The Lost World of the Psakho River Canyon
Canyon of the Psakho River – the most impressive place in the Greater Sochi area! Be sure to visit this magical place. Today I will tell you how to get to Wet and Dry Canyons, what to see there, and give you a lot of useful tips.
You’ve probably seen on Instagram pictures of girls bathing in turquoise pools surrounded by ethereal rocks. What is this fantastic place? Almost always it is the Wet Canyon of the Psakho River, although there are several other similar places in the Greater Sochi area. Here and we were impressed by the views and also decided to visit the canyon.
We made a small video about Wet Canyon of the Psakkho River. All fans of calm and meditative video are invited to take a walk!
Two canyons of the river Psakkho: Wet and Dry.
In order not to confuse you, you should explain that the canyon of the river Psakkho is divided into two parts. One is called Wet because the river flows through it. The other is called Dry because there is no water there, only narrow rocks, trees and bushes. The second canyon is said to have been formed because of an earthquake, and a river flowed through it as well.
Both canyons are fabulously beautiful and will impress any tourist, I am sure of it. Ideally you should see both, because they connect. To visit both Dry and Wet canyons, you will have to come to the village of Galitsyno, walk the entire route, and then get out in the village of Krasnaya Volya and leave for your hotel.
We had time to visit only Wet, so I will tell you only about it.
Wet Psaho Canyon This is how the very beginning of Wet Psaho Canyon looks like.
Impressions from Wet Canyon of the Psakho River
All pictures and words will not convey those special sensations that give the Wet Canyon. The way begins fairly trivial: parking, security guard, charging 100 rubles per person, tourist complex with a cafe. Then on the equipped trail you will climb into the boxwood, all covered with plush moss – an amazing sight! We saw it for the first time and hung out in the forest for a long time.
Boxwood is a relic plant, and you can travel by time machine in the Tertiary period in the yew-boxwood grove in Khost.
Colchis box is a relict plant, representative of the Tertiary epoch. Covered with Nekker moss, the trees look magical in the sunlight. Unfortunately, boxwood is dying from fungus and fire blight, a real environmental disaster.
Next you reach the stairs downstairs, and then you are disappointed to see a sign that the trail has ended. Is this really the end?!
The official end of the safe trail is near the stairs. But from here on it will only get more beautiful!
But do not hurry to be angry – you can and even need to go along the river to the canyon, away from the tour groups, which stop here. Over there, behind the bend of the rock, where the magic begins.
Magical Colchic forest and beams of light create a fairy-tale atmosphere.
Just imagine what’s next: white-gray limestone cliffs intricately curve and resemble a birthday cake “Napoleon”, and at the bottom flows turquoise river. Because of the play of light and shadows, the water is clear green in some places and milky azure in others.
This unusually deep color of the water is impossible to look at. These bends are punctuated by the Psaho River.
And all this is surrounded by the Colchis forest, typical for the Tertiary period: boxwood, yew, ferns, mosses and hanging lianas. There is complete silence, disturbed only by the murmuring of the river and occasional rustling. The land crocodile pristichampsus seems to peek out, or a diatribe pops up. This is just like Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle!
Scolopendra foliage is also called Deer Tongue. Like the boxwood, this fern is a Tertiary relic. This is me walking among the magnificent mosses.
Mysterious and calming beauty conquered us – here you completely detach from civilization, all worries and problems move away somewhere far away. Remains only you and nature. There’s no communication in the canyon, so for the next two hours you’ll have a digital detox.
Along the way you will see many beautiful places, such as a green lake with a white amphitheater, flat terraces, and just amazing river bends. But the most amazing places are hidden at the end of the canyon: a dried-up waterfall, reminiscent of the Svirskoye Gorge, a deep and narrow font, steepest cliffs and a three-meter waterfall. I marked all these points on the map below.
