The National Park is a home to many endemic species of flora and fauna, including rare plant species such as Mlokosevich's beautiful peony flower (Paeonia mlokosiewiczi), Lagodekhi's peony (P. lagodechiana), Primula juliae, Gymnospermium smirnowi). The Park also presents a shelter for Brown Bear, wolf, lynx, chamois, roe deer, red deer, East Caucasian goat and wild boar, as well as a variety of birds such as lammergeyer, golden eagle, peregrine falcon and Caucasian snowcock. Among the amphibians, there is the endemic Caucasian parsley frog.
Lagodekhi Managed Nature Reserve was designated in April 2003, with the total area of 1,996 ha. It is located between settlements to the south and the Lagodekhi Nature Reserve to the north. The wide networks of trails connect the forests and alpine meadows.
Visitors can travel by foot or horse along the tourist trails.
There are 5 trails:
Black Grouse Waterfall- 9.5 km, 3 – 5 hr, pedestrian, difficulty: average
The trail goes from the visitor center along the untouched broad-leaved forest, in the direction of the ShromaRiver valley. We come across unique hornbeam stands (400-600 m above sea level) which are rather rare in the Caucasus. This is followed by mixed beech stand (hornbeam, Ash, lime, maple, elm, chestnut, etc.). Surrounded by magic flavors and mystery we cross the Shromaiskhevi River and go along the left slope of Ninigori mountain through a narrow path, which overlooks a noisy river, small waterfalls and huge rubble, which lay motionlessly in the depths of the valley. At the end, a mass of water flows between stunning noise, spray, rainbow and huge green rocks and creates the 6 m high Rocho waterfall. From time to time, visitors come across roe, deer, and wild boar.
Ninoskhevi Waterfall (Great Waterfall)- 8.5km, 4 - 6 hrs, pedestrian, difficulty: average
The route starts from the Gurgeniani Information Center and follows the Ninoskhevi River on a narrow path. The sound of the river, the little waterfalls, huge stones, and cool breeze wandering through the valley make the trip both highly entertaining and adventurous. Take a few steps and magic scenery will spread in front of you – a 40 m long Ninoskhevi waterfall which is one of the most beautiful in Georgia. Its noise attracts the surroundings and sets a new dimension for viewers. On the way we come across rare relict plants such as Lagodekhiangentiana, Lagodekhian snowdrop, Julia purusula, bladdernut, wing nut, chestnut, Georgian oak and etc.
It is also possible to come across roe, deer, wild boar and birds of prey.
Machi Fortress- 10.5 km, 3-4 hrs, pedestrian and horse riding, difficulty: average
The route starts from the administration center in the village Matsimi and heads to the BneliKheobaRiver (dark gorge). The path crosses Oriental Hornbeam and karpet-like moss that resemble a fur coat put on bare stones. We appear in a tale turned into reality, from where we go through mixed beech stand and cross the BneliKheobaRiver followed by a path going up to mountain slopes which lead us to the fortress built by our ancestors centuries ago.
The remarkable fortress of Kakheti from the medieval age is surrounded by walls, yet inside proudly stands a noble family church, with underground pathways and the ruins of building reenacting the pictures of the already forgotten ancient past.
Black Rock Lake- 48 km, 3 days, horseback, difficulty: average
This is one of the most interesting trails in all of Georgia and is distinguished by its astounding views of the Alazani valley and the Caucasus mountains. The route starts from the Lagodekhi Protected Areas Administration. In 10-15 min you will come across unique hornbeam stands (400-600 m above sea level) which are rather rare in the Caucasus.
In 30-40 min we will cross river Lagodekhi valley. While in 20-30 min we enter young virgin hornbeam stands, which grew as a result of a wind-break (1933). In 15-30 min we come across to the local Kakhetianendemi plant – LeotnicesmirnoviiTrautv., which flourishes during early spring and is included in the Red List. In 30 min we get to the beginning of the ridge in untouchable beech stands. In an hour we go up the hill 1,300 m above sea level and go along Kochalo hill, were we can observe beech forest on the north and mixed, broad-leaved forest on the south-east. In 2 hours you will appear in a sub-alpine zone – high hill, shallow maple stands. In an hour you will see the tourist shelter Meteo, picnic and camping sites specially arranged along the area. On the second day we continue our trip on Kochalo hill. In an hour we go up to the upper alpine, where visitors can observe rare ungulate animals such as: deer, chamois and wild goat; as well as birds such as grouse, Caucasian snowcocks, bearded and various eagles. In an hour we go up the pass to the so-called Demidovi ruins, which are famous for a fiefdom of goats. Afterwards we appear on relatively flat alpine meadows which represent pastures for goats. In the following 40 minutes we come across little lakes and wetlands embroidered by the magic of nature from the glacial age. In 30 minutes Black Rock Lake spreads in front of us. Magic nature changes in front of the visitor 400-3,500 m above sea level, and in the case of a careful walk one can meet rare representatives of fauna. Visitors can move by horses, rest on specially arranged picnic spots, overnight in tents and rent appropriate equipment. It is remarkable that Black Rock Lake represents a natural border between Georgia and Daghestan, the Russian Federation.