Oniore Hiking Trail

Posted by : GEadmin@ecotournet.net on 20.May.21
Last update by : GEadmin@ecotournet.net on 28.Oct.21


Oniore Hiking Trail

Length: 16,2 Kilometres

About 10 hours at an average pace


Sightseeing: Martvili Canyon Natural  Monument > Toba Waterfall Natural > Monument > Oniore Waterfall Nature Monument > Kaghu Waterfall > Balda Canyon Nature Monument > Balda Monastery

Municipality: Martvili
Recommended time for travel: April-October
Type: Hiking trail
Difficulty: Medium
Length: 16.2 km from Martvili Canyon to Balda Monastery
Estimated time of travel: 10 hours
Minimum / maximum / average height: 235 / 720 / 459 meters above sea level
Total length of uphill / downhill: 911 / 1004 meters
Coverage of cellular network: available in some zones
Availability of drinking and technical water: Drinking water is available only at the starting and final destinations of the trail. Therefore, it is necessary to stock up on water in advance. The headwaters of springs are adjacent to the trail.
Remarks: The trail cuts through the protected areas – Toba Waterfall and Oniore Waterfall Natural Monuments. When moving on the territory of the protected area, it is necessary to follow the rules of conduct. The trail crosses the rivers Toba and Oniore, with easy crossings. The trail crosses the river Abasha in the final section, on the way to Kaghu waterfall. In most cases, the water level does not exceed half a meter and it is not difficult to cross the river. However, when planning your hiking route, it is necessary to keep in mind the above fact to avoid unforeseen factors. From the Oniore waterfall to the Kaghu waterfall some sections of the trail follow the ravines, which require maximum caution and attention when travelling. The trail starts and ends at two different destinations and it is possible to start hiking from both directions. From a sightseeing perspective, it is recommended to start from hiking from Martvili Canyon. 
Description: The trail enables visitors to see unique natural and cultural heritage of Martvili Municipality. Visitors of the trail can visit Martvili Canyon and then continue towards relatively untouched nature of the Toba and Oniore Waterfalls, where you will see beautiful nature, karst terrain, caves, waterfalls, canyons, rivers and other unique creeks. You will also see the flora and fauna, from which the typical Colchian forest is remarkable. While visiting the trail, you can enjoy the well-equipped picnic spots and hygienic infrastructure near Toba and Oniore. On the trail you will also find a bird-watching tower, from which you can observe various species, including orbits, whose nesting spots can be seen from the tower. In addition to bird watching, panoramic views are visible from the tower, which will help the visitor to better understand the surrounding areas.


One of the most important issues in planning a hiking trail is to make it attractive in the future, so that the infrastructure and costs incurred are not wasted. One of the reasons for selecting the first hiking trail is that the starting point of the trail is a very active tourist destination – Martvili Canyon. Visitors to the canyon will have information about the route, signs and information boards. It is 5.5 km from Martvili Center to Martvili Canyon, which is 10 minutes’ drive. Therefore, the hikers can easily reach the starting point of the trail. The first selected hiking trail starts from Martvili Canyon and ends near the Balda Monastery.

The planned trail is 16.2 kilometers long, which takes approximately 10 hours to complete. It is a transverse route, starting and ending in two different destinations, and can be started at either ends. The trail is of medium complexity and is characterized by relatively uneven landscape, paved or unpaved sections, small slopes where it may be necessary to use hands or hiking stick to maintain balance. The trail requires basic hiking equipment and hiking skills. It is also recommended to use protective hiking boots for ankles. The minimum altitude of the trail is 235 meters above sea level, while the maximum height is 720 meters. An average height is 459 meters. The maximum inclination is 64.6%, while the average inclination is 11.4%.


As mentioned, the starting point of the trail is located near the Martvili Canyon and continues northwest of the canyon. Initially it follows the 810 meters of asphalted road. From the village Balda the trail follows an unpaved road, along the left bank of Abasha River, totaling 3,500 meters. At the end of the village Balda, to the west of the trail, a relatively untouched nature begins. The next section of the trail becomes relatively difficult and inclination increases along the hillside, over the distance of 3,215 meters. On this section, from the village Balda that is located at the 550 meters above the sea level, we reach 719 meters with a beautiful panoramic view.
 Height profile of the hiking trail
 The current picnic area near the Oniorewaterfall
 Unique vegetation of the trail leading to the Oniore Waterfall



A combination of Toba Cave and Oniore Waterfall creates a rare and beautiful sight. The entrance to the cave ameters from the entrance the visitors can reach an underground waterfall, which is 21 meters high in some places the tunnel width reaches 12-15 meters.