This dried up waterfall looks amazing! It reminded me of the Svirskoye Gorge near Lazarevskoye. Maybe in the rainy season the waterfall comes to life. And if you look into the font for a long time, the font also looks into you. This font should be bypassed on the left – look for semi-erased marks. The three-meter waterfall is the end of Wet Canyon. If you want to go to Dry Canyon, you need to cross over to the other side and climb up the trail.
FAQ before visiting Wet Canyon
How to dress. It’s almost always dusky and chilly in the canyon, so take a lightweight cape with sleeves. I wore summer hiking pants and a shirt, and I wasn’t hot. Because of the shade and humidity, some parts of the limestone cliffs are wet and easy to slip on, so be sure to have shoes with non-slip soles. We walked in trekking sneakers.
That’s why you don’t need to go into the canyon in flip-flops.
How long will it take? If you’re impressionable, like to hike, want to swim and take lots of pictures, and want to go as deep into the canyon as possible, budget more time for the route. For example, it took us 3 hours to get to the end of Wet Canyon and back together with the pictures.
Digital detox and contemplation.
When is the best time to visit? Visiting the canyon is best during dry weather in the summer and fall, when the river is low in water. At that time, you can walk through the entire Wet Canyon without getting your feet wet. We were there at the end of October and easily crossed the river on the rocks.
In the dry season, it’s realistic to walk everywhere without taking your shoes off once.
How much does it cost? Entrance to each of the canyons costs 100 rubles per person. You can eat at the entrance to the cafe, there is also a free toilet. Parking is also free.
Do you need a map? Install MAPS.Me on your smartphone and download an offline map of Greater Sochi. The navigation will help you at least get to the canyon.
Is it possible to swim? Yes, along the way you will meet quite a few tubs, troughs and fonts, where you can bathe. There are a few places to stop for a picnic. Here are the coordinates of one of them: 43.552019, 39.962659. On the map below I have marked a few more points of interest.
There is a green lake with a shallow entrance, where you can swim. The lake is surrounded by a kind of amphitheater.
How to get to Psakho River canyons by car
If you decide to visit the Psakha River Canyon by yourself by car, you should understand that the hiking route goes through both canyons. It begins and ends in different places – that is, if you come to the Wet Canyon through Galitsyno, you will exit through Dry Canyon to the village of Krasnaya Volya. The car will be left at Galitsyno, and you’ll have to walk the whole route back. And it is, for a minute, 10 km there and back with 230 m altitude difference. The route seems to be simple, but take into account slippery stones, difficult parts, search for the lost trail and time on the photo – it will take 5-6 hours in the end, so, come early in the morning.
Another option is to split the route into two parts, which is what we did. This is easier because the length of Wet is about 2.5 km. We had visited the Wet Canyon on our way to Krasnaya Polyana and explored it leisurely, but left the Dry Canyon for later. We will drive there separately through the village of Krasnaya Volya.
So, how to get to Wet Canyon Psakho by yourself by car. First, after the airport and the bridge over the river Mzymta, turn to the excellent road to Krasnaya Polyana. Then turn left at the sign to Galitsyno village and by the restaurant “Khutorok” turn left again. You will drive along Tbilisskaya Street and wind along unpaved serpentine road. Follow the signs to the canyon Psakho: before you reach the village Lesnoye 2 km take the left turn and you will come to the parking place.
The road is not the most pleasant, unpaved with potholes. I read that there is supposed to be a ford on the way, but we did not see it. Best to go off-road or crossover.
The road to the canyon is not the most pleasant, but not difficult.
Route to Wet Canyon on the map + interesting places
How to get to Psakkho Canyons without a car
It is easier for independent tourists without a car to visit both canyons of Psakho at once. There are two options:
- From Adler, come to the village of Galitsyno by bus number 131 and get off at the stop “Kamenka-2” (ask the driver). Then go to the cafe at Wet Canyon for about 30-40 minutes. You will go out through Dry Canyon to the settlement of Krasnaya Volya.
