• TFC

Trails in Vayots Dzor region: Construction and signposting - Phase 1. (TECHNICAL REPORT)

Updated: Jun 3

HIKEArmenia and Trails for Change Scope of Work

This project has achieved the expected results in developing a trail network infrastructure in the Zaritap community area, Vayots Dzor region, including Artavan, Gomk, Kapuyt villages and the surrounding area to meet internationally recognized standards of safety, sustainability and aesthetics. The Final Technical Report is to specify the work done by “Trails for Change” Tourism Infrastructure Development NGO in the period from 27.08.2018-18.11.2018 in the frame of the HIKEArmenia and Trails for Change Scope of Work. Intended work for this period was trail building , trail marking: blazing and signpost installation. This technical documentation comprises the bulk of the report and is accompanied by maps of the proposed route and a supporting package of work pictures.

Map #1 Gomk-Artavan Trail Network


  • Design and Scouting

Trail construction in Zaritap community (including Gomk, Kapuyt, Artavan villages and surrounding areas) is based on

the design and scouting project implemented by the “Transcaucasian Trail” NGO in November 2017. Based on the report “Technical Report: Vayots Dzor Multi-Day Hiking Trail Design” (prepared by Tom Allen, President of TCT NGO on January 15th, 2017) final design and scouting had been done before the trail construction phase started.

the design and scouting done by “Trails For Change” NGO during the planning and implementation phase of the project.

Map #2 Trail scouting and data collection (Vayots dzor region)

Linking to the above mentioned technical report below is presented the data and results about detailed assessments of technical issues and trail improvement on Gomk-Kapuyt-Artavan-Ugehdzor section and surrounding areas, which have been used by “Trails for Change” NGO trail building specialist to develop the work plan.

To ensure the accurate calculation of work estimates, each section has been further broken down into specific projects, each of which represents a single area and type of work intending to produce one specific improvement to the trail. Each project has been documented individually.

A systematic naming format is used for ease of cross-referencing with the GIS data package and with the supplied map visuals. For example, VD3-002 refers to trail section 3, project number 2 in the Vayots Dzor region.

Part of the implementation stage of the project is based on the scouting data of the below mentioned sections:

Section VD6: Gomk to Artavan

Summary: A dramatic route via the village of Kapuyt, venturing up a stunning, narrow canyon, skirting above the cliffs and descending to Artavan through one of the region's few forested areas. This section requires extensive reconstruction of historical trails and stone steps to be viable.

Section VD7: Artavan to Ughedzor

According to the “Technical Report: Vayots Dzor Multi-Day Hiking Trail Design”:

In addition to the main trail, several other potential trails were identified for further assessment.

During the scouting done by Trails For change NGO and based on the TCT scouting project several trails have been added to the construction phase, including direction to fortress and Karmir lake form Artavan, and directions to forested area on the southwestern part of Artavan,

Short day-hikes

Artavan Forest Historical Loop

Locals were keen to draw attention to a historical trail that would break off the proposed route through Artavan Forest and visit the site of an ancient ruined village and forge before looping back to Artavan. This trail has the potential to create a day-hiking loop from Artavan to several points of interest, but would require further assessment in order to estimate the work required to bring it up to standard and incorporate it into the network. It is also a potential sensitive archaeological site, and the impact of a trail should be carefully considered, in consultation with the Institute of Archaeology.

Artavan Waterfall Trail

An existing short side trail from the proposed route would take hikers to an impressive waterfall between Artavan and Ughedzor. The final approach to the waterfall is currently difficult and dangerous to access due to considerable giant hogweed growth in the summer months, whose sap can cause severe burns to the skin. Considering the high likelihood of trail users making the short side trip to see the waterfall, it is suggested to assess the location for the construction of e.g. a raised boardwalk or 'bog bridge', which would ease access to and observation of the location by visitors, and relieve visitor pressure on the potentially sensitive wetland area surrounding it.

  • Construction Phase

Trail building, marking and signage The construction phase of the project involved the participation of local labourers and professional stuff (trailbuilders and crew leaders) in trail construction for the designed trail, repairing and maintenance of existing trail section, marking and signage of all trails. Preliminary training sessions for the locals were conducted at the project headquarters during the work hours. Special tools were used during the trail building works.

