Red and Rose Valley in Cappadocia got its name from the rock formations that changes color from rose to red depending on which time of day you’re in or the quality of natural light as you view the valley. It is situated between Göreme and Çavuşin villages.
After spending two days in Cappadocia, I had a view of the Red and Rose Valley from our cave hotel and got a chance to appreciate its landscape from above on a hot air balloon. I can’t explain it but I guess the calling is just so strong that I think I need to get up close and personal by hiking Red and Rose Valley.
We hired a guide for the short hike to the Red and Rose Valley but it turned out that the paths are fairly marked and figured that it would be easy to trek around the valley independently. We saw other hikers on different sides of the trail and found out that there are a lot of different trails you can take. That’s the thrill of exploring the valley on foot. That was when I understood why our guide told us that hiking would take 2 to 4 hours depending on how much walking we could take.
Getting to Red and Rose Valley from Göreme
The owner of Vista Cave Hotel was kind enough to drive us to the trailhead of the Red and Rose Valley. We started hiking as soon as we were introduced to our guide, Murat.
We found at least three marks like this, painted in red
Our first viewpoint of the picturesque Red and Rose Valley
The sun wasn't shining directly at the rock formations to give a more vivid rose hue but the views are stunning just the same
We then descended towards that small store
….and ascended again
We momentarily stopped for a break at that little shop
Taking in the view while resting
I tasted my first pomegranate juice at this stand
Right beside the fruit juice stand is a small church called Haçli Kilise, with this mural inside
How can you not say wow every couple of minutes when you are met by endless rock formations
The wows never stop
This was the highest point we got hiking the Red and Rose Valley
Continuing the Hike to Çavuşin Village
We passed by a graveyard just before reaching the Çavuşin village proper
We descended to a dirt road linking the valley to Çavuşin. Çavuşin village was once inhabited by early Christians who lived in rock-cut houses.
We climbed the first “climbable” path we saw to have a nice view of the Swiss cheese-looking formations.
However, we were puzzled as we saw a few visitors peeking through the framed doors of what was apparently a portion of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. The current path we were in was not leading up to that part.
Warning sign, probably for rock falls or loose soil path
Thinking that “if others can, so must we”, we descended the path and learned that in order to
get inside the Basilica, we have to climb first the winding narrow road of the village to get to the steps leading to the top of the village.
Finally we found our way to the top and the view was a surprise treat. The fairy chimneys at the bottom left provided an accent to the view.
Once at the top, we still could not see the basilica. It turns out that a shaky stairway behind is provided and seems like the only way to access the church. Unfortunately, the murals were not as preserved as the other cave churches we’ve seen so far.
That ends our half day adventure of keeping our feet at work and letting our eyes feast at the wonderful landscapes of Cappadocia. I highly recommend hiking in Cappadocia. Remember to bring a hat, water and comfortable walking shoes with you. Stay on marked trails. As cliché as it may sound, I’m going to say once again…leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures and kill nothing but time.