- According to “Yandex.Map” you have to take bus 134 (in Adler) to Hosta, and then take bus 128 to Krasnaya Volya. Then go to Dry Canyon. You will go out through Wet Canyon to the settlement of Galitsyno.
Excursions to Psakho Canyon
If you have an exploratory spirit and want to see all the most beautiful things, come on your own. Excursion groups usually do not spend more than half an hour in the canyon and do not go far from the sign to end the route.
However, I understand that not everyone can or wants to plan an itinerary and get there on their own – then you really should take a tour. I have chosen on Tripster three of the most interesting tours of the canyons of Sochi. One of them is an individual guided trekking excursion through the Wet and Dry Canyons. It is ideal for those who want to go through both routes!
Canyon of the Psakho River: where to look for treasures in Sochi
When summer comes, many Sochi residents prefer to escape the heat not on the crowded beaches, but in the cool shade of the canyons .
It so happens that the local mountain rivers, thousands of years making their way to the sea, punched in the limestone sediments very picturesque gorges.
In Sochi, there are several interesting canyons that everyone can visit. Today I will tell you about one of them – Psakho Canyon.
Psakho Canyons: overview of the route with photos
A small river Psakho , which is the left tributary of the river Khosta, flows through the bottom of a picturesque gorge. It was formed as a result of an earthquake.
And the river easily made its way in the limestone rocks of these rocks, and ever since then has been pleasing us with its beauty. And the Sochi National Park is profitable. However, compared to other objects of the national park, there are not so many tourists on Psakho.
The thing is that it is not so easy to get here. Definitely not by buses… That’s why most tour firms prefer not to get involved with this object. But you still can and should get to this beautiful place. Look at the photo and see for yourself.
Psakho Canyons: how to get there
It will be easier to get here for owners of SUVs, crossovers will also pass (usually at the entrance to the canyon you can see the whole range of crossovers – Cruisers, Vitars, Outlanders, RV4, etc.) I personally would not come in a car: the road here is not very good – stony, with sticking out of it boulders, with steep descents / ascents.
Many local guides offer tours to Psaho on your car. For example, these are +79272314550. Excursion begins in Adler or Krasnaya Polyana, and includes a visit to several sites: the cave, monastery and the canyon Psakho itself.
And another thing: tour companies – this is not a cab service! And it is not a good idea to call them if you are already in Galitsyno and suddenly realized at the last moment that you cannot pass this bad part of the road…
On your own .
You have to drive until the turn to the village of Galitsyno . Going uphill, we pass the whole village, keeping the direction to the village of Lesnoye, where the Holy Trinity-Georgia convent is located. By the way, there is also a variant of the route to Psakha from this monastery, but about it a little bit later. So, moving towards Lesnoy, look from the left side of the sign for Psakho Canyon. When you see it, you turn, and from that moment begins the very problematic “off-road”, because of which it is not so easy to go to Psaho…
As we drive down this stretch, a couple of dacha structures are glimpsed a couple of times. Somewhere you can see a “For Sale” sign on the gates. Yeah, the place is beautiful, sure, but I wouldn’t want to take that road out of here every day. It’s a shame about the car. Poor thing, it creaks with all its body, going over potholes and potholes…
Finally, we go out to the Psakho river, cross it over the bridge, then a couple hundred meters of unpaved roads and there is a fence and parking lot on the left side. This is the entrance to Psaho recreation site. In the parking lot – one UAZ, Niva and a couple of old Japanese SUVs.
The official canyon Psaho
So, behind the gate you will see a cozy restaurant and a sign saying that you are entering the territory of Sochi National Park. And that’s why the entrance to Psakha Canyon is paid – 200 rubles per person.
We go in, take a couple of photos on the bridge, and we go to the canyon. Still an amazing forest around the canyon: all trees (boxwood mostly) overgrown with moss. And it gives the impression of a fairy tale forest. Sculptures of fairytale characters carved from wood, meeting us on the path, enhance this effect.
