Hiking to Mountain Lakes: Rapi & Astghkan

Some years ago I was an active hiker, spending weekends in the mountains of Armenia. This lasted for some years, then I started to travel more abroad and do more sightseeing and exploring new cities in different countries.
Both options of spending time are fine to me, but I noticed that I started missing the feeling of being tired after mountain hike.

Thanks to the social media and particularly Facebook events, I could look for some interesting rout tour for me: the place I never been before, place that is not very hard to hike and place with a beautiful view. The easiest point here is the “beautiful view”, because in Armenia wherever you go, you will always have an amazing view, would that be a lake, a gorge, a mountain or just an old town.. After some hours of surfing in FB events I found a nice destination to go. And I’m going to tell you about it and show some of the pictures I shoot there.

There are several inbound tour agencies in Armenia (several? or maybe hundreds?), and one of them was organizing a trip to Rapi Lake. This is a nice lake just behind the highest mountain peak in Armenia, the Northern summit of mt. Aragats. I saw the pictures and they seemed stunning to me. Couldn’t resist. Called and registered immediately. But the first attempt was failed. The tour was cancelled because of the bad weather and expected thunderstorms. Who’s familiar with this would know that just rain is ok, but thunderstorms and lightnings in mountains could be fatal. So this was sad, but right decision. Another week later the weather forecast showed sunny days and a new “event” was created in FB again. And I registered again, of course.

On Saturday morning, at 7am we were at the meeting place already. A big group of people was interested to see this beauty. And we started our journey. About 2h drive and we reached a village in Aragatsotn Province – Geghadzor. Even from here we noticed the Northern summit of Aragats and if you didn’t know that it’s this mountain, you will never recognize it, because from this side it has totally different view.

Here in Geghadzor we left our cars and moved to truck cars with open back (yes, don’t laugh ๐Ÿ™‚ )) and started the second part of our driving. This time it was an off-road. The road was ok for usual off-road cars as well, but we were around 40 people, would be a bit hard to find enough cars for all of us. Another 1h of drive under the sun (yes, those who didn’t use that few minutes to put sunscreen cream were already burnt, but didn’t know about that yet) and we reached the first destination to stop. Actually it was just 9-10km, but considering the speed we drove carefully, it took about an hour. And here we are, next to the Rapi Lake, a natural mirror reflecting the mountain behind.

A natural lake that’s feeding from melting snow from mountains, had a perfectly clear water allowing you to count all the stones from the bottom. The Aragats mountain “wall” was reflecting in its waters and making a view more lovely. The lake was also full of frogs and tadpoles (frog’s babies), also some unknown (to me) small water animals .. Because of the humid ground all surrounding of the lake was covered with colorful flowers, specific to this place. Also on every step there were a lot of mushrooms.. loooots of them! Yes, we were at 3000m altitude and this was a perfect alpine zone to admire.

Aragats Mountain is known also for its lakes all around. It’s said that there are more than 40 small and (comparably) big lakes surrounding the giant. And on that day after spending an hour next to Rapi Lake, we started our small hiking to another lake, that was only 2km far from this one. It was an easy hike, and soon we reached Astghkan Lake on 3100m altitude. Here we stopped for a lunch with a mesmerizing view to the Northern face of Aragats, next to the turquoise waters of the lake. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t that perfect. It was quite windy (that’s normal on this height) and partially cloudy, so we couldn’t see the real colour of the lake waters.. and another bad part of those clouds was that they covered the summit of the mountain and we could see almost a half of it.. However, it was still breathtaking.

Some people took a nap, another ones played guitar & sang, the other ones were just walking around and taking pictures from every angles. Time flew and we had to go back. This time there was no car taking us back and we had to walk to the village. We passed again Rapi Lake, said good bye and continued the hike. The path was passing through some areas, where farmers were grazing sheep and cows. Alpine views were still actual. Girls started to collect flowers and make colorful bouquets.

Periodically we stopped by water sources to rest and drink cold and tasty water (by the way, the taste of water here is very different from what you have in homes!). In some places I also notices way marking stone pyramids. It took us about 3.5-4h of walk to reach Geghadzor village and our cars. 14km hiking was done. We were tired but super happy because of the nice day spent in the nature. This was what I missed!

We are all part of the nature and are connected with it somehow. And we all need to go out, to spend time in a fresh air, in mountains, lakes, forests or just parks. Each of us can find the best option for himself, so try it out, check different tours (if you don’t have your own car and can’t go wherever you want at any time), find your perfect way of spending time in nature and get energized! This really works! Enjoy every kind of trip you take and let’s see where the road will take us ๐Ÿ˜‰

See you soon somewhere else ๐Ÿ˜‰

4 thoughts on “Hiking to Mountain Lakes: Rapi & Astghkan

    1. Hey Michael, glad you like it ๐Ÿ™‚ The best time to visit those lakes is summertime, as the area is quite cold and usually covered with snow. However I’m sure you’ll love those views ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

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