Day 1: Arrival at Mineralnye Vody airport and transfer to Kislovodsk
Your own arrival in the resort town of Kislovodsk, by public transport or a taxi. The trip will take you less than one hour. Check-in at the start hotel of the tour. We recommend to arrive to CMW early in order to start exploring «Lermontov's» places and sights of the city already on this day. The official history of Kislovodsk goes back to 1803. This is the date of foundation of a military fortress at the Sour Well – the spring of the Narzan.
Mikhail Yurievich first visited Kislovodsk in his childhood years, together with his grandmother Elizaveta Arsenyeva. And later, in 1837, he stayed at the Rebrov House, during his exile in the Caucasus. The place where there was the Restoration, the City Park, the territory of the Fortress and the former Soldier's Suburb, the famous Narzan well, as well as the Ring Mountain, the waterfall on the Olkhovka River and the rock in Olkhovsky Gorge - all this is associated with the name of the poet, and much of this was described in the famous novel «A Hero of Our Time».
Kislovodsk – the sunniest resort of CMW, about 300 days a year there is a clear and sunny weather. The city is located in a valley surrounded by mountains, which protect it from winds and frosts. The town is famous for its medicinal narzans, in the old days they were called «sour waters», hence the name. Be sure to go to the Narzanaya Gallery, which will remind you of a medieval castle, and is built in the form of a key. This architectural idea symbolizes the source of healing water and the key to the city. Next to the gallery, you will find the Lermontovsky Place, which was built in 1948 on the site of the Restoration. Here, look into the eyes of the Demon... And closer to the evening climb the Cascade Stairs, which are made in the ancient style, and is a majestic ornament of Kislovodsk. From the colonnade, where you ascend the stairs, a magnificent view over the city will open in front of you. Or go up to the Ring. «Three versts from Kislovodsk, in the gorge where Podkumok flows, there is a rock called the Ring. It is a gate formed by nature, and it rises on a high hill, and the setting sun through them casts its last fiery gaze on the world», Pechorin writes in his diary in his novel «A Hero of Our Time». Lermontov loved this beautiful and inaccessible place.|
Night in Kislovodsk
Day 2-nd: Circular route on Beryozovaya Beam / about 18 km., total climb 300 m. + trekking in the park.
The first track (simple) will lead you to the south and will take you through the gorge of the Beryozovaya River, along the Beryozovaya Beam. It’s one of the most picturesque gorges of the North Caucasus which begins on the plateau Bermamytskoye of the ridge Skalistyj and ends in Kislovodsk.
The rocky walls rise to a height of up to 100 meters above the bottom of the gorge, where the Beryozovaya River flows. It is these bare rocks that are the main sightseeing of the gorge and amaze with their beauty and grandeur. Sometimes you will have to wade across the river in shallow water. And right after leaving Kislovodsk the track will become dirt and will require your attention. It is not so difficult, but will add some spice. On the way you will meet the local valley of narzans – delicious, healing, cool.
Surely make a picnic and take a swim – it will be actual very much in the hot day! You will gradually raise and then get down - back to the city.
Of course you will have enough time for tracking around the famous Kislovodsk resort park. There are five terrencourt routes of different complexity and the hiking trail.
The routes have station signs every 100 meters showing the altitude, the angle of ascent or descent, the distance from the Narzan Gallery.
Each route is marked on the posts of the terrencourt stations with its own color. But our recommendation is to get certainly the Olympic Complex and the Small Saddle. From there you can see the two-headed giant – Elbrus to its very base. And if you have enough time, go further to the Big Saddle, where you can see not only Elbrus, but also a large part of the whole Main Caucasus Range – nowhere else in Kislovodsk it is accessible to the eyes of tourists. You will see Kislovodsk Valley and spread out city-resort right under your feed. The ridges surrounding the city may well be called memorable places – Lermontov liked to make long horseback rides here alone. No wonder a bronze sculpture of the poet was installed on the Red Sun Mountain in 2001.
Kislovodsk resort park is luxury and charm. You will pass through its most significant places on the way back.
Night in Kislovodsk
Day 3-rd: Kislovodsk – Medovye waterfalls – Kislovodsk / about 33 km., total climb 645 m.
This bicycle track will take you to the southwest, through some part of the Karachay-Cherkessia Republic.
A significant but gradual climb will be during the first part of the route, through small villages and along endless fields, up to the Medovye Waterfalls (Honey waterfalls) – a natural «pearl» of the North Caucasus.
