15 best sights of Elbrus region – description and photos

The sights of Elbrus Region

Azau Glade Baksan Gorge Cheget River Baksan Cafe Ay cableway on Mount Elbrus Glacier “Seven” The Valley of Narzanov Monument to the first conquerors of Elbrus

This site contains a collection of sights in Elbrus – photos, descriptions and tips for travelers. The list is based on popular travel guides and presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find answers for what to see in Elbrus Region, where to go, and where to stay in Elbrus Region.


Elbrus – the highest peak of Europe, is an extinct volcano and consists of two peaks. The western summit is 5,642 m high, while the eastern summit is 5,621 m high. The distance between the tops is about 3 km.

Elbrus is one of the Seven Peaks – the seven highest peaks in seven parts of the world.


Terskol is a village in the Elbrus district of Kabardino-Balkaria, part of the Elbrus rural settlement.

The village was built to house the attendants of the recreational area of Elbrus. This is the main ski center of the former Soviet Union and present Russia. In the center of the village is control and rescue service, which is one of the strongest services in the structure of EMERCOM of Russia.

In the village is located tourist base “Terskol” – belongs to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

A number of travel agencies operate regular bus trips “Moscow-Terskol-Moscow”.

Regular bus tours and sightseeing trips are organized also from Nalchik (133 kilometers) and Pyatigorsk (155 kilometers) and other cities.

And what sights of Elbrus Region did you like? Next to the picture there are icons, by clicking on them you can appreciate this or that place.

Azau Glade

Azau glade (photo)

Azau Glade is the highest inhabited point of Elbrus Region. It is situated at the altitude of 2300 meters between Elbrus slopes and Terskol village.

Azau is not only the name of the glade, but also the name of famous Elbrus glacier. There are many versions of translation of this word. The first variant says that Azau is translated as “the place where there are no people”. And the second variation sounds like “a place where you rarely cross the mountains”. In any case, both meanings of this name are hopelessly outdated. People often come out here to visit the mountains, go on hikes or just relax in nature.

You can not go further than this glade. Here, bumping into Elbrus, ends asphalt road, which passes through Baksan Gorge. Already at the entrance to Azau, along the road, there are dozens of hotels and tourist resorts. On the glade itself, they are lined up along the perimeter, forming a square in the center. Cafes, shashlik houses and restaurants are neatly arranged between the hotels. Naturally, there are rental stations for mountaineering and sports equipment. So, you can safely leave all cumbersome equipment at home.

Coordinates: 43.38509000,42.49638700

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Baksan Gorge

Baksan Gorge (photo)

The Baksan Gorge is one of the most famous not only in Kabardino-Balkaria, but in the entire Central Caucasus. According to statistics, the number of travelers coming here every year is two to three times greater than the total population of Kabardino-Balkaria. There are two reasons for this popularity. Firstly, Baksan Gorge is the road to the foot of Elbrus and Cheget. Secondly, it is incredibly beautiful and unusual place.

Named by the river Baksan, which begins with the glaciers of Elbrus and flows into Malka, a tributary of Terek. It is the largest river flowing out of Mount Elbrus. The river accompanies the traveler all along the way, making noise, rolling over numerous rapids, overturning huge boulders. It is not enough to swim in it, it is almost unreal to even get across.

Cheget Mountain

Cheget mountain (photo)

Cheget is a 3,769.3-meter mountain near Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus, a popular tourist spot and center of skiing. It is located in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic of the Russian Federation.

There are 4 elevators and three turns at the Cheget Mountain at the moment. There is a two-seat and a single-seat elevator at the first stage, a single-seat lift at the second and a rope tow lift at the third stage (season tickets are not valid there, but you will have to pay for skiing separately). Elevator speed is slow and there are usually queues.

From Cheget there is a beautiful view of Baksan gorge, Terskol village, two-headed Elbrus from one side and on Donguz-Orun, Kogutai and Nakra from the other.

There is a cafe “Ai” and a convenient observation platform on the slope of Cheget mountain on the second stage at the altitude of 2719 m. The main hotels built in recent years on Chegetskaya glade, offer a decent level of service, but in snowy years you should consider that only two – “Cheget” and “Ozon” – are safe in case of an avalanche.

