Last updated on October 2nd, 2021
Visiting Juta village in Kazbegi is one of the highlights of all my travels around Georgia. It is a place to disconnect from the entire world, relax and see the hidden beauty of the Caucasus Mountains.
I’ve been to Juta on a few occasions and every time it was a fulfilling, absolutely wonderful experience. Not coming to see it and spend some time in Juta valley would be a big mistake.
So this is why I decided to share a quick post about Juta, including all the useful information about the best way to get there, a full list of things to do, best hikes, walking trails, places to stay, and more. Just give it a read and get inspired!
Juta is not only a village where to hike or camp. It is much, much more…
Why Visit Juta Village in Georgia?
Juta is one of the highest alpine villages in Georgia which in terms of elevation comes second after the famous village Ushguli in Upper Svaneti. Although it is still a moot point which one of them should be first and second.
Both settlements are located almost at the same elevation from sea level, at 2200 meters. But until now, there is still debate about who should be first.
However, what is known for sure is that Juta village (together with Ushguli) are also the highest mountain settlements in entire Europe. Even in the Alps, the highest village Juf in Switzerland is located at the lower elevation which equals 2,126 m above sea level.
So it is a pretty unique experience to visit Juta where you’ll be also able to see the rock massif Chaukhi, also called “Georgian Dolomites”, with the highest peak at 3842 m.
Among other reasons why to visit Juta are incredible landscapes, horse riding, hiking, and just chilling in a hammock with a cup of coffee or glass of beer.
As for me, Juta in Kazbegi also turned out to be the best place for meditation and inspiration. I felt like for the entire day I was able to unplug from the world and relax emotionally.
Best Time to Go
The best time to visit Juta village in Georgia is from mid-June to late September. This is the time when the weather is stable. If planning to go on a hike to Abudelauri lakes, then the best time is late June to mid-August. At the end of summer, Abudelauri lakes dry up.
September, October are also good months since the landscape changes its colors. In the fall, there is always a chance of rain or clouds but it makes the atmosphere even more magical.
From December to April Juta is covered in snow which starts to thaw in May.
How Much Time to Spend in Juta Valley?
It depends on how much you plan to do and see in Kazbegi. I was in Juta on multiple occasions but usually, it was for a few hours only (which was a good introduction to Juta valley). But last weekend Mark and I decided to return with the goal to do some hiking and spend one long day there.
If you are visiting Kazbegi only for the Georgia Military Highway and Stepantsminda, then expect to spend at least 2-3 hours in Juta valley. This time will include a drive to Juta (and back) and ascent to the 5th Season cafe, from where you can see the Chaukhi Pass in a distance.
For the more complete experience that includes hiking in Juta valley, you’d need to plan to devote half a day or one full day.
Starting from the late spring to early fall, guesthouses, campgrounds and a few cafes are open. So if you are coming for the day, there will be a place where to buy food, although it will be much more expensive.
Things to Do in Juta
Before you reach Juta, you’ll be going through Sno valley with a few villages. The biggest of them and the permanently inhabited village is Sno. It has a watchtower and giant stone heads of prominent figures of Georgia, with Shota Rustaveli being the most realistic one. Here are the coordinates of the field with gigantic structures.
From Sno, it will be another 12 km through Kazbegi national park along the seething river and waterfalls. Views as anywhere else in Kazbegi are simply spectacular.
Once you get to Juta (and if you travel by rented car), leave a car in the parking lot here (which is around $1.5/€1.3) and ascend 1.3 km to the cafe and camping area 5th Season. The ascend is short but very steep, so it may take 30-40 minutes to reach the cafe.
5th season is the starting point for all hikes and walks. From there you can already see the Chaukhi Pass and continue to walk towards it or just take it easy and relax on a sun lounger with wine and book without going any further.
If you want some activity then choose to ride a horse or go on a hike. For the horse, you can rent it near the 5th Season camping area and go on a ride around the valley. Another option is to explore Juta valley on a short hike on your own.
Juta Hiking Trails
Juta offers some incredible hiking opportunities. They include both short day hikes and long multi-day hikes across the Chaukhi pass. Among beautiful shorter hikes I can highlight the next ones:
Hike From Juta to the Waterfall & Mini Lake
Distance: 2.5 km
Time: 1.5 hours round hike if going to the first waterfall. 3.5 hours, if hiking to the second waterfall.
This hike goes from the 5th Season campground to a small seething waterfall and very tiny lake. The path is straight but the last half a kilometer runs at an incline of around 200 m.
It winds through a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains, greenery, and wildflowers. In a few spots, you need to cross the river. But the crossing is easy, we crossed it without any poles.
Somewhere in the middle of the hike when you reach the stream bed, the path diverges in two. One goes around the river to the waterfall (mentioned as the ending point) and another one to a tiny lake here. From this point, you can make it as a loop and go in one direction to the waterfall but then return through the lake taking another trail.
Overall, even with river crossings, this hike is very easy and can be done with children and elder people.
