The Uchan-Su Waterfall in Yalta

The Uchan-Su is the highest waterfall in the Crimea.

You can’t compare Uchan-Su with Niagara Falls in its sheer water content, but it is almost equal in height to Uchan-Su. If you plan to explore the natural surroundings of Yalta, a visit to this place is highly recommended as one of the business cards of the Crimea.


Where is the Uchan-Su waterfall on the map

It is located to the west of Yalta, near the village of Kuybyshevo. There are two well-known paths leading to it: Shtangeevskaya and Taraktashskaya. Uchan-Su area is also surrounded by three mountains – Stavri-Kaya, Taraktash and Ai-Valenti. Nearby you will find a few more interesting places – Devil’s Bridge and the oldest pine tree.

GPS coordinates are 44.492712, 34.092447.

Description: Geographical features and altitude.

The Uchan-Su River, where the waterfall is located, is a typical waterfall in the Crimea – it is only 7 km long and almost dries up in the summer heat. Therefore, the power of the cascade is not different – the average water flow rate is 0.05 cubic meters / sec.

But the small capacity of the stream does not prevent the waterfall to be high – its height is 98.5 m. But this is the official information. In the “popular” sources come across and other data – from 89 to more than 100 m. It is difficult to understand why there is such a discrepancy, but there is. Obviously, the Uchan-Su is the highest waterfall not only in the Crimea, but also in Europe.

Uchan-Su Waterfall

There is no evidence of who, when and under what circumstances first discovered and described the waterfall. It is as if he has always been known. However, at such a height, this is not surprising. It is also interesting that the water cascade is in principle quite high – the height of the top of the waterfall above sea level is 390 m.

Uchan-Su is located on the slope of Ai-Petri – one of the most famous mountain ranges of the Crimea, and not the lowest. Some people call it 4 terraces, but it is generally accepted that there are two. From the river of the same name just in the area of the waterfall is the intake of water for the supply of Yalta (until it is about 6 km). The water intake station is located on the second terrace.

Falling streams knocked out there a pretty solid size pit. In the Crimea such are called “baths” and often bathe in them. But it is possible in small, not too high waterfalls. In the bathtub Uchan-Su can not swim, but not only because of the intake of water – just jets falling from a height of several dozen meters, and can cripple.

Uchan-Su photo

In 1947, the waterfall and its surroundings were recognized as a protected area. Since 1973 it belongs to the Yalta mountain forest reserve. This is why it is prohibited to make bonfires near it, to stay overnight, to litter and to damage the vegetation. You must also be prepared to pay for the right of passage (but the amount is nominal).

Origin of the name

Now the waterfall is known under the Tatar name “Uchan-Su”. Its translation is “flying water”. However, it also has other names.

The century before last it was called the Kremasto-Nero (from the Greek for “hanging water”) – then there was a large Greek diaspora in Yalta area. The Tatars sometimes call it Akar-Su – “flowing water”, but it’s kind of trite.

waterfall splash

In Soviet times, after the deportation of the Tatars, the Tatar place names in the Crimea were replaced by Russian ones. Their inventors didn’t play with themselves too much and called the waterfall Yalta, and the river – Vodopadnaya. It is still called that downstream (Uchan-Su flows into the Black Sea near the hotel “Oreanda”).

Now the Tatar name is used as the most “historical” one. It is important to know that it has two stresses, on both parts, with the correct pronunciation: “UchAn”.

Legends simple and geological

It is clear that such a remarkable place could not help being covered with various legends. The most popular are two of them.

The first one is a quite traditional fairy tale explanation of the appearance of the waterfall. There once was a village at the foot of Ai-Petri, and a beautiful Uchan girl lived there. She got her name due to the unusual lightness of her “flying” gait. The mountain spirit took a fancy to her, and he carried her to his chambers.

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waterfall photo

Alternative versions mention a sorcerer and even a dragon – in general, the entire fantastic mountain bestiary. After a while, however, the villagers faced a shortage of water. Drought threatened to kill all the inhabitants, and Uchan began to ask the spirit to help them. Then he turned her into a river.

Uchan ran to her people, but evil mountain forces piled rocks in her path. Then she jumped down from a high cliff, but still managed to reach her family and friends. That’s how the waterfall came to be.

The second legend claims to be scientific. It was recorded in 1867 by researcher V. H. Kondaraki. It says that almost at the very top of the waterfall in the rock embedded ancient large ring.

picture from afar

Allegedly it turned out because at the beginning of history, the sea level was much higher (or Ai-Petri lower?), and the water reached almost to this place. Near modern Yalta was a convenient parking lot for ships. But they had to be moored to the shore somehow. So they built a ring in the wall for mooring rope.

Yes, the sea level is changing. And the height of the mountains is not a constant value. Still, there are several “buts” to this beautiful story. First, in the period when people were already able to build ships, the level of the Black Sea water and the height of Ai-Petri were not fundamentally different from today.

winter waterfall

And secondly, it is not uncommon for climbers to conquer the rocks near the waterfall, or even directly there. And they did not manage to find the ring mentioned by Kondaraki. And there is no archaeological evidence of the existence of a port in this place, simply because it could not be here.

Another legend, typical for the Crimea, is associated with a large sculpture of an eagle on the second terrace of the waterfall. The purpose of this bird is quite utilitarian – it masks the water intake station, on the roof of which it is installed. But for some reason, tourists decided that this feathered raptor will bring luck by tying a ribbon on its wing.

spring Uchan-Su

To get to the sculpture is not easy, and rather unsafe. Nevertheless, ribbons on its wings appear regularly. Since the deaths at the waterfall are sort of not recorded, the eagle can really be considered as bringing good luck.

Finally, the residents of Yalta predict the weather by the Uchan-Su River. It doesn’t matter if there are clouds on the heads – if the water in the river is clean and clear, it won’t rain. But if the water is cloudy, then no matter how much the sun shines, the weather will soon deteriorate, there will be rain and storms.

When is the best time to visit the waterfall Uchan-Su?

Like many “freshwater” Crimean attractions, the Uchan-Su waterfall does not fit into the tourist season. Although scientists have recorded that the Vodopadnaya River has completely dried up only 10 times from 1947 to the present day, its fullness in the summer heat decreases several times.

Uchan-Su in spring

So at the height of the tourist season, a few pathetic streams remain of the natural wonder. Disappointed tourists then called Uchan-Su a “droplet” and a “vodokap”. The locals always put up funny signs saying “the waterfall is temporarily out of service” on the approaches to the waterfall.

Probably for this reason, the cascade is not often mentioned in the notes of researchers, it is not in the notes of all kinds of travelers and diplomats. They tended to act in a tourist way, that is, they visited the Crimea in the summer. And the locals knew about the waterfall, but it was not a tourist attraction for them, but an object of life support.

February Uchan-Su

The best time to visit Uchan-Su is spring (from late February to April). Ai-Petri peak is famous in the Crimea for abundant snowfalls, so the rivers flowing from the plateau become quite full-flowing during the snowmelt. The best photos of the attractions (for advertising and geography textbooks) were taken during this period.

In the Crimean mountains in the spring is very beautiful, so that the tourist will admire not only the full-flowing power of the waterfall, but also much more. December is not bad as well, which in the Crimea is a very rainy month. However, the temperature and weather conditions at this time is much worse than in the spring.

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Ice Mountaineering

Frost-resistant tourists can be advised to visit here in winter – in late January or early February. This period in the Crimea is quite frosty, and on Ai-Petri the cold can be considerable. Plateau is the most famous winter resort on the peninsula, and the waterfall in any significant frost freezes through partially and even completely. It remains unfrozen only in very warm winters, which is uncommon.

frozen Uchan-Su

It turns out an unusual, beautiful and original picture. The stream of water freezes not “all together”, but in separate streams, hanging like cave stalactites. In especially cold seasons, these icicles reach from the platforms of the waterfall to its base. And then there is a chance to additionally enjoy a rare spectacle – a mountaineering ascent to the ice massif.

However, this is a task for the most experienced climbers with excellent climbing skills, but even for them it is dangerous. That is why you do not see them very often, but sometimes you can. The first such climbing was made by climber Yuri Lishaev in 1986.

Uchan-Su fog

That year it was a severe winter – a climber made his ascent at -17 degrees. Nevertheless, he had to wait for a few days for the right moment – when the “icefall” would reach the ground and freeze to the ground. The icicles grew like real stalagmites, though faster.

During the ascent Y. Lishaev noticed a peculiarity of the ice of Uchan-Su: inside each frozen stream water was hiding in the ice. This is how the frozen waterfall “flowed” down to the land so that the climber could climb it.

However, climbers conquer Uchan-Su not only in winter, but also in summer, during the “waterfall” period. Then it is less difficult and dangerous, but still – beginners are not allowed to this route.

overhead view of the waterfall

But ordinary tourists who have no relation to mountaineering, except climbing a little on the stone blocks next to the river bed, to find the best angle for filming. The top of their achievement is a ribbon on the wing of an eagle. And it is good and right – you should not climb into dangerous places without having the skills to behave there.

Numerous visiting rules.

There are really a lot of them – all sorts of difficulties and conventions associated with visiting the Uchan-Su waterfall. Most of them are connected either with the protected status, or with the peculiarities of the location of the sight – on the slope of the mountain range.

To begin with, it is impossible to get to the waterfall by car at all. There are several reasons for this – and the protected status, and technical problematics of the highway arrangement on an almost steep slope. In any case, you will have to walk.

photo of an eagle on the Uchan-Su

The easiest and closest way to the waterfall is to walk from Vinohradnoye. It is not a resort center, there are not many vacationers living there, so you should get there first. Optimal place of the start in this case is Yalta (you can get by bus, going in the direction of Bakhchisarai). Alupka will do, as well as most of the villages in the Yalta area.

In the village itself will not be difficult to navigate – there are enough signs, and you can navigate the density of souvenir stalls and tents (the more dense – the closer to the trail to the waterfall).

at the foot of

You can also see Uchan-Su by walking along the Ai-Petri plateau or along one of the famous recreational hiking trails – Botkin’s or Stangey trail. Of course, there will be a significant difference in viewing angles and distances to the sight.

However, tourists do not often make Uchan-Su the sole purpose of the day tour. A typical option is to see the waterfall at the same time as other natural and man-made beauties. In this case, recreational trails may be more convenient.

Natural Constraints.

The tourist who went to Uchan-Su, will have to put up with many inconveniences due to natural factors. What can you do – the nature didn’t think about the needs of its visitors when creating the waterfall!


For starters – you must be prepared to overcome the climbs and descents (perfectly safe, but still pretty steep). It is not the best idea to take very young children (would they ride on Daddy’s shoulders), very mature people, people with disabilities or those who suffer from cardiovascular diseases in serious forms. But healthy people in general do not need any training to visit Uchan-Su.

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Further, it’s always slippery near the waterfall (when it’s not a “drop”). This is due to the fact that the tiny water droplets, raised by falling jets, is constantly deposited on the rocks around. Therefore, you will need especially resistant to such problems shoes, as well as increased caution when approaching the cliffs. You should not try to imitate Lishaev’s mountaineer as there are very few people in the world with such skills.

peak view

Finally, it is quite cold near the waterfall. There are two reasons for this – high humidity (frankly speaking, wetness) and the temperature of the water. By the way, about bathing in the waterfall should be forgotten for this reason, too – the water in the Uchan-Su River even in the summer heat, when it is extremely shallow, not heated above 11 degrees. But still, the impact of water jets, falling from a huge height, much more dangerous.

Restrictions from people

Finally, in order to protect the environment and ensure safety, man also imposed some restrictions on visiting Uchan-Su. Since the waterfall is located in a protected area, near it and on the road you can not

  • tear plants,
  • make a fire,
  • make noise,
  • turn on music (not only the volume of artillery cannonade – in general),
  • even overnighting.

It is not allowed to climb on the sculpture of an eagle and tie ribbons to its wings, but it is looked upon more or less indulgently.

ticket office on the way to Uchan-Su

Photo: ©

Visiting the territory of the reserve is paid – the money goes to the maintenance of excursion routes. But the sums are purely nominal, and it is better to find out in advance – sometimes at certain times, the fee is canceled altogether. Free of charge in any case pass children under 14 years accompanied by adults.

The easiest thing would be to just order a tour of the territory of Yalta Nature Reserve – then do not have to pay several times, and the waterfall will get to see. Would not be out of place and the guide – reviews from experienced tourists claim to get lost on the way to the Uchan-Su, and without it is difficult, but to step on a rock and something unreliable and bruise or stretch with a tour guide more difficult.

The way to Uchan-Su

Near the waterfall there is a good viewing platform, where you can admire the phenomenon of nature, and take good pictures. Some tourists climb higher on the rocks for the sake of a good angle. It is not prohibited, but you should do it with caution.

If you are lucky (and here you need a confluence of many circumstances – the angle is good, and the day is sunny, and the time of day is right) you can capture on film and a rare beauty spectacle – a rainbow over the waterfall. But you will not be able to plan watching this beauty, because it is impossible to predict the interaction of so many factors.

How to get to Uchan-Su Falls

As mentioned above, it’s quite convenient to get there from the settlement Vinogradnoe in the urban district of Yalta. The route will be only about 1 km:

There is also an option to get as close as possible to Uchan-Su by public transport, you will need the stop “Vodopad”, through which the bus №133, departing from the Yalta bus station, goes. You can also take a car to this stop and there is even a parking lot. Here is the route:

From there you will have to walk about 300 meters, bypassing the cashier’s office where you have to pay:

The Uchan-Su Falls are not as famous as Niagara or Victoria. The rivers of the Crimea have a different scale. But for a relatively small peninsula, the highest waterfall in Europe is also not a bad achievement. And in the spring, when the flowering of saffron on Ai-Petri, it roars and splashes no worse than his famous “colleagues in the shop. In conclusion, here is the video on the topic, and you are welcome to watch it!

How to get to Uchan-Su Falls by Car

Uchan-Su Waterfall is a famous natural site on the southern coast of the Crimea, situated 6 kilometers from Yalta. The height of the water column, which falls from the Ai-Petri plateau, is 98,5 metres – making Uchan-Su the highest waterfall in Crimea and the most popular attraction of the peninsula. The waterfall in Yalta attracts tourists all year round, but only during the rainy season and snow melt you can see the full beauty and power of Uchan-Su. About the waterfall (how to get by car and other transport, organizational moments before visiting this natural treasure) will be discussed in the review.

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“Flying water”.

It is interesting that this water cascade near Yalta managed to try on completely different names. From the Greeks named the waterfall on Ai-Petri Kremato-Nero – “hanging water”. And when in the XIX century in the suburbs of Yalta lived Albanian Greeks Auty, the same cascade was called Autkinskiy. Later the present name Uchan-Su, which means “flying water” in Crimean Tatar, appeared. During the Soviet era, the waterfall, like many other places of interest, were renamed in the folk tongue, and it became Yalta. But eventually, the name Uchan-Su stuck, which is the best way to describe these streams, rushing down the mountain and splashing into tiny splashes.

98.5 meters – from this height falls the famous Yalta waterfall Uchan-Su. There are two cascades. Often visitors of the Crimea and the Uchan-Su waterfall are interested in what is the house with an eagle installed on the upper cascade of this natural landmark of Yalta. There is nothing mysterious in this concrete construction with the proud bird on the roof – it’s just a water intake structure, and the water goes from it to the reservoir of the mountain Mogabi.

Uchan-Su Waterfall, a Yalta’s and Crimea’s most precious waterfall, is situated on the River of the same name. It starts high in the mountains – at 1233 meters above sea level. Water rushes down at a mark of 390 meters.

If you walk down the river bed, you will find a couple of smaller cascades. Further the river is called the “Vodopadnaya” and carries its waters to Yalta, flowing into the Black Sea.

How to Get to Uchan-Su

This is a great tourist attraction that is located in the proximity to the capital of the southern coast of Crimea. It is about seven kilometers from the city center to the Uchan-Su. There is only a five kilometer distance between the waterfall and the South Coast Highway that goes around Yalta. Every year, thousands of people from all over the Crimea come to the Uchan-Suu waterfall. How to get there from Yalta? There are three ways to get there:

  • By private car. This is, of course, the easiest way. Leave Yalta on the Yuzhnoberezhnoe Highway, which runs almost on top of the city. You have to go towards Sevastopol. If you drive from Yalta bus station, then after about 7 kilometers on the highway will turn to the sanatorium “Uzbekistan”. This stop is called so. This turn will be on the right, and you can not miss it – there is a large sign. You should turn here because the waterfall is located on the road to Ai-Petri. The exact coordinates of the turn: 44°28′48.8″N 34°07′56.5″E. Sometimes in winter, the sign says “The trail is closed”. In that case, how to get to the waterfall Uchan-Su? The point is that the accessibility of the road to Ai-Petri is meant, and you will get to Uchan-Su anyway. After the turn, there are several kilometers of the road among the forest. The road is asphalted and nice, but you might get carsick on the serpentine road. You will pass the sanatorium “Uzbekistan”, private villas, cemetery and Yalta water area. Near the restaurant “Uchan-Su” should park your car and walk the remaining 300 meters. Do not worry if there is no parking space. Even better option is to park the car somewhere above or below along the road.
  • By bus . Here everything is simple. Get the bus number 133, which leaves from the lower platform of the bus station in Yalta. It is desirable to come to the bus stop 10-15 minutes, because the bus is only one, and it always has a line of those wishing. Plus the driver drives up, loads and leaves immediately. Sometimes even a few minutes earlier. Look at the schedule. The fare is 20 rubles.

Since the bus is only one, the departure interval is quite large. I don’t really like this route, because it passes through the city and there are a lot of people on the way. But there is no alternative public transportation.

  • Walking to Uchan-Su. The waterfall, where the house with the eagle is located in a beautiful forest, and the road from the South Coast Highway is very pleasant. You can go to the stop “Sanatorium Uzbekistan” and from there walk along the highway for 4 kilometers to the “flying water”. Any bus that takes you to Sevastopol, Simeiz, Gaspra, Alupka, Foros will do. They depart from the Yalta bus station.
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Visiting Uchansu

Organizational points

This unique attraction and the surrounding area are in the Yalta mountain forest reserve. This means that on its territory you can not smoke, litter, break trees, barbecue and the like. Also you have to pay 150 rubles for entrance. There is no work schedule as such. By evening, the guards leave, but the gate remains open. And if you want you can bypass them through the woods.

When you approach the entrance to the territory of this natural object, you will see many souvenir shops and across the road will be a restaurant.

A straight concrete path from the entrance leads to the water cascade. You will walk 300 meters past the benches and find yourself at its foot.

When to visit

What you should definitely pay attention to when visiting this attraction is the timing of your visit. Uchan-Su is at its best from November to May. In the autumn there are often heavy showers, and in the spring it melts snow and also rains a lot. That’s when the famous cascade can be seen from many districts of Yalta and even from the sea, and the roar of water can be heard for miles around. In winter, flying water sometimes turns into frozen icicles.

But in the summer, the Uchan-Su, like many waterfalls in Yalta, can be disappointing. The rivers of the Southern coast of Crimea are not very full-flowing, so the water practically never falls from the steep Ai-Petri cliff.

What to see besides the waterfall

To be honest, a visit to this sight near Yalta can not last long: walk up, admire, take a photo – and that’s it. Therefore, many look at the waterfall on Ai-Petri on the way to the top of this one of the highest mountains of Crimea. If you come just to the waterfall, you just have to walk around – among the relict forest.

I know that many are interested in how to get to the upper cascade of Uchan-Su, where the building with an eagle. Unfortunately, for about 20 years now, the stairs leading to the top have been in disrepair and are closed to visitors. But you can look for the path that connects the Stangey trail to this upper cascade. Near the “eagle” is really beautiful – here, in a large backwater, you can even swim.

By the way, about Shtangeevsky trail. This is one of the most famous mountain hiking trails in Yalta, which connects to the Botkin health trail. Both routes deserve a separate story and visit, but you can climb to the first observation deck of the Stangeevsky trail.

To do this, go behind the restaurant on the way to Ai-Petri. After 200 meters, there is a large sign with the description of trails. Here is where the Stangeyevsky trail begins. Follow the markers. In one place, it will cross a forest road that leads to the upper cascade with an eagle (in any case, the trail must be somewhere at the same level). Well, follow the Stangey trail up, and after one kilometer from the information sign you will come to the observation deck. There is a lone bench, and such views of Yalta you just have not met.

If you walk another 200 meters along the path ahead, you will come out to the river. Below her flow and rushes down the cliff 98-meter water cascade. You can go see it. And the most inquisitive can cross the river on the bridge, climb to the opposite rock and reach the observation deck. It is better to walk here in sneakers, but even in flip-flops will reach accurately.

For those interested in other waterfalls in Yalta, and where are the most popular natural attractions of the peninsula, you can find detailed descriptions on TravelAsk.

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