Hiking the gorge

Vikos Gorge Travel Blog

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Beginning the hike into the Vikos Gorge

The rain came down on us as we began our descent into the gorge.  Our pace was slow wherever there were cobblestone paths because the rocks were so slippery to walk on.  We were told the hike would take about 6 hours with a lunch break, so we could estimate our arrival time.  The hotel owner gave me his business card and said to call him when we got to Vikos - he would come pick us up...for a fee.  You can actually hike the gorge further than Vikos, but only about an hour or so and with the weather, we knew we'd be ready to call it a day by the time we reached Vikos.

For the few hours we descended into the gorge and then followed the path along the dry riverbed.  I knew to follow the path with the red diamond on it, that would eventually lead us to our destination.

The dry riverbed at the bottom of the Vikos Gorge
  This was easy enough at first - the path was labeled and it was obvious which direction to travel.  It was not a difficult walk, but the rain slowed us down.

Eventually, the path became the rocky river bed and so we climbed over rocks to continue.  At times we were definitely rock climbing, and others we could just walk.  It became more challenging, but we could handle it just fine.  At one point we had to use an old staircase that was missing some steps.  There were also times where the path became very narrow, with a wall to our left and a drop off to our right.

As the rain came down harder, we stopped in a small cave and ate lunch there.  We had been hiking for over 4 hours already, and it was a lot of fun, but the rain was trying to ruin the experience.

We followed those red diamonds
  We were soaked through and through, but we kept hoping the sun would dry us off.  The path took us through foresty areas which offered us some protection from the rain.  Determined and enjoying the adventure, we continued along.  Fortunately, the rain stopped after about 5 hours, and we assumed that the hike up to Vikos town was coming up soon.  The path and the gorge leveled out a bit and we had some room to move around.

At this point, we noticed tons (and I mean tons) of droppings on the trail.  My thought was that they were donkey droppings, but I am still unsure why they suddenly started on the path.  Where would the animals (and people from the town) have gone to down in the gorge?  We continued on, with me in the front shouting out where the droppings were so no one stepped on them.

Standing on the rocks
  We came across some old campsites and began to wonder if there was anyone down there with us.  We had not seen any other hikers all day, and I still think we were the only ones that hiked on this day.  The campsites were either folks from Vikos village or Armenians that had crossed the border illegally and entered the gorge.  I wasn't sure what a desperate Armenian would want from some Americans, so we kept our eyes peeled for animals or humans.

It took us about 6.5 hours from the time we left Monodendri to reach the path going up to Vikos.  We decided to skip a monastery that sat down in the gorge and instead head up to town.  As we began our ascent, the most grueling part of the hike, the sun finally came out and decided to cook us alive.

The Vikos Gorge
  The climb zig-zagged us up the side of the gorge, but the fall colors were absolutely amazing.  We were there at the perfect time of year to see it.  What a blessing!

When we neared the town, the flies came out to greet us.  I guess we were more smelly than even the droppings on the ground, and we got smothered in them.  Cathy and I were furious when we finally reached Vikos...but hey, we made it!  The whole trip took us about 7 hours, we figure it took us a little longer because of the rain.  We never encountered any other humans or large animals, but we felt good about our accomplishment!

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Beginning the hike into the Vikos …
Beginning the hike into the Vikos…
The dry riverbed at the bottom of …
The dry riverbed at the bottom of…
We followed those red diamonds
We followed those red diamonds
Standing on the rocks
Standing on the rocks
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
Walking a narrow path on the Vikos…
Walking a narrow path on the Viko…
Following the path through the Gor…
Following the path through the Go…
Looking down into the Vikos Gorge
Looking down into the Vikos Gorge
Taking photos
Taking photos
Entering the Vikos Gorge
Entering the Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
Starting our rainy hike into the V…
Starting our rainy hike into the …
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
Dry river bed in the Vikos Gorge
Dry river bed in the Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge - an old mossy tree
The Vikos Gorge - an old mossy tree
The Gorge
The Gorge
Following the path through the Gor…
Following the path through the Go…
A little shrine to a patron saint …
A little shrine to a patron saint…
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
Walking on the river bed
Walking on the river bed
Walking on the river bed
Walking on the river bed
Walking on the river bed
Walking on the river bed
Walking on the river bed
Walking on the river bed
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
A friend we met along the way
A friend we met along the way
The beautiful Gorge in the fall
The beautiful Gorge in the fall
The route marker
The route marker
Our path through the Gorge
Our "path" through the Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The river bed
The river bed
Walking through the river bed
Walking through the river bed
This staircase needs some love - b…
This staircase needs some love - …
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
Climbing out of the Vikos Gorge
Climbing out of the Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge - small monastery …
The Vikos Gorge - small monastery…
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge - another shrine
The Vikos Gorge - another shrine
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
Walking the path
Walking the path
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
The Vikos Gorge
Vikos Gorge
photo by: Nzelvis