RED VALLEY HIKE & SUNSET VIEWPOINT IN CAPPADOCIA, TURKEY
Red Valley is up there with my favorite spot in Cappadocia. The Sharp sandstone ridges glow a deep, vibrant red as the sun burns into the unique landscape in the last moments of the sunset each night. There is a great trail loop or you can drive straight to the sunset viewpoint to chill at the cafe or hike to the top of the flag viewpoint.
HOW TO GET TO THE RED VALLEY
There are a few different ways to reach the Red Valley Trail. You may also want to skip the trail and go straight to the Red Valley sunset viewpoint. I’ll outline all of your options below and then tell you what I did.
- Drive for 15 minutes from Goreme town and go straight to the Red Valley sunset viewpoint. No hiking needed.
- Drive to the Rose Valley Trailhead and begin the Rose & Red Valley hike combination route.
- Drive to the Meskendir Trailhead and take that trail to the Rose Valley trailhead and continue on to the Red Valley Trail.
We took the third option and began walking from Goreme Town in the heat and it was set to be a 3km walk to the start of the Meskendir Trail, which would then connect us to the Rose Valley Trail and finally to the Red Valley trail. However, as so often happened in Goreme and Cappadocia, we hitch-hiked our way to the start of the trail.
A good landmark to find the trailhead for the Meskendir Trail is the Kaya Camping Ground. When you drive towards Kaya Camping from Goreme, you will find Kaya Camping on the left. The first road after Kaya Camping is the road you want and there is a sign on the wall, which I have pictured below to make sure you find the trailhead. Throughout the trail, there are signs saying Rose Valley and Red Valley, which means you are going the right way as they are at the end of the trail essentially.
If you want to go directly to the Red Valley sunset viewpoint. I have pinned it on the map below so you can drive straight there. The entrance fee is $1.50 USD. It is marked on the map below as ‘Sunset view point’ and as you can see it is just above the Rose Valley.
MY EXPERIENCE IN RED VALLEY
Firstly, we turned into the Rose Valley using the following sign to help you find your way. As I mentioned earlier I began my day on the Meskendir Trail and then continued on to the Rose Valley before reaching the Red Valley. You can click either of those links to read about that part of the adventure. But, for this blog post, we will focus on the Red Valley section of the adventure.
The Red Valley Trail begins just after the church at the top of the Rose Valley trail, where there is a small cafe and historic cave church. After climbing up the stairs into the church, we found some incredible paintings on the wall and they were in great condition. It was similar to the church paintings hundreds line up every day to see at Goreme Open-Air Museum. Below the church is a small cafe where you can buy water, fresh orange juice and snacks.
From this point on you walk another five minutes before the Rose Valley Trail loops back around the other side of the valley on the opposing ridge. We obviously didn’t double back and continued up the trail and now entered the Red Valley Trail.
The trail now winds through the cave dwellings and rock formations across the valley and up the hill. Although it is called the Red Valley, there are several vibrant, yellow rock formations that were something only visible on a few trails in Cappadocia.
We made our slowly up the hill in the hot Turkish sun, hoping the viewpoint was within touching distance and to our delight the distance from the church to the Red Valley Sunset Viewpoint was only about 20-minutes. It was the shortest section out of the three trails including the Meskendir Trail and Rose Valley trails.
The final section of the trail is carved out through the ridges and gives epic views all the way to Uchisar town and Uchisar Castle.
At the Sunset Viewpoint it quite touristy. There are 2-3 cafes, Instagram swings, wedding shoots, beanbags and dinner tables. It definitely is a bit of a showstopper. We arrived early before the sunset and enjoyed a shisha and some snacks as we waited for the golden hour. Despite being a remote location and a tourist spot, the prices were on par with cafes back in town.
When the golden hour began to arrive we walked back five minutes along the trail to the edge of the valley where all of the most intense ridges are. The valley is like the back a stegosaurus with ridges winding in every direction.
Once the red glow begins it truly is a sight to behold and we were blessed with a great sunset. Whether you take a seat in the cafe, head up the hill to the flag viewpoint or wander down on the Red Valley hiking trail, there is no bad place to enjoy the red glow amongst the ridges and all the way to Uchisar!
If you are up for a quieter spot to enjoy the sunset, look behind the cafes and you will see a hill with a flag on top. There are a few 15-minute trails to the top that are quite steep but also very safe. I drove back a second night to experience the sunset from on top of this flag viewpoint and it was as equally impressive as the lower area. There was just one other person at the top compared to the 200 people, cars, buses and cafes at the busy sunset viewpoint.
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.
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.
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 photo shoot 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.