The Caucasus Mountains are one of the most interesting destinations for active tourism and trekking in Russia. The Caucasus Mountain Range stretches for 1,200 kilometers from the Azov Sea to the Caspian Sea. There are a lot of interesting places on the Northern slope and on the Southern slope of the mountain range, as well as two nature reserves: the Caucasus Nature Reserve and the Elbrus Nature Reserve.
In this review on the online portal Geomerid you can read about interesting places on the northern and southern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains:
1. Caucasian Nature Reserve
2. Elbrus Nature Reserve
4. Caucasus Mountains in Sochi
5. Caucasian Mountains in Gelendzhik
6. Chegem Gorge
The Caucasian biosphere nature reserve is located in the Central part of the Caucasus mountain range, North of Krasnaya Polyana. Free access is closed, passes are required. However, in any case, it is not easy to go to the reserve. You have to cross mountain passes. Behind them, there are wild places where there is no mobile connection or any tourist infrastructure.
The Caucasian reserve was founded in 1924. It is one of the largest mountain reserves in Europe. In Soviet times, several tourist routes were laid along the Caucasian reserve, the main ones being No. 8 and No. 30. Route 8 starts near Psebay and route 30 starts in Guzeriple. Both end in Sochi.
The double-headed Elbrus is the highest peak of the Caucasus mountain range. This mountain is the center of the Elbrus Nature Reserve. Mount Elbrus is located on the Side Ridge of the Caucasus mountains, which goes 10 km north of the Greater Caucasus range. Since the border between Europe and Asia in the Caucasus runs along the Great Caucasus Range, mount Elbrus belongs to the European part of Russia.
Elbrus is the highest peak in Europe (5642m). The height of Mont Blanc, the second highest in Europe, reaches 4810 m. This volcano is one of the centers of tourism in Transcaucasia. Many people come here in winter for skiing, and trekking enthusiasts come here in summer to admire the beauty of the Caucasus mountains.
Dombay Skiing Resort is located in the south of Karachay-Cherkess Republic, near the border of Abkhazia. But, it was known well before there was built the infrastructure of downhill skiing. For decades it was visited by the alpinists and lovers of trekking over mountain valleys.
When in Dombai, all tourists go by the cableway up to the observation deck at Musa-Achitara Mountain. Musa-Achitara Mountain is just opposite the main range of the Caucasian Ridge and from its observation deck one can see the massive chain of beautiful sharp-peaked mountains, as well as two of three Dombai valleys: Teberdin and Gonachkhir. It is just there that the hotel «Flying Saucer» is located, which has become the symbol of Dombai.
The Caucasus Mountains in Sochi are very beautiful. The territory of the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve (National park) is very extensive stretching for hundreds of kilometers along the Caucasus mountain range. Many places of the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve are in the area of Greater Sochi and can be visited even by unprepared tourists.
When in Sochi, you can visit the most interesting nature sites of the Caucasus. There grow unique relic yew and boxwood forests. They remained intact since prehistoric times. You can also walk along interesting trails around Krasnaya Polyana, the main tourist center in the mountains near Sochi.
The Caucasus Mountains in Gelendzhik are low, but very picturesque. Markotkh mountain ridge rises above the Gelendzhik city. Directly along the coast stretches a low mountain ridge Tuaptakh. These two ranges are part of the Caucasus mountains, and thanks to them, you can see many beautiful natural attractions in the vicinity of Gelendzhik.
The Markotkh mountain range runs parallel to the south of the Main Caucasus Range. Both ranges start near Anapa, but there they are more like rocky hills. In the region of Gelendzhik, the ridges are already similar to mountains, but still not high. In total, the Main Caucasus Range stretches for 1,100 km until Dagestan. The highest mountain in the Caucasus is Elbrus (5642 m), and there are 7 mountains in the Caucasus Range that exceed 5000 m in height.
Chegem Gorge is located on the Northern slope of the Caucasus mountains, near the town of Nalchik. This is one of the most beautiful gorges in the Caucasus mountains. It stretches for more than 80 kilometers, but the most interesting part of the Chegem gorge for tourists is located between The Chegem waterfalls and the village of Eltybiy.
The most famous part of the gorge - the Chegem waterfalls and the Chegem canyon. This place is the end point of organized excursions. After the village of Nizhny Chegem, you should make a stop near the Aidai-su waterfall (30 meters).
The Caucasian natural biosphere reserve is very vast. In the southern part of Adygea is one of the zones of the Caucasian reserve, which occupies large areas of the Northern slope of the Caucasus mountain range. Most of the attractions in Adygea can be visited along the route from the village of Kamennomostsky to the Lago-Naki plateau. Another interesting attraction, Guam gorge, is located a little to the side of Kammenomostsky village and belongs to the Krasnodar region.
The Guam gorge in the riverhead of the Kurjpis River is one of the most famous attractions of these places. A very picturesque gorge stretches for 4 kilometers deep into the mountain range. There is a narrow gauge railroad in a gorge, so tourists can use this train to make a small trip. However, the problem is that during running a train the gorge is closing for feet walks, which certainly much more interesting than watching beauty of gorge from train window.