View of Gnishik Canyon

Gnishik Canyon

December 25, 2015 - Travel to Armenia

Are you looking for a rocky and challenging route to go through? Here is the Canyon of Gnishik that we would like to recommend. In Armenia, “Gnishik” is not a widely spread name, but there is the Canyon of Gnishik, the village of Gnishik and even Gnishik River! Interested? Let’s explore Gnishik Canyon with all the other “Gnishik”-s now:

Gnishik village, Gnishik Canyon, and Gnishik River

To reach to the route taking to Gnishik Canyon, first, head to Vayots Dzor Province of Armenia with a stop in Areni village. After traditional trekkers’ custom of wine tasting and having some breakfast over there, you can continue your routr to the village of Gnishik. From Yerevan it will take you at about 2 hours to get to the village, to the point where the trek starts.

TIP: Make sure to spend some time in the area of cross-stones with unique ornaments which date back to IX-XIII cc. From where you will get a beautiful view of rocks with red-orange colours and interesting stones.

cross-stone Gnishik
Photo by Lilit Grigoryan

After an hour of walk you will reach an old small hut, where it is pretty comfy to have some rest, lay down on the ground and admire the nature, or just have some snacks.

hut Gnishik
Photo by Lilit Grigoryan

The route ahead is not as easy as the previous hour. Keep in mind that challenges are awaiting you throughout your way. The route goes through the river a few times… you will come up to a river and will have to go through it from time to time. There is no other optimal way to continue, so it is just easier to cross the river. Note, that the river is not deep and easy to cross. Because people do not live in the surroundings, the river is not polluted. Feel free to collect drinking water from here.

Early in 1975, because of landslide the population of Gnishik village had to leave, and villagers come back to the village only during summer season to collect some harvest from the trees or to take care of beehives.

Continue the route through the Canyon of Gnishik to see beautiful vertical rocks, a very unique phenomena. The rocks are special by their iridescent colours which range from orange to red… Just enjoy the astounding view.

View of Gnishik Canyon
Photo by Lilit Grigoryan

Note, that the soil in some places can be slippery, especially in places where you go uphill.

You might get into a blind alley and get lost, in case you head directly to the center of rocks, where they form a jorum. Therefore, keep in mind that you need to go up and up until you take a smooth route again. This part is a little bit challenging because of slippery soil, so be careful and make sure you have the trekking poles with you.

Photo by Lilit Grigoryan

TIP: Do not take this route in summer, as the snakes are active in this season.

On your way you will see some interesting nature made images on the rocks. Can you see a dog on the rock in the picture below?

Photo by Lilit Grigoryan

When you have done 80% of your path a beautiful view of Noravank Monastery will open up from the top.

Photo by Lilit Grigoryan

On your way you might be lucky enough to meet a Bezoar ibex (Armenian mouflon) wandering around the rocks. Or, see an eagle flying high in the sky… or see trails of a bear.

bear trail
Photo by Lilit Grigoryan

This route ends on the road taking to Noravank Monastery, which allows one to visit this unique monastery as well.

There are a few routes in Gnishik Canyon for trekkers. Share with us your experience in case you have taken any of those.

  • Margarita Hayrapetyan

    Very Interesting. “Gnishik” word means “blond wine” (Գինի շեկ-gini shek), because the grape is not matured completely due to bad weather conditions. Thus the wine that villagers produce has light color.

    • Lilit Grigoryan

      Dear Margarita,
      It was very interesting to know that. Thank you very much for valuable information!