Here is the canyon. The stream, wedged between two rocks, bypassing them, forms a large bowl. Photos of this very spot you will see in most of the reviews about this place.
While overcoming the last flights of stairs, I note: this time there are no cliff jumpers. Is the canyon shallowing, or are they just finally taking care of safety?
In the lake under the rocks, as usual, a dozen and a half bathers are floundering. Here hangs a poster, the inscription which warns – this is the END of the recreational zone. In fact this is just the beginning… But for the excursion groups, which are brought here from Sochi, the tour ends after this 5 minute walk. After that they are offered to swim and have a meal in a restaurant. For some people, perhaps, this is the most ideal way to communicate with the local nature.
But we don’t plan to stop here. Our goal is to go deep into the canyon at least 500 meters. And we finally leave the “recreational zone” and go “at our own risk” further along the canyon. After all, it is further and begins the most interesting …
At your own risk
The length of the canyon is about 1.5 – 2 km. We had planned to walk to a beautiful place (I remembered it from the last walk in the canyon): here the rocks slightly step back from the water, while forming a comfortable flat rocky platform on which you can lay out and matrasik to sunbathe, and if you want even put a folding table. And there is quite comfortable descent to the water, on natural stone steps. And the buzz – to climb into the bath-jacuzzi, which was formed in a crevice under the waterfall.
Yes, about sunbathing: in general, a walk in the canyon will be an escape from the heat, because here there is almost no sunlight – because of the steep cliffs and dense thickets of vegetation on them. But exactly in that place the river Psakho makes a bend, and the direct rays of the sun fall into the crevice. True, not for a long time, but you can sunbathe there for sure for a couple of hours.
But first you will walk along the river bed, periodically passing from one bank to another in light twilight, which gives special mystery to your walk:
In general, as for such a walk along the canyon, you should prepare for it accordingly. Firstly, shoes: in no case the beach sandals, and in general, no city shoes – you will slip on the first stone! And you can not go barefoot too. Take off and put on sneakers before each crossing of the river, too inconvenient. Ideally, it should be a special sport sandals, on a thick sole, which can be washed in water. I bought myself just such after several such walks.
Secondly, with a backpack: a reserve of drinking water and a light snack. At least water must be taken for sure – we haven’t seen any springs in this place. And you will definitely be thirsty. So, climbing on the stony ledges of the canyon is not a bad physical activity! Well and summer humidity here – as in the steam room. You can immediately change into the bathing suits, because the clothes anyway will be wet from the sweat after a couple of hundred meters.
Our child, who had already had some experience in such hiking on the walk from Orekhovsky waterfall to the waterfall on the river Ažek, practically didn’t grumble and quite deftly made his way deep into the canyon with us on the trail. Only in places where we had to cross the river knee-deep in water did we take him in our arms. Sometimes lizards would pop out from under our feet. My husband was wary of snakes and tethers, but we didn’t encounter any, fortunately.
And now, at last, we are at the goal. We spread out our stuff on a log and rush to dive into the cool water of the river.
After a 30-minute run along the canyon it doesn’t feel as cool as it did at the beginning.
It’s such a thrill to put your body under the cool jets of water!
But the child does not share our opinion and does not want to get into the water. But we don’t insist. But he takes a keen interest in cheese and vegetable sandwiches! We, too, do not deny ourselves the pleasure to have a snack and drink tea from a thermos.
As the day draws to a close, we head in the opposite direction. Because our plan is to make one more stop at Psakho Canyon, already in monastery area.
Again we make our “swallow” our “swallow” with sweat on a steep rise of rocks, which fly out from under wheels with a crack… My heart sinks with these sounds! But all was going quite well: I hadn’t hit any bumpers or bottom bumpers. Finally, we reached the asphalt road in Galitsyno and turn left, in the direction of the village Lesnoye, where a nunnery sparkles with domes: A convent in the mountains of Sochi.