On the way, if you wish to extend the bicycle track you can visit the «Castle of Guile and Love», where the sheer cliffs look like half-ruined fortress walls with towers... But there is also a real castle - with the restaurant where you can stop for a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy the beautiful views of the Alikonovskoe gorge. Some efforts spent on the climb will be fully justified!
The Medovye Waterfalls, five in all, were included in the TOP 10 most impressive waterfalls in Russia in 2018, and were declared as the most romantic in the Russian Federation. Here you can stop for a lunch break, swim and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding mountains and the waterfalls themselves.
Waterfalls are comfortably located on the Alikanovka River. There is a tourist complex for recreation and pleasant leisure close to nature. Be sure to visit the small historical and ethnographic museum with expositions demonstrating the everyday life and household items of the karachays. Besides the waterfalls, you will see picturesque sheer cliffs, river rapids, cozy grottoes, and dolomite caves – all of them are connected by a large number of hiking trails.
A massive cliff rises above the gorge, very similar to the bow of a large ship. It’s a some kind of signpost to the panorama of the Caucasus Mountains, the Mount Elbrus and the valley lying under its feet.
You will return to Kislovodsk by a gentle descent, leaving the mountains of the Alikanovskoe Gorge on your right, throuth the fields with grazing herds of beautiful horses
Back in Kislovodsk, stop by the museum «Chaliapin's Dacha», and see off the sun at the small waterfall of the Olkhovka River. Lermontov described it in «A Hero of Our Time» – here Pechorin used to drink his horse...
Night in Kislovodsk
** For beginners or weak cyclists - we can arrange a transfer to the Medovye Waterfalls.
Day 4-ht: Kislovodsk – Essentuki / about 28 km. or more, total climb 130 m. or more.
Today you will ride to the city of Essentuki. Lermontov has never been there, but in the city library has a permanent exhibition dedicated to the poet in the exhibition hall.
The first part of the route (approx. 10 km.) will take you from Kislovodsk, through low mountain hills on the left side of the Podkumok River.The unpaved road with fine gravel will pass in an environment of low mountain massifs. On the left side will be a Natural reserve – Chuguevskaya gully, with a unique relict beech forest. At the bottom of the gully flows a river of karstic origin with numerous waterfalls. The most significant place here is «The Valley of Charm».
The route will increase, but the valley is worth it. In spring there is a riot of colors and it is a real feast for the eyes. Silver bells of amazingly large lilies of the valley hide in the forest thicket, and on the open terraces of grassy slopes – lilac spill of primrose-crocuses. Autumn Charm Valley will give you the colors of the autumn forest, and forest delicacies: mushrooms, thorns, dogwoods, hazelnuts, and even wild pears. The last part of this trek you will ride along the Podkumok riverbed, which will lead you to the city of Essentuki. Its name Essentuki got from a small river Essentuki. Date of city foundation – 1798. A kilometer from the mouth of the river Essentuki, on its right bank was founded a military redoubt, guarding the southern borders of Russia. In 1826 300 Cossack families moved here, and thus began the existence of stanitsa Essentuki. But the development of Yessentuki resort began much later than the Kislovodsk, Pyatigorsk and Zheleznovodsk resorts. According to another version, the unusual name of the city is due to the Tatar-Mongol prince Essentug, who lived in the resort during the Golden Horde.
In the evening, have a walk in the spa park, which was founded in 1847 by an order of Count Vorontsov. At that time, trees and shrubs from all over the world were planted. The main avenue of the park is the park's main avenue, where you can admire its main avenue. On its main avenues you will find openwork pavilions, original sculptures, «crying» grottoes and drinking galleries.
Night in Yessentuki
Day 5-ht: Essentuki – Lermontov – Pyatigorsk / about 33 km., total climb 550 m.
After breakfast you will take a direction to another city park of Essentuki. It was laid out back in 1903 and called «English», because its architectural style was designed according to the canons of English landscape parks. Today, modern and restored, it bears the name «Victory». Before heading out of town, you can fill your bottles at the Mineral Springs Gallery by driving through Victoria Square. There are many modern sculptures here – take interesting photos against the backdrop of the «Gulliver's Mug».
