PIGEON VALLEY TRAIL IN CAPPADOCIA, TURKEY
Pigeon Valley (also known as Guvercinlik Valley) is among the most popular hiking trails in Cappadocia, especially because it stretches between Goreme to Uchisar. Along the route, you will find cave dwellings, ancient paintings, earth pillars and of course… pigeons.
HOW TO GET TO PIGEON VALLEY HIKING TRAIL
Pigeon Valley Trail can start in either Uchisar Town or Goreme Town. I chose to begin in Uchisar and finish in Goreme, which turns out to be quite a common choice as it is slightly more downhill. Also, many people choose to finish in Goreme as they are staying at a hotel in Goreme. Therefore they catch a taxi or bus to Uchisar and then hike back to Goreme via the Pigeon Valley Trail.
I caught a bus to Uchisar for 3 Turkish Lyra and then walked to the mark I have pinned on the map below for you. If you search just Pigeon Valley on Google Maps it puts a bit of a strange location that isn’t really near the trail. Also, keep in mind you can do this trail as the full 4km route or the half route of 2km, which starts right next to the entrance to Uchisar from Goreme. This guide will show you how to do the full 4km route, which takes about 1.5 hours depending on your speed.
So as you can see on the map below, I have tagged ‘Pigeon Valley Gifts’. Head here and break free of the photo-crazy tourists and walk down the steep trail into the valley on the clear path. You can then begin to enjoy the tranquility of the trail as you head back towards Goreme.
If you do choose to begin the hike in Goreme, you will simply walk through Goreme and follow the canal through the town and keep on that road. It is called “Uzun Dere cd.” You can type that into Google Maps and it will eventually just end on the map but it leads you to the start of the trail where you will find the sign.
TOURS THAT TAKE INCLUDE PIGEON VALLEY
There is an awesome tour: Red Valley Hiking & Underground City Tour, which is an epic day of adventures including the following.
- Visit Red Valley, renowned as one of the most spectacular valleys of Cappadocia
- Hike through the colorful and breathtaking fairy chimneys of Red Valley and descend to underground cities
- Walkthrough narrow corridors and discover numerous rooms and storages carved from the soft volcanic stone
- Explore Pigeon Valley and its picturesque sceneries as well as the towering Ortahisar Rock Castle
You can Click Here to check the price and make your booking on the Red Valley Hiking & Underground City Tour.
MY EXPERIENCE HIKING THE PIGEON VALLEY TRAIL IN CAPPADOCIA
I was staying at my hotel in Goreme, so I decided to catch the bus to Uchisar and walk back along the Pigeon Valley Trail to Goreme. The bus leaves from the center of town every 30-minutes and costs only 3 Turkish Lyra, which is 50 US cents.
When I arrived in Uchisar I had to walk 1.5 km to the start of the trailhead because the bus drops you on the highway rather than in the town as a shuttle would. It actually took me a bit to find a good trail down into the valley but I’ve pinned it above. I found an entrance near the ‘Pigeon Valley Gifts’ shop. Here there were a few evil-eye trees, souvenir shops and the regular tourists who had no interest in doing any walking and were taking in the view of the pigeon valley. If only they knew what they were missing by not going down into the valley.
The trail begins with a sharp descent along a white dusty path. Within a few minutes, you are in the heart of the valley and hardly take notice of the town above you. In fact, you only get small glimpses of the town or the Uchisar Castle above the treeline at certain moments.
The trail leads you through thick trees and several caves. If you keep your eyes peeled you will spot a number of ancient paintings on the walls of the cave dwellings, where people lived during the Byzantine period. True to it’s name, there are a lot of Pigeons in the valley. In ancient times, pigeon holes were built into the walls for the domestication of pigeons. They were used for their meat, for sacrifice and message delivery. Their poop was also used for fertilizer and mortar.
I found the trail quite beautiful with the everchanging landscape and cliffs of the canyon keeping me entertained through the hot summers day. Just like the Love Valley Trail, it often dipped into the greenery and at other times you were exposed with no cover from the sun. The cave dwellings are spread throughout the trail as well as the chimneys and earth pillars. There was a couple of caves to pass through and also it seems there are some people living in the valley. You will know when you are near them because their very aggressive dog will give you some warning barks!
This next part is quite important as no-one really tells you about it. After the bridge pictured below, there is part of the trail that is out of action. After the bridge, you will reach a gorge. This is a sign you need to head back a little and turn left out of the valley up onto the hill where you will take a lap around the section of the trail is out of action. It’s essentially a detour around this section of the valley.
There used to be a rope that helped you around a difficult, sloped, dangerous section but the rope is gone and it is now common practice to wind around the backside of this section. I didn’t know this and tried to push through it and find myself almost sliding off the edge of the cliff. While it is worth venturing down to see the gorge, I highly recommend not attempting to cross this section, as I honestly thought I was going down during several moments.
