Kurortny Park

Top choice in Mineral Water Spas

Founded in 1823 and covering 1340 hectares, this hillside park is among the largest in Europe. It's riddled with walking trails past rivers, ponds, forests and formal gardens. The park ascends southeast from a plaza behind the semicircular Colonnade to the peak of Mt Maloe Sedlo (Little Saddle; 1306m). There are several other entrances including the grand Cascade Stairs.

It’s a two- to three-hour hike from the base of the park to the so-called Olympic Complex (1200m), where you'll find the upper cable car terminal. On the way you’ll pass various cafes, statues and other points of interest, including the luscious Valley of Roses. At 1065m you reach Red Sun Hill, where, on a clear day, there are great panoramas of the yawning valleys and green plateaus of the surrounding countryside, including Mt Maloe Sedlo to the west and, on clear mornings, Mt Elbrus to the south.

It’s another 45-minute walk from the Olympic Complex to the summit of Mt Maloe Sedlo. Trails also lead to Mt Maly Dzhinal (1484m) and Mt Bolshoe Sedlo (1409m); Kislovodsk maps show all the walks, most of which are numbered and signed.

For a speedier ascent, you can ride the cable car. The lower station, close by the viewpoint over the Valley of Roses, is within 10 minutes' walk of the Cascade stairs.