Description


Best time to visit: July, August, September

The route to Big and Small Okrostskali lake is one of the least known and at the same time the most impressive route in Georgia. The magnificent panoramic views and amazing lakes overlap the efforts made to see the lakes. Big Okrostskali lake has the colour of the turquoise and makes you feel that you are at the seashore, while small Okrostkali has a darker colour.

To reach the lakes you need to get to village Lukhi in the Khaishi commune, where any type of vehicle can get.  The hiking trail starts 25 km from the village of Lukhi. The 25 km section from village Lukhi to the beginning of the trail can be covered by off-road vehicle or 20 km by a truck which can be rented (with driver) in the village.

The first part of the trail goes along the abandoned vehicle road heading to Abkhazia and descends into the forest after the exit from the main road. 

Soon after the road descends into the gorge the route comes to the „Into The Wild” point and switches from the road to the path. After that, the path goes through the forest for around 1.5 km and you will have to overcome dirty sections. Next section of the trail before the river crossing (around 1.5 km) is the field with high vegetation. It is difficult to find the trail and navigate through the field. In the field, you can see the old cottage which is connected to the horror stories from the war of Abkhazia according to stories locals recall.

After the field, you will have to cross the river Ormeleti then it ascends small uphill to the forest. The height of the grass decreases. The trail goes thought small yet very beautiful forest where you can see the texts cutouts on the trees. 

From the forest, the trail gets to the huge valley which is surrounded by the rocks and make a wonderful panoramic view. You can see the river Okrotskali flowing down on 400 meters high slope and creating a cascade of waterfalls. Obviously, the lake Okrotskali is the source of the river. 

After the field, the most difficult part of the trail starts, which is the last ascend to the lake. There is no path, the incline is high, the surface is covered with grass and partially with stone. It goes on the left side (right bank of the river Okrotskali) of the cascade of the waterfalls. You should gain 400 meters in elevation, which requires a lot of effort.

The route from Big Okrotskali to Small Okrotskali Lake is very dangerous. You have to cross a narrow ridge, a very steep slope and climb a rock whose terrain varies from year to year. You have to ascend 550 meters in the vertical and overcome pass Ergzashira and the second pass as 2900 MSL which is on the line of the occupied territory. Here is the administrative border between Svaneti and Abkhazia. You can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of Abkhazeti and In good weather, you can even see the sea.

Duration
3 days
Difficulty
Hard
Distance
20 km (12.43 mi)
Distance from the Capital
430 km (267.19 mi)
Equipment
Tent, Backpacking Stove, Hiking Poles, Alpine shoes, Sleeping Pad, Backpack

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