Table #1 List of trail building tools used during the project implementation phase

The directional sign boards have been manufactured in Armenia from durable and non-corrosive materials, and have been installed in accordance with internationally recognised guidelines on placement and frequency in the context of long-distance hiking trails, to ensure a reasonably competent hiker can follow the trail without navigational assistance. Frequency of marking is increased in areas where higher traffic and a larger proportion of non-hikers are expected.

Detailed specifications for signage and marking

Directional sign board specifications
Blazing system specifications
  • Quality control

The quality control during the project has been done by the project management team and by the crew leader trail specialist. During the works special visits have been organized to the working sites to check quality of the work done, condition of tools and materials being used during the trail building, maintenance and marking, safety norms, food and accommodation, labour.

Under the quality control the main technical points had been checked: the new trails have been constructed to a baseline of sustainability promoted by the guidelines developed by professional trail building guide books which are broadly considered to be as close to an international standard for sustainable hiking trails as exists at this time. Adjustments have been made for the specific conditions encountered in the trail sections, and can be summarised thus:

  • Tread width: 0.8-1m (3ft)

  • Outslope: 6-7%

  • Average gradient: 7-8%

  • Maximum gradient: 15%


  • Hard Infrastructure

Note on terminology: In the context of this report, the word ‘route’ should not be interpreted as making any statement about the physical infrastructure. The words ‘trail’ and ‘road’, on the other hand, are used to refer to specific types of physical infrastructure. Attention is drawn to the important distinction between a trail, which unless otherwise indicated is a narrow path suitable only for foot/bike/equestrian use; and a road, which is of a width and design suitable for a motor vehicle.

Attention is also drawn to the distinction between new trails, which refer to entirely new footpaths that have been constructed across otherwise impassable terrain; restored trails, which refer to pre-existing footpaths that have been rehabilitated in order to be suitable for hiking; and existing trails, which refer to pre-existing footpaths that required no further work in order to be suitable for hiking.

New hiking trails have been developed and now open and available to visitors of Zaritap community (Gomk, Kapuyt and Artavan villages)

Table #2 Trails descriptions

Route Type Breakdown

The developed route may be broken down into the following treadway types and proportions:

New trails: 2000 m

Restored trails: 9100 m

Existing roads: 52700 m

Two types of trail marking and signage are used on the trail: directional signposts and blazing (shown in the photo report).

Table #3 Trail Marking Description
Table #4 Information on Signs

Soft Infrastructure

GIS Data Assets

Detailed digital route data has been collected for all new, restored and existing infrastructure. This data has been synthesised into formats suitable for the public to download and use within several popular smartphone apps for hiking, Google Earth, standalone GPS units, and other digital navigation aids, and is available upon request.

Gomk to Kapuyt Trail

Total length: 3600m

Map #3 Gomk to Kapuyt Trail

____ Gomk-Kapuyt Trail

Table # 5 Trail technical data
Table # 6 Works done on trail
Graphic # 1 Elevation profile of the trail

Kapuyt Loop Trail

Total length: 13600 m

Table # 7 Trail technical data
Table #8 Works done on trail
Graphic # 2 Elevation profile of the trail

Kapuyt Loop Extension

Total length: 10000m

Map #5 Kapuyt Loop Extension
Table # 9 Trail technical data
Table #10 Works done on trail
Graphic # 3 Elevation profile of the trail

Arch Trail

Total length: 400m

Map #6 Arch trail
Table # 11 Trail technical data
Table #12 Works done on trail
Graphic # 4 Elevation profile of the trail

Kapuyt Loop to Artavan

Total length: 1300m

Map #7 Kapuyt Loop to Artavan
Table # 13 Trail technical data
Table #14 Works done on trail
Graphic # 5 Elevation profile of the trail

Artavan to Fortress Trail

Total length: 10900m

Map #8 Artavan to Fortress trail
Table # 15 Trail technical data
Table #16 Works done on trail
Graphic # 6 Elevation profile of the trail

Connection from 1.6-1.8

Total length: 4200m

Map #9 Connection trail
Table # 17 Trail technical data
Table #18 Works done on trail
Graphic # 7 Elevation profile of the trail

Artavan to Karmir Lake Trail

Total length: 5200m

Table # 19 Trail technical data
Table # 20 Works done on trail
Graphic # 8 Elevation profile of the trail

Kapuyt to Horse Corral