Venture into the Grand Canyon of Crimea

The best way to reach the Canyon from Bakhchisarai is by marshrutka going to Sokolinoje (11 UAH per person). Although this connection is not the best one, it is worth trying, because the masses of tourists are coming from Yalta – from Sokolinoje comes almost nobody. They have no idea what they are missing: the space free of crowds, and delicious food…

Not everything is for free

Going from Sokolinoje to the Canyon has another plus: this time financial. April is not included in the tourist season, but it’s possible that if we had come from Yalta we would have to pay a fee to forest rangers. If you start from the Sokolinoje side it is very easy to, even accidentally, pass by the toll. Entering costs about 40 UAH for adults, and 20 hryvnia for children.

April is also the time of high water levels, because the water from the melted snow from the mountains still feeds the streams, creeks and rivers. In later months in the Grand Canyon of Crimea is a lot less water, so trespassing is easy. But it is not quite as exciting as it is when there is more water, and the more difficult parts of the trail can be passed only through bridges of branches, stones and… vandalized metal forest signs.

 Water in Crimean Canyon
The shallower areas in the Canyon. Of course, I would not be myself if my shoes didn’t get soaked during such a walk 😉
Water in Crimean Canyon
Rapid tide!

The road to the canyon from Sokolinoje is straight and simple, mostly made of asphalt. The Canyon itself is not big – 3km length in the Canyon Category is not impressive, however, the height of the walls reaching up to 300m is already an achievement.

It is worth seeing all the attractions provided by the guides – from Silver Falls (also called the Waterfall of Silver Streams) to the Bath of Youth. In this case the expedition in April is a hit the spot! We did not meet any tourists, just a few locals doing a tour. There were yet no shrines of consumerism and commerce, such as tiny stalls with sausages and drinks. Some bloggers mention that those were seen near the Bath of Youth. Personally, I can not imagine such a view in the middle of the Grand Canyon, and I am glad that I have no experience of this dubious pleasure.

Water in the Great Crimean Canyon
As you can see, the water is clean and clear
Silver Falls in the Great Crimean Canyon
Silver Falls – where there is less water, the waterfall does not look that nice

Because of the water temperature, as well as the temperature of our surroundings, we were not tempted to take a bath in the Bath of Youth. During hot summer days it is very easy to warm up after the bath, in April – it would be rather a blow to one’s own health. It is difficult to determine whether such cold baths really help in gaining youth or perhaps rheumatism, but an observer from made a good point here: “the water is so cold there that anyone who accesses the Bath jumps out after a moment as swiftly as a youngster”. Should we call the secret ‘revealed’? 😉

Behind the Bath of Youth there is still a bit of the Canyon left to explore. Tourists usually stop at this point and turn back without checking the rest of the trail. We also acted this way. Nevertheless, not because of our laziness, but due to the high water level – we climbed a bit around the Bath to see whether it is possible to move on. Unfortunately, too high water level prevented us from getting into the next part of the Canyon.

The Bath of Youth in the Great Crimean Canyon
The Bath of Youth
Pond in the Great Crimean Canyon
Does anybody know what is the name of this beautiful pond?

On the way back from the Grand Canyon, we were approached by a group of four calm men dressed as doctors and smoking cigarettes. The view was quite disturbing, but one of them really wanted to ask us something. It turned out that a patient escaped from their hospital. It is true that in the vicinity of the hospital a strange shouting could be heard, however, we assumed in advance that the source of the noises were playing children – as it turned out, we were mistaken. Even today we do not know whether it was a psychiatric hospital or not.

Tired after the march, before returning to Bakhchisarai we stayed in Sokolinoje for dinner. We ate a chiburekkis filled with bryndza, soljanka and lagman. On that day we spent our last night at the friendly host’s quarters in Bakhchysaray. Our next destinations were Sevastopol and Alupka.

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