The Transcaucasian Expedition will feed directly into the long-term vision of the Transcaucasian Trail Association.
The Transcaucasian Trail Association (TCTA) aims to develop a world-class, long-distance trail network across the Caucasus, linking roughly two dozen existing and proposed national parks in the region. The network will consist of two intersecting trail corridors, each roughly 1,500 km long. One corridor, oriented east to west, will connect the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and the other, oriented north to south, will connect the Greater Caucasus and the Lesser Caucasus. It is this north-south route that the Transcaucasian Expedition aims to prototype in 2016.
The well-marked and well-maintained trails will provide a world-class experience for hikers and other trail users, while increasing economic opportunities for local communities. TCT will improve access to historic sites and protected areas in the region and raise their profile, so that the natural and cultural heritage of the Caucasus can be enjoyed by future generations.
The trails will be built in several phases, each phase focusing on trails in specific regions. As these regional trails are completed, they will be connected to each other to form the long-distance corridors. Ultimately, visitors will be able to walk these trails uninterrupted for hundreds of kilometres.
Long trails, like the Appalachian Trail in the U.S. or the Great Himalaya Trail in Nepal, have been developed in a number of countries over the past 50 years and are becoming increasingly popular around the world for trail users seeking new and challenging adventures. The TCT will similarly attract people from across the globe to hike it in its entirety—or to experience small sections of it. The trail network will create a seemingly endless number of possibilities for hikers ranging from day hikes and easy overnight trips to challenging multi-day or multi-week trips, encouraging visitors to explore the region in depth, in a safe and welcoming environment.