A Multitude of Climates and Scenic Opportunities Await Hikers in Crimea
Avid hikers find their own personal Mecca in the Crimean region of Ukraine. The majority of hikers choose the mountainous part of Crimea south of the city of Simferopol, the rest of the historical peninsula is a feast for the senses, too, whether you are on the hunt for temperate climates or invigorating mountain air.
Sunny summer days and warm temperatures come off the Black Sea along the largely untouched area that stretches along the coastline. Mountainous peaks, made from limestone, form secret canyons, Vertigo inspiring cliffs, and plunging valleys and intersect unmarked trails in every direction.
A popular hiking trail for Ukrainians is located on the other side of the mountain range near Yalta, leading to the interior of Bolshoi Canyon. This narrow canyon, rich with wild and dense vegetation, is deep within the Crimean Mountains near the town of Bakhchisaray. The hike is an hour from the park entrance to the center of the canyon but is worth the effort. A small waterfall and a pool await visitors as well as a pleasant picnic area. Swimming in the pool is allowed, but the water is cold year round.
The Crimean Nature Reserve, located northeast of Yalta, is by far the hiker’s jewel in the crown. The dramatic landscape, a true Jurassic park, was formed by an extinct volcano. Over the millennia, the earth sculpted the lava into striking shapes with names like The Devil’s Finger and the Golden Gate, a freestanding arch in the sea. The area is a treasure trove of rare minerals and crystals as well as forests of pistachio, pine, and juniper trees.
For environmental reasons, travelers cannot visit most of the reserve on their own.
However, if you go to the visitor center, the library in the town of Kurortne, you can buy a ticket for a four-hour guided hike. Guides speak in Russian only, however, so if you require an English translation, you must arrange for your own interpreter.
The Crimean region of Ukraine is a relatively inexpensive tourist option. The high tourist season in Crimea is July and August. The crowds and heat, especially on the South Shore, can be unbearable, so it is best to wait until early spring or fall. Conversely, deep in the Crimean Mountain range, plateaus above 800 meters have an unpredictable climate of their own. The weather can change in a span of a few minutes from a bright sunny day to a pelting hail storm. Sudden blizzards are not unusual in the winter.