Hiking and the Great Outdoors

In response to the Take a Hike blog‘s comments and questions, today’s post will be about hiking in Iran.

There are many trails that give tourists and locals alike the opportunity to explore and see the diverse scenery and landscape of Iran.

Whether trekking to the summit of the highest peak in the Middle East, along the trails to the Caspian Sea or at the foot of the Alborz mountains, the Iranian landscape is diverse and best experienced on foot.  Below are some options:

Mt Damavand

Northeast of Tehran and the highest peak in the Middle East is Mt Damavad at 5,671 meters high.  The dormant volcano is shaped like Japan’s Mt Fuji, and is one of the most iconic landmarks in Iran appearing on the IR10,000 note and spring water bottles.

There are many routes up the mountain, but the most common one is the southern route.  The hike takes about three days, and is fairly straightforward and safe with the most dangerous aspect being altitude sickness.  Symptoms included dizziness, swollen fingers/toes, nausea and headaches.  The only way to combat this is to take it slow and adjust to the altitude.  The best time to climb is during July, August and September where the weather is a lot warmer (and less erratic).

From the summit on a clear day you can see the green jungle of north Iran, the Caspian Sea, Tehran, the lake of Lar and the vest plain of Varamin.

Alamut Valley

At the foot of the Alborz peaks, the Alamut valley is a scenic myriad where one moment you’ll feel as if you’re in central Australia, the next in in Switzerland.

The Alamut Valley hosts historical as well as scenic significance.  Throughout the valley are ruins of over 50 fortresses with fabulous myths and stories to accompany them.  The Castles of the Assassins is perhaps one of the most well known fables.  Here the castles are said to have been the centre of a medieval religious cult where followers would lure and then murder political and religious leaders in the hope of reaching the afterlife’s paradise.

Lake Gahar

Waterfalls aren’t something one would expect to find in Iran.  There are many long and short treks around the mountain ridged Lake Gahar in Iran’s central west, south of Tehran.

The best waterfall views are from across the river using a footbridge.  Otherwise a popular trek is to the Shevi Waterfall that emerges directly as a spring from a cliff, then falls around 100 meters in a wide sweep.  This is approximately a five hours walk from Talezang (off of the Dorud to Tehran train line) with some climbing involved.  Hikers can camp here, although should bring their own equipment and food.

Happy hiking!

Unveiling Iran