Vardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim), Khosrov Reserve, Urtsadzor


Trail photos

Photo ofVardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim), Khosrov Reserve, Urtsadzor Photo ofVardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim), Khosrov Reserve, Urtsadzor Photo ofVardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim), Khosrov Reserve, Urtsadzor


Trail stats

32.7 mi
Elevation gain
1,243 ft
Technical difficulty
Elevation loss
5,285 ft
Max elevation
8,519 ft
42 5
Min elevation
3,465 ft
Trail type
One Way
5 hours 45 minutes
December 14, 2016
October 2016
  • Rating

  •   5 1 review
Be the first to clap
8,519 ft
3,465 ft
32.7 mi

near Yanygh, Gegharkʼunikʼ (አርሜኒያ)

Viewed 1204 times, downloaded 27 times

Trail photos

Photo ofVardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim), Khosrov Reserve, Urtsadzor Photo ofVardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim), Khosrov Reserve, Urtsadzor Photo ofVardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim), Khosrov Reserve, Urtsadzor

Itinerary description

Mountain biking trail description
The trail begins in the village of Nshkhark and passes through the sandstone paths of the Argichi river valley. You will enjoy this trail very much. The biking trail is located in the Gegharkunik and Ararat provinces of Armenia.
The famous Silk Road, which stretches from East to West, passed through Armenia in ancient times. The evidence of this is scene among the ruins of the 14th-century caravanserai (not included in this trail) found nearby. 2 hours riding out from the village of Nshkhark (2,300m), you will reach a height of 2,500m. You can view Mount Ararat from this height, above green meadows, valleys and the sun-lit image of the Argichi River. By the way, you must cross the river twice. While crossing the river you need to take off your shoes, as there is no bridge, but fortunately, the river is not deep.
Starting from a height of 2,500m, going down the trail will lead you to the Khosrov State Reserve. Here you will see many different types of flora from the area and maybe even come across some wild animals. While leaving the Reserve, you may introduce yourself at the security post. Then you will ride for 10km via a paved road till the end of the trail. The trail ends at the village of Urtsadzor, in the Ararat province. The return path is from Urtsadzor.

Monuments description
Vardenyats Mountain Pass (previously known as the Selim mountain pass, or Hayots Dzor Pass) is located in Gegharkunik province, west of the Vardenis mountain range, at an altitude of 2,410m. The Vardenyats Mountain Pass links together the Argichi valley, the Sevan Basin, and Vayk. The Martuni – Yeghegnadzor highway passes through the Vardenyats Mountain Pass. Orbelian's Caravanserai, aka the Selim Caravanserai, was built along the Vardenyats Mountain Pass in the 13th century.

Khosrov Reserve (also known as Urts reserve, or Garni reserve) was founded by the king of Armenia, Khosrov G. Kotak (Khosrov III the Small) in the 4th century, and today remains strictly protected by the state. The forest was a place for hunting. There are about 312 monuments, monasteries, churches, fortresses and dwellings within the territory of the Khosrov Forest State Reserve. The forest begins at the bank of the Araks river in the Ararat plain, near Dvin, and extending until the Azat river. Some parts of the forest have been preserved, and are included in the Khosrov Forest State Reserve, occupying about 27,000 hectares, and situated 1,600-2,300m above sea level. In 1958, the forest became a state reserve in order to preserve the flora and fauna of the forest. There are many historical monuments in the territory of the Reserve, such as the Geghard Monastery, Havuts Tar, Kakavaberd, St. Stepanos Monastery, the cave church, a Medieval Bridge, and more. The Azat river flows through the forest, with many amazing waterfalls along the tributaries of the river. The reserve is called the ‘Khosrov Forest’, in honour of king Khosrov III, of Kotayk. According to Khorenatsi (Armenian historian), many trees were planted in the territory of the Reserve during the reign of king Khosrov.

The flora of the Khosrov Reserve is very rich. There are 1,800 species of plants in the Reserve, which represents more than the 50% of the flora found within Armenian. 146 plants are registered in the Red Book of Armenia. The lowest slopes of the mountains are considered a semi-desert landscape. In the middle altitudes, forest plants are spread like islands throughout the area. These places are full of junipers and oak forests. There are also broadleaf trees like cherry, rowans, and Caucasian cherry-woods. In higher areas, the flora is mountainous. Here we can see chicory, white chamomile, sage, valerian, cornflower, healing nettle, plantain, white bryony, yarrow, and more.

You may cross the entire trail and not come across a single animal on your way. But it may also happen that you’ll come across several amphibian reptiles which are very common here because of the hot summers. All animals are protected in the Khosrov Reserve, under a strict regime with an aim to promote their breeding. Armenian mouflons (wild sheep) and bezoar goats are very typical for the fauna of Armenia. There are also leopards, brown bears, wild boars, foxes, rabbits, lynxes, martens, wolves, rock badgers and other animals here. There are also many species of birds here, such as milvus migrans, gypaetus barbatus, griffon vultures, eagles, wild pigeons, seagulls, etc. There are numerous reptiles, including the poisonous Gurza (poisonous snake) in the Reserve. Spotted deer (axis) were introduced back in 1954.

Safety and Security
In the Khosrov reserve, which is adjacent to the biking trail, the mobile connection is very poor. In the Vardenyats Mountain Pass, the village of Urtsadzor, and in the surrounding areas, all the networks of Armenia are always available. In case of an emergency, call 911, a service available throughout Armenia. Beware of dogs guarding flocks of sheep.

Technical parameters
Best period: April -October
Distance: 146 km from Yerevan
Duration: 2 hours 11min.
Ski trail length: 52.3km.
Ski run: 6 hours.
Altitude from sea level: 1,380-2,300m
90% of the road is covered by sandstone, 10% is paved.
The best drink to have on hand is bottled water.

How to Reach the Trail
To reach the above-mentioned biking trail you should first reach Nshkhark village, in the Gegharkunik province. It is most convenient to travel by taxi. Taxi services are quite affordable throughout Armenia. We recommend taking a cab with a taximeter.


PictographWaypoint Altitude 7,509 ft


PictographWaypoint Altitude 8,251 ft


PictographWaypoint Altitude 7,528 ft


PictographWaypoint Altitude 3,467 ft


Comments  (2)

  • Tural Akhundlu Jun 28, 2022

    Azerbaijan is best🤘🇦🇿❤️‍🔥🇹🇷

  • Photo of VeloMan
    VeloMan Jul 16, 2023

    I have followed this trail  verified  View more


You can or this trail