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Kojoor (to Caspian Sea) Canyon
Canyon

Kojoor (to Caspian Sea) Canyon

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Kojoor (to Caspian Sea) Canyon

Page Type: Canyon

Location: Mazandaran, Iran, Asia

Lat/Lon: 36.50706°N / 51.75955°E

Object Title: Kojoor (to Caspian Sea) Canyon

Activities: Canyoneering

Season: Summer

 

Page By: nader

Created/Edited: Aug 8, 2009 / Aug 9, 2009

Object ID: 538606

Hits: 5812 

Page Score: 89.01%  - 28 Votes 

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Overview

Click for Introduction to the Central Alborz Mountains.

Click for a Detailed Map of the Central Alborz Mountains.

Alborz Mountains

The Alborz Mountains rise very abruptly above the southern coast of the Caspian Sea trapping the moist air generated by the sea. Unlike the bare southern slopes, the northern slopes of the Alborz Mountains are covered by a lush growth of deciduous forest. On their mad rush to reach the sea, countless streams and rivers have dug canyon of various proportions into the northern slopes of the Alborz Mountains.

Kojoor Plateau & Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Plateau
Kojoor Plateau

Kojoor Plateau is a small plain that sits at an elevation of 1500 m among the peaks of the Alborz Mountains roughly 22 Km south of the Caspian Sea Coast. Although the mountains that surround the Kojoor plateau are forested, the plateau itself remains tree-less.

Kojoor Creek originates in the mountains south of the Kojoor Plateau and heads north. After crossing the plateau, it enters a canyon at the base of the 2626 m Ghal-eh Gardan Peak to the west and the 2327 m Valik Bon Peak to the east. It then continues north, cutting a deep canyon among the other peaks of the area until it drains into the Caspian Sea.





A Near Perfect Wilderness

Although local herdsmen do at times take their cattle into portions of the Kojoor Canyon, you will not find any permanent settlements in or near the canyon. This has caused the canyon to retain much of its wild character.

Warning to Hikers

Flash Floods can happen at any time in the Kojoor Canyon. Hikers have actually died as a result of these floods. The floods do create debris fields that are often quite tedious to traverse.

In the upper portions of the canyon the stream is quite small and will allow you to easily cross from one side of it to the other. In the lower canyon, the volume of the water does increase making the crossing more difficult (but usually possible). Be ready to get wet and to negotiate the many obstacles that the canyon throws at you.

Also be ware of the inviting trails that leave the canyon and head up the forested slopes. While some of these trails do make the hike much easier, others fade away in the forest. It is quite easy to get disoriented and become lost in the dense forest.

Major Obstacle

After a day and a half of hiking we reached a waterfall. The waterfall is a dead end for the hiker (it can obviously be passed by those who have proper training and equipment). It took us 6 hours to find a way around the waterfall (We ended up roping ourselves down a wall on the side of the canyon, see more details below).

Hiking Distance and Hiking Time

Unfortunately, low GPS signal in large portions of the canyon prevented me from obtaining an accurate hiking distance. On a straight line, the distance between the starting point (see below) and the Caspian Sea Coast is only 18 Km. I have read reports that claim a hiking time of as little as 16 hours. These reports do not give much detail and make no mention of the major obstacle mentioned above. It is possible that there might be trails in the forested slopes far above the canyon that can be followed. Except for 3 short segments of trail, we did not encounter any other viable trails. Hiking on the banks of the stream is extremely slow. Mistakenly following trails that fade away in the forest, will obviously waste much time. We made the hike in two and a half days (including the 6 hours we spent trying to find a way around the major obstacle noted above).

The Canyon

The Start of the Hike

GPS Coordinates:
36:25.936 North
51:44.195 East
Elevation: 1390 m


We started our hike at a point on the road with the above coordinates (see “Getting There” at the bottom of the page).


Start of the Hike
Looking North
Start of the Hike
Looking South


Mountain Slopes Around the Beginnings of the Canyon

Many mountain slopes in this area are rocky/wall-like.


Near the Starting Point
 
Near the Starting Point
 
Near the Starting Point
 



Near the Starting Point
 
Near the Starting Point
 
Near the Starting Point
 

Entering the Forest

After a short hike, you will enter the forest.
Upper Forest, Kojoor Canyon
Upper Forest



Entering the Upper Forest
 
Entering the Upper Forest
 
Entering Upper Forest
 
Entering Upper Forest
 

Flowers in the Upper Canyon


Flowers
 
Flowers
 
Flowers
 



Flowers
 
Flowers
 
Flowers
 



Canyon Begins to Form

As you continue north, a canyon begins to form


Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 


Stream Junction

GPS Coordinates
36:27.093 North
51:44.035 East
Elevation: 1250 m


At the above location, a major contributory stream knows as “Been Creek” joins the Kojoor Creek from the west.


Continuing Down the Canyon


Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 



Small Waterfalls

You will come across small waterfalls such as the ones shown in these pictures. You can find your way around the falls with minimal effort. The coordinates for the falls shown in the large picture are as follows:
GPS Coordinates
36:27.286 North
51:44.165 East
Elevation: 1205 m



Small Waterfall
 
Small Waterfall
 
Small Waterfall
 



Continuing Down the Canyon


Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 



Open Canyon


Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 



Narrows

GPS Coordinates:
36:28.321 North
51:44.68o East
Elevation: 1065 m


Here the canyon becomes quite narrow. The stream becomes wide and very shallow. You will have to hike right over the running water. Flash flooding can turn this area into a death trap.


Narrows
 
Narrows
 
Narrows
 



Narrows
 
Narrows
 
Narrows
 



Wide Open Area

A wide valley forms.


Open Area
 
Open Area
 
Open Area
 


Black Canyon

You will enter a canyon with tall black rocky walls.


Black Canyon
 
Black Canyon
 
Black Canyon
 



Denser Forest

The forest seems to become very lush.


Lush Forest
 
Lush Forest
 
Lush Forest
 



Trail in the Forest

GPS Coordinates:
36:29.558 North
51:44.430 East
Elevation: 930 m


Here you will find a trail on the west side of the creek. Following it, can make the hike much easier. The trail goes 100 vertical meters up slopes that are covered by meadows to reach a high point and then it enters a forest.


Trail Up the Meadows
 
On the Trail up the Meadows
 
Trail Up the Meadows
 



Trail in the Forest

After the high point mentioned above, the trail enters a beautiful forest and begins to descend.


Trail in the Forest
 
Trail in the Forest
 
Trail in the Forest
 



Back to the Creek

GPS Coordinates:
36:30.040 North
51:45.127 East
Elevation: 760 m


After a short distance in the forest, the trail returns to the creek and continues north a little longer to reach a flat grassy area among the trees. Some sort of a structure probably built by local herdsmen can be seen there. The trail then simply vanishes away.
Structure in the Meadow
Structure in Meadow


The Big Orange Wall

This impressive wall comes to view on the west side of the valley. You can see faint trails that go up to reach the base of the wall but the wall does not allow you to hike in that area any further.
The Big Orange Wall
 



The Big Orange Wall
 
The Big Orange Wall
 
View of the Forest from the Base of the Big Orange Wall
From Base of Wall



The Big Orange Wall
 
The Big Orange Wall
 
The Big Orange Wall
 


Bushwhacking in the Canyon

You will most likely be forced to return to the canyon and bushwhack your way along the creek.


Kojoor Canyon
 
Back to Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 



Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 


The Great Waterfall

GPS Coordinates:
36:30.424 North
51:45.573 East
Elevation: 700 m


A spectacular waterfall suddenly appears on the west side of the Canyon.


The Big Waterfall
 
The Big Waterfall
 



Continuing Down the Canyon


Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 



The Big Gray Wall

GPS Coordinates:
36:30.646 North
51:45.838 East
Elevation: 645 m


At the above location, you will find a trail on the east side of the canyon. The trail goes up meadows where you will have awesome views of the great gray wall to the west.


The Big Gray Wall
 
The Big Gray Wall
 
The Big Gray Wall
 



Trail in the Forest

The trail then goes downhill in the forest.


Trail in the Forest
 
Trail in the Forest
 
Trail in the Forest
 



Back to the Creek

GPS Coordinates:
36:31.082 North
51:46.200 East
Elevation: 520 m

Back to the Creek
 


Major Obstacle

Very shortly after returning to the creek you will come across these waterfalls. In this picture you can only see the beginnings of the falls (you will have to go over very steep slick rock to even see the big waterfall). The falls have vertical slick rock on both sides. For the hiker this area is a dead end (obviously with proper equipment and training you can pass these falls). We spent 6 hours trying to find a route around the falls. The slopes on the east side of the falls were covered by a truly impenetrable growth of thorny bushes under the trees. The forested slopes on the west side of the falls were steep and muddy. These slopes turned into a jumble of overhanging roots before they dropped vertically down several tens of meters to the bottom of the canyon. We were finally able to find a spot where we could rope ourselves down the near vertical slopes back to the creek.
Major Obstacle
 


The Last Walls

As you go north, you will note that the mountains are becoming gentle. You are probably looking at “the last walls”.



