerevan is not for the faint of heart! The city is not designed for cycling and you must choose between sharing the road with cars/trucks/buses or sharing the sidewalks with pedestrians. I chose the former and while it never felt dangerous, I was very relieved to see my hotel again. I did not take the route through Yerevan recommended in this article due to my bike computer not routing correctly. It likely would have been a better route.
For those interested, my Strava route for this ride is here: https://www.strava.com/activities/6980282230
For those interested,
August 14, 2018 @ 5:30 pm
With maps in short supply, perhaps four more pictures, of critical turns or road entries would be of better value to the readers thinking about this trip. Also note on the maps in the article any bike shops, hardware stores or places to eat. Also suggest any items you took that proved useful, particularly if it is not available.
March 8, 2017 @ 4:24 pm
Hi! Just found this site as I am considering a Black Sea/Georgia/Armenia trip at some point in the future. Your route looks great and I was wondering if you could recommend the best cycle friendly brand and source of Armenian and Georgian maps to plan similar off-highway routes. Thanks!
March 9, 2017 @ 6:34 am
There aren’t any. That’s why we’re making new ones 😉
Seriously, the best available maps are a combination of OpenStreetMap based digital ones, old Soviet military maps (via the Android app), and Google Earth satellite. Google Maps is of limited use. And you have to be prepared for all of the above to be inaccurate, especially in remoter regions. All part of the challenge at this point in time.
What kind of trip are you planning? We’re putting together a prototype bikepacking route on dirt roads at the mo. It’ll be published in April/May if you fancy having a go at it this year…