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Baksan River

The Baksan River (photo)

Baksan is a river in the North Caucasus in Kabardino-Balkaria, the right tributary of the Malka (Terek basin). The river is 173 km long and its catchment area is 6,800 km2 .

Baksan originates from glaciers in the Elbrus area. In the upper reaches of Baksan and its tributaries, there are mountaineering camps Baksan, Dzhan-Tugan, Elbrus and others, the National Park “Prielbrusie”, the observatory Terskol.

It is fed by glaciers, snow, and underground.

The towns of Tyrnyauz and Baksan are situated on the Baksan River, and the town of Prokhladny is situated opposite where it flows into the Malka River.

Its waters are used for irrigation (the Baksan irrigation system), and there is a Baksan hydroelectric power station on the river.

Cafe Ai

Cafe Ay (photo)

Climbing Cheget Mountain begins at the glade, where there are numerous hotels and cafes. Here is the starting point of the double chairlift, which will take you to the famous cafe “Ai”, which means the moon.

The cafe is located at an altitude of 2750 meters. For many years it has been welcoming skiers and snowboarders with a round building on an artificially created platform on the mountain slope. Built in the 1960s, it was the first and maybe the only high-mountain cafe in the USSR. Its image replicated in numerous postcards, photos and badges has become a visiting card of Elbrus Region.

This place is a true cult. The cafe is inextricably connected with bards and art song. They say that Yuri Vizbor liked to stay in the hut of the cafe “Ay”. Here were born the texts of his new songs and plots for stories. In the 90s the cafe “Ay” served as a film set for the movie “Breakfast with a View of Mount Elbrus”, a screen version of Vizbor’s story of the same name.

It is said that in this cafe they feed you the most delicious khychins – flatbread with potatoes and cheese or meat. From the observation deck of the cafe with a cup of fragrant tea or fragrant mulled wine on a sunny day it is nice to admire the two-headed top of Mount Elbrus and passing into the distance picturesque Baksan valley.

Coordinates: 43.24185400,42.50661200

Cableway on Elbrus

Cableway on Mount Elbrus (photo)

Mount Elbrus is extremely popular with skiers from all over the world, and this is no coincidence. First of all, the mountain is covered with snow and ice for 12 months a year, which allows skiing at any convenient time, not excluding autumn and spring, which is not common. Secondly, the slopes of the mountain are mostly gentle, and there are a total of 15 kilometers of trails. The longest of them is the “Stariy Krugozor – Azau”, which is 2,500 meters long.

The top of Mount Elbrus is at an altitude of 5,642 meters. Cableway rises to 3,850 meters. And even up to a height of 4,800 meters, you can climb with snowcats (machines on wide crawlers).

Elevators on Elbrus consists of three stages of the cable car. Stage 1: Azau-Krugozor, as you can see from the name, runs from Azau station (2,350 m) to Stary Krugozor station (3000 m). In this section there are 2 parallel roads: the old (“Elbrus 1” – the road of pendulum type, travel time 15 min.) and the new (“Elbrus” – gondola road, travel time 5 min. Capacity is 2,400 people per hour. At the stations there is a place to eat and drink tea or coffee.

Line 2: Circle View – World. It also consists of the old pendulum track (“Elbrus – 2”) and the new gondola track (“Elbrus”). It runs from the Old Krugozor station (3.000 meters) to Mir station (3.500 meters). Travel time of the new gondola road is 5 minutes and 13 seconds.

Phase 3: road Mir – Bashi Gara. In this segment operates road “Elbrus” – cable-chair type. The road starts from the station Mir (3,500 meters) and goes to the station Gara-Bashi (3,850). It is an old elevator with a width of 1 chair.

Coordinates : 43.26661300,42.47859500

Glacier “Seven”.

Russia / Kabardino-Balkarija / Elbrus / Glacier Seven is one of the most picturesque glaciers of Elbrus. The glacier was named “Seven” after the shape resembling the number “7”.

Valley of the Narzans

The Valley of Narzanov (photo)

The name of the valley, located in the foothills of the Rocky Range of the Greater Caucasus, speaks for itself. Here, in a picturesque place along the Hasaut River almost 20 springs of mineralized water of the Narzan type come to the surface. Their water is carbonate-hydrocarbonate-chloride sodium-calcium with mineralization up to 3.3 g/l and carbonic acid content up to 2.2 g/l. It is strongly carbonated with carbonic acid.

The Narzan valley is enclosed from all sides by high ridges. Its peculiar detachment and solitude, of course, affected the local atmosphere. Majesty and inaccessibility of mountains, color carpet of sub-alpine meadows, forests of slender firs, the cleanest air, such places have the most favorable effect on people, purify and inspire them. But this place also helps to heal. Besides, one can see Elbrus from here, and this is one of the best views of the famous mountain.

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Through the Valley of Narzans you can go to the warm mineral spring Jili-Su, located at the foot of Mount Elbrus. From here you can also go to the waterfalls on the Khasaut and Musht rivers. Favorable climatic conditions allow you to make hikes and excursions to the Valley of Narzans almost at any time of the year. There is also a tourist camp, cafe and store with the same name.

Coordinates: 43.81867500,42.73523700

Monument to the first conquerors of Mount Elbrus

Monument to the first Elbrus conquerors (photo)

If you ever decide to visit Elbrus, your way will pass by the monuments to the first two conquerors of Elbrus. The Karachai mountaineer Hilar Khachirov and the Balkarian Akhia Sottaev stand against each other as the embodiment of human courage and bravery.

The official date of the conquest of Mount Elbrus is considered 1829, when an expedition led by the head of the Caucasus fortified line, General G.A. Emmanuel was organized. The expedition had a scientific character. The expedition consisted of more than 20 men. Mount Elbrus was conquered with great effort: many participants showed signs of mountain sickness, which could lead to death, so at an altitude of 4270 m, it was decided to go down.

The Karachai mountaineer Hillar Khachirov continued the ascent alone.

On July 10, 1829 he was the first to set foot on the top of Mount Elbrus, put a pole on it, surrounded it with stones and, as a proof, left his hat. The news about the first ascent of Mount Elbrus went around many countries.

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15 Sights of Elbrus region worth visiting


To understand that you are in love with this land, in love once and for all, it is enough to see it once. Elbrus is so attractive that some people “get stuck” here for life. And the reason for this attraction is obvious: this world was created by nature itself, not by people with their whims, and therefore devoid of pathos and insincerity.

What to see in Elbrus Region? In summer there are mountain meadows, violent mountain rivers and astonishingly beautiful waterfalls. In winter – snow-covered and therefore surprisingly clean slopes of foothills. And all year round – the mountains, the tops of which are hidden in the clouds. Mountains that connect the earth to the sky, and therefore a little bit of you to God.

Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus.

The gray-haired Elbrus, the highest peak not only in Russia but also in all of Europe, has always beckoned the brave.

Why visit.

Its summits of 5642 and 5621 meters separated by a saddle, which, by the way, is also a five-thousand meter peak, every climber dreams to conquer, and the flow of climbers coming here from all over the globe has not weakened over the years. Over time Elbrus has become the center not only for mountaineering but for downhill skiing as well, and now it attracts skiers and snowboarders as well.

But not only sportsmen are attracted to Elbrus. This place for all its severity is also amazingly beautiful. From above the mountain looks like a huge white star: from the summit, like beams, depart from large glaciers, and the snow on the slopes does not melt even in the summer. Today, not only the most physically fit, strong and hardy tourists can find themselves in this realm of eternal winter: just use the ski elevator, located on the southern slope of the mountain.

With the help of the cable car you will easily and quickly ascend to the mark 3750 meters above sea level to enjoy these stunning views and have an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Address: Elbrus, Kabardino-Balkar Republic, Russia.

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Azau Glade

Azau Glade

Azau Glade.

Azau-mountain is the highest resort of Elbrus region, and its height is 2300 m above sea level. That’s why there are always lots of tourists here: everyone wants to feel himself a part of some record and to say with pride “I was there”.

Why visit.

However, people come here not only to put a tick in their “track record”. Azau is also an excellent ski resort, and if you want to ski exactly on Elbrus (and you certainly want to, because the other mountains can’t be compared with it), then it makes sense to stay here.

