An exquisite alpine lake lies nestled under the southern wall of the Oshtoran Kuh range in a protected nature reserve. Beginning at the ranger hut and car park at Haft Cheshmeh, 23km from Dorud, the walk in skirts the mountain flanks and takes four hours. Bring all supplies, including a tent. The track can sometimes close for any reason. There is talk that a permit and/or guide is now required from the Department of Environment. Check the situation before heading out.
Even if you don’t hike, great views justify the car journey as far as Darb-e-Astaneh, a mud-house village 18km from Dorud. Lake Gahar is famed for its succulent qizil arla fish, but, like any protected zone in Iran, it is under increasing pressure not only from poachers but also from unauthorised development, such as road construction.