Help Us Launch the Transcaucasian Trail: A World-Class, Long-Distance Hiking Trail across the Caucasus
ABOUT THE TRANSCAUCASIAN TRAIL
We're building a 3,000-kilometer hiking trail across the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains.
The Transcaucasian Trail (TCT) will be a world-class, long-distance trail, consisting of two intersecting routes connecting roughly two dozen national parks and protected areas across the region. Along the way, the trail will create opportunities for economic growth, cultural exchange, and environmental education.
We’ve already developed over a thousand kilometers of the TCT. Now, we’re raising funds to take our next big leap: launching a beta version of the first full TCT route, providing the support for hikers that will be necessary in its first year, and expanding our new community and environmental initiatives around the trail.
If you’re looking for an innovative, effective way to support the people and natural environment of the Caucasus-- or if you want to come experience the region’s beauty and culture yourself-- you’re in the right place.
Donate here and become a part of the community bringing the trail to life.
WHY THE CAUCASUS?
The Caucasus region deserves to be on any hiker’s bucket list. It’s a biodiversity hotspot. It’s rich in historical sites, unique cultural traditions, and dozens of indigenous languages. And it’s home to staggeringly diverse landscapes, including snow-covered alpine passes, red desert canyons, lush forests, peaceful meadows, and high volcanic plateaus.
We're putting these hidden gems on the map to help ensure that the landscapes and heritage of the region can be enjoyed by future generations.
WHY A HIKING TRAIL?
Simply put, hiking is one of the best ways to experience the Caucasus-- and it's one that has rippling benefits for the whole region.
For hikers, good trails make the rugged mountains accessible, expanding the areas that are possible to safely hike in-- and creating an unparalleled slow-travel experience through diverse landscapes and communities.
For rural communities, trails draw people to places they might not otherwise visit, creating opportunities to develop small businesses and revitalize villages.
For the environment, trails provide a platform for people to learn about biodiversity and develop a personal connection with the natural world-- an essential part of shifting broader attitudes towards conservation.
Over the past five years, we’ve developed more than a thousand kilometers of trail.
Along the way, we’ve trained hundreds of local and international volunteers in trail building and maintenance, put new destinations on the map (literally), and launched a new wave of human-powered adventures through the Caucasus.
As the trail has grown, we’ve seen a large increase in the number of local and international hikers on these routes-- and a corresponding increase in economic activity in villages along the trail.
By investing in the Caucasus' outdoor infrastructure, we’re helping increase opportunities for small businesses in mountain regions, providing environmental education & professional development for trail crew members, and improving access to the region’s natural & cultural heritage for everyone.
Over the past 5 years, we've worked to make the trail a reality by focusing on 3 core areas: long-distance route creation, physical trail work in key sections, and building a community around the trail. Here's a snapshot of where we stand now.
Route development: We’ve found, mapped, and improved ancient trails across the region. Now we’re linking them together to create incredible long-distance hiking opportunities.
We've developed a full 832-km route across Armenia, a 600-km route across Georgia (ready for testing), and now our first 100-km section of trail in Azerbaijan (coming soon). In 2022, we'll welcome the first hikers to these new routes.
Supporting local environmental leadership: We consider investing in local environmental leadership a crucial part of the trail development process. We’re not only training the people who will build and maintain the TCT-- we’re also supporting a large, diverse cohort of local trail advocates who will support conservation efforts and sustainable tourism across the region.
In 2021, we worked with a range of partners to launch three new youth-focused programs: the Caucasus Conservation Corps program in Georgia, and the Youth For Change program and the Yerevan Trail Club in Armenia. In 2022, we'll continue this work to create more opportunities across the region.
We’re at a critical inflection point, and we need your help to get to the next level.
With massive sections of the route ready to be hiked, and a strong community rapidly growing around the trail, the TCT is better-positioned than ever to become a success.
We’re getting ready to release our first full TCT route in a beta version for summer 2022 (North-South), and we're making rapid progress on the second (East-West). We’ve built a strong community of trail crew members and volunteers who are skilled in trail building and excited to make the project a reality. And with international travel expected to pick up next year (along with more people using local trails than ever before!) we expect next year to be our biggest yet.
But we need your help to make that happen.
The funds we raise will go directly towards our priorities, all of which will ultimately benefit the mountain people and environments of the Caucasus: launching the first full thru-hiking route; creating new trail notes and resources; expanding our community of hikers, volunteers, trail designers, and partner organizations across the region; and working towards the trail's long-term sustainability.
We have an ambitious year ahead. But, well, nothing about building a long-distance trail across the Caucasus has ever been unambitious-- and we're not going to shy away now.
We hope you'll join us.
Thank you for joining the TCT community.
We've gotten this far because of individual hikers, environmentalists, and Caucasus lovers like you-- who care not only about creating more hiking trails, but also building a brighter future across the Caucasus.
See you in the mountains!