The Avakas Gorge Trail, Paphos
The Avakas Gorge Trail is located within Pegeia state forest in Paphos District, with the end of the trail located inside the gorge.
The gorge is also Natura 2000 area and initially follows a dirt road (inaccessible to private vehicles) through an open valley, which then winds down into the gorge. In the last portion of the hike, the trail is in the stream, in which water usually flows year round, without drying up despite Cyprus 8 month dry climate. The route through the gorge is characterised by thick vegetation and a particularly attractive and unusual damp environment that is quite striking and different from the dry and dusty coastal landscape that Cyprus is known for.
The Avakas gorge was created by a powerful and intense tributary which used to flow over the limestone for thousands of years, creating walls up to 30 meters high and magnificent rock formations stretching up to 3 km in length. The small tributary flows throughout the year even in the dry summer months, showing the streams velocity, size and girth must have at one time been a large river, filling either side of the gorge. Historians note that the rock patterns are an indication of where the water once flowed (30 meters high!).
Not to be Missed
The gorge follows the course of the Avgas River, from where the composition first coined its name; which resulted from continual erosive activity on the soft, sloping limestone rocks composed of chalk, reef and grain limestone and beautiful layered clays. A Geologist or rock lover’s dream as the water exposes all the interesting effects carved into the rock.
Due to the formations of the rocks and by being too narrow at one point, the gorge is considered as a difficult hike. In addition there are slippery places and a certain amount of clambering over stones and rocks is required. This “challenge” is taken on by many professional hikers that enjoy exploring and interesting hikes; testing their limits and pushing their boundaries.
It is advisable to use a 4×4 car however raised saloon cars can also get there, just becareful of the rocks on lower lying vehicles!
It also noteworthy that during most of the hike you will be under sun so take hats sunscreen and plenty of water, although the ideal and best time of year to visit the Gorge is during the spring and autumn months. Typically the summer months temperatures are known to soar to mid-30s to early 40 degrees, unless plan to arrive early in the morning before the sun has properly peaked.
During the winter months it is also not recommended to visit if there has been an abundance of rainfall as the small stream can become flooded and the water levels become too deep and the current too strong.