If you have reached the first waterfall and are still full of energy, continue your journey up to the second waterfall. On maps.me there is a clear waterfall sign on the map, so you won’t miss it. On google maps, it’s not marked at all but if you follow the coordinates, you’ll have an idea where to go.
The entire distance from the first waterfall to the next one is around 2.5 km but since it goes slightly uphill and partially over rocks and more river crossings, the hike will take another hour (or even more) of your time (one way).
We spent in total 3 hours hiking from Juta to the second waterfall because we were stopping for photos on every corner and for lunch by the river.
Hike From Juta to Chaukhi Pass
Distance: 8.6 km one way (4-5 hours) from the parking lot in Juta. On the way back it takes 3-3.5 hours to descend down
Time: 8 hour round trip
Elevation: 1100 meters (from 2,200 to 3,300 meters)
Ending point: Scenic viewpoint near Chaukhi Pass
If you are coming to Juta for the whole day and look to spend it hiking, then go on a longer trek which is a continuation of the previous one.
After reaching the second waterfall mentioned above, just follow the rocky slope to the Chaukhi Pass at an elevation of 3300 meters. This will be another 2.7 km with an ascent of 500 m. For someone who is a hiker in good shape, it will take around 2 hours to hike that distance.
From the ridge (which is the ending point of this hike, I dropped coordinates for it above), you can already see the Abudelauri lakes on the one side and Kazbek peak on the other.
This hike is considered easy to moderate but the total climb of 1100 m can be challenging for some people. You can do it on your own without a problem. The terrain is clear, without any animals, or obstacles. There are river crossings in some areas and rocks near the end by the Chaukhi Pass. The markings start near Zeta Camping.
In fact, this trail is quite popular among those who hike from Juta to Roshka (they take the same trail to reach the Pass) or tourists who come here on a day hike from Tbilisi. So you won’t be alone. Of course, the further you go, the fewer people you’ll see.
NOTE: If you know how to ride a horse, you can cover part of the distance on horseback. When we were in Juta, it cost 100 GEL ($32) for the entire day.
Hike From Juta to Abudelauri Lakes or All the Way to Roshka
A trekking route from the village of Juta to Roshka has become quite popular in Georgia in recent years. No less popular became a trek from Juta to Abudelauri Lakes that is 12 km long and takes between 6-7 hours to hike (one way).
It does not require special training, but you need to be sure you are not prone to high altitudes. As well as you should be ready to camp.
The difference in height is 1100 meters (from 2200 to 3300 meters and down to 2600). If not continuing to Roshka, the round trip hike from Juta to Abudelauri Lakes and back to Juta will take between 12-14 hours.
Those who hike this route usually go to the lakes to camp and stay overnight. The next day, they either return to Juta or go to Roshka which is situated in the Khevsureti region 6 km from the lakes.
From Roshka, a dirt road connects with the village of Korsa. And from Korsa there is a new asphalt road that connects with Military Highway.
Once in Roshka, you can hike another 13 km on a dirt road to Korsa or hire a Delica car. From Korsa, where there is no regular public transport, you’d need to hire a local taxi (again Delica cars for the most part), hitchhike or try to hop on a marshrutka which runs there once in 3-4 days.
How to Get to Juta
Juta village is located in the Sno Valley, 20 km from the village of Stepantsminda.
After the turn to Juta from Georgia Military Highway, the first 13 km of the road to the village of Karkucha is asphalt. After that, there is a 7 km long rolled gravel road with the climb. In the summer when the weather is dry, the gravel road is in decent condition (although with holes). During this season as well as in the early fall, you can go by a small sedan car.
On all our visits we drove Toyota Prius or equivalent and had no problem with that type of car. Yes, the drive was slow (drove 7 km in 30 minutes) but it was scenic and enjoyable. Anyone who visits on a jeep or local drivers of Delica cars usually drive this segment in 10-15 minutes. In Juta in the parking lot, we even saw Honda Fit which successfully covered the same distance.
So if you rented a car to travel to Kazbegi from Tbilisi, do not hesitate to come to Juta on it.
Kazbegi-Juta-Kazbegi taxi will cost between 100-120 GEL per car ($32-$40/€27-€34).
If you do not have a car and do not want to pay for a Delica ride, another option is to come by marshrutka, on a tour, or with a private transfer. During the high season, marshrutkas go from the center of Stepantsminda to Juta in 40 minutes (one way) and a ride costs 40 GEL ($13/€11). However, you may end up waiting for too long.
Juta is located 165 km north of Tbilisi and 3.5 hours drive one way non-stop.
In theory, it is realistic to leave Tbilisi very early (what many people do), spend 4-5 hours in Juta, and then return to Tbilisi in the evening. However, in that case, you’ll cover 330 km (round trip) on a serpentine of the Georgian Military Road in just one day and see just the basics. That’s a lot. So you’ll spend more time in a car than actually in the mountains.
It is advisable to go to the Kazbegi region for an overnight stay. That gives you a chance to experience more and in case of bad weather on one day, go to Juta on the following day. You do not necessarily need to stay in Juta. There is ample housing available in Stepantsminda and on the way to it.