The combination of proximity to the majestic peak and relatively well-developed infrastructure makes this place very popular among fans of skiing, hiking and, of course, climbers. Besides, you should not forget that Azau is a very picturesque place, and you can come here without any intention to conquer the peak or to test the ski track for the sake of this beauty.

Address: Azau, A158, Terskol, Kabardino-Balkar Republic, Russia.

Cheget Mountain

Cheget Mountain

Cheget Mountain.

Just a few kilometers from Elbrus is another famous mountain range – Cheget. It is not at all similar to its neighbor, but this does not make it any less attractive.

Why visit.

Mountaineers and skiers come here no less willingly than to the main peak of the Caucasus.

Infrastructure of Cheget leaves much to be desired, but people come here not for the comfortable hotel rooms, but for the adrenaline rush, which is inevitable on these slopes. It should be noted that skiing on Cheget is not for the faint-hearted, and many of the local slopes are better not for beginners. However, there are always those who love extreme sports, who are brave enough to try these steep slopes with complicated terrain.

And what views are opened from Cheget! The opportunity to admire this beauty redeems all the inconveniences. You will definitely agree with this already on the elevator, which takes you to a height of 3050 meters. Its speed, probably, was intentionally made slow to give passengers the opportunity to admire the stunning scenery to their heart’s content.

Address: Cheget Mountain, Kabardino-Balkar Republic, Russia.

Su-Auzusu Falls Complex (Chegem Falls)

Su-Auzusu Falls Complex (Chegem Falls)

The Su-Auzusu Falls Complex (Chegem Falls).

Chegem waterfalls are known far beyond the borders of Kabardino-Balkaria. Everyone who happens to visit Chegem Gorge near Nalchik will be able to enjoy the beauty of these falling mountain streams.

Why visit.

There are several waterfalls flowing down from the steep walls of the gorge, feeding the stormy river that gave its name to the gorge. Aday-Su waterfall is the largest and the most powerful of them. The height of this waterfall, located on the Chegem’s tributary of the same name, is about 30 meters.

Another huge chute of water, but slightly less powerful, is the Sakal-Tup waterfall. And finally, the last of the Chegem waterfalls – Kayaarty – is also named after a small river flowing into Chegem. The water of this tributary falls down from a height of 50-60 meters, forming several cascades.

Besides these three big waterfalls in Chegem gorge you can see many thin streams flowing out of the cliffs. They are often called “weeping” rocks.

In winter, Chegem waterfalls are no less picturesque than in the warm season. The water frozen in the form of giant icicles turns the rocky walls into true works of art.

Address: Su-Auzusu Waterfalls Complex (Chegem Waterfalls), Khushto-Syrt, Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, Russia.

Baksan Gorge

Baksan Gorge

The Baksan Gorge.

There are two ways to reach Elbrus – via Mineralnye Vody or via Nalchik. If you choose the second option, the last stage of your way – from the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria to the two-headed “patriarch of the Caucasus Mountains” – will pass through unusually beautiful Baksan Gorge.

On one side of the asphalt road, passing through the gorge, the river Baksan rushes with noise, on the other side of the overhanging steep rocky slopes. Almost all the way along you will see Elbrus, gradually approaching you. “Bumping” into the powerful foot of the Caucasian giant, Baksan gorge splits into numerous, short branches that get lost in the mountains.

Address: R. Baksan, Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, Russia.

Baksan River

Baksan River

Baksan River.

At the bottom of Baksan ravine rushes Baksan, with a roar and roar overcoming rapids and overturning the rocks that he encountered on the way. Moving through the gorge from Nalchik to Mount Elbrus, you can admire this furious mountain blue artery the whole way.

It is almost impossible to cross the rushing stream, which is fed by glaciers and underground springs of Mount Elbrus. Upper course of the river lowers by 60-70 meters on every kilometer, and only in the middle course Baksan becomes calmer and more high-water, being replenished by numerous tributaries.

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Address: Baksan River, Elbrus, Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, Russia.

Valley of the Narzans

Valley of Narzans

Valley of the Narzans.

The Valley of Narzan is called the area at an altitude of about 1000 meters above sea level, near the Rocky Ridge, where the river Hasaut runs. This picturesque valley is so called because there are 17 mineral springs bursting from the ground.

The valley has a mild climate: in winter the temperature rarely drops below -2 ° C, and in summer there is no exhausting heat.

Why visit.

Due to the high content of iron compounds in the water, the whole area is colored orange and rusty. Against the background of lush vegetation around it looks quite unusual. Tourists come to the Narzanov Valley not only for the sake of this beauty, but also for the healing properties of the narzan springs water.

Address: Valley of the Narzans, River Valley, Khasaut, Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, Russia.

Blue Lakes (Tserik-Köl)

Blue Lakes (Tserik-Köl)

Blue Lakes (Tserik-Kyol).

Those who get to the Cherek Gorge, located 30 km from Nalchik, will find another miracle of nature – the Blue Lakes. There are five karst reservoirs in total, and each has its own unique appearance.

  • The most picturesque of the Blue Lakes is the Lower Lake. With a depth of 279 meters, it is one of the ten deepest lakes in Russia. It is distinguished by crystal clarity and transparency of water, stunning serenity of water surface and extraordinary color, which can vary depending on the weather from sky-blue to azure. Locals call this lake Tserik-Kel, which means “rotten lake” in Balkarian. Such an unromantic name is due to the fact that the lake is fed by hydrogen sulfide-saturated waters of mineral springs, which makes it smell quite peculiar.
  • The secret lake lives up to its name. It is located in a deep depression surrounded by dense forest, and it is really not easy to notice.
  • The dry lake also got its name not by accident. The depth of this reservoir, which is located at the bottom of a deep canyon with steep walls almost 180 meters high, is only 5-7 meters and depends greatly on the amount of precipitation. It is believed that once this “well” was filled with water almost to the brim, but one day “the lake flowed away” – that’s how the local name of the lake Kel-Ketchkhen is translated from Balkar language.
  • The Eastern and Western lakes are relatively shallow and have gentle shores. But they also have something to boast about: both of these lakes are rich in fish. There are trout, carp and grass carp in abundance. However, all lakes except for Nizhny are connected to each other, which means that there is good fishing there.

Address: Blue Lake (Tserik-kyol), Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, Russia.

Emmanuel’s glade in Dzhily-Su

Emmanuel Glade in Dzhily-Su

The Emmanuel Glade in Dzhily-Su.

This glade, which is located in Dzhily-Su, at an altitude of 2530 meters above sea level, was named after Georgy Arsenievich Emmanuel, who in the early 19th century led the first Russian expedition, designed to collect accurate information about Elbrus and its environs. One of the members of this very expedition became the first man to conquer the previously considered impregnable eastern peak of Elbrus.

Why visit.

The Emmanuel Glade, delighting the eye with its green blooming carpet, even today continues to serve as a base camping place for climbers. And if you are here you can easily reach a number of other natural landmarks of Elbrus Region – Emir and Sultan waterfalls, thermal springs of Dzhily-Su tract, “stone mushrooms” on the Northern slope of Elbrus.

Address: Emmanuel Glade, Kabardino-Balkarsky Republic, Russia.

Maiden Spits waterfall

Maiden Spits waterfall

Maiden Spits waterfall.

The southern slope of Terskol Peak, located in the upper reaches of Baksan Gorge, is decorated with fascinating splendor waterfall with a very poetic name – Maiden Spits. Many streams of water flowing down the rocks, really reminiscent of the loose hair of a girl.

Why visit.

Water stream, fed by water, which is formed by melting the Gara-Bashi glacier, descends from a height of about 30 meters, the width of the waterfall in its lower part reaches 15-18 meters. Behind the falling stream is a grotto, which few people know about. You can get there, but do it without getting soaked to the skin, do not hope. By the way, Maiden’s Spit is extramural familiar to many people: it was the place where some scenes of the film “Vertical” were shot in 1967.

Address: Maiden Spits Waterfall, Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, Russia.

Glacier “Seven”.

Glacier “Seven”.

Glaciers in Elbrus Region will surprise nobody. But still one of them – the glacier “Seven” – deserves special attention, and not so much for its size as for its unusual shape.

