Canyons of Tsalka or Dashbashi canyons is one of the most impressive natural monuments of Georgia, green and beautiful all year long. Located 110km from Tbilisi and 2km from small town of Tsalka, in village Dashbashi, Dashbashi Canyon Natural Monument is a canyon carved by Ktsia (Khrami) River in the stream bed cut through the volcanogenic rocks of Dashbash volcanic plateau, distinguished by its rarity and biodiversity.
It is located at 1,110-1,448 m above sea level. The vegetation cover of the surrounding ecosystem is rather sparse, whereas the plants on the steep slopes of the canyon and astounding waterfalls create absolutely different micro-landscape, with characteristic micro-climate, specific fauna etc. It is nice and chilly in summer (but beware of hogweeds this season), it is also exotically green and warmer than Tsalka and Dashbashi village areas in winter, beautiful with its dozens of frozen waterfalls which you will find even more if you follow the canyon up from the main tourist site.
Another Important site in Tsalka is ruins of medieval Kldekari fortress which was the center of resistance for Kldekari principals against Georgian kings. Kldekari literally means stone gate and it actually defends historical route between Lower and Inner Kartli regions which cuts Rocky Trialeti range and makes a natural pass – stone gate.
From the fortress you can observe June’s all green or newly snowed plateau of Tsalka in winter with some frozen lakes, Algeti national park forests in the fall, also Gori and inner Kartli ridges and plains. If you are interested to explore Tsalka more, you can visit cyclopean fortresses for example one in Avranlo village or ancient Menhir (idol) of Tejisi. Besides, if you are a hiker, you can follow the Sabolia gorge to Rkoni Monastery (Inner Kartli) from Kldekari fortress when water levels are lower.
How to get to Tsalka
When entering Tsalka traveling from Tbilisi, at petrol station head left to Dashbashi village unpaved road (2-3km), visit historical church at the edge of canyon in the village and from the church you will see the road descending into the Ktsia gorge, then follow the river gorge up to the direction of Tsalka and you will see the main touristic site of the canyon, but you are advised to explore more of the canyon.
As for Kldekari You should visit village Choliani in Tsalka. Public transportation to Tsalka runs from Navtlughi station (lower Samgori metro) starting from 8AM but for those who want Kldekari-Rkoni Monastery hike, they prefer afternoon buses directly to Choliani which are not so frequent and if interested you can ask your Georgian speaking friends to call these numbers for schedule: 599393535 or 593589974; camp in Choliani and start your hike the next day in the morning. Hiking route is marked so don’t worry about getting lost.
Please note that entrance fee was introduced and visitors center was built in Dashbashi. There is a 1.8 km long trail in the area, which starts from the visitors center and enters the canyon gorge, near the waterfall. It takes about an hour to walk to and from the waterfall via the trail, however you can take advantage of the specially designated vehicles that will provide transportation for you.
For more info please read.
You can see the video here: