Hiking on Khanchali Lake

Wide-open spaces, alpine meadows, and a clear blue lake – if you find yourself in this place, you may think that you’ve stumbled into a dream, but the beauty in Samtskhe-Javakheti is real, and it is truly one of a kind. Here, in the middle of Javakheti’s volcanic mountains and at a height of 1,928 meters above sea level, Khancali Lake awaits you. Located in Ninotsminda Municipality, it is a sight to behold.

Hiking Trail to Khanchali Lake

Khanchalio Lake is surrounded by 182 square kilometres of alpine meadows, making it an especially popular destination for birdwatchers and hikers. 

The hiking route begins at the village of Patara Khanchali. Due to the fact the village is higher than the lake (at 1,950 metres above sea level), you’re afforded a breathtaking view of the lake as you begin your three kilometre hike down towards it.

Between November and April each year, Khanchali is a winter wonderland, with the lake frozen over and everything around it covered in a blanket of pristine snow.

Khanchali Lake – The Best Place for Water Birds

Khanchali Lake is unique among the lakes of Javakheti for the sparseness of its water. The maximum depth of the lake is only 0.8 meters, with fresh water that warms up easily and is almost completely covered with water plants. All of this creates the ideal conditions for water birds to feed and rest during migration.

At Khanchali Lake, you can see rare species such as the common crane (Grus grus), gray heron (Ardea cinerea), white stork (Ciconia ciconia), great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), Dalmation penguin (Pelecanus crispus), and velvet scoter (Melanitta fusca).

Khanchali is not known for the diversity of its fish, but sport and amateur fishing is still possible here and in the Agrichai River.

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