After this location a slope starts with an average inclination of 11.2%. The slope leads to Toba and the Oniore waterfall Natural Monuments. The downhill slope is 2,050 meters long and ends in the Toba river canyon, which originates from the Toba waterfall. The Toba River is small in size, not exceeding three meters in width and 30 centimeters in depth. Crossing the river is easily possible with the help of stones, as well as with cut trees, without getting the feet wet.

At the location adjacent to the river a recreational area was selected, where the picnic spot will be arranged and the existing camping area will be repaired.


After crossing the river, the hiking trail follows an uphill with an average of 26% inclination.
On this section there is a turn to the Toba waterfall. In 580 meters from the river an elevated area was selected as a bird watching tower construction area, which is mainly intended for watching birds of prey. One of the important nesting species in the area is a vulture that was observed during each visit to the area. The birdwatching platform is also very good for viewing adjacent areas. From the tower the Toba waterfall will be visible, which flows out of the rock cave. The visitors will be able to other the spectacular views from the birdwatching tower. From the tower only 600 meters remain to one of the main sights of the hiking trail – the Oniore waterfall.



In about 200 meters from the waterfall a recreational area was selected, with two picnic spots and a toilet will be constructed. The simple infrastructure in the area in the form of fireplace and logs already exists. Therefore, this is one of the best recreational areas on the trail, which is already frequently visited and further development of infrastructure can make it more attractive for visitors. The trail to the waterfall goes through the typical Colchian forest, with a Colchian boxwood and blackberry bushes.

Unfortunately, because of the fungi and pests the perennial trees are virtually desiccated and are covered with shrub cover and large biomass of lichens and moss. An excess of moss is one of the best indicators of the clean air on this section. The vegetation also has a vast impression on the visitors.

After crossing this section, the visitors will be able to see the Oniore waterfall, which flows out of the cave and is 67 meters high.



The Toba Waterfall and Arsen Okrojanashvili Cave Natural Monuments create a rare and beautiful sight. The cave is difficult to access without a special equipment. It is recommended to use a rubber boat for traveling inside. The entrance to the cave (15x20m) is located near the cliff. There are several halls in a three-tiered, multilane cave. Among them stand out “Nona Hall”, “Nana Hall”, “Salon”, “University 50”, “Tbiani” and other halls. Chemical precipitation is present in many forms. The height of one of the stalagmites reaches 7 meters. The total length of the cave is 1300 meters. The river coming out of the cave, which forms four lakes underground, generates a 234 meters high (the highest in Georgia) cascading waterfall.



After visiting the waterfall, the visitors will need to cross the right bank of the river to continue on the trail. This can be done by walking over the stones and without getting wet. After crossing the Oniore waterfall, the trail follows the right bank of the Toba river. In about 500 meters from the Oniore waterfall there is a second waterfall, which can be seen from three different angles. From Oniore waterfall an altitude starts to decrease. In about 3,750 meters a Kaghu waterfall is located. There is a unique biodiversity on this section, both on the slopes and in the Toba River. There are panoramic views along the trail, from which the Toba waterfall can be seen.



In 150 meters before reaching the Kaghu waterfall, it is necessary to cross the river Abasha. In most cases the depth of the water does not exceed 50 centimeters and is easy to cross, although it is necessary for the visitors to have the information before starting the route, to avoid unexpected problems.

After crossing the river Abasha, the visitors reach Kaghu (Zhuzhgha) waterfall, which is of exceptional beauty. The Kaghu waterfall is a frequently visited place in summer, especially for locals. With recreational areas adjacent to the waterfall the visitors can enjoy picnic and taste local dishes.



From the Kaghu waterfall to the end of the trail, which ends with the Balda Monastery, there is an easy, 1500-meter-long road. To the right of the Balda Canyon Natural Monument is located and the visitors can see the canyon. The final stop of the hiking trail are the Balda Monastery and the Virgin Mary Church sites, which were selected based on their historical and cultural importance. The monastery can be reached through a highway with asphalt pavement, which will make it easier for trail visitors to return to their desired locations by car. It is also possible to visit return to Martvili canyon by the road through the village Pirveli Balda. In this case the visitors will travel along an easy road which is 5,250 meters long, which can be covered in 1.5 hours.

Visiting a guesthouse near the selected trail.


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