Unlike the first, official, call at Psakho Canyon, this route is unknown to me. But I know for sure that it exists. In early spring we had made an attempt to go to Psakho by this route, but we have reached only the river. Where we stopped, not daring to wet our feet in icy water.
This time we reached the gate of the monastery and at first we thought of leaving the car here, under supervision. But then, having recollected, how much further to walk from this place, through all dacha cooperative, we decide to go further – it is already not enough time before dark, and the child is tired. As a result, we drive about a kilometer to the gate of those gardens, to get to the car for which we are not destined – we are not members of the garden cooperative. So, we leave the car here, on the spot near the gate, and go on foot.
We walk along the garden path, looking at the plots and houses. Somewhere everything is in a derelict condition:
But somewhere both the cottage is new and the plot is ennobled.
After about 15-20 minutes we reach the end of the gardens. Here the road turns up and to the left. And you need to take the path down and to the right. The path, going down steeply, leads to the bank of the river – it is the same Psaho. We go along the bank to the left, to the place where we stopped in spring. Then we ford across the river to the other bank.
Even now, in July, crossing the water is noticeably invigorating. But in March we would probably freeze to the point of cramps in our legs. So we were right not to get into the water. The more so that it was not the only forcing of the river on this route. Through 200 meters the road again stops in a river bed. So you can not bother and just walk straight on the river bed (if you are not afraid of cool water). But we decide to walk a little on the road – we have already had a lot of walks on the water today in another part of Psaho.
We are already walking about an hour, not knowing exactly how long we have to walk and where we will manage to get to. But a couple sitting on the shore assured us that just in 15 minutes we would see a beautiful place. Well, we decide to walk to it, at least. Still, we realize that 15 minutes may be 30 minutes or more. All people have their own “eyesight” on distances, as practice shows.
The more so, the trail takes us from the river uphill, and it is not possible to walk quickly. The only good thing is that the trail is quite “walkable”, and judging by the tracks on it, someone walked here recently, too.
And indeed, after a few minutes, a group of two guys and two girls come out to meet us. We turn to them with the traditional question “And tell me, how much further are we going? And we get the traditional answer – it depends where you want to go. If the waterfall – then it’s still an hour away, and you’re sure you won’t make it before dark. And what’s closer there is interesting? There’s also a beautiful place closer, and you’re almost there. Turn down and be careful with the baby: it’s a steep slope.
Yeah, steep is an understatement. Because the elephant is downright steep and slippery. With our heels on the ground we scramble down, grasping at tree roots. For what, you ask? But for such an amazing place!
This is not a photoshop! It looks just like this without any filters! Well, wasn’t it worth the hour-long knee-deep walk in the water on the way back? I try to find the best angles for the photo, but the camera refuses to capture what the eye sees:
A small cave lurks in a thicket of lianas:
Surely it has an interesting story of its own. Somehow I have the feeling that some treasure was once hidden in it. Or maybe it’s still there, waiting for its Tom Sawyer…
But we don’t have time to find out. The sun had already set below the horizon, and in 30, maximum 40 minutes it would finally get dark.
Well, now we know that “unofficial” Psakho can be not less wonderful than the official one. And no national park here does not charge a bribe for the passage to the recreational site.
So, who wants to admire the canyon Psaho without restaurants and stairs – welcome to the second route. But please, don’t forget to take your litter with you, so that this area of pristine nature will remain as pristine and clean in the future.
The way back we are going to make straight by the river bed, not wishing to climb up the steep slope. This option also requires skill and attention: we walk knee-deep in water, sometimes stepping onto moss-covered shoreline rocks. My sandals help me very much for the second time of the day!
We come out on the road in the gardens, quite tired. We get in the car and go back. We pass a convent, immersed in the silence. Headlights penetrate the southern velvet twilight….
On our way back to Polyana, we’re already working out a route for our next trip – to Ivanovo waterfall, which is also located on the Psakho river. It is a very interesting place, read more here: Ivanovsky waterfall Sochi: how we got there and what we saw