Juta is a village in the historical Khevi province at the southern foot of the main Caucasus Mountain Range, half an hour drive away from Stepantsminda. The Snoststkali River flows down from the mountains nearby, decorating the village with beautiful little waterfalls as it makes its way towards the Tergi River.
At 2,200 meters above sea level, Juta is one of the highest mountainous locations in Georgia.
Juta is amazing at any time of year. Boasting modern hotels with comfortable rooms, hammocks, and lounge chairs, it’s possible to sunbathe by day and stargaze by night.
In the hotels, restaurants, and cafes, you’ll have a chance to sample local dishes such as mokheuri (minced) khinkali, the intensely flavoured khortsshibuiani (a bread dish featuring minced beef and ramsons), tsertkhala (seasonal sprouts in vinegar), mkhlovani (a flatbread stuffed with beet leaves, onions, herbs, and cheese), machkati (a sort of pancakes) with blueberry jam, and kus erbo (a delicious mixture of potatoes, cheese, and fried butter). Finish the meal with flavourful azalea tea!
Is your mouth watering yet? It should be!
But Juta’s main draw is the Chiukhi Massif, commonly called as Chaukhi Mountains as well. Like jagged teeth tearing at the cerulean sky, the Chiukhi Mountains soar to heights of 3,400 to 3,900 meters, although Chiukhi Pass is 3,338 meters high.
The view of the Chiukhi Mountains from Juta in the morning is something that needs to be seen to be believed. The crisp, clean air seems to magnify every detail on these snow-clad mountains, but you’ll want to grab a hiking pole and put on a sturdy pair of shoes so that you can see them up close!
The easiest and the most popular hiking trail starts at the center of the village and goes up to the Juta Lake, glittering like a jewel at the foothills of Chiukhi Massif. The trail is almost 4 km long and will take about 1.5 hours to cover. There is also an option to rent a horse in the village and head up the path on horseback.
If you are looking for a more challenging hiking option, you can continue the trail from the lake and reach the highest point of the trail - Chiukhi Pass, rewarding its visitors with fascinating views over the famous Abudelauri Lakes and neighbouring Khevsureti Region. This section of the trail is leaning more towards the difficult category and will require an additional 5 km and 2,5 hours from Juta Lake.
If you want to add a fascinating cultural element to your hike, you should look at visiting Juta in the last week of June. This is when the Khevsureti shrine festival Atengenoba is celebrated and ancient rituals are performed.