The first part of the track in 15 km will take you to the city of Lermontov, you will ride without descents and ascents, and most of them – on unpaved paths, laid through well-groomed, flat fields. Lermontov is the «youngest» town, or rather, the smallest town of Stavropol, located at the foot of the mountains Beshtau, Sheludivaya (Zelenaya) and Ostraya, in a place rich in mineral springs. Passing through Lermontov, the trek will take you to the Beshtagorsky Ring – the highlight of today's trek! The ring is a very popular place for cyclists, both amateurs and professionals. It was built back in 1927, and, skirting the entire array at its foot, is about 8 kilometers long. On the mountain slopes there are many endemic plant species, which especially in spring and autumn create a delightful palette. Wild boars, hares and foxes live here. Birds of prey live in the clefts, and you can find colorful pheasants in the meadows. You can climb to the top of Beshtau, which offers picturesque panoramas of the surroundings and nearby towns, only by several hiking trails (the main summit is 1400 meters above sea level).
Diameter of the foothills of Beshtau massif and, consequently, the length of the Beshtagorie ring is about 8 km, and you will have two options for travel. You can ride around the massif from the northeastern side, making stops at many observation points. Or, choosing a shorter option, ride from the southwestern slopes of Beshtau, through the Holy Dormition Monastery of Second Athos, founded by monks from Holy Athos in the early 20th century (was restored about 10 years ago). Both tracks will meet in the south and will take you to the most «Lermontovian» city of the CMW, to the picturesque resort of Pyatigorsk.
Already this evening, be sure to take a walk in the park «Tsvetnik». It's small, but full of sights: at the entrance you will be greeted by the hero of Ilf and Petrov – Kisa Vorobyaninov. Leave a coin in his hat for luck, because he hasn't eaten for 6 days! In the center of the park – a luxurious flower garden, a fountain and the Lermontov Gallery, in the summer they organize live concerts. Walking up the alleys, reach the building of the Opera theater, and take a photo with the famous symbol of Kavminvody – a bronze eagle; look at the city from the height of the Chinese pavilion; look into the «grotto of Diana» and go to the «Emanuele» park. There you will find Princess Mary, Lermontov's Grotto, Elisabeth Gallery, Devil's Bridge and several viewing platforms, – listen to wind songs on Aeolian Harp.
Night in Pyatigorsk.
Day 6-ht: Circular route around Mashuk / about 12 km. or more, total climb 190 m.
You will start today's morning with a short (about 12 km) cycle track around the famous Mashuk Mountain. As the main peak of Pyatigorsk, Mashuk has its own, separate from the city glory, its own legend, its own place in history and literature. It is a mountain-reserve, a mountain-health resort, a mountain-attraction.
The circular route around Mashuk begins and ends near the place of Lermontov's duel, and will take you through several interesting sights of Pyatigorsk. Do you remember the lake Failure? – At the entrance to the tunnel to it you will be met by Ostap Bender. Then you will pass several viewing platforms, the famous Gates of Love, the glade of songs, and of course you will admire the nature! Mashuk slopes are one big nature reserve, which is located within the city. Mashuksky forest park is encircled by a horseshoe foot, which consists mainly of ash-trees and oaks and connects with Beshtagorsky forest park. On the northern slope there is Perkalsky dendrological nursery, which has a huge valuable collection of rare plant species from all continents.
If you are more experienced bicycle tourists you can climb up to the top of Mashuk (the length of the ascent will be about 3 kilometers, the altitude is about 400 m) and then enjoy the beautiful views of Pyatigorsk, Beshtau peaks, go down the serpentine back to one of the most beautiful cities of the CMW.
A little historical excursus.
Even with III to I millenniums BC the territory of Pyatigorye and Stavropol Uplands were populated by the tribes of the Maikop culture. Egyptian faience amulets were found in the burials of the early I millennium. These lands were also known to the ancient Greeks, who called this place Pentapolis. In 1774, according to Kuchuk Kainarji Peace Treaty lands of Pyatigorye together with Kabarda became part of Russia. In 1780 on the order of Catherine II, construction of Konstantinogorsk fortress – one of the fortifications of the Azov-Mozdok defensive line – began. In 1803 by the special decree of Alexander I, which recognized both sour and hot Caucasian mineral waters as the state importance. On May 14, 1830 a government decree elevated the sprawling settlement of Goryachi Vody to the level of a district town, under the present name of Pyatigorsk, and in 1831 a new plan of building of the town was approved.
History and springs, paths and mountains, parks and fountains, churches and monasteries, sights and places of Lermontov – all this gives us a reason to stop in Pyatigorsk for one more day. After a morning bike ride, continue to get to know Pyatigorsk on foot – Pyatigorsk is all situated on hills, downhills and uphills are constantly encountered. Also there are a lot of stairs. On one of the hills there is Lermontov square. It was here in 1889 the first monument to the poet was erected, for which the money was collected by the whole Russia for 18 years.