Some of the Last Walls
 
Some of the Last Walls
 
Some of the Last Walls
 
Some of the Last Walls
 



More Bushwhacking

Bushwhacking, however, might have become more intense.



Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 
Kojoor Canyon
 


Trail on the West Side

GPS Coordinates:
36:31.960 North
51:46.857 East
Elevation: 350 m


Here a trail takes you up the western slopes into the forest. At the above coordinates, a log bridge takes you to the east side of the canyon.
Trail in the Forest
 


Frustrating Bushwhacking

After you cross to the east side, make sure you go up the slopes on the east side. If you attempt to follow the creek, you will see nothing but extremely frustrating bushwhacking, not worth a fight.
Endless Bushwhacking
Bushwhacking, if you miss the trail


Trail in the Meadows & Forest

After crossing the log bridge to the east side, go up the slopes to reach a meadow. You might find a cattle holding area here. The trail follows up the meadows and enters a forest on the edge of the upper slopes of the canyon (Do not follow another trail that keeps going up the forested slopes away from the canyon). The trail then goes down the forested slopes to return to the creek.


Trail in the Meadows/Forest
 
Trail in the Meadows/Forest
 
Trail in the Meadows/Forest
 



Back to the Canyon Floor & Side Waterfall

Once you reach the canyon floor, you will find it much wider. This beautiful waterfall will be seen on the east side.


Side Waterfall, Lower Canyon
Waterfall
Lower Canyon
Canyon Floor



Fighting Lizards

At first, these lizards did not even seem to notice that we were standing right above them. I think the aggressor finally noted us and let go of the victim allowing them to both run away.
Fighting Lizards
 


End of the Canyon

The canyon floor turns into a wide bed of medium size rock. A dirt road and small water management facilities appear. You will notice that the creek seems to have vanished away. It is probably diverted away.


End of the Canyon
 
End of the Canyon
 
End of the Canyon
 
End of the Canyon
 



Caspian Coastal Plain

You are suddenly out of the mountains and on the coastal plain. Elevation is around 100 m. a 3 Km hike on a road that goes among the private properties takes you to the Coastal Highway.


Caspian Coastal Plain
 
Caspian Coastal Plain
 



Caspian Sea

Go under the overpass and you will reach the Caspian Sea (Said to be 25 meters below Sea level but my GPS said minus 10 meters). You are somewhere near “Sisangan National Forest” roughly 40 Km east of the coastal town of Chalus. Unlike the beautiful sandy beaches in other parts of the Caspian Coast, the beach here is covered by medium size rock. Walking barefoot on the hot rocks after several days of hiking is not a pleasant experience but at least you can get in the water and wash the mud and grime away.


Caspian Sea
 
Caspian Sea
 

Getting There

From the western portions of Tehran, drive to the town of Karaj and then take the Chalus Rd north. Around 7 Km north of the village of Marzan Abad, at a place called “Do-Ab”, turn east and follow the road to reach the village of Kojoor. Approximate distance from western Tehran to Kojoor Village is 240 Km (another option is to drive the Haraz Rd and take the side road to the village of Baladeh. From Baladeh, you will drive the road toward Royan. Before reaching Royan, at a place called Galand Rood, you will turn west onto a road that goes up to a high point and then descends into the beginnings of the Kojoor Canyon before reaching the village of Kojoor).

I the village of Kojoor, follow the road east. The road will soon turn northward and follows the Kojoor creek on the east side of it (this road will eventually leave the Kojoor Creek and head back east to descend into the Galand Rood River Valley). After a short distance, you will see a nameless side road on the left (west). Turn onto this road and cross the Kojoor Creek. You are now right along the Kojoor Creek. You can start your hike anywhere (this road will probably eventually go to the village of “Been”)

Red Tape

No permits needed. No fees.

Camping

Anywhere.

External Links

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Images