Tailor made Treks

Contents:
1. Day hikes Alamut
a) Piche Bon to Maran
b) Piche Bon to Yuj
c) Hiking around Ovan/Evan Lake
d) Navizar Castle
2. Multi day treks Alamuttrek
a) 2 days 1 night treks
b) 3 days 2 nights treks
c) 4 days 3 nights treks
d) 5 days 4 nights
e) Long meditative multi-day treks
3. Trekking Summits Alamut
4. Free roaming treks
5. Exploring treks
6. Desert treks and MTB
7. Hiking with Children
8. Horseriding
9. MTB routes
10. Lar National Park
11. Other treks
12. Important points about the treks

1. Day hikes Alamut: Please note , these are just some of the many options available

1a) Piche Bon to Maran:
This is a 15 km hike from one of the highest and most picturesque villages in Iran, altitude 2700m ASL ( fewer than 20 families live there permanently) up to the Salambar Pass at 3200m and down to Maran visiting Kolam e Laat and Salambar villages along the way. Salambar Caravansary on the crown was built in the last century to provide shelter for people who crossed this windy mountain top. It is in a sad state of affairs after millions were spent by the local authorities to renovate it a few years ago only to see vandals destroy it.
Maran is a mountain village on the Caspian side and belongs to the Sehezar Valley of Tonekabon, This is a one way hike and a car drive to Tonekabon or Khoonegeli would take 70 minutes.

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1b) Piche Bon to Yuj:
Starting from Piche Bon at an altitude of 2700m you hike uphill towards Salambar and after crossing the pass at 3200m you slowly descend westwards, on  left there is a deep valley leading to the Siyalan Summit at 4250m, in this valley there is a nice holy shrine called Pirevar which can be seen from above. The trek to Yuj enters the village via an old cemetery which lies on a hilltop just south of the village and a nice stroll towards the end in the Hyrcanian forest. The most spectacular sight along this hike is when you suddenly see the sea from 3000m and still have the Alam Kuh region to your east.
Yuj village is on the Caspian side and belongs to the Sehezar Valley of Tonekabon. This is a one way hike and the ride to Tonekabon or Khoonegeli would take some 60 minutes.

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1c) Hiking around Ovan/Evan Lake and Garmarood area:
If you have only a short time in the valley of Alamoot and want to go for a walk or a horse ride then this would be an option for you. You may arrive on the day and start straight away or spend a night in the village, accommodation can be arranged, either a home-stay or an apartment.

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1d) Navizar Castle:
The path that goes up the remains of this spectacular summer castle of the Assassins is not an easy one. There are parts where some scrambling is required but if you are not scared of heights and steep valleys, walking on scree then you may want to give it a try, the place where the castle was build defies belief, one wonders how they managed to get material up there. This is probably the least visited of all Assassin’s castles due to difficulty of access. No technical gear is required for this climb.

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2) Multitrek:

Please note that the drive from Qazvin to Ovan is some 3 hours and to Garmarood is some 4 hours so for any trek you may need to plan an extra day for your trip especially if you wish to visit the Assassin’s aka the Alamut Castle. 

2a) 2 days 1 night treks:
1. Garmarood to Maran via Piche Bon, a 6-7 hour trek from Garmarood will take you to Piche Bon from where the next day you get to Maran in 5-6 hours. The night will be in a home stay in Piche Bon, full board. It is also possible to have a mule to carry your load. This trek without the mule can be undertaken via Navizar Castle, please see Alamut Day hikes A5.
Maran is on the Caspian side and belongs to the Sehezar Valley of Tonekabon, This is a one way trek and afterwards most people would opt for a taxi to Tonekabon or Khoonegeli. The drive to Khoonegeli takes 70 minutes.

2. Garmarood to Maran via Gachelaat and Salambar Pass, the first day of this path is quite wild and remote, it’s a hunting ground and it is quite steep in places, expect to walk 7-8 hours, mules cannot pass this trail. The night may be spent in Piche Bon as per above or in a tent. The second day is similar to A1. Maximum altitude reached 3200m.

3. Garmarood to Piche Bon via Narmilaat and Dine rood. The trek from Garmarood to Dine rood passes a spectacular canyon of upper Alamut and the remaining of an ancient pine forest of southern Alborz. Dine rood is an authentic Alamut village of a few houses still without road although any day this could change as modernization is on the way. A homestay is available.