During his last stay in this city in 1841 Lermontov wrote «The Prophet», I go out on my way alone»... The poet's life was tragically cut short here. Not a single guest of Pyatigorsk forgets to bow to the poet's monument, visit the Lermontov House, the place of the fatal duel. In the evening, if you do not go to Mashuk by bicycle, you can get to the top of the mountain by cable car. The setting sun will light up the world around you, and the ocean of clouds will spread to the horizon, shimmering with all the colors of the rainbow. Here – the hardest thing is not to forget to take pictures...
Night in Pyatigorsk.
Day 7-ht: Inozemtsevo – Zheleznovodsk – Novotersky – Inozemtsevo / about 28 km. or more, total climb 450 m.
+ Train Pyatigorsk – Inozemtsevo and Inozemtsevo – Pyatigorsk (about 20 minutes one way)
In order to get more time for Zheleznovodsk and to not repeat the part of yesterday's track, we recommend to reduce part of the journey by a short trip by the train. Trains depart from Pyatigorsk railway station every half an hour and will take you to Inozemtsevo or Beshtau stations in 15 minutes. Those who desire to increase the bike track can get to Inozemtsevo by bicycle through a small forest.
Village Inozemtsevo (former names Shotlandka, Karras). There was a German colony, or as they called it then «column». In the «column», in the house of Anna Ivanovna Roschke, travelers could find rest and lunch. Lermontov often liked to stop in this house at 38, Svobody Avenue, after his long walks in the nearby groves. At different times Pushkin, Belinsky, Glinka and Tolstoy visited Roschke's cafe. Here, on July 15, 1841 Lermontov met with his seconds, and from here they went to the foot of Mount Mashuk, where the shot that ended the life of the great Russian poet sounded...
From Inozemtsevo you will take a direction to another famous resort city – Zheleznovodsk. Here Lermontov settled in early July 1841. The Lieutenant took baths here, for which he rented a house together with his friend Alexei Stolypin, without leaving his apartment in Pyatigorsk. The house overlooked his favorite mountain – Beshtau.
The main attraction of Zheleznovodsk is, of course, the Resort Park, decorated with statues and fountains, and there are also tanks of mineral healing water. The park was founded almost two hundred years ago almost simultaneously with the foundation of the city and covers the slopes and neighborhoods of Mount Zheleznovodsk. All major attractions are concentrated in or near the park. The main decorations are the Cascade Stairs, the Palace of Emir Bukhara, Pushkin Gallery, Musical Gazebo (late 19th century), Lermontov's bureaus and public garden, the Spa Lake and the Elementary Square. If you decide to return to Pyatigorsk straight from Zheleznovodsk, give maximum time to get acquainted with the resort park. You can walk up on one of the terrenekurs, which will lead you to the top of Mount Zhelezhnaya (height 850 m). There are several viewpoints with gorgeous views, including the rest of the mountains (four of the five main mountains) Beshtau, Mashuk, Zmeika and Razvalka.
Make a brief stop at the Kurortny Park and continue to the town of Zheleznovodskiy. After passing it to the northeast, you will continue your bicycle trip along the beautiful landscape track around Razvalka Mountain. For the most part your track is an asphalt path, with an almost complete absence of people and cars in general, smooth descents and ascents, through rare villages. From afar the ridge of the mountain will remind you of the curve of the back of an animal, it is popularly called – Sleeping Lion. This is where the grotto of «permafrost», «the parking lot of ancient man» are located, and it is all rolled with mysteries and riddles. On the eastern side of the Razvalka is decorated with Selitny Rocks, which are covered with thick green moss, with crevices overgrown with oaks, because of their antiquity. Passing through the valley, you will enjoy the impressive palettes of the riot of nature and the sun.
Descending to the village of Novotersky, you will then take a direction to the south, and, partially repeating the morning route, you will return to Inozemtsevo. Then, by electric train, you will return to Pyatigorsk, the city of history and culture, the oldest of Russia's balneotherapy resorts.
Night in Pyatigorsk.
Day 8-ht: Pyatigorsk
Today marks the end of your bicycle tour of the northern Caucasus Mountains. But you can continue your exploration/adventure through this incredible region of Russia... Below you will find brief information on how to combine a bike trip with «taking a bath», and of course, in more detail in our Tour Guide.