Definitively, one of the highlights during our trip through Georgia was the trek around Juta. We trekked from Kazbegi region into Khevsureti, and back. It was the first time, we used our light weight tent, our big backpack and the hiking GPS, and the first time, we carried food for three days on our backs over three different passes.
This is a very good and recommended website for trekking and day hiking in Georgia. We found our route there as well by combining two routes, one in reverse direction. That gave us a loop where we could end at the starting point after three days.
We were looking forward to this trek, and we did not get disappointed. The first 1.5 days, on the popular Juta-Roshka part, we met other people. Hikers, villagers and workers on the road. But the second half of the second day and almost the whole third day it was just us and the nature. Incredibly untouched nature. But let’s guide you through these three days step by step:
Day 1 – From Juta to Roshka via Chaukhi Pass
On the first day, we started very early, at around 5.30 am. We had camped next to the village of Juta. The backpacks we had already packed the evening before. We parked Willie on the parking lot just next to the bridge in Juta. Nobody was around, so we wrote a short message that we will pay the parking fee after we will have returned. Side note: Nobody was around when we came back, either. Free parking, yay!
We took our backpacks and our newly bought hiking sticks. The hike started up through the village in direction to the Zeta camp (northeast of Juta). The first kilometers, we passed village houses, then green meadows.
The path was clearly visible and slightly ascending. We met some other hikers and took the first break for drinking and having a snack. The scenery was already impressive. Rough mountains of the Chaukhi massive surrounding green hills.
Chaukhi Pass – 3431 m
After a couple of hours, we arrived at the first challenge of our trek, at the base of Chaukhi Pass. To get the required energy, we stopped for lunch break. There was one visible path just in front of us. It seemed to be very steep. Our GPS showed another route on the left side of the ending valley. We could not see the path though. But we were very lucky. During our lunch break a guy with his donkey just came down the left path and we could finally see the way. We walked up there. It was still steep and stony but after around half an hour, we reached the top.
From there, we could easily walk along the ridge to the highest point at 3431 m. The views from there were amazing. To one side, there was the valley where we had just hiked up. To the other side, we could look down into Roshka valley with its beautiful Abudelauri lakes – three lakes with three different colors: one blue, one green and a white one.
After taking some pictures, we started descending into the valley. The destination for today was one of the lakes or, if we had enough energy and time, the village of Roshka. The hike down the mountain was fun, but only in this direction. The path was mostly loose terrain with small stones. We did not walk down, but we slid down. On the way, we saw a shepherd, sitting next to the path and watching the hikers sliding down with a big smile in his face. The air was filled with laughs from all of us while we ran and jumped into the gravel to get the best speed. Down the mountain, we first had to empty our shoes from all the small stones. After another short apple and energy bar break, we walked to the blue lake. The water was crystal clear. Next stop was the green lake where we filled up fresh water. This is the biggest of the three. We did not hike the path to the white lake as it would have taken another hour or so and we were already tired. The view from the pass top down on this lake was enough, we decided.
On the way to Roshka, we looked for a campsite. 30 minutes from the green lake, we found a flat spot next to a small stream. The rest of the day – it was around 4 pm – was filled with setting camp, cooking dinner, and falling into the sleeping bags tired and happy.
Day 2 – Over the Roshka Pass
The start into day two was a bit unlucky. We got up a little bit too late. Do not think you do not need an alarm clock and the sun will wake you up! After a day of hiking your body takes all the sleep it gets.
We expected a long day of hiking that day and it was already pretty warm.
The first part was an easy descend to the village of Roshka. We passed some interesting stone formations, the so called Roshka stones. These are remnants from the Chaukhi glacier which brought them into the valley during the last Ice Age.
We arrived at the village for a short break. It was already quite hot when we looked for the path up to the pass of the day, the Roshka Pass at 2986 m. There was a new road being built but not yet finished. So we started on the path our GPS showed. We crossed a few meadows without a visible track. Finally, we crossed the dirt road again which obviously destroyed the hiking path. It would have been easier to follow the road from the beginning but we still prefer the more natural ways. By now, the road should be fully built and connect Arkhoti area with Roshka.
Roshka Pass – 2986 m
After lunch break, we began the monotonous walk under the burning sun along the street up to the pass. Just there, we met some men working on the road. It was interesting but also kind of depressing to see the machines digging big holes into the mountain for the future road.
We walked down the – again beautiful and remote – hiking path.
As badly as the day had started (and actually had gone on) as perfectly it ended. We found the best place for the night. Just next to a small stream, we set camp. It was silent and peaceful. Nobody but us and mother nature was around. We could see the spring of the small stream just 50 m above us in the mountain. Washing ourselves with the probably freshest, and coldest, water in our lives so far. After dinner, we crawled into the tent.
Day 3 – Back to Juta via Arkhotistavi Pass
On day three, we got up early. It was the last day of the trek, we were already used to the backpacks. So we started very motivated onto the hiking path. It leaded, very well visible, into Arkhoi valley through beautiful nature, along Tsirilovantskali river in its canyon, crossing small streams and passing by waterfalls and blooming meadows. It ascended slowly until we reached the base of Arkhotistavi Pass.
Arkhotistavi Pass – 3287 m
The hike up there was quite steep but not too hard. There was still some snow, covering the path. We got lost shortly and had to climb for a few meters to get on the way again. After around one hour, we reached the top at 3287 m. The view was breathtaking and we were just happy and tired.
The last part of the trek started. We hiked down into Veshattskali river valley. The path is always on the right side of the river. It was an easy descent. Finally, we turned into Juta river valley. Here, an army checkpost marks the way. It was enough for the soldier to hear where we had come from and where we wanted to go. The last hours, we walked along the river. We had to cross it or bigger streams a couple of times, sometimes via stones, sometimes through the water. In the end, we were exhausted and could not wait to arrive in Juta. Eventually, we came into the village. We looked for a guesthouse and found a room in B&B Jago Arabuli. It was probably one of the most delicious dinners and one of the best showers we have had so far.
This night, we slept in a soft bed, tired, with burning legs and hurting backs but deeply and happily like you only do after three days of trekking.
Leave a comment if you have questions or any recommendations for great hiking areas!