4. Garmarood to Yuj via Piche Bon. You may opt for one of many routes from Garmarood to Piche Bon and then take the ridge that goes from Salambar to Yuj. See Alamut Day hikes A2. Yuj is on the Caspian side and belongs to the Sehezar Valley of Tonekabon, This is a one way trek and the drive to Khoonegeli takes 90 minutes.

5. The Garmarood loop. If you do not want to cross on to the Caspian watershed then this would be a nice trek to do in the far eastern part of the Alamut Valley. Sometimes in April and May the snow from winter will simply not allow a crossing. The options would be either to go to Piche Bon or to Dineh Rood and back.

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2b) 3 days 2 nights treks:
1. Garmarood, Evater, Piche Bon, Maran. This is a tough trek as the first day is some 10 hours long and only recommended for the summer months. A more leisurely trek on this route would be D1. Garmarood to Evater can be done in 2 days with one night spent in Dine rood. Evater is the furthest settlement just behind eastern part of the Alamut ridge on the southern side of Mount Narguess (3860m), no one lives there in spring or autumn and only shepherds in the summer with their families, and it is cut off from civilization with no road access or electricity or mobile coverage. It is as remote as you get in Alamut. Huts are available for overnight stays. Maximum altitude reached is about 3500m. Maran village is on the Caspian side and belongs to the Sehezar Valley of Tonekabon. This is a one way trek and the drive to Khoonegeli takes 70 minutes.

2. Garmarood, Evater, Piche Bon, Yuj. The first and the last night will be spent in shepherd’s dwellings. Yuj is on the Caspian side and belongs to the Sehezar Valley of Tonekabon, This is a one way Trek and the drive to Khoonegeli takes 70 minutes

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2c) 4 days 3 nights treks: Garmarood, Dine rood, Evater, Piche Bon, Maran. The first day you trek up towards  Shah Alborz summit (4200m) which separates Taleghan Valley from Alamut before turning eastwards and into Dine Rood village, a home is available for the first night. Maximum altitude 3200m. Day 2 you reach Evater which is a settlement exclusive to shepherds and on day 3 you head to Piche Bon and finally by crossing the Salambar Pass you reach the village of Maran on day 4.
Maran is on the Caspian side and belongs to the Sehezar Valley of Tonekabon, This is a one way Trek and the drive to Khoonegeli takes 70 minutes.

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2d)5 days 4 nights :

Garmarood, Evater, Mt Narguess or Evater Pass, Sehezar Thermal Springs, Hesarchal and Alam Kuh 4850 m. An enduring trek in some of the remotest and picturesque areas of northern Iran. This trek can be extended with a stop over in Dinerood or terminated by doing Soozansar summit 4550m in the Sehezar Valley. The latter summit involves some scrambling and the base camp is at 2900m so a long day to the top and back, you need to be trained for this summit which some have said is more difficult than Mt Damavand.

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2e) Long meditative multi day trek:
1. Ovan Lake to Dohezar Valley. Starting from Evan village right next to the lake a steep trail on day 1 will take you as far as the refuge at 3800m where the old salt trail from Tonekabon to Alamut separates and from here on you are in complete wilderness until you enter the sub-tropical forests of Tonekabon. This trek has surpassed many trekkers’ expectations in terms of beauty and variety of landscape. The trek has many exit points and hence the length of the trek can vary from 4 to 8 days. From the end point the drive to Khoonegeli takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

 

2.In the past 30 years hundreds of roads have been built in the Alborz Mountain Range for timber and for connecting remote and sparsely populated villages. It has been a long wish to be able to spend a couple of weeks in Alborzean wilderness without coming into contact with roads. If you plan to trek in Iran from the end of June until the end of September and wish to experience impressive landscapes and authentic rural culture then this would be the trek for you. This trek would cover a large area from mid Alamut to eastern Alamut through some of the remotest and most pristine landscapes.

