Pyatigorsk, Russia

From Adyl-su to Adyr-su valley

Experience the North Caucasus with your heart


Balance is the best word to describe this tour and this trail in the Caucasus mountains. It is challenging enough but also quite romantic. Our highest point is 4045 m, however, most of the days we’re hiking with small daily backpacks what makes it easier. The landscapes on the way are changing from green pinewoods and alpine meadows to glaciers and desert valleys with only rocks around. The inspiring beauty of the Greater Caucasus range and cozy evenings around the bonfire are just like a cherry on top of the cake!

Is this trip for me?

You don’t have to be an experienced hiker to join this tour, any special knowledge isn’t required either. Yet, a great physical shape is a must to be able to walk long and steep paths with a backpack on your shoulders. So if you’re thinking about such an adventure for the first time in your life – just start training a few months in advance, otherwise, it’s pretty doable. 


Age: 18 to 30-something
Russian Visa
Equipment: download as PDF

Physical rating
Service level

Group size: 5-15 people

Dates:         expected in 2021

Places left: 10

Price p.P.:   33’900 RUB

What does your tour coordinator say?

Adyl-su and Adyr-su valleys are two of the most picturesque in the North Caucasus with fantastic views of the “main ridge” as we say in Russian. Also my love for the mountains began there, so for me it’ll always be special.


Full itinerary


Our program begins in the afternoon with a city tour around Pyatigorsk. It’s a relatively small city so it will take us around 4 hours to see its most beautiful places. During the tour you’ll have a chance to taste the mineral waters that come to the surface or even bath in them. Feel truly local! The evening program is optional so either you can join the group for a walk or use it as your free time. 

  • No meals included
  • Overnight: hostel

Say goodbye to civilization – we’re back in a week! A private bus brings us to the village of Verhniy Baksan from where our hiking path starts. Nothing difficult to expect from today’s hike, we just walk along the road to our first camp, then set up tents and enjoy the rest of the day wandering around. 

  • Bus ride: 130 km, 3 hours.
  • Hike: 5 km. Verhniy Baksan (1600 m) – camp #1 Adyl-su valley (2500 m)
  • Height increase: +900 m. 
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

Today we have a relatively short hike to let our body adapt to the altitudes and the upcoming load. Yet, the views we’re going to see are wonderful: huge glacier, blue lakes, and, of course, Mr. Elbrus himself. Take it slowly, no rush. Learn to breath and to measure every step. 

  • Hike: camp #1 (2500 m) – Turii Lakes (2900m) – camp #1 (2500 m) 
  • With small backpacks only
  • Distance: 8 km. Height increase: +400 m
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

That is our longest and, actually, one of the toughest hikes. Get ready for a challenge but we promise it’ll be rewarding! The good thing about this trail is that you can anytime stop it because it’s the same way back to the camp. Although we encourage you to give it a try.  The feeling of standing at 4045 m is something truly fantastic and what you can be proud of!

  • Hike: camp #1 (2500 m) – VZSPS pass (3700m) + optional: Kurmichi peak (4045m)  – camp #1 (2500 m)
  • With small backpacks only
  • Distance: 7(9) km. Height increase: +/- 1200m (1545m)
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

Finally today we’re relocating to another camp spot. There’s no name for this place because it will be somewhere in between Adyl-su and Adyr-su valleys. Completely wild. Technically the path isn’t difficult but since we go with our big backpacks it’s quite exhausting. It might happen that we tell you to hurry up because the weather is fast-changing there and we have to manage to set up the tents before it rains. 

  • Hike: camp #1 (2500m) – Camp #2 (3200m)
  • Distance: km. Height increase: +700m
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

The phrase you’ll hear dozens of times today: be careful! The first half of the trail is pretty dangerous because Koiavganaush pass is sandy which means that most of the stones regardless of their size are loose stones. So listen to the guide’s instructions and yeah, be careful! 😉 The second half of the trail is more fun – sliding down the sand is pretty much similar as if it was snow. 

  • Hike: camp #2 (3200 m) – via Koiavganaush Pass (3620 m) – to Adyr-su valley camp#3 (2300m)
  • Distance: 7 km. Height increase: +360 m
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

Our 3rd camp is in the loveliest place and very close to the Georgian border. Literally we’ll be walking along it, seeing Ushba Mount and a glacier, and surely many other peaks as well. After all the challenges in the previous days you’ll definitely find this hike super easy. But hey, that’s our last day already! Enjoy it to the fullest! 

  • Hike: hike from the Camp #3 to Ullu-tau and Adyr-su glaciers (3000 m)
  • With small backpacks 
  • Distance: 5 km. Height increase: +/-700 m
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: camping (tent)

Civilization is waiting for us! So after the breakfast we’re packing our stuff and walking down to the village. In the evening let’s have a party! Okay, well, it’s rather ‘tired hikers’ farewell dinner 😉

  • Hike: Camp#3 to Verhniy Baksan village (1600 m)
  • Distance: 6 km. Height increase: -700m
  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight: hostel (*upon request, not included)

Tour impressions


  • An individual border permit is required for this tour. Personal data should be submitted at least 45 days before the date of arrival.
  • You can leave all the items that you won’t need for the hike in Pyatigorsk. They will be safely stored until you’re back.
  • There are water sources all anong the way as well as at our camp sites, so you only carry your standard water bottle to drink.
  • In Adyl-su valley basic toilets are available but the rest of our camps are wild with no shower/bathroom.
  • We usually return to Pyatigorsk at around 4 p.m., so in case you’re taking a bus/train 6 p.m. should be your earliest departure time; for a plane from Mineralnye Vody airport it’s 8 or 9 p.m. (mind our farewell dinner though ;))

Do you still have any questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us and also have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions.