Kintrishi Nature Reserve – Tbikeli Lake Hike

This is one of the most impressive dayhikes I have done in life. Jeep took us to the rainy and tropical village of Khino, around 38km from Kobuleti, around 20km past visitors centre in Chakhati. It was June and area was raining almost everyday. Fresh green colors of spring, Adjarian summer houses, lots of psilotopsidashospitality of locals made our stay still enjoyable despite rain. We also visited Khino waterfall in complete jungle. We decided to start our hike in the very early morning at 5am. It was foggy and wet morning. Not everybody dared 24km hike in one day (12km 1 way). Past Khino Monastery we crossed some fields and small bridge on the river and ascent started on the ridge. It was so humid that we all sweated and could not breathe well, but the path was so exotic and beautiful. High trees, untouchable chestnut and beech forest, so much and exotic green colors I have never seen in life.

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COMPLETELY WET

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FOGGY FORESTS

HERE COMES THE SUN

It was foggy most of the road but when we reached around 1800m, the Sun appeared through the trees. First we didnt see that well and did not believe that it was like a miracle and it really made our day. Soon we went up the ridge and it was a sunny day! and Khino and its surrounding lowlands were all in a rainy weather still! We were above the clouds. We enjoyed taking pictures looking to the sea of clouds, snow and fresh green color combinations, Rhododendron blossoms, majestic views to the mountains and reached the highest point (there is a hut near the trial btw) where you could see Gomis Mta resort from far. BTW photos from Gomis Mta are taken in June too and its possible to descend in the river gorge and go up the ridge for Gomis Mta from here if you are doing a trek. From Gomis mta you can continue Trekking to Bakhmaro Resort and watch wonderful sunset and sunrise.

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ABOVE THE SEA OF CLOUDS

GREEN, YELLOW AND WHITE COLORS OF ALPINE MEADOWS

GREEN, YELLOW AND WHITE COLORS OF ALPINE MEADOWS

Then we could see the lake. It would have been much more enjoyable hike if the lake was right there at 2400m from the sea level and then you could descend. It was quite tiring to go down the path and then to reach the lake and come back the whole way to that highest viewpoint, but the lake was worth visiting. It was snow and blossom of Rhododendron around the lake and the lake has a beautiful color. We enjoyed to have a nice rest for a few hours and photosessions. Then started our way back. It took us 3-4 hours to descend to Khino, but when we finished it was already dark night and rain caught us in the forest. (It took us 6-7 hours to the lake but we stopped many times for photos, water, snow, etc).

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OUR GROUP PHOTO AT THE LAKE

Again slept in that less-comfortable and warm Adjarian house of Cattlers and descended to Chakhati the next day by jeep. There is nice Adjarian Bridge in Chakhati, another waterfall and the monastery, enough for a half day but not that important after Tbikeli Lake hike. That day we had a nice weather to swim in the black sea of Kobuleti and drive to Tbilisi.

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by David Marukhian

Few words about Kintrishi Protected Areas. It is located in Adjara Kobuleti Municipality of Adjara in the gorge of Kintrishi river at an altitude of 300-2,500 meters above sea level. Kintrishi PAs offers their visitors two tourist trails, both on foot and on horse. Picnic and camping places are arranged along trails, fire spots are also allocated. Visitors can visit the area at any time of the year, but June- early July and September-October period is prefered for the lake.  Visitors center of Protected areas will help you to organize guide, horse and local transport.

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Transportation: It takes around 3-4 hours by jeep to reach Khino by jeep. Depends on the driver, road condition, etc. To get to Kobuleti from Tbilii, buses leave from Didube station (20gel) or train (15-30 gel).

Hiking Distance to the Tbikeli Lake: 24km (12km one-way) from village Khino; Difficulty: Hard

Useful Info:

-You can make the trip shorter if you start hiking from Khino village leaving your 4wd car at the Monastery premises.

-The best time for hike is June-September.

-Due to relatively humid climate it might be hard to hike till you reach the alpine zone.

-It’s possible to hike up to the lake and return to the village Khino in one day starting at 5AM but it’s also possible to stay at a small hut in the alpine zone or camp on the shore of the lake.

For more information please visit the website of the protected area. Tourist route is not well marked so you will need gps or guide for the route. You can see the gps track below.

For the GPS track please see:

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