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3) Trekking Summits Alamut:

Khashechal 4180m
This is a nice summit that is doable in 2 days from any of the 4 villages and several ridges surrounding Evan Lake. The first day would take us from 1900m to 3600 or 3800m where we camp and the second day from the camp to the summit and back to Evan. A more leisurely pace would be to approach the summit from Zarabad ridge and make it a 3 day trek. There is some scrambling involved getting to the top.

Shah Alborz 4200m
This summit separates 2 major and important valleys i.e. the Alamut and Taleghan valley it has a glacier on the northern i.e. the Alamut side and the climb takes 2 days from Garmarood. The night will be spent in a shepherds hut.

For 2021 and 2022 I am offering a multi day  trek from Taleghan to Tonekabon. The advantage of this trek over other treks which begin in the Alamut Valley is the short drive from Tehran. You need a minimum of 4 days for such a trek and a maximum of 7 days are possible to roam these beautiful mountains walking some 6-7 hours per day.

Alam Kuh 4850m, the Alamut approach
Starting in Garmarood, for this spectacular trek you will need  6-7 days. The valley beyond Evater which is called Sehezar is stunning and as wild as Alborz gets. Mules are available for carrying the load. It is a rather unusual route for ascending the second highest summit in Iran and therefore much less crowded in high season until you get to Hesarchal.

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4) Free roaming treks:

Tell us what type of a trek and where in Iran and leave the rest to us to organize.

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5) Exploring treks:

Every year I explore new routes in this region (North western Alborz) and beyond. These treks would cover areas I have not been to before but have a reference about  from locals or know someone who has been there and wish to assess the route myself. They are suitable for strong but easy going trekkers who like surprises, there will be a sense of real adventure in them. If you are interested please get in touch.

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6) Desert treks and MTB:

The excursions are best done in March, April, early May and then October until March.

1. A 3 day trek along the sand dunes of Maranjab to or from Yakhab mountainous area. 7-8 hours of trekking (approximately 25km) per day . A 4WD will carry the logistics. A combination of 4WD riding and walking is also possible.

2. MTB from Matin Abad to Aran and Bidgol via Yakhab and Latif mountains. This is approximately 200Km of dirt road with spectacular views of desert and mountains as high as 2200m. This area is used by shepherds in winter. For further information please email.

3. Lut desert 10 day trek. This is a challenging trek in some of the most beautiful desert landscapes of Iran from the Mega-dunes as high as 400m to the Yardangs. For a detailed itinerary please see

https://caspiantrek.blogspot.com/2019/10/lut-desert-crossing-on-foot.html

4. A Salt flat unlike any, a 3 day trek out of this world. For details please see:

https://caspiantrek.blogspot.com/2019/11/another-trek-into-unknown-this-time.html

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7) Hiking with children:

There are several day hikes and multi day treks which are suitable in the warmer months for children to undertake. Normally, however, we would recommend them ride whilst their adult companions walk, it is more fun and the adults do not get bored! The youngest child so far I have taken to the mountains for multi day treks was 5 years old.

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8) Horse-riding :

Local Caspian horses are available to ride in the Alamut Valley and around Khoonegeli. In Taleghan some 2 hours from Tehran I have teamed up with a friend who is a keen horse rider and has some of the best thoroughbreds in Iran, competing nationally. If you wish to visit or hire a horse to ride please get in touch.

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9) MTB routes including Downhill:

Mountain bikes are available for hire in the Alamut Valley. Below are some of the routes on the northern side

Day rides:
1. Khoonegeli Aghuzhal down to Dohezar Road, an enduring route through a quiet dirt road that leaves Khoonegeli southwards uphill and descends via the Dohezar road further east. Total km 45. The route can be done up to Aghuzhal at 1200m in 3–4 hours and back in 45 minutes downhill.

2. Khoonegeli-Falakdeh. This is a medium route that can either start from Khoonegeli or if you do not want to cycle on busy tarmac take the bike and start in Goleyj Pol. The forest road, after a few kilometres of tarmac passing through quiet small settlements, becomes a dirt road and after 3 hours reaches a few huts. Carrying the bike on a steep downhill forest slope you reach the riverside next to which lies a cave with  thermal water dripping from the ceiling!

3. Khoonegeli-Gazane Chal. This a very strenuous ride through a forest road that lies east of Khoonegeli. The altitude difference is almost 1800m, it is only possible to accomplish in one day there and back in the summer.