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“Seven” flows down from the northern slope of 4454 meters high mountain Donguzorun-Cheget-Karabashi, located opposite to Elbrus. The glacier did not get its name by chance: from the looks of it really reminds one of a number 7. The depth of cracks formed in the unique glaciological object, sometimes more than 100 meters, and in the area of “rungs” often descend small avalanches. This most picturesque glacier in the Caucasus is perfectly visible from the slopes of Elbrus and Cheget.

Address: Donguz-Orun, Glacier Seven, Kabardino-Balkar Republic, Russia.

Adyr-Su Gorge

Adyr-Su Gorge

Adyr-Su Gorge.

Adyr-Su Gorge, on the bottom of which the river of the same name flows, is one of the most picturesque places in Elbrus, long favored by tourists. The length of the gorge – only 14 kilometers, but the elevation difference in this area is almost a thousand meters. It is easy to guess that with such a gorge’s slope the river Adyr-Su, which is fed by glaciers of Ullu-Tau Mountain, rushes down in a violent stream. Winter in the gorge is quite mild and stable, while in spring and early summer the thermometer column, on the contrary, jumps nervously.

Why visit.

The almost complete absence of tourist infrastructure in the gorge will please those who want to be truly secluded with nature. There are no cafes, no stores, no hotels (if you do not count the only alpine camp). There is no phone reception. There are only mountains, meadows, rough water stream, thundering waterfalls, century-old pines… and you yourself…

Address: Adyr-Su, Elbrus Region, Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, Russia.

Kyrtyk Gorge

Kyrtyk Gorge

Kyrtyk Gorge.

Extraordinarily beautiful Kyrtyk Gorge adds a splendid zest to the overall picture of Elbrus Region. Emerald pastures, river winding at the bottom of the gorge, steep cliffs and piercing blue sky above your head…

Why visit.

Without visiting here, you will miss something very important in your life…

In translation from Balkarian “Kyrtyk” means “big grass”. The valley fully justifies its name: greenery is really abundant here. Not surprisingly, from time to time you will come across grazing horses, cows, goats and lambs on the way. Apparently because of this succulent grass, the local meat and goat cheese produced here are so insanely delicious.

Address: R. Kyrtyk, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia.

Shkhelda Gorge

Shkhelda Gorge

Shkhelda Gorge.

Shkhelda Gorge is well known among mountaineers, because it is here that there is an alpine camp with the same name, which was established in 1946, and which was the first alpinist training base in the country. Many of our outstanding sportsmen used to hone their skills on the nearby four-thousanders of various difficulty categories. It is not by chance that the inscription on the main building of the mountaineering camp reads, “Schelda, the cradle of alpinism.

It is not by chance that here and there along the path running along the gorge one can see small tables fixed on huge boulders on which the names of the dead climbers are carved.

Why visit.

Even if you are not a climber, whether professional or amateur, a walk in the gorge will give you a real pleasure. Light pine forest, alpine meadows, marvelous view of snowy peaks of the mountain massif and famous Shkhelda glacier, noise of Shkhelda river, furiously fighting with huge rocks, heady air… Beauty, in one word…

Address: R. Schelda, Kabardino-Balkarsky Republic, Russia.

Terskol Gorge

Terskol Gorge

Terskol Gorge.

Terskol gorge is very beautiful place, and everything in Elbrus region. This name can be translated from Balkar as “a small irregular gorge”. Its “impropriety” apparently consists in its dead-end structure – there is no exit from Terskol (to be more exact, it is there, where the entrance is).

But the gorge is really small: its length is less than five kilometers. And this means that the walk there and back will not take more than 4-5 hours. But you will definitely want to stay here longer, because who will rush to leave this natural splendor.

Why visit.

The road through the gorge is very picturesque. The trail winds through forested areas along the river, and then it emerges into an open expanse of lush grass and rock scatterings. The beauty of the majestic mountains that surround you all the way is breathtaking. Ahead of you in upper Terskol you can see homonymous glacier which according to many people looks like white bear’s skin overhanging the gorge.

Reward for those who pass all the way to the end, will become the most beautiful waterfall Terskol. It is not very big and full-flowing, but its roar, amplified by multiple reflections from the rocks, you will hear long before you see this beauty. Walking through the gorge will certainly energize you and put you in a good mood.

Address: R. Terskol, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia.

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