According to one version, the name "Arkhyz" is translated from Karachay language ("ariu Kyz") as "beautiful girl". Such a romantic name suits well to such a charming and mysterious place. First of all, Arkhyz is a ski resort and a famous place where climbers come to ascent mountain peaks.
But we were more interested in the gorge itself and the Sofia waterfalls during this trip. I’d say that the road from the Arkhyz glade looks more like a stony riverbed, flowing down a narrow winding slope, where pines interspersed with first and spruces rise up on each side. If it wasn't our SUVs, we could only get here on foot.
Soon the gorge widened revealing magnificent views of the snow-rocky peaks and most importantly we saw the "Hair of Sofia" - silvery streams of the waterfall, as if long silk hair fell from the steep cliffs of mount Sofia.
These were Sofia waterfalls. That time they were still covered with ice and snow laid at the foot of the mountain. The first spring flowers have just begun to appear here. In general, we must say that the Arkhyz gorge is rich in flora.
Wild fruit trees mixed with conifers paint the mountain slopes with bright colors in spring and autumn. Forest edges and dry slopes are decorated with a scattering of small red barberry fruits in mid-summer and autumn. During the flowering period, the area resembles a picturesque carpet with intricate ornaments woven by nature.
We arrived here a little early, but if you get to Arkhyz in July-August, you can see the slopes of the mountains, covered with incredibly beautiful bright colors. The height of 2500-3200 meters becomes home to low-growing herbaceous plants. Violet, valerian, meadow geranium, saffron, gentian, and glacier primrose look amazing complementing each other.
But even despite the scarcity of colors at the moment, we did not want to leave. If you are going to visit this gorge, be sure to plan a walk to the waterfalls. Next time we'll talk about mountain Elbrus as well!
Read about all our Caucasus Adventures:
- Part 1 Adygeya
- Part 2 Dolmens
- Part 3 Guamka gorge
- Part 4 Arhyz
- Part 5 Road to Elbrus
- Part 6 Kislovodsk
Sincerely yours Elena Dudashvili