Making HIKEArmenia: from scouting to design

By Charlotte Poulain
Originally published May 18, 2016

Back in October, you helped us raise $27,312 for HIKEArmenia, a platform that will form a bridge between travelers to the country and Armenia’s natural and cultural resources.

Ever since then, we’ve been consulting with experts in the hiking world and in the tourist industry here in Armenia. The goal is to facilitate both locals’ and visitors’ abilities to engage with Armenia’s landscape; to encourage tourists to get in touch with guides, hotels and guest houses, and to boost the economy outside of Yerevan.

The HIKEArmenia project is divided in two components:

  • the marking of 5 trails in Armenia;
  • the development of a mobile application that will allow users to follow the trails, contact local guides, and find nearby accommodation.

Following consultations with hiking guides and organizations working in the regions (such as IdEA Foundation, Janapar trail, etc.), five trails have been pre-selected:

  • Dilijan to Ijevan via Haghartsin/Akhchkaberd (Tavush region)
  • Yeghegis to Cakhac Kar via Smbataberd (Vayots Dzor region)
  • Kobayr to Odzun (Lori region)
  • Tatev trail (Syunik region)
  • Saghmosavank to Ashtarak via Hovanavank (Aragatsotn region)

The first scouting trip (to Ashtarak) was supposed to take place last weekend; unfortunately, bad weather forecasts forced us to delay it. Damp ground and snow showers aren’t ideal conditions for hiking, especially on a trail that isn’t defined yet…

But spring is upon us, so we’re hoping to start going out on the trails in the next two weeks. Once each correct route has been selected, we’ll invite volunteers to come along and help us mark the trail. We already have a growing list of volunteers, and if you’re interested in joining, please sign up here.

On the tech side, things have accelerated lately. We’re currently in the last stages of selecting our tech partner to build the IOS and Android app, and our awesome graphic designer Sofya Khachatryan has already created a prototype! From the login screen to maps, pictures, trail descriptions, many design elements need to be foreseen in order to make HIKEArmenia user-friendly.

We can’t wait to scroll through Armenian trails on our smartphones, and we hope you’re as excited as we are! In the meantime, have a look through our screens and let us know your thoughts: it’s a work in process!