Tbilisi to Juta by Private Transfer With a Driver – Prices Start From $60/€50
Transfer by a comfortable SUV on the route Tbilisi-Juta-Tbilisi for one day costs $60-$70 (€50-€60) for the whole car for 3-4 passengers.
A personal driver will bring you to Juta, wait for you as long as needed, and return you back to your hotel/apartment in Tbilisi or any other city in Georgia.
With this convenient service, the driver goes wherever you want and makes your preferable stops. You customize your own itinerary by adding stops and detours and immediately see the final price in the system.
Traveling from Tbilisi to Juta by private transfer may be the best option if you travel with a few people and don’t feel comfortable driving on your own or using public transport.
Tbilisi to Juta by Car – Prices Start From $22/€18
Going from Tbilisi to Juta by car is a good option for people (like us) who prefer to have a bit more freedom. With a car, it is also easy to plan a trip in a way that allows visiting other landmarks in Kazbegi and spend a night in Stepantsminda, Juta, Sno, or somewhere else.
On all our visits to Juta and Kazbegi, we decided to drive. We paid $60 (€50) for a car rental for 2 days (we rented it in the evening, left for Kazbegi early on the following day, and returned the next day in the evening to return the car). Gas cost us $18 (€15) for 20 liters and it covered also extra driving on the Military highway to the Russian border.
So transportation for 2 days in Kazbegi in total cost us $80 (€68) but with it, we got to see much more than just Juta. If you rent it for a day in the low season, it will cost less than $50 (€42) for the car and gas together.
In Georgia, Mark and I rent cars only through this company. They proved to be the most reliable and have the biggest fleet of cars. I wrote a detailed post about it and what to know about driving in Georgia here, so give it a read. Or check their prices online and see how good their deals are.
Oh, and for the quality of the road, here it is:
Joining an Organized Tour From Tbilisi to Juta – Prices Start From $45/€38
Joining a tour to Juta is also a wonderful opportunity but it provides a completely different experience.
With a tour, you will spend a day with a Georgian who is in love with his land and who will help you learn the history of Juta village and Kazbegi region. He/she will be also your guide on a hiking trail if you are not comfortable hiking on your own.
No need to plan anything on your own, constantly look at the map, think about what and where to eat, where to go next, and so on. Everything is going to be taken care of, which is awesome.
If you would like to go on a tour, check these tours out:
– 2 Day Tour to Kazbegi & Juta with Hiking – great for true nature lovers who prefer a bit slower pace.
– 2 Day Hiking Trip From Juta to Roshka through Abdulauri Lake – for serious hikers who are ready to camp.
– 1 Day Tour From Tbilisi to Juta – a fast-paced trip for travelers who like to squeeze in as much as possible in one day.
Tbilisi to Juta by Marshrutka – Prices Start From $20/€17
One of the least comfortable ways to travel from Tbilisi to Juta is to take a marshrutka. It will take much more time to reach Juta with this type of transportation. And in the end it won’t be even that cheap. Yet, if you still want to use it, here is how.
First, let me mention that there is no direct marshrutka to Juta. You need to reach Stepantsminda at first and then make a transfer there. I recommend you read my guide to how to get from Tbilisi to Kazbegi where I talk about how to reach Stepantsminda. Once in Kazbegi, find a marshrutka (Delica car) to Juta. The ride takes around 40 minutes and costs 40 GEL ($13/€11).
In summer, Delica cars to Juta leave when they get full. If there are no people – they won’t be leaving. In this case, you have to take a taxi for 100 GEL one way ($32/€27).
If using this transportation, you won’t have time to reach Juta and go back to Tbilisi in 1 day. The ride from/to Tbilisi-Kazbegi-Juta-Kazbegi-Tbilisi costs 60 GEL/$20 (€17) per person.
If you are going on your own, taking a marshrutka will be cheap. But if there are two of you or more, it is worth considering hiring a car or private transfer.
Where to Stay in Juta Village in Kazbegi
In Juta, the choice of housing is not so big. Thus people who come there usually do one of two things. They either come for one full day without an overnight stay or stay overnight in a tent. Nevertheless, there are still a few nice guesthouses in Juta.
Among them are:
MetiTsa – relatively new B&B in Juta with stellar reviews and basic but comfortable accommodation. Here you will experience true Georgian hospitality and have a good rest.
Private Cottage in Juta – a nice option for a group of friends traveling together or a family. It provides all comforts of a home in a very secluded area. It also has a terrace with mountain and river views.
Juta Guest House – one of the first hotels in Juta. Located right in the immediate vicinity of the parking lot. The territory of this guest house is beautiful, has wooden bridges across a winding mountain river. There is an outdoor pool with water directly from a mountain stream, a cafe, and a sauna. However, the prices are more expensive what explains why ratings are not high.
Fifth Season – that type of accommodation in Juta where you get some of the best views. Thanks to panoramic windows, you can watch the stars at night or enjoy the view of Juta valley during the day.
More Georgia Travel Inspiration
Are you looking for more unique places to visit in Georgia? Then see the following posts: