Mount Damavand is the most famous and tallest mountain in Iran and also the second highest volcano in Asia after Kunlun in Tibet and the highest volcano in the Middle East. These few main reasons have turned this mythical peak of Iran into one of the most important tourism destinations for eco-tourism, nature tourism, and mountaineering in Iran. Damavand is the name of an area (Damavand county) close to the northeast of Tehran(150 Km), the capital of Iran. This area includes various villages, small cities, and recreational tourism places with mild temperatures during the hot summer of Iram.
The Damavand volcano mountain is the border of the northern part of Iran and the central plateau of Iran. The location of this high mountain in the middle of two desert and forest areas in the north of Iran has created such beautiful natural scenes that forces all tourist to admire these wonderful natural landscapes. Summer and winter are the two major seasons of Mt Damavand. Although spring has short days and is not significant but is very beautiful and attractive for green plains, red poppy fields start blooming at the beginning of May.
Weather change in the Damavand region is one of the challenges for all mountaineers in this mountainous region. The minimum temperature at high altitudes in Damavand is -60°C and the highest is -2°C in summer. Strong winds up to 150 Km per hour from the north and northwest to the east are another challenge for climbers. This mythical mountain, which is mentioned in various Iranian literary, tourism, and historical books such as Shahnameh, has been registered in the list of Iran National Heritage List and July 4 is the national day of Damavand in Iran.
One of the best examples of Persian literature that shows the place of Mt Damavand in the national psyche is the poem 'Damavand by Mohammad Taqi Bahar, who is a famous Iranian poet. The poem starts with:
Oh white demon with feet in chains
Oh terrestrial dome, Oh Mount Damavand...
Damavand region in the vicinity of Tehran, with the best tourism potential, is one of the most important tourist recreational. These special features of tourism have made this region one of the most important tourist destinations for nature walkers, mountaineers, and those interested in visiting historical monuments.
- Attractive nature.
- Various ski slopes.
- Mountainous climate.
- Various orchard gardens.
- Natural lakes and raging rivers.
- Numerous historical monuments.
- Various hiking and climbing routes.
- Various entertainment and accommodation facilities.
Abali ski resort: It is the oldest ski resort in Iran. Parking, restaurants, ski lifts, and cable car are among the facilities and entertainment of Abali Ski Slopes.
Tar & Havir Lake: If you are eager to fish and camp in an intact plain this is the best choice. These beautiful lakes are located 30 km from Damavand and attract many fishing enthusiasts.
Certainly, an unforgettable stay at the camp under the starry sky near the legendary Damavand mountain will be an unforgettable experience.
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Shebeli Tower: A 10 meters (33 ft) tall, historical tower belonging to the 12th century.
Lar Plain & Dame: The Lar Plain with more than 73500 hectares is one of the National Parks & protected areas in the Damavand area. This beautiful plain with various seasonal attractions is one of the most important natural tourist destinations.
The notable flora and fauna of the park are:
Flora: licorice, Cichorium, Thymus vulgaris, Heracleum persicum, St John's wort, borage, shallot, galbanum, and multiple species of fungus.
Birds: grey partridge, cormorant, heron, and eagle.
Mammals: goat, leopard, gray wolf, bear, wild boar, jackal, and fox.
Herpetofauna: monitor lizard, lizard, and frog.
Rood Afshan Cave: This unique cave is located 120 km east of Tehran near a village of the same name. This cave features a large entrance of 40 meters in width and 12 meters in height and has the biggest entrance gate among Iran's caves.
Dasht e Mosha (Mosha plain): One of the most beautiful plains of the Damavand region with a wide range of recreational villas. This plain, which is located 58 km from Tehran and 6 km from Damavand, is one of the best tourist and recreational destinations with its pristine nature and pleasant weather.
Springs & waterfall: There are different nice natural springs and waterfalls in the Damavand area most of them originated from Damavand peaks.
Darvish old Bath: This Safavid-era bath is located in the vicinity of Damavand Jame mosque.
Jame mosque: Damavand Jame mosque is one of the oldest monuments remaining from the Seljuq era. This old mosque with an old minaret and two Porches is one of the most valuable historical monuments in Damavand.
Iran Eco-Tourism Diversity
There are various routes (sixteen trekking routes) to reach the summit. Among them, the most famous are The south route, the north route, and the northeast route. The south one is the oldest and the easiest one is the north route.
The south way (easy route )starts from Rineh village to Goosfandsara (Camp II) and Bargah-e-Sevom (CampIII) and then climbs to the peak. Each of these routes has a shelter/refuge at about 4000 meters altitude and the North one has an extra shelter at around 5000m. Damavand Classic South Route is the most popular side of the mountain, with an excellent new hill station at 4250m. Most climbers prefer to climb from the south face.
A favorite route for Damavand guests
the foremost in-style route to climb Mt Damavand is the south route, which takes 8 hours from the base camp to the summit. We start from Tehran the Capital and select the simplest way to reach the peak. It takes about an hour and thirty minutes by automotive from Tehran to Polour, which is the primary camp on the south route and belongs to the Iranian hiking Federation. The second camp is Goosfandsara and it's about an hour far away from the first camp (Polour) by an SUV.
The base camp is located (at 3040m) where the journey to Mt Damavand usually starts. Mountaineers will have a 3 to 4-hour climb to the third station which will accommodate at an altitude of 4150 m. It takes five to seven hours of slow and steady walking to reach the summit of Mt Damavand at 5671mfrom the Bargah-E Sewvom camp. Visitors are recommended to return to Bargah-E Sevvom camp quickly due to the high risk of quick weather changes once they have reached the top.
The second most popular route to the summit is the southwest route, which takes about seven hours to reach the summit. This route also starts at Polour village on the south face of Mt Damavand and there is Camp Simorgh at4159m altitude on this route to support climbers. The other routes to the summit are the north and northeast routes, which are longer and not as popular as the routes on the south face of the volcano. These routes attract the same visitors to Damavand, those who have tried southern routes and are seeking a different experience.
Mount Damavand was placed on Iran's tentative list of World Heritage Sites submitted by the Iranian government to UNESCO in 2008. The site is described as an inactive volcanic mountain and the highest elevation in Iran with many hot springs and rich flora and fauna. Among the universal values are the many endemic plant species cited by Iranian specialists who have listed Damavand as a World Heritage Site.
Hot Springs, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes in Damavand
There are numerous hot springs and rivers at Mt Damavand that attract tourists to the volcano, and tourist facilities are located on the riversides. Usually, the direction of river flow is from north to south in Damavand, the rainfalls and permanent snowcap on the peak being the source of water. The main rivers of Damavand are Lar and Hablehrood. Lar River is also one of the sources of Tehran's drinking water and the Lar dam which is built on the river attracts many tourists in the summertime to enjoy the cool weather and tourist activities including fishing. Damavand icefall is one of the most famous tourist attractions.
This is 12m high, 3m in diameter, and is found at 5100m altitude near the southern climbing route. The icefall is almost a permanent one and only in very hot summer it might collapse. Mineral water springs (Larijan & Reineh) in Damavand are the main source that attracts tourists to the region.
The most important thermal springs are Ask and Larijan with therapeutic applications. Larijan or 'AbeGarm-e Larijan' is in a village with the same name in the district of Larijan in Lar valley. There are public baths with relatively small pools for tourists who visit the village mainly for hot spring tourism. Visitors believe that the water in Larijan hot spring is useful for the treatment of chronic pains and skin diseases.
The flora and fauna of the Damavand region, with more than 2000 endemic plant species have attracted people and tourists for many centuries. The wildlife on the slopes of the volcano has been used as a hunting ground for the Iranian. Lar and Haraz rivers were declared protected areas in 1951 to protect the environment and natural resources of the region. Later, in 1975, the surrounding area of the two rivers on the slopes of the volcano became a national park, and hunting is forbidden at the moment in this area.
As is usual in high altitudes, changes in weather patterns are one of the main sources of risk in volcano tourism to Mt Damavand. It can change quickly to disasters in winter, with strong winds above 150km/h and freezing temperatures below -60°C. The main cause of casualties is bad weather and foggy conditions in a region called 'Danger Zone in the south route that is located between the fake summit at 5400m and the peak at 5670m. Some novice and even famous Iranian climbers have lost their way and accordingly their life in this place; however, at other times it is a mild climbing slope without rocks. The average tourist must therefore be advised not to attempt the mountain during bad weather.
There are several travel agencies and other associations such as the Iranian Mountain Climbing Federation that offer travel services and organize volcano tourism events with professional guides. Full-guided winter ascents, which usually take a week, are also available for people who have previous experience in winter mountaineering or ski touring at altitudes in unstable weather conditions. February and March are the best months to visit Damavand and view the volcano, with numerous night campers, mountain huts, and tourists who stay also in local houses nearby.
Volcano tourism to Mt Damavand, as one of the world's highest volcano peaks, is not mass tourism and the visitors are usually those with experience of climbing at high altitudes. The volcano is not currently active and there is almost no risk of poisoning by sulphuric or other volcanic gases as may happen frequently in other volcanic areas. Safety guidelines for Mt Damavand are therefore mainly concerned with weather conditions, timing, and how to reduce the risk of getting lost at high altitudes. Never climbing in danger zones (over5400m) or staying overnight at the summit is emphasized by almost all guidelines and instructions or experienced guides. Visiting the Damavand summit in winter should be well-planned with equipment and an experienced local guide. Going higher than the fake summit is dangerous and a handheld GPS unit or a compass is necessary, especially during bad weather conditions.
If Damavand was so attractive to you that you wanted to travel to this city for a few days and visit the best sights of Damavand, you can always contact us to rent a villa in Damavand and reserve the best accommodation.