Multi day rides:
4. Khoonegeli-Alamut. This is a multi-day mountain bike ride from Khoonegeli to the Alamut Valley. The altitude difference is some 3100m. The road under construction through the Sehezar valley is an unpaved road with sharp turns and steep sections which makes this an enduring ride. Night 1 would be spent in Maran in a local home, night 2 in Piche Bon in a local home and day 3 spent exploring the Alamut Valley with several options thereafter i.e visiting Atan and Andaj, Gazorkhan and the main Assasin’s castle, Evan Lake and the surrounding area.

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10. Lar National Park:

Lar is a national park close to Mount Damavand (5671m) and some of the most impressive 4000m + summits of central Alborz. It is an area where semi nomadic shepherds of the desert areas further south take their herds to graze in the summer months.

The best time to visits is when giant Damavand poppies are out and the area’s grassland is covered with wild flowers, this, in the 2 week window period when the park is opened to public and before the herds arrive to eat all that is colourful, which means sometimes in the first two weeks of June.

Entry for foreign visitors requires a written permit from the environment ministry in Tehran which is bureaucratic and time consuming and overnight stay is forbidden, an entry fee is charged and to get permission your visa and passport is required. This does not mean you should give up, I am happy to do the paper work!

L1 Hiking from Garmabdar to Yalrood in 3 days and 2 nights. This trek starts in Garmabdar an hour’s drive from Tehran and follows the old path that locals took for centuries getting from Mazandaran province to Tehran. There are dirt roads which were built after the revolution on old mule tracks for the shepherds and we will have to cross them on two occasions. The nights are spent in tents.

L2 Damavand Summit and Laar National park excursion 5 days. Climb the highest summit in Iran and then spend a couple of days visiting the National Park.

L3 Free roaming Lar. An exploratory trip in 4WD plus a mountain bike and on foot into the hidden valleys of Lar and the surrounding area visiting nomads. An excellent opportunity to hike, bike and take photographs of a large area in a short space of time. Tailor made to your time.

L4 Mount Damavand from Central Alborz  through Laar National Park. This is one of the best multi day trek in the Alborz mountain range covering  impressive 4000 m summits such as Azad Kooh and  Khole No and terminating by climbing Mount Damavand via Western or the usual Southern route. You need 10 days for this trek. It is suitable for seasoned trekkers from mid June until  late September.

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11) For treks elsewhere in the Alborz mountains see www.caspiantrek.com

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12. Important points about the treks:

1. The treks and their timing are all approximations taking into account average fitness levels under optimal late spring/summer ground conditions. The treks are of varying degrees of difficulty and for each trek there may be more than one route available. Your guide will chose the route most fitting your physical capability. We endeavour to make the treks as enjoyable as possible, we know you are on holiday! Please enquire about the availability of horses or mules to carry your gear, on booking a trek, if you feel the need to. Average walking hours per day in Alamut are 6-7 hours and some 15KMs.

2. You may bring your own personal gear including backpacks, trekking poles, cups, cutlery, water bottles, headlamps and adequate clothing and footwear or hire them from us. . For winter treks crampons, ice axes and down clothing may  be needed. If you need to  hire equipment please tell us in advance.

3. If you have a chronic illness for example diabetes or hypertension or take regular medication please let me know beforehand . You are expected to have travel insurance which covers mountain sports.

4. The majority of the treks are tailor made and organized for you. However, if you wish to share some of the costs and there are other hikers interested in the same trek on the same dates you may share with them. The point to remember is that sharing with others will inevitably mean having a mixed group in terms of rhythm, fitness and tastes and you accept this on making a booking.

5. The distances to the starting villages in the Alamut Valley from Tehran and Qazvin are so that it is recommended to allow an extra day to get to the starting point. So for example a 3 day 2 night trek described on this page would mean 3 days and 3 nights not counting the final night after the trek ends which most people spend in Khoonegeli. However, it is possible to end the trek and leave for your next destination on the same day as usually the final day is shorter than the rest.

6. Winter in Alamut? Yes this would be possible and very picturesque, but snow is usually heavy and deep. Crossing the Salambar Pass is not possible between November until April. If you want to do a winter trek you need to stay on the Alamut side, have gaiters and adequate clothing for winter.

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