Once I backtracked, I found a sign (of which there are many throughout the trail). This sign, unfortunately, pointed in a strange direction, which is why I had gone the wrong way. Nothing like a little adventure. Now I went atop the hill and still wasn’t quite sure way to go but I could see I was past Uchisar.
I continued heading left once I was on top of the ridge, hoping it would lead me back down into the valley at some point, which it did in a formal, signed way. There are some beautiful cliffs that overlook the valley re-entrance, where you will also find a small cafe and signs to let you know you are in the right place. I believe this is where you could enter if you are doing just the 2km loop.
I came across another hiker for the first time since I had entered the valley and decided that he would be my photography subject for a while and I ghosted him through this section of the valley taking some photos for scale. I think I did quite an okay job considering I was shooting incognito while jogging behind him. That’s solo travel blogging!
After another 10-15 minutes, you will reach a new cafe, which seemed to be quite popular as there were about 10 people there. I’m not sure why it was so busy considering the trail is quite short but I had a quick look and kept moving on. There was a quite pigeon house at the cafe though!
After the cafe, I continued on towards the end of the trail towards the Goreme-side entrance. For your reference, if you do choose to enter from Goreme, here are some photos of the entrance at that side. It’s a pretty easy trail to follow through, with signs the whole way that is generally pretty accurate.
WHERE TO STAY IN GOREME, CAPPADOCIA
Where I stayed: Design Cave Suites Cappadocia – I was lucky enough to stay at the Design Cave Suites in Goreme. The location was great and I walked to all attractions. The rooftop garden was awesome for sunrise balloon watching. Buffet breakfast spread was amazing as was the cave style room designs.
Best Cave Hotel with Pool: Local Cave House Hotel– This cave hotel rose to fame because of its incredible pool. Make sure you click the link and check out how epic the pool backdrop is, with those classic Cappadocia rock formations in the background and traditional cave rooms it is a top pick.
Cave Hotel with Best Roof View (and dogs): Sultan Cave Suites – This cave hotel became famous because of its epic rooftop area for sunrise viewing. Guests can lay out on traditional pillows and carpets while watching the hot-air balloons flying above. The hotel dog might also join you for a photoshoot on the roof!
Budget Option in Goreme: Emre’s Stone House – For just $6 USD per night you can enjoy Cappadocia and this budget accommodation even has an epic rooftop to enjoy. It’s the best value in Goreme, Cappadocia.
Save money in Cappadocia by staying at an Airbnb! Get a FREE $40 Airbnb Coupon by using my code when you book! I use Airbnb on about half of my travels and find you always get more value than a hotel.
TRANSPORT IN CAPPADOCIA
Hire a Private Driver: Hiring a driver for a few hours to take you to several sites will cost about 100 Turkish Lyra depending on the car and your negotiation, which is about $20 USD. This is a good idea if you want to see 1-2 locations in an afternoon.
One of the best ways to get around is to hire a driver that will allow you to create a customized itinerary. That way you can visit all the spots you are interested in. To hire a private car with a driver/guide you can book online here or you might be a bigger group and in that case, it can be cheaper to hire a van in Cappadocia, which also comes with a driver.
Rent a Mountain Bike: We thought about renting a mountain bike but they were 150 Turkish Lyra for the entire day so it would have been 300 Turkish Lyra for both of us just to transit around. That’s almost $60 USD. It would have been fun but once we fund out everyone wanted to help us by giving us lifts there wasn’t much need. We either walked or hitchhiked.
Rent A Scooter/Moped: A scooter costs about 150-200 Turkish Lyra ($30-40 USD) per day and could be handy if you want to explore some attractions a bit further away or venture over to Uchisar.
Rent an ATV: Given the rough terrain in Cappadocia, an ATV is a fun option to help you explore the natural wonders and rock formations of the region. Prices are about $40 USD for two hours. If you are keen to head out on an ATV there is an awesome Quad-Bike Safari Tour that takes you through Sword, Love and Rose Valley during golden hour!
HAVE YOU CHECKED OUT THE REST OF MY CAPPADOCIA BLOG POSTS?
Click on one of the articles below to check out all of the places you should visit while in Cappadocia!
The big guide! This post has all of my favorite activities, which I personally did while in Cappadocia for ten days: 24 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN CAPPADOCIA
The hiking guide! Find out about all of the best hikes in Cappadocia with details, directions and lots of photos: 8 AWESOME HIKES IN CAPPADOCIA
Thinking about flying in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia? Read this first: CAPPADOCIA HOT AIR BALLOONS: THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU FLY
Have you heard about the castles in Cappadocia? Check these out:
Not sure where is the best region to stay? Wondering which hotel provides the best value? Check out this guide that will help you decide: WHERE TO STAY IN CAPPADOCIA: THE BEST HOTELS & HOSTELS
OR… I write a post about the 12 BEST CAVE HOTELS IN CAPPADOCIA that you might find interesting.
I’ve written a blog post for almost all of the places I’ve visited while in Cappadocia. You can find every single one of these articles right here: CAPPADOCIA ARCHIVES